Causeway Coastal Route

Discover the enchanting beauty of the Causeway Coastal Route, a journey like no other.

Travel Guide to Causeway Coastal Route

Discover the enchanting beauty of the Causeway Coastal Route, a journey like no other. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and awe-inspiring attractions that await you along this iconic route.

Marvel at the geological wonder of the Giants Causeway, where mythical stories come to life in the hexagonal rock formations. Explore the majestic ruins of Dunluce Castle, perched dramatically on the edge of a cliff. 

Challenge your courage by crossing the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge, suspended high above the crashing waves. Indulge in the tranquility of Glenariff waterfall, a hidden gem nestled amidst lush greenery. Take in the scenic vistas along the Antrim Coast road as you wind your way through picturesque coastal towns.

Don’t forget to visit the historic Old Bushmills distillery, where the finest Irish whiskey has been crafted for centuries. Embark on an unforgettable journey along the Causeway Coastal Route and let its captivating beauty leave you spellbound.

Why Choose the Causeway Coastal Route?

The Causeway Coastal Route offers a breathtaking journey along the stunning coastline of Northern Ireland. With its dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and picturesque villages, it is a destination that captivates travellers from all over the world. 

The route allows visitors to explore iconic attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its unique rock formations. Additionally, the route offers access to the enchanting Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, where visitors can experience an exhilarating walk above the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The Causeway Coastal Route also boasts charming towns like Portrush and Ballycastle, providing opportunities for cultural immersion and delicious local cuisine. Ultimately, choosing the Causeway Coastal Route guarantees an unforgettable and awe-inspiring journey through one of the most beautiful regions of Northern Ireland.

How to Travel the Causeway Coastal Route

When planning your exploration of Northern Ireland’s Coastal Causeway Route, we highly recommend considering a self-driving experience across various vehicles, such as a car, motorcycle, campervan, or motorhome. Through choosing this method, you will have the opportunity to halt at any desired location, investigate new experiences, observe breathtaking scenery, and even modify your itinerary at a moment’s notice. We believe self-driving offers the utmost flexibility and convenience for touring the area, guaranteeing a seamless journey as you discover the wonders of Northern Ireland’s Coastal Causeway Route.

Causeway Coastal Route

Top things to see & do on the Causeway Coastal Route

Scenic, dramatic, and inspiring, the Causeway Coastal Route is a constant feature of global top tens and top fives. Around every corner, thrills, adventure, and peaceful retreats await travelers along this spectacular winding route. 

Castles and citadels at Carrickfergus, The Gobbins Cliff Path, Glenariff’s glorious beauty, Rathlin Island’s remote charm, the Instagram-worthy Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the whiskey haven of Bushmills, and the UNESCO-protected Giant’s Causeway offer a multitude of ways to experience the variety along the coastal route.

Go for The Gobbins Cliff Path

The Gobbins Cliff Path

The Gobbins Cliff Path is a stunning attraction along the Causeway Coastal Route that offers a captivating experience for visitors. With its scenic views, dramatic cliffs, and inspiring natural beauty, it has become a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. 

This coastal path provides a thrilling adventure as visitors traverse the rugged terrain, suspended walkways, and tunnels carved into the cliffs. Along the way, the breathtaking vistas of the Irish Sea and the dramatic rock formations create a sense of awe and wonder. 

The Gobbins Cliff Path is a must-visit for those seeking a unique and exhilarating experience amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Causeway Coastal Route.

Gobbins Cliff Path is a great introduction to the drama of the oceans and seas you are about to experience along the Causeway Coastal Route. This two-and-half-hour fully guided walking tour through suspension bridges, tunnels and pathways offers visitors a unique cliff-walking experience you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

Glenariff Forest Park

Glenariff Forest Park, also known as the Queen of the Glens, is one of the nine Antrim Glens in Northern Ireland. Covering over 1,000 hectares, the park boasts lush planted woodland, serene lakes, and ample outdoor recreation spaces. It also encompasses conservation areas, preserving the natural beauty of the region. 

Glenariff Forest Park is open to the public and offers a range of activities, including walking, horse riding, and touring, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The park provides picnic and barbeque areas for visitors to relax and enjoy a meal, along with a charming tea house for those seeking a delightful refreshment.

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Remote beauty at Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island, situated just off the coast and accessible via a regular ferry service from Ballycastle, offers remote beauty and captivating sights. The island’s historic significance as the former refuge of Scotland’s Robert the Bruce adds to its allure. 

Today, Rathlin Island is a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife, including wild birds, seals, and puffins, making it a must-visit destination for bird watchers. With the ferry journey spanning just six miles across the Sea of Moyle, visitors have the opportunity to explore this six-mile-long and one-mile-wide island. 

Whether you prefer leisurely walks along the shore to Mill Bay, where you may spot resident seals, or enjoy the island’s various walking trails, Rathlin Island offers a serene escape. Additionally, cycling and bus trips provide alternative ways to experience the island’s beauty.

