The Giant's Causeway is one of the most dramatic natural landscapes that Europe has to offer. Iconic for its rugged coastlines, green rolling hills, and myths of ages gone by, the surrounding countryside has countless treasures waiting to be explored. So get ready to pack your bags, and to head to County Antrim, for everything from world-famous Game of Thrones film locations, to the magical island of Rathlin—complete with its very own Guinness-serving pub. Start planning your Giant’s Causeway tour now, and speak to a Travel Expert today.
Located on County Antrim’s northerly coast, the Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s number 1 tourist destination, and the proud holder of a UNESCO World Heritage badge. The natural phenomenon is made up of 40,000 hexagonal pillars of basalt rock, which were formed some 60 million years ago in an ancient eruption. Or, as legend has it, by the handiwork of Irish giant Finn MacCool, who decided to build a bridge to Scotland to take on his arch rival...
Setting out from the Giant’s Causeway, it’s only 15 minutes’ drive east to the pulse-quickening Carrick-a-Rede Bridge—a rope bridge swinging some 98 feet above jagged rocks. The bridge leads to the tiny island of Carrickarede, which comes from the Scottish Gaelic 'Carraig-a-Rade', or ‘The Rock in the Road’. Originally used by salmon fishermen during the catching season, it is now mainly used as a tourist destination, due to dwindling salmon numbers. An adventure not for the faint-hearted, this bridge is the perfect opportunity for a photo pitstop during your tour, and an exhilarating hit of fresh, sea air.
After a thrill-seeking morning, it’s high time for a drink. Head to the Old Bushmills Distillery, for one of their prestigious tours, and enjoy a tasting experience with a selection of Northern Ireland’s finest whiskeys. Built in 1784, on top of land which was licensed for distilling whiskey by King James I back in 1608, this local highlight is famed to be the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
Lively, music-filled, family-friendly: Portrush will bring something a little different to your Giant’s Causeway vacation. A small and vibrant sea-side town, this the perfect place to enjoy a local experience. In the daytime, take a leisurely stroll along one of the long sandy beaches, or make the most of the world-famous golfing courses—Dunluce Links hosted the Open Championship in 2019! Portrush comes alive on a Friday and Saturday night, as locals from the surrounding region head to town for dinner, to Barry’s Amusements arcade, and to enjoy a spot of live music and a pint at one of the traditional pubs.
There’s no doubt: Rathlin Island is an absolute must see. After taking a 20-minute ferry from Ballycastle, you’ll come to dock on the peaceful island, where old wooden boats are moored along the coastline, and a handful of little white houses dot the horizon. Home to only 150 people, this island offers the perfect chance to surround yourself in nature. Give yourself the full day to explore the beautiful walking trails, looking out for seals lazing in the sun, birds—and, if you’re lucky—even a rare golden hare! If you plan your vacation for late-April to July, make sure to visit the Seabird Centre, where you’ll see thousands of orange-beaked puffins from a viewing platform.
The Dark Hedges are two rows of gnarly beech trees, with branches grasping out towards one another like something out of a fairytale. Just inland from the Causeway, this long stretch of road rose to fame after appearing in HBO’s world-hit TV series ‘Game of Thrones’, as the infamous Kingsroad. Less