Cave Hill, Belfast
This 135 mile (217.3 km) circular route takes you from Belfast along Northern Ireland’s spectacular Causeway Coast, through the Glens of Antrim and back.
The route once again is on-road, but off-road routes can be found at CycleNI.com
From Belfast city centre, cycle north towards the Antrim Road passing Cavehill and ‘Napolean’s Nose’, known as the inspiration for Jonathan’s Swifts literary classic Gulliver’s Travels. Other attractions in this area are the Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast Zoo and Belfast Castle Estate.
From the Antrim Road embark on the loop around the North Coast, visiting Antrim Town on the shores of Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles. Here you’ll find the 400-year-old Antrim Castle Gardens and Clothworthy House.
Head onwards to Ballymena, where you’ll see a distant glimpse of Slemish Mountain, where legend has it a young Saint Patrick spent six years raising sheep as a slave.
From here the cycle route heads north to Bushmills joining the Causeway Coastal Route. Described as ‘one of the world’s great road journeys’, the route is an odyssey of astonishing natural landscapes, from patchwork hills, mountain streams and waterfalls to a dazzling coastal road with majestic cliffs, golden sands and the unique glory that is the Giant’s Causeway.
Make time to see the Giants Causeway. Steeped in folklore, these famous hexagonal basalt columns stretch along the coast and are a result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.
The perfect sands of Benone Beach, the ruins of Dunservick Castle and the bustling harbour towns of Portrush and Portstewart are all in this area – so it’s well worth staying overnight.
There is also the harbour village of Ballintoy, now recognised as a Game of Thrones® filming location, and the exhilarating Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge – draped over a 30m deep and 20m wide chasm.
Setting off from the coastal village of Ballycastle, head to Cushendall, where three of the nine Glens of Antrim meet. From here you can see great views of Scotland.
The last stretch of the Causeway Coastal Route journey back to Belfast brings you to the coastal town and ferry port of Larne and Carfunnock Country Park with its beautiful gardens, forest walks, family activities and coastal views.