Why we love the Causeway Coast
A land of mighty scenery, epic stories and glorious sea views, this wild corner of Northern Ireland will steal your heart. The Causeway Coast and Glens region is rich in natural wow-factor, with the strange hexagonal rocks of Giant’s Causeway, the fossil-strewn beach of White Park Bay, and the gnarled island of Carrick-a-Rede – whose wind-whipped rope bridge is thrilling to cross.
But the 130-mile (212km) Causeway Coastal Route, regularly voted among the world’s top road trips, extends even further along the shore: to the cities of Belfast and Derry-Londonderry, the medieval Carrickfergus Castle, and the extraordinary Gobbins cliff walk. Every day brings new adventures, whether you’re sipping Irish whiskey in an ancient distillery or exploring hidden sea caves by kayak.
So what are you waiting for? Here’s how to plan the perfect Causeway Coast trip.
Tread in giant footsteps
Was it created by an underwater volcano, or a giant named Finn McCool? Whatever you believe, the Unesco-listed Giant’s Causeway is a remarkable spot, with over 40,000 stone hexagons rising up from the sea. You can sit on the natural throne of the ‘Wishing Chair’, follow the National Trust’s scenic walking trails, and hear its myths and legends at the visitor centre.
Follow an epic trail
Are you a hiker, a cyclist – or both? The entire region is criss-crossed with routes, from waterfall walks through Glenariff Forest Park to leg-pumping pedals through the Glens of Antrim. For exhilarating MTB descents head to Ballycastle Forest, while Rathlin Island’s trails lead to wild puffin colonies. For a two-day ramble, follow the 32-mile (52km) Causeway Coast Way.
Step into the unknown
Make a splash! Paddleboarding, surfing, dolphin watching, sailing… it’s all possible on the Causeway Coast. Wild swimmers, you’ll love the clear waters of Ballygally Beach, or why not try freediving, scuba and snorkelling around the Skerries Islands? On dry land, the cliffs attract rock climbers and abseilers alike, while Cloud Surfer Ireland offers tandem paragliding flights.
Take the high road
If you love road trips, you’ve come to the right place. The Causeway Coastal Route offers 130 miles (212km) of bracing Atlantic views, beautiful beaches and lively harbour towns. It’s a drive to be savoured, with countless places to stretch your legs along the way – such as Carnfunnock Country Park, Dunluce Castle, and the sea-spritzed walkways of The Gobbins cliff path.
Learn a new skill
Feeling crafty? From painting workshops to pottery classes, the Causeway Coast is full of ways to get creative, plus studios and galleries showcasing its local talents. Maybe you’ll try a basket-weaving class, a jewellery-making workshop, or a photography tour of the beaches and cliffs? Or, polish your sporting skills on the golf course: there are almost 20 clubs to choose from.
Savour fresh flavours
You’ll never go hungry on the Causeway Coast. Tuck into foraging trips, gourmet festivals, and an abundance of pubs, bistros and markets – while themed tours put local whiskey, seafood and sweet treats in the spotlight. Fish for your breakfast on a Catch and Sea trip with Causeway Coast Foodie Tours, or learn the art of truffle-making at Castlerock’s Chocolate Manor.
Things to do on the Causeway Coast
Featured things to do
Love local art? The Causeway Coast’s painters, sculptors, ceramicists and weavers open their studios for the annual Craft Trail in March. It’s the perfect time to buy a one-off souvenir.Learn more about the Craft Trail
Whether for sea kayaking trips or coasteering adventures, the water is irresistible in summer. Look out for dolphins too: now is the best time to see playful pods in the wild.Learn more about kayaking on the Causeway Coast
Raise a glass
Toast your adventure on a ‘grain-to-glass’ whiskey tour of Bushmills – the world’s oldest distillery. You’ll venture behind the scenes to sip its legendary tipples, all 400 years in-the-making.Learn more about Bushmills
Winter is coming! In Game of Thrones, Dunluce Castle doubles as Pyke Castle of House Greyjoy, while the Dark Hedges is the Kingsroad. Touring them is especially magical at this time of year.Learn more about Game of Thrones tours
Places to stay on the Causeway Coast
For the utmost freedom, hire a campervan: you can tour the coast to your heart’s content, and take your pick from its excellent campsites.
With its long sandy beach, central location and ferry to Rathlin Island, Ballycastle is a great base – and has a wide choice of hotels and B&Bs.
Tight on time? Belfast and Derry-Londonderry are just an hour’s drive from the Giant’s Causeway, so why not combine the coast with a city break?
Getting to the Causeway Coast
The Causeway Coast is a road tripper’s dream, where every twist and turn reveals new breathtaking viewpoints or geological wonders. It also has plentiful EV charging points, which is great news for electric car drivers. As for public transport, the entire region is well-served by bus, while the Giants Causeway and Bushmills Railway spans the two-mile route between these popular sights.
Don’t fancy driving? Hop on a Translink/Ulsterbus service for easy access to the main sights, including the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Bushmills Distillery.
Catch the train from Derry-Londonderry to Coleraine or Portrush: it runs right along Benone beach, with views of nature-rich dunes and towering sea cliffs.
Cycling the Causeway Coast reveals its elemental beauty: the refreshing sea breeze, the rainbow of wildflowers, and plenty of ice creams and picnics.
Want to know more?
Visit the Causeway Coast’s official website for more trip-planning ideas and insider advice.