Wild Atlantic Way ranked alongside Route 66 by Lonely Planet

The Wild Atlantic Way has been ranked alongside America’s Route 66 as one of the world’s ultimate road trips by Lonely Planet.

It is namechecked alongside classic routes such as Australia’s Great Ocean Road and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Road in a book of the 50 best drives in the world.

The travel bible dubbed the rebranded 2,575km route from Kinsale to Derry at the tip of the country as “untamed and utterly divine”.

“Ireland’s west coast is a dramatic procession of deserted beaches and towering cliffs where traditional music and ancient castles abound,” said the new travel book, Epic Drives of the World.

Lonely Planet uses the famous Oscar Wilde quote of “savage beauty” to describe the Irish scenery.

“Ireland’s west coast is battered by Atlantic rollers, strewn with jagged cliffs and littered with wide beaches and sandy coves”, said Lonely Planet. “It’s a place where inky lakes shelter between mountains, sinewy stone walls clamber across hillsides and trees are frequently bent double by the wind.

“The roads here are narrow and winding, grass often grows along a hump in their middle and a herd of sheep can easily scupper all plans.”

Donegal’s “gloriously deserted beaches” also get a call-out.

The other Irish route named among the top 50 road trips is Northern Ireland’s Coastal Causeway Route now heavily signposted with Game of Thrones locations.

“Often overlooked for the classic cliffs and laughs of the Irish Republic, the lonely shores of Northern Ireland might just be the perfect day-tripping antidote to Belfast’s urban core,” said Lonely Planet.

The chapter entry features a description of a journey along the route from Belfast to the north coast and back again.

It alludes to the huge tourism boon of Game of Thrones, with visitors from all over the world trekking to the route to see various locations for the TV smash hit.

Epic Drives of the World also features wilder driving routes from across the world such as a trip across the salt flats of Bolivia. Each entry includes a first-hand account of exploring the route with advice for planning a short or long driving adventure.

The Lonely Planet tome also has 200 more trip ideas, from coastal roads and desert drives to wine trails and cultural cruises.

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