Northern Ireland’s Causeways, Coasts, & Glens

A haven for hikers, golfers, and explorers, Northern Ireland has long been renowned for its natural beauty and variety of things to do and see. Picture stunning beaches, dramatic coastlines, and towering glens that give way to soft valleys. For such a small country, there are so many places to explore and experience. If you’re looking to take a road trip of a lifetime, consider bringing the car across the Irish Sea to explore the amazing Causeways, Coasts, & Glens of Northern Ireland.

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Causeway Coastal Route - The Trip of a Lifetime

Rated among the Top Five Road Trips on Earth, the Causeway Coastal Route takes travellers along the stunning north coast of Northern Ireland and offers a wealth of natural and manmade wonders. The 154 mile route stretches from Belfast to Londonderry/Derry and takes on some of Ireland’s most incredible sites.

Belfast to Cushendun

CushendunAfter spending some time getting to know Belfast and exploring the museums, shops, and food, head northeast toward Cushendun to spend your first night. Along the way, stop off at The Gobbins cliff walk for a bit of an adventure. The Gobbins pathway has clung to the enormous basalt cliff for over a century, offering excitement and adrenaline rushes to all visitors. You’ll get to stroll along the tubular bridge 10 metres above the sea and marvel at the spectacular forces of nature at play.

With the thrill for the day out of the way, get back in the car and travel another 40 minutes toward Glenarm Castle, a storybook setting in the heart of the Northern Ireland glens. Since the 1600s, Glenarm Castle has been home to the same family who have continued to decorate it with as much splendour as possible. Inside, you’ll get to see portraits, furniture, grand ballrooms, and plenty of amazing artefacts daring back to the 17th century. Have a stroll through the gardens and then enjoy a light lunch in the tea rooms to recharge!

Another 30 minutes in the car and you’ll arrive in Cushendun, where you can stop for the night. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you might recognise Cushendun Caves as the site of the famous “shadow baby” scene. It’s one of the many Game of Thrones sites dotted along the Causeway Coastal Route, and even if you’re not a fan, it’s well worth a visit for its incredible vistas. On a clear day, you might even see Scotland across the sea!

Carrick-a-Rede to Dunluce Castle

Dunluce CastleThis stretch of the Causeway Coastal Route tackles some of the bigger sites, including the Giant’s Causeway and famous rope bridge! For around 350 years, a tiny, narrow rope bridge has linked Carrick Island to the mainland and in the last century has offered passage for those looking to test their courage. Make sure to book tickets in advance, as this is a popular stop for road-trippers and visiting adventurers!

After you’ve survived the harrowing rope bridge, you can head over to the Giant’s Causeway, a site that really has to be seen to be believed. The column-studded coastline truly looks like the handiwork of ancient giants, although scientists believe this geological phenomenon was formed by volcanic activity over 60 million years ago. Whichever story you decide you like best, you can’t miss your chance to see this world-famous place that has attracted visitors from all over the world.

Hit the Old Bushmills Distillery, Ireland’s oldest working distillery, before you make your stop at the ruins of Dunluce Castle. These ancient stone ruins sit perched atop a 30 metre cliff over the sea and have hosted tales of smugglers, lovers, banshees, and just about everything the imagination can conjure up. The castle crumbled into the sea in the 1600s and have been ruins ever since, but the site offers so much mystery and lore that it still remains a definite “to do” while on your Northern Ireland road trip.

Portstewart and Portrush to Derry/Londonderry

PortstewartYour last stretch along the Causeway Coastal Route will be peaceful and calm, starting in the calm seaside villages of Portstewart and Portrush. Both are home to world famous golf courses, and while the golfers are occupied, the non-golfers will have just as much fun exploring the beaches and delicious restaurants that are plentiful in both spots.

If you have time, take a stroll along Downhill Demesne and marvel at the stunning Missenden temple right on the beach. The temple was built as a replica of the Temple of Vesta in Italy and offers a wonderful spot to have a picnic at sunset.

Finally, drive into the vibrant walled city of Derry/Londonderry. There’s the ideal mix of storied history and cultural excitement that will keep everyone entertained for as long as you need. Meander through the craft village, walk the Peace Bridge along the River Foyle, and then enjoy the nightlife in the collection of pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment venues. It’s the perfect way to end your Causeway Coastal Route road trip.