Spending 2 days driving the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland is one of the most incredible road trips we have ever taken! This place is filled with so much natural beautiful and history that we found it hard to fit everything into only two days … but we did a pretty good job!
If you are planning on heading out to explore Northern Ireland here are 7 highlights you can not miss when driving the Causeway Coastal Route.
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What is the Causeway Coastal Route?
The Causeway Coastal Routes is hands down one of the best drives in all of Europe.
The drive starts in Belfast and ends in Londonderry, with each highlight marked along the coast. With the distance only being 190km in length, you can spend more time exploring and less time actually driving.
To experience this route without needing to rush we recommend giving yourself 3 to 5 days, however it is possible to complete it in as little as a day if that is all the time you have.
A visit to Northern Ireland isn’t complete with checking out it’s capital and largest city. During our time here we had a lovely stay at the Europa Hotel (which we highly recommend) and went for a stroll along the streets, listening to live music in the nearby pubs and simply enjoying the city vibes.
One of the most famous ships in the world, the Titanic, was actually built here in north Belfast and you can visit the shipyard, which has now been turned into the Titanic Belfast Museum. It will cost you £18.50 to enter, and is made up of 9 interactive galleries going through the life of the Titanic, from its creation to its final hours.
2. Kinbane Castle
Northern Ireland is covered in stunning castles ready to be explored, but our favourite has got to be Kinbane Castle. The car park is inaccessible to coaches, which means you are likely to be able to enjoy this castle all to yourself, or with only a few other fellow travellers.
From the carpark you follow a track that will take you down to the base of a limestone headland where the castle sits atop of. You will also have incredible views of the basalt cliffs from either side, and there is a sea cave passing through the center of the headland. This is a very unique spot to get some beautiful shots of an old, weather-worn castle.
Location: 81 Whitepark Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6LP, UK
3. Carrick-a-Rede Bridge
A visit to Northern Ireland is complete with crossing the famous Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. This rope bridge is suspended almost 30 m above sea level connecting Carrick-a-Rede island to the mainland. First erected in 1755 by salmon fishermen, today it is a one-of-a-kind rope bridge that not everyone dares to cross!
It will cost you £7.00 to cross the bridge and make sure you come on a calm day, as the bridge closes if it gets too windy.
Location: 119a Whitepark Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6LS, UK
4. Giant’s Causeway
One of the most famous icons of Northern Ireland, and its only UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the Giant’s Causeway. These unique, polygonal-shaped natural features were created by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago – however, according to legend it was carved out by a mighty giant who was fighting with the giant of Scotland.
The best time to visit is sunrise or sunset, when the lighting is at it’s best and the crowds aren’t so big.
Price: £8.50 (This is the price to park your car and have access to the visitors center. If you don’t have a car to park, and want to enter for free you can use the archway on the right side of the visitors center – but just a warning, if you do park your car there will be someone checking for your ticket when you exit.)
5. Dunluce Castle
Located on the sheer cliffs of Portrush, Dunluce Castle is one of the finest castles found along the coast. Built between the 1400s and 1600s, Dunluce offers a unique insight into what life was like in Ireland ‘back in the day’.
It will cost you £5.50 to enter, open daily after 10am.
Location: 87 Dunluce Rd, Bushmills BT57 8UY, UK
6. The Dark Hedges
It is pretty easy to find fairytale spots wherever you go here in Northern Ireland. This famous avenue of ancient beech trees, known as the Dark Hedges, were planted by the Stuart family back in the 18th century. I wonder if they knew that these seedlings would turn into one of the most photographed spots in all of Northern Ireland!
We recommend visiting this one bright & early as it becomes very crowded during the day. We captured these shots at 7am and had the entire place to ourselves.
Location: Bregagh Rd, Stranocum, Ballymoney BT53 8PX, UK
Nicknamed “Dubrovnik of the north”, Derry is an old walled city and the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. You can easily explore Derry in a day, and we recommend going on a city wall tour for only £4, where you can learn about the cities troubled past.