11 Lovely Beach Hotels In Donegal For A Weekend Away By The Sea (2023)

If you’re in search of hotels in Donegal near a beach, you’ve landed in the right spot!

There’s some stunning beaches in Donegal and, unsurprisingly enough, plenty of hotels have capitalised on this.

From boutique hotels overlooking the wild Atlantic to budget-stays in busy seaside towns, there’s heaps of beach hotels in Donegal!

Below, you’ll find some mighty hotels on the Donegal coast, with something to tickle most fancies. Dive on in!

Table of Contents

Our favourite hotels in Donegal near a beach

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Photos via Booking.com

The first section of our guide is packed with our favourite beach hotels in Donegal – these are places that one or more of our team have visited over the years.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from the very popular Shandon Hotel to the brilliant Redcastle Hotel and more.

1. The Shandon Hotel

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Photos via Booking.com

The Shandon Hotel and Spa overlooks Sheephaven Bay in Dunfanaghy. Many bedrooms offers guests a spectacular view of the sea, as does the lobby, the bar, the swimming pool, thermal spa and the outdoor hot tub.

Hotel guests enjoy free use of the leisure centre, where there is a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, kid’s pool and a small gym. Marvel at the ocean view in the a la carte Marbles Restaurant or take a ramble down to nearby Marble Hill Beach.

If you’re looking for hotels in Donegal near a beach to mark a special occasion, you won’t go wrong at The Shandon.

2. The Sandhouse Hotel

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Photos via Booking.com

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Set on the spectacular sandy beachfront of Rossnowlagh, this four-star hotel features four-poster beds and classic décor—great for a romantic break or a solo trip away by the sea.

Many of the rooms here offer sea views (check in advance) and the beautiful Glasshouse Restaurant looks out onto the waves (try and nab a seat by the window if you can!).

A full Irish breakfast is served every day in the Glasshouse Restaurant, which overlooks the beach and there’s a spa where you can book in for relaxing treatments such as the three-hour Be-All and End-All.

3. Inishowen Gateway Hotel

The Inishowen Gateway Hotel is arguably the most popular of themanyhotels in Donegal near a beach.Located on the Inishowen peninsula, the Gateway Hotel is surrounded by endless things to do, like the excellent Inishowen 100.

Some of the rooms offer views over Lough Swilly and the Buncrana Golf Course. Onsite activities include the leisure club with its kid’s pool and the Seagrass Spa, golf and the Planet Active Kids Club.

Nearby is Malin Head, the most northerly point of Ireland, famous for its rugged beauty, and where parts of Star Wars, The Last Jedi was filmed in 2016.

4. Redcastle Hotel

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Photos via Redcastle Hotel on FB

If you’ve read our guide to the best spa hotels in Donegal, you’ll have seen us rave about the Redcastle Hotel. Located near the town of Moville on the Inishowen Peninsula, this four-star resort is on the shores of Lough Foyle and was once part of the Redcastle Estate.

It has 93 bedrooms and luxury suites with ocean or parkland views and its own private nine-hole golf course, a swimming pool, gym and luxury spa.

There’s some excellent dining options available here, too. The Edge Restaurant is sat, quite literally, on the waters edge and is especially impressive at sunset. There’s also the Captain’s Bar for a more laid back buzz.

5. Rathmullan House Hotel

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Photos via Booking.com

Rathmullan House is a Georgian, family-run country house that sits on the shores of Lough Swilly, a mere stone’s throw from the three-kilometre long, sandy beach. Set in seven acres of woody gardens, it makes for a great getaway when daily life feels far too hectic.

(Video) Paradise Beach in Donegal

The uniquely decorated rooms include, in some cases, patio doors that lead outside to the garden and seating and come complete with robes for full-on relaxation.

The family rooms available cater for up to six people and have a separate bedroom for the children and travel cots for the very little ones.

6. Arnolds Hotel

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Top left, top right and bottom right photos via Booking.com. Bottom left via Shutterstock

This fourth generation family-owned and operated hotel in the picturesque village of Dunfanaghy overlooks Sheephaven Bay, and it’s a great choice for anyone who revels in a friendly hotel experience.

Horse riding, surfing, walking and golf are all activities you can enjoy nearby. If you can, stretch for one of the sea view rooms which ovvers stunning views out over the bay and the popular Killahoey Beach.