Puffin season

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Experience the wonder of puffin season! From April to July, these adorable seabirds and many others flock to the shores, offering a true spectacle of nature’s beauty. The Seabird Centre, now newly refurbished, opens its doors to the public on May 29th. Step inside and immerse yourself in a world of stunning marine wildlife. 

And if that’s not enough, you can also explore a real working lighthouse, now part of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland tour. This is no ordinary visit – it’s a journey through time, allowing you to discover Ireland’s maritime history and the stunning seabirds that call it home. 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be spellbound by nature’s wonders – come and visit the Seabird Centre today!

Address: Ballycastle Ferry Terminal, 18 Bayview Road, Rathlin Island, County Antrim, BT54 6BT

Visit the Giant’s Causeway

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Giant’s Causeway is a world-renowned attraction in Northern Ireland, known for its awe-inspiring landscape and distinctive stone formations. 

This natural wonder was formed over 60 million years ago during a volcanic eruption, as molten lava rapidly cooled upon contact with water. The result is a mesmerizing sight of hexagonal basalt columns, creating a unique and captivating geological formation. Visitors to Giant’s Causeway are treated to a truly remarkable experience, surrounded by the beauty and grandeur of this ancient phenomenon.

Discover the inspiring wonder of the Giant’s Causeway and journey through its history at the state-of-the-art Visitor Centre. Join a dedicated National Trust guide on an award-winning tour and unravel the myths and legends of this incredible landscape. 

Immerse yourself in the site’s beauty and heritage with the help of our easy-to-use audio guide, available in multiple languages. This is a journey of exploration and discovery that will leave you truly inspired.

To make the most of your experience, we encourage all visitors to pre-book their Visitor Experience tickets online. Start planning your inspiring adventure today, and prepare to unlock the mystery of this magnificent wonder!

Pre-book Visitor Experience tickets online Click Here

Address: 44 Causeway Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8SU

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Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a must-visit National Trust site that will exhilarate you. As you venture across this famous bridge, suspended over a deep chasm, you’ll be filled with a desire to soar through the air like a bird. 

Originally constructed by salmon fishermen, the bridge offers a thrilling experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The area surrounding the bridge boasts unique geology, diverse flora, and captivating fauna, providing a feast for the senses. 

With so much natural beauty to behold, it’s best to keep your gaze focused on the enchanting surroundings rather than looking down.

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Popular Tours From Belfast

Giant Causeway Tour

Belfast Shore Excursion

Old Bushmills Distillery

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In 1608, amidst the humble village of Bushmills, a license was granted to the people of this rugged Northern Irish coast – a license to distill whiskey. From this small beginning, a legend emerged that would capture the hearts of whiskey drinkers around the world. Today, the Bushmills distillery stands as a beacon of tradition and excellence – the oldest licensed whiskey distillery on the planet.

This exceptional distillery uses only the finest Irish barley and water from their own unique stream, never failing to impress with rich aromas and full-bodied flavors that tantalize the senses. The people of Bushmills believe that their distillery has stood the test of time because it is good, not the other way around. 

So, why not experience the magic of whiskey-making firsthand, explore the terrain, and meet the master distillers who have safeguarded centuries of knowledge. It is an unforgettable journey, and one that will leave you inspired by the legacy of centuries of passion and craft.

Facilities

Attraction Facilities

  • Gift Shop
  • Guided Tours Available
  • Open Monday to Sunday

Catering

  • Tea room/Cafe on site

Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities

Establishment Features

 
  • Accept coach parties
  • Toilets

Payment Methods

  • All major credit/debit cards accepted
  • Euros accepted

Parking & Transport

  • On-site parking
Guide Prices

Adult (over 18) £15
Senior Citizen (over 60) £8.50
Student (over 18) £8.50
*Children £6

*Children under 8 years of age are not permitted to join the guided tour.
Tickets can be purchased online

Group rates are available for 15 or more people

The tour lasts from around 1hr, has more than 150 steps and covers 1km in distance. It may not be suitable for people with restricted mobility for safety reasons.

Dunluce Castle

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The iconic ruin of Dunluce Castle is a must-see for visitors

The iconic ruin of Dunluce Castle bears witness to a long and tumultuous history. First built on the dramatic coastal cliffs in County Antrim by the MacQuillan family around 1500, the earliest written record of the castle was in 1513. 

It was seized by the ambitious MacDonnell clan in the 1550s, who set about stamping their mark on the castle under the leadership of the famous warrior chieftain Sorely Boy MacDonnell during an era of violence, intrigue and rebellion.

Dunluce Castle, an iconic ruin, stands proudly on rocky cliffs overlooking the North Atlantic. This 15th-century fortress captivates visitors with its rich history and breathtaking setting. Once a grand structure, Dunluce Castle suffered a partial collapse into the sea during a tempestuous night in 1639, leading to its abandonment. 

