Northern Ireland

Expect history, beautiful scenery, ancient castles, plenty of natural beauty and countless famous film locations on your Northern Ireland road trip. We start in the Mourne Mountains, where it's great walking. From bustling Belfast, we follow the Causeway Coastal Route to the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. From there, we drive across the border through the north of Ireland to end at the Marble Arch Caves, Northern Ireland.


Got a bit more time? Then this route is perfect to combine with the road trip South-West Ireland, so you visit the whole Irish island.


Total distance of the route: 596 km

Mourne Mountains

The starting point of this road trip is the Mourne Mountains, located between the Irish capital Dublin and the Northern Ireland capital Belfast. The mountain range is the highest in Northern Ireland. So no matter which direction you come from, the imposing peaks can be seen rising from afar. There are several walking trails to choose from, some with experienced guides. Be sure to take a walk along Silent Valley. You can walk around a reservoir, learn about the workers who built it or simply enjoy the silence for which the park is famous. The Mourne Wall, which criss-crosses the rolling countryside, is also worth a visit. In short, whichever meandering path you choose, the Mournes will treat you to legendary landscapes and stories. The Mournes are also perfect for exploring by bike. Furthermore, the mountain range inspired C.S. Lewis to write the "Chronicles of Narnia" and the Mournes have repeatedly served as a filming location for the "Game of Thrones" series.


The capital of Northern Ireland has a troubled (recent) history, but Belfast has used this as a driving force to develop as a vibrant city. The segregation between Catholic and Protestant groups manifests itself in Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. The neighbourhoods are separated by walls or dividing fences. After the violent riots in 1969, the first Peace Wall was built. Over the years, many more Peace Walls have been built. The violence subsided and gates were built in the walls. Some of them are still guarded or locked at night. Graffiti, flags and paintings show which group a neighbourhood belongs to. Belfast has a large underground art scene. Walking around, you'll notice how lively the city is. With over 2,000 acres of parks, several museums, a diverse art scene and a rich history, a visit to Belfast can't go wrong. The St. George Market, for example, is one of Belfast's oldest attractions and one of the best markets in the UK and Ireland.


From Belfast, we start on the Causeway Coastal Route which, to enjoy it properly, can be spread over about 5 days. Our first stop is Carrickfergus Castle, an impressive 800 year old castle. From there, it is not far to Larne. The nice thing about Larne is that the town is directly on the sea, with white houses along the bay. The beautiful beach is littered with large rocks. There are car parks all along the route, and the Northern Irish know how tempting it is to pull over and enjoy the view.Glenarm is another picturesque village nestled at the foot of Glenarm Glen.


Glenarm Glen is one of Antrim's nine Glens. Glenarm has well-preserved architecture, a rich heritage and a fully restored harbour and pier. You can also enjoy walking through the magical Glenarm Forest. Speaking of forests, Glenariff Forest Park is also worth a visit. Glenariff, the Queen of the Glens, is one of the other nine Antrim Glens. The Forest Park covers more than 1,000 hectares with forests, lakes, outdoor recreation areas and nature reserves. Put on your sturdy walking shoes!


On the way to Cushendall, we pass Garron Point, a quiet bay with wooded hills. The high bare rocks rising from the sea are striking. Cushendall itself is a village with cosy streets and nice beaches to rest for a while. Afterwards, you can choose to continue along the main road or take the narrow country lanes to Torr Head. The road to Torr Head is beautiful, but not suitable for novice or uncertain drivers. The roads meander in special loops with beautiful views, but are so narrow that cars can barely pass each other. It is a tough route, for sure. You can also do this route by bike. The best way is to cycle from Cushendun to Ballycastle. The ride requires some climbing and legwork, but the reward is great. Prepare yourself for stunning views. You can even see the hills of Scotland from certain points.


