Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland - 3 Day Itinerary
Unplug from day-to-day modern day stresses, get back in touch with nature and immerse yourself in the incredible sights and experiences of Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route.
Starting in the capital of Northern Ireland, the birthplace of the Titanic, visit locations made famous by the super successful Emmy award-winning Game of Thrones TV series, walk wild stretches of dramatic cliffs and find hidden gems with tiny beaches that could pass as Caribbean coves, finishing with the awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giants Causeway.
In just three days this route will capture your imagination with its endless Irish charm and character along one of our favourite road trips.
Day 1: Belfast to Carnfunnock (approx 25 miles)
Start your journey in the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland and a trip to the Titanic Belfast Visitor Centre, exploring the Titanic story in a fresh and insightful way on the very spot it was built. With 9 interactive galleries, the exhibition is captivating and was named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards in 2016.
Just to the south of Belfast is Linen Mill Studio which was used to film the HBO blockbuster series Game of Thrones and will soon be opening its doors to studio tours. The 10,000-square-metre film studio will be home to iconic sets from the series including the Starks; Winterfell Castle, The Greyjoys Pyke and the Tully’s Riverrun for fans to explore.
A 30 minute drive from the city is Carrickfergus Castle which sits on a beautiful area on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. For 800 years it has been an iconic monument on the northern shore line and remains one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland.
Our last recommended stop today is the a unique walk around The Gobbins, this cliff top path is a stunning mix of narrow pathways, walkways and bridges which was once said to have “no parallel in Europe as a marine cliff walk “ and was original opened in 1902, immediately captivating visitors from the start. It is a must see on your road trip.
Day 2: Carnfunnock to BallyCastle (approx 38 miles)
There are so many places to see along the way today, you could easily take two days to do it all. Our first stop of the day is Ballygally Castle, a 17th Century Castle overlooking Ballygally Bay with views stretching out across the Irish Sea.
Next on our list is a short but strenuous 1 hr hike on the Slemish Mountain Loop Walk to the iconic peak of Slemish Mountain, an extinct volcano and the legendary first known Irish home of Saint Patrick who was kept as a slace for 6 years at the age of 15 herding livestock for the local chieftain.
Take a detour to explore Torr Head and Altagore cashel which dates back to the 6th century with spectacular views over the Mull of Kintyre.
Take the afternoon explore Rathlin island, a short 6 mile ferry ride across the Sea of Moyle. The island itself is 6 miles long and one mile wide with a population of just 140 people. The visitor centre is a short walk from the harbour where you can learn about the islands history and present day life. Hire a bike or set out on foot or bus to discover the island and you may even see the resident seals basking or playing in the sun or from April to July you may be able to see a puffin along the cliffs.
Day 3: Ballycastle to Derry-Londonderry (approx. 48 miles)
Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not the Dark Hedges is a must-see unique and stunning avenue of beech trees planted in the 18th century to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to the Georgian mansion. They are one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and was the Kingsroad in Season 2 of GOT.
Carry along the coast and you’ll reach the picturesque village of Ballintoy, a painters paradise and leads to one of Europes great cliff tops and wild beach walks. At the end of a small steep road is another location for GOT, a small fishing harbour which was also the exterior Iron Islands shots in Game of Thrones and is an ideal stop to get a true picture of traditional Irish rural life.
One of the best known highlights of the Causeway Coastal Route is jewel in the crown of the coast of Antrim and one of the worlds best UNESCO sites, the Giants Causeway. Described by the botanist David Bellamy as “one of my favourite places” the World Heritage site is ranked alongside Mt Everest and the Giant Redwoods of California for its importance to humankind. It’s unique rock formations were formed nearly 60 million years ago through the rapid cooling of lava from an underwater volcano. To walk the ridges is to feel as though you’ve gone back in time.
Located in the beautiful Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry, the Mussenden Temple perches dramatically on a 120ft cliff top offering stunning views and subsequently one of the most photographed scenes in Ireland. Original built as a library in 1785 and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.
Our final stop before you hit the town of Derry Londonderry in Binevenagh Mountain, a nature reserve formed 60 million years ago by molten lava. Walk along the forest road and up a steep section that leads to the summit of Binevenaugh with panoramic views as far as Scotland and a clear day and an artifiicial lake on the moutaintop which is stocked with rainbow trout.