The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
The Causeway Coastal Route takes you on an unforgettable journey from Belfast to Derry, Northern Ireland and is one of the very best scenic drives in the world. The way in which the different landscapes create such dramatic contrasts ensures that there's always something to see along the way. The drive itself does not take more than a few hours but it's always a good idea to take your time and enjoy as many stops as possible along the way. There are also campgrounds in these parts so you could cut travel costs by hiring a campervan, motorhome or RV instead of booking into a hotel each night.
Belfast to Ballycastle
As with any drive, it's always a good idea to explore your starting point before you depart. Belfast is most certainly a city worth spending at least one day wondering around. The SS Nomadic, nicknamed “Titanic's Little Sister”, due to the fact that it was built by the same company and around the same time. Some other main attractions in Belfast include the Ulster Museum, the Cathedral Quarter, Crumlin Road Gaol and the Cave Hill Country Park.
Once you depart from Belfast, you will drive up to Larne. Larne marks the spot for the gateway to the Nine Glens of Antrim. One of the main sights along this part of your drive include the Glenarm Castle and the Walled Garden. This garden is actually one of the oldest of its kind in Ireland and is definitely worth visiting.
As you drive along the glorious coast, you will enjoy some stunning views of the cliffs that line the way. You will notice all the different colours of each layer of the mountain rock that has become exposed over time. Near Ballymena you will see the Slemish Mountains which was once a powerful volcano.
Another lovely place to stop for a break and to stretch your legs is the Glenariff Forest Park. Take a walk around, enjoy a bite to eat and savour that fresh air before you continue your drive.
You can also take a small detour to Torr Head before continuing to Ballycastle. From here, if you wish, you can take a ferry ride over to Rathlin Island.
Ballycastle to Derry
If you wish to visit Bushmills and the famous Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site, you can park your rental vehicle and enjoy a steam train ride through the narrow gauge and make your way to the local visitor's centre too. Here you will learn plenty of interesting facts about this area.
As you continue to Londonderry, you will drive by another great place to stop – Castlerock. Two of the top sights here are the Mussenden Templeand the Downhill Demesne. Not to mention the wonderful views here.
Once you reach Derry, there will be even more to see and do! Take a walk along the city walls to get the best views of the city and surroundings. The Museum of Free Derry, St Columb's Cathedral, the Peace Bridge and the Tower Museum are just some of the ample attractions waiting for you here.