If you love a good road trip, the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland will definitely exceed your expectations of a good road trip! Hugging the Atlantic coast from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry – or vice versa – there's no shortage of amazing ways to make your Causeway Coastal Route visit truly unforgettable. To help you get going on this stunning journey, start comparing hire cars at VroomVroomVroom to find the best car for your road trip.
The city of Belfast is a perfect starting point to start your scenic Causeway Coast adventure. Explore all the amazing attractions Belfast has to offer. Experience the shipyard and discover the true legend of Titanic in the city where it all started. Named as the Top Tourist Attraction in Europe at European Group Travel, Titanic Belfast can be found at the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock, only a short walk from Belfast's city centre.
Other remarkable attractions in Belfast include Titanic's Dock and Pump House, Victoria Square, Queen's Quarter, the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC), the Crumlin Road Gaol, Tour of the Wall Murals and Belfast Castle in Cavehill Country Park. Formed in 1177, the historic Norman-era Carrickfergus Castle, which is only a 19-minute drive from Belfast via A2, is another attraction well worth a visit.
If you have more time, make sure to experience The Gobbins and enjoy a dramatic coastal walk while enjoying the scenic views, bridges, waves and local flora and fauna. From Belfast, just take the A2 Causeway Coastal Route and continue straight on Shore Rd/A2. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Belfast Rd/A2 and turn left onto Larne Rd/A2. Turn right onto Slaughterford Rd/B150, turn left onto Islandmagee Rd/B150 and then turn right onto Middle Rd until you reach the The Gobbins (destination will be on the left). Please note that due to the popularity of the spectacular guided walk, advance booking is advised.
Day 2: Witness the amazing Glens of Antrim
Back on the A2, continue north toward the beautiful Cushendun. Along the way you will pass through the towns of Larne, Ballygalley, Glenarm, Carnlough and Waterfoot. Each town is also worth a visit anytime of the year.
As you pass through the scenic and glacier-gouged valleys known as the Glens of Antrim located between Glenarm and Cushendun, be sure to make a stop at Glenarm Castle. Known as the ancestral home of the Earls of Antrim, the lovely Walled Garden located in the grounds of the castle makes it well worth a visit.
Built in 1965 and recognised as one of the major Historical Societies in Ireland, the Glens of Antrim Historical Society is one of the most popular attractions in Cushendall. Don't miss sampling local food in Harry's - their raspberry cheesecake, fish and chips are perfect for recharging.
Day 3: Take a dip at Ballycastle Beach
From Cushendun, take the Torr Scenic Route as you make your way toward Ballycastle. The road is exceptionally breathtaking but drivers are advised to be more cautious when driving because the road is extremely narrow. The highlights of this drive are the beautiful views across the north Channel to Scotland, including the Mull of Kintyre.
Known for its marina, the lovely town of Ballycastle located on the sea of Moyle, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Irish Sea, offers a wealth of activities such as surfing, cycling, swimming, fishing, diving and trekking.
If you love going to the beach and seafront, there is Ballycastle Beach, which is situated 5 minutes north of the town center. The beach is a popular tourist destination and is a perfect spot to take a great walk during the day, and if you start at the marina, you can finish your trek with a view of the mysterious life size carved face at Pans Rock. Murlough Bay and Fair Head also offers stunning views of the remote hills along the coast.
Day 4 : Experience the Legends of the Giant's Causeway
After Ballycastle, connect with Whitepark Road and make your way toward the small village of Ballintoy. Discover the jaw-dropping Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which was built by salmon fishermen to reach the island. From Ballintoy, stay on Whitepark Road/A2 toward Portrush. About midway between Ballycastle and Portrush, take a right on Causeway Road if you want to check out the famous Giant's Causeway.
Noted as one of the main highlights of the Causeway Coastal Route, the Giant's Causeway is the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. It is also often called the 8th Wonder of the World. Boasting the most awe-inspiring scenery that is certainly an Instagrammer's heaven, Giant's Causeway is composed of over 40,000 basalt columns that are around 60 million years old. Visitors flock for the Middle Cause, also known as the Honeycomb. Head to this place in time to watch the sunset - it's absolutely magical. If you are looking for some fresh Strangford rope mussels, make a stop at the famous Fullerton Arms.
Make sure also to visit the epic ruins of Dunluce Castle, which is a popular "Game of Thrones" location, near the Giant's Causeway. Causeway Road reconnects with the A2 just to the south, so just continue driving until you reach the Portrush. This small town is also known for their amazing beaches, a world-class golf course, and a vibrant nightlife scene to pass the time.
Day 5: Linger around Londonderry's city walls
Your journey on the Causeway Coastal Route takes you from Portrush to Londonderry, more commonly known as Derry, passing some magnificent spots along the way. Continue to drive on the A2 and take the short distance to Portstewart, where you can enjoy surfing lessons, shopping, and a great walk along Portstewart Strand.
From The City Walls to museums, galleries and theatres, you'll not struggle to find interesting things to do when you arrive in Londonderry. Not to be missed are the Derry City Walls, Museum of Free Derry, Tower Museum, St Columb's Cathedral, Millenium Forum, The Guildhall, The Nerve Centre, Free Derry Corner and the Peace Bridge.
From Londonderry/Derry, you can either end your trip and return to Belfast, or you could continue on along the Wild Atlantic Way, and make your adventure an epic road trip.
Do you know that you can download this map directly to your phone? Press the box symbol located on the top-right corner of this map to open in your Google Maps app. Now you can easily access this map on your next road trip adventure from Belfast to Londonderry.
Travel time and distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes / 71.9 mi via A6