From adorable towns and villages to larger-than-life landscapes that look like they’ve been built by giants, the Causeway Coastal Route is a truly stunning stretch of Northern Ireland. The iconic route takes in around 195 miles of jaw-dropping scenery, ranging from white-sand beaches and rugged basalt cliffs to rolling hills and fairy tale forests.
Without a doubt, a car is the best way to experience everything the Causeway Coast has to offer. Planning a Causeway Coast road trip? Don’t miss our complete guide to the world-famous route. We cover everything you need to know about planning a road trip in Northern Ireland, including “where does the Causeway Coastal Route start and finish?”.
Where to start the Causeway Coastal Route
So, where does the Causeway Coastal Route start and finish? If you plan to travel the entire Causeway Coastal Route from end-to-end, you’ll start in Belfast and end your journey at Derry. The horseshoe-shaped route hugs the coast and takes you through a series of towns and villages, including Castlerock, Portrush, Ballycastle, Cushendall and Carrickfergus.
How many days is the Causeway Coastal Route?
On average, driving the Causeway Coastal Route from start to finish takes around three to five days. This should allow you plenty of time to visit famous sights and attractions, as well as discover some hidden gems. Of course, if you’re short on time, you can always tackle bite-sized sections of the Causeway Coastal Route. There are loads of access points, which makes it easy to customise your itinerary.
Highlights on the Causeway Coastal Route
With so many sights, attractions and experiences to discover on the Causeway Coastal Route, it can be hard to lock in your itinerary. To help you out, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular stops to include on a Causeway Coast road trip, as well as some secret spots.
The towering, hexagon-shaped stone pillars of Giant’s Causeway look like building blocks for giants. Gazing out at the otherworldly landscape, it’s easy to see why it was crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more about the natural phenomenon at the engaging Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre. From here you can walk down to the shoreline or take a minibus.
Glens of Antrim
From ancient castles to tumbling waterfalls, the Glens of Antrim boast some of the loveliest scenery on the Causeway Coastal Route. The nine glens stretch across the windswept Antrim Plateau and down to the North Atlantic Ocean. Each has its own unique character and it’s worth visiting at least two or three, if not all!
Glenarm is the most southerly and crowned by a magnificent castle. The tiny village of Carnlough is a gateway to Glencloy, where you’ll find some beautiful waterfalls. Glenariff is known as the ‘Queen of the Glens’ and will dazzle you with dramatic glacier-carved landscapes. The charming village of Waterfoot is an excellent base to explore Glenariff.
The Dark Hedges
It’s not every day you get to step into a Game of Thrones set. Framed by 150 enormous beech trees, it’s easy to see why HBO location scouts chose the Dark Hedges to bring George R. R. Martin’s novel to life. Over the course of two centuries, the trees have tangled together and created a natural tunnel that’s both beautiful and a little spooky.
Looking for more Game of Thrones filming locations on the Causeway Coastal Route? Pencil in a stop in Cushendun, a small village just up the coast from Cushendall. The sandy beach is lovely but it’s Cushendun Caves that steal the spotlight. Formed over hundreds of millions of years, they offer a glimpse of just how ancient Causeway Coastal Route landscapes are.
Tantalise your tastebuds in Ballycastle
From quaint seaside town to foodie stronghold, Ballycastle has emerged as one of the top foodie destinations in Northern Ireland. The pocket-sized town produces some of the best artisan produce in the country. Think farmhouse cheeses, melt-in-your mouth lamb, ocean-fresh seafood and creative craft beer. Stock up on treats at the much-loved local bakery and don’t leave without ordering a serve of fish and chips from the local chippie.
Tour The Old Bushmills Distillery
Founded in the 1600s, The Old Bushmills Distillery has been bottling premium whiskey for more than 400 years. From the moment you step inside, you’ll be overwhelmed by the sweet and malty aromas. Wind up your tour with a guided tasting and don’t forget to assign a designated driver!
Get off the beaten track on the Causeway Coastal Route
Remember, finding your own hidden gems on a Causeway Coast road trip is all part of the fun. Don’t be scared to explore side roads, try out hole-in-the-wall pubs that aren’t in the guidebook and venture off the beaten track if you feel like it. You never know what you might find! Chatting to locals is a great way to find out more about where to go, what’s open and, most importantly, where to find the best beef and Guinness pies!
Plan your Causeway Coast road trip
No doubt about it, a car is the best way to explore the Causeway Coastal Route. With a reliable set of wheels, you’re free to stick to the map or shake things up.
Dreaming of a Causeway Coast road trip? Give us a call on 01246 458 810 to find out more about how we can help you upgrade your car or purchase your first vehicle.
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