There are many places to visit near Ballycastle. You can take the boat to Rathlin Island. The island where you become completely one with nature. The first thing you notice when you arrive at the harbour, are the sounds of wildlife. Birds are circling high in the sky and you can hear the seals playfully barking. From Ballycastle, you can follow the walking trail to Kinbane Head and Kinbane Castle. Carrick-a-Rede is a small island off the coast and a tourist attraction because of the rope bridge connecting it to the mainland. The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is suspended some 30m above the swirling water. It's a short walk to the bridge, and a wait before it's your turn to cross. Only a limited number of people are allowed on the bridge at any one time. The rope bridge used to be used by fishermen and is about 20 m long. The crossing is ultimately less scary than it looks. For Game of Thrones fans, Ballintoy Harbor is a must. The picturesque Ballintoy fishing harbour and surrounding beach was used as a filming location in the series.

Giant’s Causeway

The Giant's Causeway takes its name from the legend of the mythical giant Finn McCool and his Scottish rival Benandonner. Finn built the giant rock formation as a bridge to Scotland. On his arrival, Finn noticed that his rival was much bigger than himself and quickly fled back to Ireland. Tens of thousands of cylindrical rocks of various heights are the result. Scientists attribute the creation of the rock formation to volcanic activity millions of years ago. There are three easy-to-follow hiking trails in the area. During the day, the Giant's Causeway can be quite busy. It is useful to spend the night nearby so that you can enjoy this magical place at sunset. There is no entrance fee, only a parking fee. On your way to Londonderry, be sure to visit Castlerock, Mussenden Temple, Downhill and Downhill Beach.


Londonderry is situated on the border with Ireland. This walled city has a long history and you notice that immediately. From the 400-year-old city walls, you have a beautiful view of the city. The wall is an oval of 1.6 km long and 6 metres high. During a walk on the walls you pass many gates, watchtowers, battlements, bastions and huge cannons. The Peace Bridge has won multiple awards and was opened in 2011. It is the vital link across the River Foyle. This pedestrian and cycle bridge brings together thousands of people for events such as New Year's Eve or the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. In Londonderry, the Causeway Coastal Route meets the Wild Atlantic Way. Here we leave Northern Ireland and follow a small section of the Wild Atlantic Way. Got lots of time? Then combine this route with our route through Ireland. From Londonderry, we drive to Malin Head, the most northern point of Ireland. Malin Head is the official starting or finishing point of the Wild Atlantic Way. Its pristine beauty also appealed to the makers of Star Wars. "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi" was partly filmed in Malin Head.


At Fanad Head you will find peaceful solitude amidst crumbling cliffs and crashing waves. The civilised world seems far behind you, especially if you go further north. One of the main attractions - apart from the beautiful views and coastlines of course - is the Fanad Head lighthouse. The lighthouse was built after the sinking of the frigate Saldanha. The frigate sought shelter from a fierce storm in 1811, but did not reach the coast safely. The only survivor was the ship's parrot. The lighthouse was built shortly afterwards and is still regarded as indispensable by sailors.


Letterkenny or Cathedral Town is named after the Cathedral of St. Eunan and St. Columbus. It is located in County Donegal where Irish culture is best preserved. This also means that the signage is mainly written in Gaelic - the Irish language. It can be useful to have a GPS or a good map in the motorhome. 15 km from Letterkenny is Glenveagh National Park, Ireland's second largest national park. Be sure to visit Glenveagh Castle.


On the way to our last stop, Donegal, we pass the town of An Clochán Liath, meaning "the grey stone". The town is called Dungloe in English. If you have time, you can make a diversion to Slieve League. There you will find one of the highest cliffs in Europe. They rise up to 600 metres above sea level, which is very impressive. The town of Donegal is named after the Vikings who once settled where the River Eske enters Donegal Bay. It is a true gateway to the region. In Donegal, you can visit Donegal Abbey. The abbey was once an important Franciscan abbey, but today there is not much left. Due to its strategic location, the abbey was also used as a fortress and storehouse. Which did the medieval architecture no good at all. Not far from the city you will also find Lough Eske where you can have a lovely walk. On the way to our ferry in Dublin, we stop at the Marble Arch Caves, back in Northern Ireland. There you can take a guided tour through the 340 million year old caves.