Places to visit along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland

In my opinion, the Causeway Coastal Route is the gem of Northern Ireland. I really couldn't recommend it enough. Located between Belfast and Derry, the road route takes in the northern rugged coastline. At 120 miles, you can easily complete it over a few days and still have a leisurely drive. Here are my favourite places to stop off at - but trust me, there's plenty more on my list I'm hoping to tick off next time as there's so much more to visit than is listed below...


Ballintoy
This tiny harbour fast became one of my favourite places in the world when we stopped the car. After initially popping it on our list because of the Game of Thrones reference, I fell head over heels as we clambered over the rocks with the warm sunshine on our faces, laughing at the crazy men who stripped off to their pants in January to go swimming in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. It is so peaceful and beautiful. Make sure you wear sensible shoes as it's just begging to explored. There's a little cafe for a pitstop of tea and cake.


Portstewart
Portstewart is a cute little seaside town filled with sweet little cafes, interesting independent shops and a gorgeous sandy beach. We visited on a grey and gloomy day but I imagine it would be absolutely beautiful when the sun is shining. Put aside a few hours to explore  - I spied a homeware shop I want to visit when I'm back. Make sure you stop for an ice cream in Morellis. I'm told by the locals it's a Irish institution and it's well worth the trip to Portstewart alone. Just look at that sundae!


Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Located not too far from Balintoy Habour, this rope bridge was first erected by salmon fisherman in 1755. It's hard to believe they used to cast their nets over this rickety old bridge for a living. It's quite a big tourist attraction so be prepared to queue but it's worth it. Try to visit early morning to minimise the queuing.


Mussenden Temple
As you can tell from the picture, the gorgeous blue skies disappeared after our first day. Can never rely on the weather in Ireland! But Mussenden Temple was breathtaking - even against the grey skies. Located on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the temple was in 1785 by Lord Bristol - the owner of Downhill Demense where it is situated. Again it's a Game of Thrones location so you'll recognise it if you're a fan. It's on my list to return too when we visited again during sunnier times. The white sandy beach below is worth a wander too - sometimes I can't believe the beauty of the beaches in Ireland.


The Dark Hedges
Another Game of Thrones locations - can you tell we had a theme going on during the trip? I'd recommend to go early in the morning as it does get congested with cars. The trees keep falling down during storms so it's one to go to sooner rather than later!

Binevenagh Mountain
The view from the top of Binevenagh Mountain is breath-taking - just be careful not to be blown off the side as it gets windy up there! It's such a beautiful drive up there. On a clear day you can see from Magilligan to Donegal in the south. Keep an eye out for the Mannaan Mac Lir sculpture- a celtic sea god from Irish mythology.


Derry
Last but not least, Derry. I've got a bit of a soft spot for this city as I've been a few times to visit my boyfriend's family. It's a city that's on the rise. I can't believe how much more vibrant and welcoming it feels now. We has only last visited three ago and now it feels transformed. With so much more money being invested, it's only going to get better. It's full of fascinating history, warm locals, incredible restaurants and fun pubs and bars. It's a place I can't wait to discover more of on my next trip which hopefully won't take as long as three years to organise!

4 comments:

  1. Love all these places! But especially Portstewart, it's where I grew up :)

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really want to re-visit all these spots now that I've actually started watching GoT! x

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Causeway Coastal route is so high on my wishlist - with all the GoT references, I might be able to convince my boyfriend to come! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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