Dining wise, you’re spoiled for choice – there’s the more formal Arnolds Restaurant for your evening meals and there’s a popular burger bar on-site, too!

Other very popular Donegal beach hotels

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Top left and right and bottom left photo via Booking.com. Bottom right via Shutterstock

Now that we have our favourite Donegal beach hotels out of the way, it’s time to see what else the county has to offer.

Below, you’ll find everywhere from the Great Northern Hotel and the Allingham Arms Hotel to some often-overlooked hotels in Donegal near a beach.

1. Allingham Arms Hotel

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Photos via Allingham Arms Hotel on FB

This modern, elegant four-star hotel overlooks the sea and can be found in the coastal town of Bundoran, just a short stroll from the town’s beautiful beaches.

If you can, try and opt for a deluxe room which boasts breath-taking views of the sea. Each of these rooms are decked out with plush furnishings to make your stay that bit more comfy.

Food and drink wise, the hotel is home to the Oceans Restaurant where you can grab a tasty bite along with Quay West and Coolmore for after-dinner drinks.

(Video) Sleeping near Irelands’ famous MURDER HOLE Beach day 6

2. Beach Hotel & Restaurant Downings

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Photos via Booking.com

The Beach Hotel in Downings boasts 30 modern and stylish ensuite bedrooms with double, twin and adjoining family rooms, all accessible by lifts.

However, when booking, try and see if you can nab one of the rooms that offers views of Sheephaven Bay with Muckish Mountain in the background.

The hotel has two bars, the modern lounge and the traditional Teach An tSolias, where live entertainment is available at the weekends and every night during the summer months. This is one of the more popular hotels in Donegal near a beach for good reason.

3. The Great Northern Hotel

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Photos via teh Great Northern Hotel on FB

The Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran, is a four-star, family-run property located on its own 18-hole golf course that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby, you will find several Blue Flag awarded beaches to saunter along.

For non-golfers, the hotel has a leisure centre, complete with a sauna and steam room and a jacuzzi for melting away your worries. There’s dedicated sea view rooms at the Great Northern where you’ll have the ocean and the Darty Mountains spread out in front of you.

4. The Ballyliffin Strand Hotel

Another of the more popular Donegal beach hotels is the Ballyliffin Strand on the Inishowen Peninsula and you can expect an authentic warm and friendly welcome upon arrival here.

The hotel has 36 rooms, some of which offer ocean views. The Glashedy Restaurant gives diners superb views over Pollan Beach to Glashedy Island on the Wild Atlantic Way.

This is a good base for exploring the peninsula, with everything from scenic drives and hikes to points of historical interest a short spin away.

Check prices + see photos

(Video) Top things to do in Donegal - Wild Atlantic Way

5. Holyrood Hotel – Leisure Centre & Escape Spa

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Top left and right and bottom left photo via Booking.com. Bottom right via Shutterstock

The Holyrood Hotel is a great place for a break in the north-west of Ireland, located in the heart of Bundoran, with breath-taking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a stroll along the beach to blow away all those cobwebs.

It’s one of the few hotels in the area with a swimming pool and there’s also an on-site spa, too, for those of you in need of some chill time.

From what we can tell (this may well be wrong) the rooms don’t have sea views, but the property is a short ramble away from the sand, if you’re looking to be close to the sea.

What Donegal beach hotels have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant hotels on the Donegal coast from the guide above.

If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!

FAQs about the various hotels in Donegal near a beach

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are good for families?’ to ‘What ones are the fanciest?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

What are the best Donegal beach hotels?

In our opinion, it’s hard to beat The Sandhouse Hotel, The Shandon Hotel and the Inishowen Gateway Hotel.

What hotels in Donegal near a beach are fanciest?

The Shandon Hotel and the Redcastle Hotel are arguably two of the more upscale hotels by the coast in Donegal.

11 Lovely Beach Hotels In Donegal For A Weekend Away By The Sea (12)

Emma Baird

(Video) Ocean View Cottage - holiday home on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way

Emma Baird is a lifestyle editor and novelist. She has worked in the communications industry for more than 25 years, and loves animals, the countryside and lingering in a great pub for the food and the craic.


How many beaches are there in Donegal? ›

With a coastline of 1235 km/772 miles, County Donegal is blessed with many beautiful sandy beaches, twelve of which are Blue Flag Beaches.

