With its spectacular coastlines and lush, green landscapes, Ireland has an abundance of breathtaking places to take in on a good old-fashioned road trip.
In our three-part series, we give you a taste of some of the best places to visit on a road trip!
This week, we explore the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland.
Causeway Coastal Route
If you haven’t yet explored the Causeway Coastal Route, then you are missing out on a beautiful drive! This part of the country is getting plenty of attention lately due to the filming of HBO series Game of Thrones on location in Cairncastle and Glenariff in Antrim.
The Causeway Coastal Route is a route along the coast of Northern Ireland between Belfast and Derry and features everything from seaside villages to scenic glens and charming castles.
Discover Northern Ireland recommends that you plan five days to take in all the sights during this 314km trip, but you could always opt for some of the shorter, scenic drives along the way.
Here’s our top destinations along this costal drive:
Poised on the north shore of Belfast Lough, Carrickfergus is a large town in Antrim and an ideal starting point for a road trip along the Causeway Coast. Carrickfergus is just 18km from Belfast and is known as one of the oldest settlements in Northern Ireland.
Places to visit include Carrickfergus Castle, which was built by the Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy in 1177. Carrickfergus Museum is also worth visiting for its large collection of local artifacts. The 800-year-old St Nicholas’ Church, meanwhile, is famed for its stained glass windows.
The Glens of Antrim
Glenariff, one of the Glens of Antrim
A must-see along the route, the Glens of Antrim feature vibrant and lush landscape of rugged shoreline, highlands, steep cliffs, pretty villages, waterfalls and glacial valleys.
There are 9 glens in all, including Glenariff. Often described as ‘Queen of the Glens’, Glenariff meets the sea at the village of Waterfoot. Glenariff Forest Park is also nearby and is worth a visit to explore its forest trails and waterfalls.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
For those who like some adventure, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is an invigorating experience that’s worth trying out while exploring the Causeway Coastal Route. It’s a great stop-off point to stretch your legs and take a break from driving.
The rope bridge was built by fishermen in 1755 and is suspended almost 110ft above sea level, connecting the mainland with Carrick Island. Enjoy the stunning views of Scotland and the Causeway Coast when you reach the island!
Other nearby attractions include the Giant’s Causeway and the picturesque town of Ballycastle.
Manannán Mac Lir statue, which overlooks Magilligan Point
A peninsula at the Western tip of the Causeway Coast in Co. Derry, Magilligan is located at the mouth of Lough Foyle. Attractions include the Martello Tower, which was built during the Napoleonic Wars.
Magillian’s sandy beach is also famous for its sand dunes: it’s the perfect spot for a picnic.
Derry provides the perfect start or end point for your road trip around the Causeway Costal Route. Worthwhile attractions within the walled city include the recently restored neo-gothic Guildhall and the new Peace Bridge.