The evocative remnants of this once-majestic stronghold have served as a source of inspiration for notable figures such as Winston Churchill and renowned writer CS Lewis. Additionally, Dunluce Castle’s appearance in the popular television series Game of Thrones has further entrenched its status as a must-see destination.

Opening Hours: Please check before visiting as public access may be restricted.   

Regular opening hours are February to November: Daily 9.30 am to 5 pm. December/January: Daily 9.30 am to 4 pm. 
Note: Last admission 30 minutes before closing. Admission charges apply.

Nearby Magheracross Viewing Point and picnic area is an excellent spot to stop and take in the stunning, coastal scenery, often missed when travelling by car along the coast road.

Driving the causeway coastal route

Causeway coastal route highlights – causeway coastal route from belfast

Antrim Coast Road: There you will begin our journey to the north coast travelling through the rolling farmland of County Antrim.

Carnlough Village: first stop of the day takes you into the amazing, picturesque fishing village of Carnlough for a quick comfort break.

Causeway Coastline Views: We travel along the Causeway Coastal route between Ballycastle and Dunluce to experience one of the most dramatic drives in the world, now rated as one of the world’s top 5 great road journeys.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge: One of the most visited places in Northern Ireland amazing Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge where you can cross a bridge that spans a chasm over 75ft in height. (Please note that the Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge may sometimes be closed due to weather conditions or repairs.

There will be a 1-mile walk from the car park to the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge if you have mobility issues, have small children, or use a stroller that can’t handle unpaved pathways. (If you wish to cross the bridge you will need to pre-book your ticket) if you do not wish to cross, we can stop at the viewing point for photos.

White Park Bay: A Beautiful scenic beach at the very tip of Ireland. Stop there and take some beautiful photos and enjoy the views.

Giants Causeway: Commonly called ‘the 8th wonder of the world, is the only World Heritage site in Ireland. During your stop here you can spend time climbing over the ancient stones, snapping photos, and reflecting on the myths and legends of this unique area. You will only need to pre-book tickets if you wish to go through the visitor’s Centre, if not your guide will show you the free entrance.

Lunch Stop: We suggest the Giants Causeway restaurant to enjoy a drink, a light bite, or a hearty meal. With a varied menu of locally sourced produce, you can tuck into the season’s flavors while soaking up the views. We personally recommend the fish and chips. Please keep in mind that lunch is not included.

Old Bushmills Whiskey Distillery: Bushmills Whiskey Distillery has been creating beautiful ‘water of life ‘since 1608 making this the oldest working distillery in Ireland. If you wish to take a tour at the Bushmills Distillery i would suggest pre-book your ticket.

Dunluce Castle: Continue a wonderful day with a photo stop at Dunluce Castle. Arrive at one of the most dramatic castle ruins in the world. Prepare to be amazed at how this old castle hangs over the edge of the cliffs.

The Dark Hedges: One of the most popular natural phenomena in Northern Ireland, the Dark Hedges were used as a set for the hit TV series Game of Thrones. It was the famous King’s Road in Season 2. The hedges were planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century.

Travelling along Northern Ireland’s breathtaking Causeway Coastal Route without a car can be an unforgettable experience! Thanks to the country’s efficient bus and train network, you can easily explore the stunning sights and sounds of this picturesque region. 

Although it may not be possible to traverse the entire coastal road route via public transport, with a little bit of forward planning, you can easily hop between different towns and attractions along the way. From the rugged, windswept coastline to charming seaside villages and bustling cities, there’s a wealth of stunning scenery and captivating culture just waiting to be discovered. 

So why not embark on an exciting adventure along the Causeway Coastal Route today, and uncover the hidden gems of Northern Ireland from a whole new perspective!

The Goldline Coach Service 221 provides direct transportation to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Center from Belfast’s Europa Buscentre. Moreover, during the months of July and August, the Ulsterbus 252 is also available from the same station, enabling passengers to journey north along the stunning Antrim Coast and Glens. 

Furthermore, Ulsterbus has developed an interactive map tool that is specifically designed to assist passengers in discovering bus routes, categorized by region and operator, that traverse the Causeway Coastal road. The map interface is intuitive and user-friendly, making it simple to identify bus routes that align with specific preferences or logistical requirements.

To fully traverse the extensive route spanning 313 kilometers or 195 miles, it is recommended to allocate 3-5 days of exploration in order to thoroughly appreciate the overall experience. Nevertheless, a considerable portion of the route may be covered within the duration of 1-2 days.

In order to travel to Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom, you may utilize your personal vehicle, motorcycle, or recreational vehicle via ferry transport. While direct ferry transportation to Northern Ireland from mainland Europe is unavailable, viable options include sailing to Dublin, Rosslare, or Cork from France and continuing your journey via automobile. Utilize Direct Ferries to properly compare and book optimal crossings to Northern Ireland, including routes from Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast, Cairnryan to Belfast, or Cairnryan to Larne.

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