It would be a shame only to linger in Belfast when you’re in Northern Ireland as the rest of the country has so much to offer. If you only have one day to spare, I recommend you hire a car and explore the Northern coast of Northern Ireland. On this blog I shared all the highlights of beautiful sights that you can visit in Northern Ireland with the Giant’s Causeway as the main tourist attraction.
From Belfast, navigate to Larne and from there you can drive along the coast. The drive alone is already beautiful but there are also some great stops along the way.
Glenariff Forest Park
Our first stop was Glenariff Forest Park, which you can reach by taking a left at the end of the town called Waterfoot. There are several walking trails in Glenariff Forest Park. They’re all very well signed, so they’re easy to follow. There are different lengths of trails. We did the Waterfall route, which is 3km and passes two beautiful waterfalls.
Just a short drive from Waterfoot is the town Cushendall. Here all the coaches and caravans have to take a larger road, but cars can stay on the coast way. Great news for when you have a rental car, because you can drive where there are hardly any crowds.
The next stop is Torr Head. You can easily walk up this hill to have beautiful views. This was exactly how I imagined Northern Ireland to be; green, cloudy, hills and remote houses.
Kinbane Castle is the ruin of a castle, which is beautiful, but somehow the cliff behind it got more of my attention. I loved the gate in the cliff.
National Trust Carrick-a-Rede
National Trust Carrick-a-Rede is a rope bridge that connects the mainland of Northern Ireland to a small island. The bridge is about 20 meters long, so it isn’t very long. But with 30 meters above the sea and the beautiful scenery it’s still a great walk. Remember to order your tickets to National Trust Carrick-a-Rede in advance.
Dunseverick Falls are beautiful waterfalls. They aren’t high, but very picturesque!
Dunseverick Castle is also the ruins of a castle, but here there’s very little remaining of the original castle. It’s still worth the stop though, also because of the beautiful scenery.
The Giant’s Causeway is the main reason most people drive up North. And rightfully so. Even though it’s quite touristic, it’s a very impressive spot. It’s almost hard to believe that nature shaped all the rocks this way. Because of ancient volcanic fissure eruption, over 40,000 basalt columns were shaped. There’s a tourist centre with a small exhibition and a restaurant where you can sit down for a quick bite.
Dunluce Castle is only a 10 minute drive from Giant’s Causeway. It’s also the ruins of a castle, and with Dunluce Castle you can still see the shape of the original castle very well. Dunluce Castle already closes at 4:30pm so make sure you’re on time if you want to come close to the ruins.
We didn’t go to Mussenden Temple as it’s a bit further out of the way and we needed to get back to Belfast. But if you have the time it might be worth visiting this small round building located on the cliffs.
Looking for a nice restaurant to have dinner after your road trip in Northern Ireland? Click here for my favorite food spots in Belfast.