Touring Northern Ireland in a Week

  • 01 of 07

    Day One - Arriving in Belfast

    Balfast City Hall
    © Bernd Biege

    Assuming you are flying directly into Belfast International Airport you will arrive during the day and have enough time to pick up your rental car and make your way to Northern Ireland's capital city, Belfast. The airport is actually located near Lough Neagh and you should expect at least thirty minutes drive to the city. Have a look around the city center and maybe enjoy a drink in style at the historic Crown Liquor Saloon. Plan for an early night!

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  • 02 of 07

    Day Two - Drive the Coast Road to the Giant's Causeway

    The Giant's Causeway in County Antrim
    © Bernd Biege 2015

    Start early from Belfast and take the winding coastal road up north. You will soon reach Carrickfergus with its magnificent medieval castle. Carry on northwards via Larne, following the A2 to Bushmills and the Giant's Causeway, one of Ireland's most important sights. When you arrive it is time to stretch your legs. You have the option to take the Cliff Walk and enjoy the view of the Causeway and (if you are lucky) the Scottish coast to the Northwest. Or stroll down to the Causeway proper, a bus will take you back up again to the visitor center if you can't face the steep road back up or (even worse) the hundreds of steps up to the Cliff Walk. If you have some time drive to the Old Bushmills Distillery, tours are offered every day. Spend the night in or near Bushmills in a B&B.

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  • 03 of 07

    Day Three - Tour the Antrim Coast to Derry

    Dunluce Castle, one of Northern Ireland's most splendid ruins.
    © Bernd Biege 2014

    From Bushmills take the coastal road westwards, staying on the A2 all the time. You will pass Dunluce Castle, the famous white rocks, some pretty seaside resorts and the huge Downhill Estate with its precariously located Mussenden Temple (Game of Thrones fans rejoice here). Drive on to Derry and have a ​walk on Derry City's historic walls. An overnight stay in or near Derry will give you an opportunity to recover.

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  • 04 of 07

    Day Four - Down to Omagh and Enniskillen

    Enniskillen Castle Water Gate
    Alain Le Garsmeur / Getty Images

    Take the road south via Strabane, the A5 will bring you to Omagh. Visit the Ulster American Folk Park with its Irish and American homesteads and the stunning recreation of an emigrant ship. Then take the N32 to Enniskilllen and enjoy the Lough Erne scenery, maybe taking in a boat trip to Devenish Island as well. Enniskillen usually has some lively evening entertainment in the pubs, making it a good place for an overnight stay.

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  • 05 of 07

    Day Five - Via Armagh to Belfast

    Saint Patrick's Cathedral (CoI) in Armagh
    Shaun Egan / Getty Images

    You might decide to visit the Marble Arch Caves or Florence Court in the morning or drive straight on. Take the N34 south and cross the border into the Republic of Ireland. A look at the round tower in Clones and at the market town of Monaghan are a good idea - as is stocking up on petrol for the lower price. From Monaghan take the N12/A3 to Armagh, the "Cathedral City". After visiting one (or indeed both) cathedrals hit the A3 and then the M1 to bring you back to Belfast. Note that the next day is optional depending on your schedule - you might want to take the A26 straight to Belfast International Airport and stay nearby.

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  • 06 of 07

    Day Six - Belfast

    Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
    Reading Tom / CC / flickr

    Unless you are already flying out today you should take a closer look at the City of Belfast and its attractions. Or drive out to Holywood and visit the huge Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, stepping back in time. In the evening drive out towards Belfast International Airport and stay nearby.

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  • 07 of 07

    Day Seven - Flying Home

    Lough Derg
    cuppyuppycake / Getty Images

    Today you will be heading back on a flight out of Belfast International Airport - have a last look at the huge Lough Neagh when taking off, with a little luck you might also get splendid views of the Irish coastline, any which direction you are going!