The Giant's Causeway cliff path walk is must for anyone wanting to experience the Causeway coast.
The Causeway Coast and Glens are justifiably famous for the Giant’s Causeway, wonderful coastlines and a unique natural beauty. With three designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, nine glens including Glenariff the ‘Queen of the Glens’, lush forest parks, secluded coastal tracks and quaint fishing villages, the area is best explored on foot.
Hikes with awesome views.
With the majority of walks along relatively flat terrain you can witness some of Ireland’s most iconic and stunning coastline without strenuous climbs.
Causeway Coast Way – 33 miles linear
For the serious walker this two-day linear route, from Portstewart to Ballycastle, passes through the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, several Areas of Special Scientific Interest and of course the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This route also passes the iconic Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the spectacular ruins of Dunluce Castle. From sandy beaches to cliff-top paths and natural heritage to unique geological sites, this 33 mile (53 km) section of the Ulster Way is one of the finest coastal walks in Europe. A linear route stretching from Ballycastle to Portstewart, the long distance walk can easily be split into sections so you can enjoy as much or as little as you like.
Slemish Mountain, Ballymena – 1.2 miles circular
Slemish Mountain rises 1,500 feet (437 metres) dramatically above the rural plains to the east of Ballymena. The central core of an extinct volcano, this impressive monolith dominates the local landscape and has strong associations with Saint Patrick. The short but steep walk is a popular pilgrimage and offers spectacular panoramic views west to the Bann Valley, north to the Glens of Antrim and east to the distant coast of Scotland. Pack your walking boots as it can be very muddy.
Rathlin Island, Rathlin – 4+ miles
This magical island six miles off the north coast of Northern Ireland is accessible by ferry from Ballycastle and boasts almost 20 miles of walk trails in a tranquil and untouched setting. Home to one of the UK’s largest seabird colonies the Rathlin Trail will lead you to the RSPB Seabird Centre and one of three lighthouses on the island. Watch the comical antics of the Puffins in this birdwatcher’s paradise. For keen walkers, the Roonivoolin Walk on the southern arm of the island rambles through the RSPB NI nature reserve and is home to a rich variety of birds and wildlife from common blue butterflies to soaring birds of prey. The Ballyconaghan, Kebble Cliff Walk, Kinramer North Walk and Kinramer Trail will also allow you to explore and enjoy the magnificent coastal views of this unique island.
Family fun walks
From running freely with the sand in between your toes to braving an ancient rope bridge and discovering epic waterfalls together at Glenariff Forest Park there’s lots of family memories to be made on these North Coast walks.
Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge, Ballintoy - (0.7 miles each way)
Once an old salmon fishery, now an exhilarating coastal path and rope bridge experience crossing from striking cliffs to a rocky island, with stunning views of Rathlin and the Scottish Isles. Take on the rope bridge challenge and see if the whole family can make it across on this memorable walk.
Whitepark Bay, Ballintoy – (1.4 miles each way)
No visit to the North Coast would be complete without a trip to the beach. This spectacular sandy beach forms a white arc between two headlands on the North Antrim Coast and is the perfect spot for some sandcastle building. At one end of the bay lies the small fishing hamlet of Portbraddon and at the other a myriad of basalt islands shelter the quaint harbour of Ballintoy.
Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk, Glenariff Forest Park – (1.5 miles circular)
The prospect of reaching a real life waterfall at Glenariff will be more than enough to encourage the kids to head off on this trail. There is not one but three impressive waterfalls to view on this short walk including the magical Ess-na-Crub.
Enjoy walks together
Soak up the views of this iconic coastline at a slower pace on the many walking routes dotted along the Causeway Coast and Glens. Let the wind invigorate you on golden beaches, take in the views from dramatic cliff tops and find secluded spots to create a special moment together.
North Antrim Cliff Path, Dunseverick – (4.8 miles linear)
A stunning walk boasting breath taking coastal landscapes as the Causeway Coast merges effortlessly with the surrounding farmland you will be greeted by moments of awe around every corner. Take in fabulous vistas towards the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site, Port na Spaniagh where in 1588 the Spanish Armada met its fateful end and Port Moon, which offers incredible views to Rathlin Island. Top tip: Translink Causeway Rambler Bus Service (402) is a great way to return to the start.
Glenariff Forest Park, Glenariff – (0.5 – 6 miles)
The forest park known as the ‘Queen of the Glens’ is home to a number of trails offering panoramic landscapes and peaceful riverside walks within the 1,000 hectares that make up one of the nine Antrim Glens. Don’t miss the Waterfall walk with 3 breath-taking natural cascades, tranquil pools and dramatic steep sided gorges.
Mussenden Temple & Downhill Demesne, Castlerock - (2 miles circular)
A tiny temple perched dramatically on a 120ft cliff top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the stunning North Coast, there cannot be a more wild and dramatic headland in Northern Ireland than this. Located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne this open clifftop walk offers spectacular panoramic views over Downhill Strand.
Portballintrae Causeway Loop, Portballintrae – (5.5 miles circular)
This circular route on the stunning Causeway Coast from Portballintrae to the Giant’s Causeway provides the perfect combination of sandy beach and romantic cliff top views. Crossing the picturesque Three Quarter Mile Foot Bridge the route continues through the sand dunes to emerge onto Runkerry Beach and along cliff path to the Giant’s Causeway before climbing uphill for spectacular views over the world heritage site.