Explore Northern Ireland: The Ultimate Travel Itinerary
Places to Visit in Northern Ireland
Now is the time to see some of Northern Ireland’s most renowned landmarks such as Giant’s Causeway and The Dark Hedges. Other hidden gems are those not-so-famous attractions like Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Mussenden Temple. Check out our Northern Ireland travel itinerary to help you make the most of your visit! With so many whimsical winding roads and magical landscapes, you’ll wonder why you haven’t embarked on this trip before!
Things to do in Northern Ireland
Begin your trip to in Belfast. Driving from Dublin? You’ll be there within two hours via the M1 and A1. You can also get there by bus or by train in two and a half hours; it is very accessible.
Need somewhere to stay? Our hotel in Belfast city centre, Maldron Hotel Belfast City is the perfect place to begin, situated in the heart of the city and less than 5-minutes’ walk from the train and bus stations. Flying into Northern Ireland? Check out our Belfast airport hotel, the closest hotel to the airport at just 50 metres walk!
Day 1 – Things to do in Belfast
Spot of Shopping
Belfast has to be one of our favourite places for shopping! For all you fashionistas, Victoria Square is the go-to mall. With everything from Apple to Urban Outfitters, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. There’s also a cinema, a kid’s zone and plenty of restaurants. While there, be sure to visit the iconic Dome, with amazing panoramic views of the city from the top of the building.
Black Cab Tours
Experience this remarkable city in the most stylish way possible, with a tour in a traditional black cab. Explore Belfast’s historical sites with an experienced and informative driver, giving you the lowdown on the best local spots.
Head back to the hotel for Dinner and a cocktail from our Grain & Grill Restaurant. Night owl? Head out and experience the city’s nightlife. Although you may want to get a good night’s sleep for day two’s adventures!
The Dark Hedges
On your way to Derry, there is an array of amazing must-see locations. The famous Dark Hedges, most recognisable from Game of Thrones is a 1-hour drive from Belfast. This spellbinding and unusual avenue of beech trees is somewhere you simply must see! You’ll feel like you’ve been transported straight into an enchanting book; something unique to Ireland.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
From the Dark Hedges, the bridge is a 17-minute drive to get to. A walk across this unique, rocky rope bridge that links the little island of Carrickarede to the mainland will leave you breathless. Suspended 100-feet high, across a 60-foot chasm, crossing the bridge is invigorating for those brave enough! The Scottish Isles are visible from the island itself, which was once a salmon fishery, and is now a tourist attraction. It’s a wonderful experience, you won’t want to miss.
Please note that the bridge and the visitor centre may be closed due to the pandemic. For the most up to date information, please visit their website.
On the east coast of Antrim, around 20 minutes’ drive from either Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or The Dark Hedges, lies the incredible rock formation known as the Giant’s Causeway. Was it the result of a volcanic eruption? Or do you believe in the ledged of Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool)? The Irish giant said to have the strength of 500 men, allegedly created a stone path to defeat the Scottish giant. Haven’t you heard how the story goes? As one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, this one is definitely a staple on your visit to Northern Ireland.
Old Bushmills Distillery
If you’ve had enough outdoor adventure for one day, a visit to the old Bushmills distillery may be just the thing for you! Just a 7-minute drive away from Giant’s Causeway, is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world! Take a guided tour to see the famous copper pot stills, where the whiskey has been triple-distilled since 1608. Try the distinguished flavour of one of the most well-known whiskey brands for yourself. Now’s the perfect time to grab some lunch in the town of Coleraine!
Please note that the distillery may be closed due to the pandemic. For the most up to date information, please visit their website.
If you’re looking for some incredible views and dramatic history, Dunluce Castle is a great spot for both, just 10 minutes’ drive from the Giant’s Causeway. It is a medieval castle ruin located on the steep coastal cliffs between Portballintrae and Portrush, and accessible via a bridge.
First built around 1500, the castle was the seat of the MacDonnell clan and later the earls of Antrim. Who knows how many tales of violence and intrigue took place here! Make sure to explore the archaeological digs of the long-abandoned Dunluce Town and take some spectacular photos!
You are now on your way to Derry, but don’t forget to make a stop off at this amazing attraction. Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Then you may want to see the backdrop of Downhill Beach: one of the most photographed buildings in Northern Ireland. Once a summer library to the bishop of Derry, this beautiful round building was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. It’s the perfect backdrop for your next Insta photoshoot. Oh, and there are some incredible views over Ireland’s northern coastline.
Derry City Walls
The last site of the day is one that will not disappoint. They’re the only remaining intact city walls in Ireland and are home to Europe’s largest assembly of cannon. You’ll enjoy wonderful scenic views over the city when taking a stroll in the evening. Just through Bishop’s Gate, make yourself at home at our hotel in Derry city. Wind down for the night with a delicious dinner after a long day of exploring Northern Ireland’s best spots. Of course, if you’ve got the energy, Derry is well-known for its great nightlife.
Now that you’re in Derry, there are plenty of things to do to keep you entertained. Check out our Derry bucket list!