Hello and welcome to our 2-day Causeway Coastal Route road trip guide.
For those that take this trip, you’ll be treated to some of the finest coastal views that Ireland has to offer over 48 adventure-packed hours.
About The Causeway Coastal Route
Rated one of the top five road trips in the world, the Causeway Costal route offers the perfect combination of rugged coastline, dramatic towering cliffs and gorgeous little villages and towns.
For those of you looking to drive the entire 195 mile route, you’ll be treated to endless adventure opportunities – just set aside 3-5 days to give yourself enough time to soak it all up.
Starting in Belfast and ending in Derry, the route follows the coast road through the nine Glens of Antrim, peaking at the Giant’s Causeway before powering on through to its final destination.
Day 1 – Kicking off the road trip
Right, get your arse out of bed nice and early and get to the Gobbins for 9.
Now, if you’re driving from Cork or Kerry, or somewhere far from the beginning of the Causeway Coastal Route, then you’re going to arrive here at a later time.
That’s fine, just adjust the timings above and below.
Day 1 Stop 1 – The Gobbins Cliff Path
Arrive for 9 and spend an hour and a half doing the tour and soaking up the views.
Our first stop-off point, the Gobbins Cliff Path, is only a short 35 minutes from Belfast and kicks things off with a thunderous bang.
The path wraps its way around the basalt cliffs over County Antrim’s jagged coastline – an architectural marvel considering it was designed over 100 years ago in 1902 by a railway engineer named Berkeley Deane Wise.
Originally aimed at Edwardian ‘thrill-seekers’, the Gobbins Cliff Path walk now gives ordinary Joe Soaps like you and I the chance to experience one of Ireland’s most dramatic coastlines up close and personal.
The perfect spot to stretch the legs and get a lung full of that fresh coastal air.
Day 1 Stop 2 – The Cushendun Caves
The Gobbins to the caves – 1 hours and 12-minute drive (leave the Gobbins at 10:30, and arrive to the caves for 11:45)
Our second stop of the day is one that’ll strike a cord with fans of the Game of Thrones series – the Cushendun Caves.
I love caves. They creep me out a little bit, which makes them all the more alluring.
The Cushendun caves were formed over 400 million of years of extreme weather conditions, and shot to fame a few years back when they were used for filming during the Game of Thrones Series.
They don’t take much time to explore, so head down and have a little ramble around.
Fans of Game of Thrones may recognise the Causeway Coastal Route’s Cushendun Caves as the place where Melisandre birthed the shadow assassin.
Day 1 Stop 3 – From Cushendun along the Wonderful Torr Head Scenic Route and on to Ballycastle
This is a route with a couple of stops – the drive takes an hour, but we’ll allow 2 hours with stops. (Leave the caves at 12:15, arrive to Ballycastle for 14:15)
I didn’t realise this route had a name until long after I stumbled upon it.
I was driving from Cushendun with a friend and we got half-lost/half-intrigued by a sign-post and we decided to take our chances.
We met a handful of cars and were treated to the view in the video below – magic.
We’re going to take the ‘alternative route’ to Ballycastle that clings to coast and takes us along narrow roads and up steep hills high above the sea.
If you’re a nervous driver, or if you’re driving a large vehicle like a caravan or a mobile home, this route isn’t for you.
The first stop we’re heading for is Torr Head.
This was another place I had never heard of until the trip I mentioned previously.
I was blown away by the view which treated us to a glimpse of Scotland out on the horizon (see above).
Admire from afar or drive the winding road down to the little car park and head for a wander.
When you’ve had your fill, get back in the car and point it in the direction of Murlough Bay.
Keep driving until you see a small sign for the astounding Murlough Bay.
Pop it into maps or your GPS, just to be safe.
Take the narrow track to the cliff top car park. From here, you can stop and stroll or you can take the track down to sea level and park and walk.
You could spend the day at Murlough Bay. It’s secluded, quiet and boasts an endless amount of raw natural coastal beauty.
Get out and stretch the legs.
Day 1 Stop 4 – Ballycastle for Lunch
Murlough Bay to the Central Wine Bar – 14-minute drive (you should aim to arrive for 14:15)
It’s been a long morning of exploring, so we’re going to rest the legs and fuel up with some lunch in the Central Wine Bar in Ballycastle.
Give yourself an hour and a half to enjoy the food, chat and fill up on coffee.
Day 1 Stop 5 – The Crumbly Kinbane Castle
Ballycastle to Kinbane – 8-minute drive (you should aim to arrive to Kinbane for 15:45)
Kinbane Castle is another place that just rocks you a little (no pun intended).
For me, places like this have the power to halt me in my tracks and make the mind wander back and wonder what Ireland must have been like back in 1547 when this castle was built.
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😍😍 Can you see the crumbly ruins of an old castle clinging to the side of the cliff in the distance? This is Kinbane castle and you’ll find it if you decided to embark upon a road trip along the Causeway Coastal Route in County Antrim. ☘ Photo by @davisevan #Ireland #instaireland #theirishroadtrip
To say the location is dramatic and other-worldly would be doing Kinbane Castle a colossal injustice.
Built on a small rock promontory called Kinbane Head which extends out into the sea, the scenery surrounding the castle is just breath-taking.
Isolated ruins, jagged cliffs and the powerful Atlantic Ocean combine to make this a place that’ll cement itself in your mind.
Day 1 Stop 6 – The Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge
Kinbane to the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge – 7-minute drive (leave Kinbane at 16:15, arrive to the rope bridge for 16:25)
When it comes to exploring a country, the more hands-on and unique the experience the better, and it rarely comes more unique than a stroll across the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge.
For those afraid of heights – and for those in search of an adrenaline boost – the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge hangs over 25 foot above the icy waters below.
The first rope bridge was erected between the mainland and Carrick-a-Rede Island way back in 1755, as the little island provided the perfect platform for local salmon fishermen to cast their nets off into the Atlantic.
If you’re planning on crossing, fret not – the bridge in place today is made of a sturdy wire.
The perfect spot for some hands-on exploring with heaps of photo opportunities along the way!
Day 1 Stop 7 – Chill time, dinner, pints and bed
Carrick-a-rede rope bridge to the Fullerton Arms – 3-minute drive (when you arrive will depend on how long you spend at Carrick-a-rede, but it’ll likely be in and around 18:00)
Our bed for the night is a handy 3-minute drive from the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.
We’ll be spending the evening in the Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy.
Check-in and chill for a while before heading down to the restaurant for a bite to eat.
Spend the evening kicking-back with drinks in the hotels bar.