Over the years, Northern Ireland has slowly emerged as a fascinating tourist destination. That’s with the help of the new Titanic Museum, and being featured as a setting in the hit fantasy series, Game of Thrones.
Northern Ireland is a small country and it’s part of the United Kingdom. Still, it is never lacking in things to see and do.
A lot of its attractions are pretty extraordinary, too.
From charming medieval towns to lake islands, stunning castles and dramatic coastal landscapes— these are some of the places to visit in Northern Ireland.
Things you'll find in this article
- 14 Places To Visit In Northern Ireland
- 1. Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim
- 2. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
- 3. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
- 4. Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
- 5. The Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland
- 6. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
- 7. Mussenden Temple, Co. Derry
- 8. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
- 9. Belfast, Northern Ireland
- 10. Titanic Museum
- 11. Carrickfergus Castle
- 12. Newcastle, Northern Ireland
- 13. Lough Erne, Northern Ireland
- 14. The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
14 Places To Visit In Northern Ireland
1. Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim
Exquisite, dramatic, awe-inspiring. It’s easy to run out of ways to describe the Giant’s Causeway, but one will always find more reasons to go back.
Comprised of 40,000 polygonal basalt rock columns, this stunning natural wonder stretches along the coastline like giant stepping stones. These were created by a volcanic eruption that took place 60 million years ago.
These layered basalts are known around the world and are the prime focus of a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Giant’s Causeway is also the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland.
2. Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland
The Causeway Coastal route is easily one of the most scenic drives in Ireland.
This is essentially the surrounding coastline to the Giant’s Causeway, an extraordinary experience that you shouldn’t miss. The drive only takes ten minutes, but you can always slow down as you take in the sights.
The stunning beaches, the sand dunes, the rolling waves as you pass Portrush and Portstewart. This drive is stunning any time of the day, but it’s best to do it at sunset as the sights are particularly breathtaking.
3. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
If you’re in for an adventure that also lets you enjoy the stunning views, cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Found in County Antrim, this rope bridge links the mainland to the island of Carrickarede. The bridge spans 66 feet and about 98 feet above the rocks below.
The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is mainly a tourist attraction and not an official means to get to and from an island.
It’s quite a thrilling adventure to cross it and a must experience when in Northern Ireland. It is also one of the best day trips from Belfast.
4. Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim
Located in the North Antrim Coast is the brooding and dramatic Dunluce Castle. It is situated close to a headland and used to be the headquarter of the McDonnell clan.
This medieval castle maybe mostly ruins but at least we know now that a village used to surround the castle. This village was destroyed by fire in 1641. Dunluce Castle was featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ as the castle of Greyjoy.
5. The Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland
The North Antrim may have some stunning otherworldly sights, but its nine glens are not to be upstaged.
These are among the most breathtaking places you’ll ever see. These nine glens even exude a unique individual charm that you simply lust to spend time here when you visit.
A great way to see the glens is by driving along the main A2 coastal road, where you get to enjoy a closer look at the lakes, waterfalls, rolling hills and forest trails.
6. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges is undoubtedly one of the most photographed and truly iconic sights in Northern Ireland. This natural attraction was featured in a few episodes the hit fantasy TV series ‘Game of Thrones as the road to King’s landing.
The best time to go here is in the morning, preferably before eight in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Aside from being a popular photography subject and tourist attraction, the Dark Hedges is also now a favorite location for wedding photographs.
7. Mussenden Temple, Co. Derry
The beautiful and dramatic location of Mussenden Temple made it an ideal setting for a rather horrifying scene in ‘Game of Thrones’.
Perched 120 feet high on a rugged clifftop, the temple overlooks the Atlantic as well as the Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point. The views from here are spectacular, a definite must-visit when in Northern Ireland.
8. Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Londonderry or simply Derry is the second city in Northern Ireland. It is located where the River Foyle opens out into the sea-lough of the same name.
Derry is known to have brilliantly preserved medieval walls as well as some interesting old buildings. It is now an important port and industrial center. Its main industries include textiles and ceramics.
The town’s gorgeous surroundings also make it an ideal base to explore the Inishowen Peninsula and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Both places are known to be ideal sights for chasing the northern lights
9. Belfast, Northern Ireland
Exploring Belfast is a definite must when in Northern Ireland.
There’s just a lot to see and do here — from the Titanic Museum and HMS Caroline to a hike up a castle on a hill.
Other places that should be in your Belfast itinerary are the Belfast Cathedral, the Belfast City Hall, the Botanical Gardens and the Crumlin Road Gaol,
10. Titanic Museum
This place is in Belfast but deserves a separate post. One should definitely devote ample time to visiting this stunning museum. It opened in 2012 during the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, but the building is already an iconic Belfast landmark.
Located in the middle of the Titanic Quarter, the museum features extensive displays and collections on everything Titanic. They’re all interactive, too.
A visit here is a great way to learn more about this intriguing part of Northern Ireland’s history.
11. Carrickfergus Castle
The imposing Carrickfergus Castle is one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Ireland.
Constructed over eight hundred years ago, it has been a witness and a target during war, conflict, and revolutions. It is nestled near the shore and still mostly intact.
The facade of the church set against its interesting location is already a treat in itself. Its namesake town is also a lovely place to explore.
12. Newcastle, Northern Ireland
The charming town of Newcastle in County Down is a perfect seaside escape. The water may be colder than usual but the pristine beach is worth a leisurely stroll.
Or you can check out the incredible sand dunes at Murlough Beach. The seafront is lined with quaint shops and restaurants that serve up delicious local and international cuisine.
Newcastle also has the beautiful Mourne Mountains, which is a relatively manageable hike. This small town is also known to have the best golf course in all of Northern Ireland.
Get in for a few swings, or if you know nothing about golf, try the crazy version instead.
13. Lough Erne, Northern Ireland
Lough Erne might as well be a living museum. Comprised of two connected lakes and islands, this part of County Fermanagh is a must-see.
See the castles and manor houses spread along the shore. See the 12th century round tower in one of the islands. Or how about some Celtic art?
Head on to White Island and Boa Island and see the carved stone figures done over a thousand years ago.
14. The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
The Ulster Museum is easily accessible within a fifteen-minute drive from Belfast city center. This is a living museum that showcases the fascinating Ulster life more than 100 tears ago. Being here is like being sent back in a bygone era.
You get to walk around a village, explore a parkland or even get on steam locomotives. This place is an amazing glimpse at a life that we only read about in books.
Seeing them up close is a Northern Ireland experience that one shouldn’t pass up.
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Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.
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