We know very few people who don’t like road trips, especially when they come bundled with stunning coastal views, castles, cute countryside pubs and UNESCO world heritage landscape. Northern Ireland is one such destination and a road trip is what you need to explore this tiny country to it’s fullest. The Drive to Giants Causeway and Beyond is our itinerary for a road trip in Northern Ireland. So, grab a cuppa or a glass of wine and read along. Also keep an eye on our well researched tips that would make your travel smooth.
The Drive to Giants Causeway and Beyond
Planning your trip
If you are based out of Ireland, Northern Ireland is a perfect destination for a weekend road trip. It’s convenient and just a couple of hours drive. In most probability that won’t be the case! We suggest starting and ending your trip from Belfast as the city has an international airport. You can rent a car right from the airport and hit the road.
We highly recommend doing the causeway coastal route! The island of Ireland has some of the most incredible coastal spots we have had the pleasure of experiencing and trust us, this route will leave you stunned. This article on Causeway Coastal Route will help you plan your trip. They have provided details regarding every attraction along the way, which you can choose to follow or skip. We could only do part of the causeway coastal route, due to bad weather. Both times we had to return home almost half a day early due to storm / rain.
Attractions that left us awestruck
Admiring the work of a giant at Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Causeway has to be our top experience in Northern Ireland. The perfectly shaped polygonal rocks (formed by volcanic activity over 60 million years) fit in like a jigsaw puzzle as if someone has placed them carefully. There are some places that can’t be experienced by photographs or articles but only by travelling. Giant’s Causeway is one such location which looks thousand times more breathtaking in person.
More so, the experience of standing on top of these rock columns and admiring the ocean gives you an adrenaline rush like never before. Of course be careful and aware of rough waves and make an informed decision before climbing or stepping on rocks near the water.
You can either walk from the visitor center or take the bus for £1 per person till the rocks. The path leading to the Giant’s Causeway is amazing as well and we recommend walking, if your health allows.
Quick tip: Giant’s Causeway is free of cost for everyone however you need to pay for parking and using the visitor center. The parking cost is steep (£10 per person). Our tip world be to park at the Causeway Hotel. The parking is free if you buy something at the hotel, like a cup of coffee!
Read Also: Awesome tips to visit Ireland
Swinging on a rope bridge at Carrick-a-rede
As we drove towards carrick-a-rede, we were absolutely stunned by the coastal views and the beautiful set-up that was in front of us. What made us happier was a beautiful sunny day with warm temperatures. We crossed the bridge, clicked a lot of pictures, picnicked on fruits.
Parking and exploring the area is absolutely free but you have to pay £7 per person if you want to cross the bridge. The view from that tiny island is absolutely gorgeous. Even though the path to the top was closed due to slippery path, we really enjoyed admiring the landscape, watching people and kids cross the bridge and the birds flying all around. Such happy memories.
Quick tip: Explore the area around carrick-a-rede bridge and walk down to the lower parking area. You will find yourself in the middle of the sets of Game of Thrones!
Do you guys check our stories? If you do, you will know that one fine winter weekend, we decided to drive to Northern Ireland and explore some of the spots we had missed the last time around. Consider it our luck, but we were blessed with really awesome weather (on one of the days) with sunshine and (almost) t-shirt like temperatures.. It is also possible that I am used to Irish weather now and have developed more tolerance to cold. 😬 ✨ Did you know, Northern Ireland is a part of UK and we Indians need a UK visa to enter the country. It’s an open boarder but we prefer being safe. If you have a UK or Ireland tourist visa, you can visit both UK and Ireland on just one visa but since we are a resident of Republic of Ireland, we need to apply for a UK visa to travel to this country..🙄😐 ✨ #lilienthalberlin #everytimehasitsplace . . . . . . . . . . . . #northernireland #northernirelandweather #carrickarede #carrickarederopebridge #winter #beautifulweather #photooftheday #travelphotography #travelblogger #photography #life #happiness #travelhappiness #coastalroad #drive #weekendadventures #timeoutsociety #wanderlust #travel #ireland #ireland🍀 #tourismireland #ireland🇮🇪 #visitireland #topirelandphoto
Walking the Kings Road aka Dark Hedges
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Then this location is for you. It will take you right back to season 2 in which Arya Stark escapes the King’s Landing, disguised as a boy. The location feels a bit eerie at first, especially if you go there at dusk or dawn. The scene completely transforms as the day starts becoming brighter to something magical.
Quick tip: Go here early in the morning, around sunrise. By mid-day, the tourist buses start arriving and you will miss out on photo opportunities. Of course, there is no entry fee (yet) to this location. 🙂
Belfast and Titanic Museum
Belfast is a beautiful European city with a lot of cobble stoned alleyways. We usually enjoy exploring cities with food, try some local pubs and restaurants and do nothing in particular. However don’t miss out on the Titanic Museum. It’s an experience spread across six floors as the museum mirrors the height of Titanic.
If you are a Whiskey lover, this place is absolutely for you. Bushmills is a small town, about 3 miles from Giant’s Causeway, so it makes it easier to include this in your itinerary.
If you are visiting UK / Ireland for the first time ever, it is absolutely must to include a castle in your itinerary. The castle is located at a gorgeous location, atop a cliff on the north coast. Great photographic opportunities!
Read Also: Hiking the most famous cliffs in Ireland
The Drive to Giants Causeway and Beyond
Accommodation and food
Accommodation is quite reasonable in Northern Ireland. We highly recommend staying near either the Giants causeway or the dark hedges. This would help you in visiting the place early in the morning and thereby avoiding crowds. For local food, try visiting Portrush, a small town some 5 kms from Giants causeway area. They have many restaurants and pubs with inviting food and drinks.