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Written by Savi, 21 Comments

Part 2 of our 2 part series on the stunning Causeway Coastal Route to The Giant’s Causeway. If you haven’t read part 1, check out  The Drive to Giant’s Causeway.

In our first installment, we mentioned that the Causeway Coastal Route has been lauded by National Geographic as one of the most scenic drives in the world.  So far we’ve told you about its fairytale glens, rugged scenery, hiking trails, and quaint villages.

But there is a lot more to the route that picture-perfect scenery. The Causeway Coastal Route is home to some spectacular ruins, castles, and UNESCO Heritage Sites

 

The Causeway Coastal Route
The Causeway Coastal Route A Suggested Itinerary

Having covered points A to E in the map above in Part I, we reach the focal point of this drive

 

f) Giant’s Causeway and Dunsverick Castle

Giant’s Causeway is unlike anything you would’ve ever seen before. A UNESCO Heritage Site, it comprises of 40,000 interlocked basalt columns. The unique columns are a result of a volcanic eruption. The most fascinating bit? Most of the columns are hexagonal the symmetry is astounding and an amazing reminder of the sheer power of nature.

A long coastal footpath leads to Giant’s Causeway. The first sight of the tall columns and solidified lava looming against the sea is unforgettable. On getting closer, you realise the size of the structure. The site is swarming with tourists, but there is never a dearth of space.

Spend your afternoon prancing on the pillar-like columns and using them as stepping stones to get to the farthest end. It feels like you’re at the end of the world.

Entry £8.50/adult. There is an extra charge for the shuttle bus that takes visitors to the stones, but we highly recommend walking along the coastal path.

Causeway Coastal Route 3
Sheep at crossroads- where else will you find such idyllic scenery?!

 

Causeway Coastal Route - Giants Causeway
A portion of Giant’s Causeway care to count the number of columns?

 

Causeway Coastal Route
The Columns of Giant’s Causeway against the water

All that exercise is bound to leave you a bit tired. The neighbouring village of Dunsverick offers a perfect picnic spot it’s a spot you won’t ever want to leave.

The ruins of the Dunsverick Castle boast of a stunning location by the sea. It’s a gem off the beaten path, so there are very few people around. Don’t blame us if you feel like you’re on a ‘Game of Thrones’ set as you munch on your sandwich.

Entry Free, Parking Free

Causeway Coastal Route 5
Dunsverick Castle is the perfect picnic spot

 

Causeway Coastal Route Dunsverick
The two of us at the ruins of the Dunsverick Castle

 

g) Old Bushmills Distillery

Wrap up your day by tasting traditional Irish whisky at Ireland’s oldest working distillery The Bushmills Distillery. Entry is free and you can try their rich whiskies at the in-house bar. You can even pick a bottle (or two?) of your favourite whisky from their shop.

The Distillery also offers a fascinating tour of the mixing room, bottling plant etc for aficionados and curious souls like us. It lasts 40 minutes, includes tastings of a couple of their smooth whiskeys, and costs £7 (as of July 2013).

Entry Free, Parking Free

Causeway Coastal Route Bushmills Distillery
Bushmills Distillery

 

Causeway Coastal Route Bushmills
Bushmills Distillery

 

h) The Ruins of Dunluce Castle

We’re back to dreaming about Game of Thrones.

Dunluce Castle is a medieval Irish castle that stands atop a dramatic basalt cliff jutting out from the sea. It is easy to spend a couple of hours exploring the ruins, the lush gardens, and absorbing the stunning views of the Antrim Coastline

Entry Free, Parking Free

Causeway Coastal Route
Dunluce Castle

 

Causeway Coastal Route 2
Dunluce Castle

 

i) Mussenden Temple

The last stop on the Causeway Coastal Route is probably the most photographed one. Mussenden Temple is perched on top of a cliff and surrounded by expansive gardens and beaches.

The Mussenden Gardens are perfect for picnics and exciting cliff-top walks.

Entry (to the gardens) £4.50, Parking Free

Causeway Coastal Route Drive 2
The Drive to Mussenden Temple

 

Causeway Coastal Route
The majestic Mussenden Temple from a neighbouring beach

 

Now for the all important questions :-

Car Rentals  As we mentioned in our previous post, Belfast’s airport has a number of car-rental booths that offer cars at competitive prices. We rented our car with Sixt Car Hire.

The ideal length of such a trip    The Causeway Coastal Route is 100 miles long. However it is peppered with some incredibly unique attractions. We suggest you spend 5 days exploring the area. More information about Northern Ireland can be found here.

 

Causeway Coastal Route 4
Gotta love the Causeway Coastal Route

As you can tell, we’re really quite enamoured with everything that Northern Ireland has to offer. The Causeway Coastal Route is magical and takes you back in time definitely one for your bucket list!

 

21 thoughts on “Causeway Coastal Route: The World’s Prettiest Drive?

  1. It feels like an Enid Blyton book! Always an adventure around the corner. And it doesn’t hurt to be all prettily dressed up like you are. Love the post.

  2. Looking at the pics, we (me n my better half) are keen to visit Ireland. But, not sure if this looks similar in mid March. (this the only time we can visit as we are returning back to India).

    1. Hey Ankur,

      So sorry for the late response. Hope you had a great time in Northern Ireland and the weather didn’t spoil the party 🙂

      It has been surprisingly sunny for March, so hopefully you managed to get some nice days. Do let us know

  3. Looks like a beautiful itinerary! Based on what you know of the area, do you think this trip would be possible by train/coach instead of a rented car?

    1. Hey Michelle – we would recommend a car in the area. It makes it much easier to explore little villages and towns in the area 🙂

    1. Hey Samiksha – tours vary b/w £50-£200 depending on the company you choose to book with. We would suggest renting a car and exploring the area independently 🙂

  4. Hi Savi & Vid, I just went for my first road trip in Northern Ireland after moving into Belfast last February. Thanks for this excellent write up. Even though it’s old, it’s very relevant until today. I am happy that I followed the exact same route mentioned here. The coastal countryside is truly picture perfect and the drive through the coastal route do really make any drive enthusiast like me, smile wide like a 70mm screen. The only addition that I would make to this itinerary is a stop at the ‘The Dark Hedges’, featured in Game of Thrones. Keep up the good work. I enjoy reading your travel stories.

    Cheers, Roopak

    1. Hey Roopak – glad you enjoyed this drive. It IS a stunning route. Thanks for the suggestion – hopefully it’ll help any readers who drive this route in the future. Send us your photos from Giant’s Causeway- would love to share them with our readers 😀

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