Does Donegal Town have a beach? ›

It's a long sandy beach approximately 2km in length.

Can you swim at Dooey beach? ›

The water is shallow and clean - perfect for bathing and surfing. On your way to the beach, you enjoy fantastic coast views of wild Ireland. It is an excellent place to spend a day out with or without children.

What is the number 1 beach in Donegal? ›

1. Marble Hill. Close to the lively village of Dunfanaghy on Donegal's north coast, Marble Hill is a sandy bay with two rocky landmarks at the east end.

Is Donegal Irish or Scottish? ›

Located in the far north western corner of Ireland, County Donegal is rugged and remote even by Irish standards, giving Donegal a sense of unspoilt character. The Irish Dun na nGall means fort of the foreigner a term with its roots in the settlement of the land by Scottish Celts.

Why is Donegal so popular? ›

💚 What Is Donegal Famous For? Donegal is truly an untouched and beautiful part of Ireland. From Europe's highest accessible sea cliffs to wild moorland and endless white sand beaches. From spectacular castles and ancient stone forts bursting with history.

Is Donegal British or Irish? ›

County Donegal is one of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland. It's a border County, bounded on the southwest, west and north by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by Counties Tyrone, Derry, Fermanagh and Leitrim.

How far is Donegal town from the sea? ›

The larger town of Donegal is about 5 kilometres from the beach and has many facilities to cater for visitor's needs.

What is special about Donegal? ›

What is Donegal famous for? Donegal is known for its wild, rugged beauty, as well as Bundoran – the surfing capital of Ireland. Other sights of interest include the Slieve League Cliffs and the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route.

What is the main town in Donegal? ›

While Lifford is the county town, Letterkenny is by far the largest town in the county with a population of just under 20,000. Letterkenny and the nearby city of Derry form the main economic axis in the northwest of Ireland. Indeed, what became the City of Derry was officially part of County Donegal up until 1610.

Do you have to pay to go on Dewey Beach? ›


During the summer season (May 15th - September 15th) you must pay to park on all public streets in Dewey Beach. The easiest way to pay for parking is through the Park Mobile App. We highly recommend downloading this free app to your phone prior to visiting with us!

Do you have to pay for Dewey Beach? ›

From May 15th - September 15th, you must pay to park in Dewey Beach. However, free parking during the summer season is available at all permit and metered spaces every Monday - Wednesday from 5:00pm - 11:00pm!

Can you swim at Mermaid Beach? ›

Mermaid Beach is the place to go to enjoy a swim or surf without the crowds. Lifeguard Towers 24 (at Seashell Avenue) and 25 (at Hilda Street) are patrolled from 8am to 5pm from November to April, while Tower 26 in front of the Surf Club is patrolled 8am to 5pm year round.

Why is Murderhole beach called that? ›

The common name of the beach, Murder Hole Beach, is rumoured to originate from the nineteenth-century, when a young woman reputedly fell from a cliff near the beach. Other reports suggest that the name is derived from how the dangerous currents make swimming perilous.

What is the most scenic coast in Ireland? ›

Cliffs of Moher, County Galway

The famed Cliffs of Moher are perhaps the most photographed coastal region of Ireland. With beautiful vistas overlooking the sea and rugged cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher are a hotspot for anyone visiting Ireland.

Is Donegal Road Catholic or Protestant? ›

The road is bisected by the Westlink – M1 motorway. The largest section of the road, east of the Broadway junction with the Westlink, has a community which self-identifies as predominantly Protestant while the community on the other side of the Westlink – M1 motorway self-identifies as predominantly Catholic.

What does Donegal mean in Ireland? ›

Donegal (/ˌdʌnɪˈɡɔːl, ˌdɒn-/ DUN-ig-AWL, DON-; Irish: Dún na nGall [ˈd̪ˠuːn̪ˠ n̪ˠə ˈŋaɫ], "fort of the foreigners") is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. The name was also historically spelt 'Dunnagall'. Although Donegal gave its name to the county, now Lifford is the county town.

What famous people live in Donegal? ›

20 famous people from County Donegal
  • Enya. Enya Patricia Brennan, known to millions around the world as Enya, is from Gweedore. ...
  • Daniel O'Donnell. Think Donegal and Daniel O'Donnell automatically comes to mind, so intrinsically linked is he with his beloved home county. ...
  • Sean McGinley. ...
  • Conal Gallen.
Feb 14, 2023

Is it worth going to Donegal? ›

Explore the charming Donegal Town

But it's definitely worth a visit if you'd like some live Irish music and a great pint of Guinness!

Is Donegal Ireland worth visiting? ›

Located in the northern part of Ireland, Donegal is characterized as one of the country's top tourist destinations because of the jagged limestone cliffs that define its landscape. Tourists love Donegal's thousand-year-old history, ancient castles, rugged coastlines views, and accessibility to hiking trails.

What dialect of Irish is spoken in Donegal? ›

The Western dialect is spoken in County Donegal and once was in parts of neighbouring counties, hence the name Donegal Irish. The Eastern dialect was spoken in most of the rest of Ulster and northern parts of counties Louth and Meath.

What are people from Donegal called? ›

County (GAA link)Nickname
Donegal (GAA)The Forgotten County
Down (GAA)The Mourne County; The Mournemen
Down (GAA)The Ardsmen
Dublin (GAA)The Dubs
87 more rows

What religion is Donegal? ›

The majority of the people in Donegal, Ireland are Catholic.

However, there is a significant Protestant minority which links back to why Donegal was not included in Northern Ireland after the elections in 1921.

Where can I find sea glass in Donegal? ›

Can we find sea glass in co. Donegal and where?
  • Kinnagoe beach, Inishowen. ...
  • Lisfannon Beach, Inishowen. ...
  • The Great Pollet Sea Arch, Fanad. ...
  • Ballyheirnan Bay, Fanad. ...
  • Marblehill beach. ...
  • Magheragallan beach, Gweedore. ...
  • Rosbeg beach, West Donegal. ...
  • Glenveagh Castle and Gardens.

Which Aran Island has the best beaches? ›

Kilmurvey beach is a popular gem on the Aran Islands because of its Blue Flag status and beautifully clear water. It is located on Inishmore, which is the largest of the Aran Islands. The beach is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.

What is the best beach to find sea glass? ›

So, from our readers, here are the top 10 beaches for finding sea glass and beach glass.
  • Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California.
  • Seaham Beach, Seaham, England.
  • Davenport Beach, Davenport, California.
  • Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor, Ohio.
  • Monhegan Island, Lincoln County, Maine.
  • Souris Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
May 28, 2018

Can you take sea glass from the beach? ›

Sea glass. Unlike pebbles and shells, sea glass is essentially litter. Very beautiful litter, but litter all the same, so good news - you're fine to pick it up.

What is the difference between sea glass and beach glass? ›

Although beach glass and sea glass are often used interchangeably, they can refer to two separate things, as well. While sea glass is always created and found near oceans, beach glass can be used to refer to glass that is found on freshwater shores, around lakes or rivers.

What is an Irish woman called? ›

Irish·​wom·​an ˈī-rish-ˌwu̇-mən. : a woman born in Ireland or of Irish descent.

How long is the journey from Dublin to Donegal? ›

Buses from Dublin to Donegal cover the 118 miles (190 km) long journey and usually take around 3 h 48 min.

Are the Aran Islands worth seeing? ›

It's off the beaten path and requires a ferry ride to reach it. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't! Despite being quite small, it is packed with ancient sites, stone houses, sounds, and experiences that can only enrich your time in Ireland. That said, it's absolutely worth visiting Inishmore.

How much time do you need on Aran Islands? ›

Depending on the departure and return times you choose, you can stay from 3 ½ – 6 hours (there are 2 return times and various departure times – see here for more).

How long is the boat ride to the Aran Islands? ›

Depending on which Island you visit it takes about 15 minutes to 35 minutes to get from Doolin to the Aran Islands by ferry.

What beach has pink sand? ›

Harbour Island is most renowned for its beautiful Pink Sand Beach, located along its eastern Atlantic Ocean side. It almost seems endless, stretching for some three plus miles, and it is 50 to 100 feet wide.

What was filmed at black sand beach? ›

Reynisfjara is a popular filming location that appears in many Hollywood movies and well-known TV shows. The most famous of all is probably Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and one of the Star Wars movies.

Is black sand beach swimmable? ›

Because they're formed by black lava flows (i.e., volcanic eruptions), black sand beaches are often not safe for swimming, and they can be a little difficult to get to, with rocky trails, crowded parking lots, and entrance fees.


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