Northern Ireland: Causeway Coast
8 Day Inn Tour
If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you are already familiar with the spectacular natural beauty and historic elegance of Northern Ireland, where many scenes of the popular HBO series was filmed. This brand new tour, debuting in 2023, brings you up close and personal with Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, a magical land of volcanic rock, lush green hills, mystical lakes and rivers, medieval castle ruins and charming seaside villages. Come along for the ride of your life!
The tour still has space. Make your travel arrangements.
Rolling terrain with some longer climbs. Moderate cycling level. Easier with an e-bike.
7 nights lodging, 7 breakfasts, 6 dinners, snacks, hybrid rental bike, van support, cue sheets and electronic GPS files, and trained guides.
Hybrid bike is included in the cost of the tour. Road bikes and e-bikes are an additional $195. E-bike quantities are limited.
Fly in and out of the Belfast International Airport (BFS) or the George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD). From the Belfast International Airport, take a 10-minute taxi from to our starting hotel. From the Belfast City Airport, take a train or bus to the city center and then a bus or taxi to our starting hotel.
Day 1: We meet at the Dunadry Hotel and Gardens in Templepatrick, an easy 10-minute cab ride from the Belfast airport. We will meet at 3:00pm for a rental bike fitting, orientation, test ride and group dinner.
We encourage you to arrive a day or two early to explore Belfast—the city center is only 30 minutes via public transportation from our starting hotel. Consider visiting Titanic Belfast, the museum devoted to the sunken ocean liner, as it was built in Belfast in 1912. Then City Hall, St. George’s Market and St. Anne’s Cathedral are other noteworthy destinations. 0 miles.
Day 2: After breakfast and a shuttle to Toome on the northern shores of Lough Neagh, our first day of cycling takes us along the River Bann, one of the country’s most prolific salmon fishing waterways. We will pedal through pastoral landscapes until we reach our inn at Aghadowey, which offers a nine-hole golf course, in case you want a little tee time before dinner. 30 miles, ±1287’.
Day 3: Let’s continue north along the River Bann to Coleraine, a pretty market town known for its pedestrian-friendly center. Here we cross the Bann and meet the North Atlantic Sea at Mussenden Temple, a somber, circular domed structure perched on the cliff’s edge. It was built in 1785 for the niece of the Bishop of Derry and was to be used as a library. We also take time to visit the Bishop’s mansion, now in ruins, and we can see the Hezlett House, a 17th century thatched cottage that gives visitors a portrait of what life was like in those times.
Back on the bikes, we return to Coleraine and then head east through picturesque seaside resort towns before arriving at Dunluce Castle. The romantic medieval ruins teeter on craggy cliffs overlooking the crashing waves below. From here it’s a short distance to Bushmills, the inland village that will be our home for the next two nights. 36 miles, ±1134’.
Day 4: Today you can use your bike to explore Bushmills and environs in a leisurely fashion, or ride a longer loop. Either way, there will be lots of stunning scenery.
If you do stay close to Bushmills, consider a tour of Bushmills Irish Whiskey, which has been distilling here for more than 400 years. Then cycle two miles to the coast to relish Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This natural wonder is made up of more than 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, created 60 million years ago by lava flow. Local legend, however, has a different take, citing a long feud between Irish and Scottish giants as the genesis of this unique rock formation. It’s a great opportunity for a lovely hike along the cliff path.
If you are itching for a real bike ride, we have a loop option that offers great vistas and lovely hills. 30 miles, ±979’.
Day 5: Today’s cycling is short but the stops along the way provide a long day of fantastic sightseeing. Heading east along the Causeway Coast, the first must-see are the ruins of Dunseverick Castle, where St. Patrick visited during the 5th century. From here, we’ll pass through the salmon fishing hamlet of Portbraddon and White Park Bay, where you might actually spy cattle strolling the golden sand beaches – their grazing serves an important role in protecting the surrounding sand dunes.
Game of Thrones fans will thrill at Ballintoy Harbour, one of the many splendid Northern Ireland filming locations for the popular HBO series. Then if you have the nerve, walk the 66-foot-long rope bridge to Carrick-a-Rede Island. Built in 1755, the bridge enabled salmon fishermen to access prolific catches. 15 miles, ±1032’.
Day 6: One of the most defining geologic features of County Antrim is the Antrim Plateau, a wide stretch of basalt hills formed 60 million years ago. Erosion at the summit created the nine Glens of Antrim. These gorgeous glens, or valleys, stretch from the plateau’s highest elevation to the coast. Today’s ride takes us on a gentle ascent up one of these glens (Glenshesk), and then downhill through another (Glendun).
Near the top of Glenshesk we will take a break at the Amroy Round Tower, one of many round towers throughout Ireland built on monastic sites and thought to be used as belfries or for defensive holdouts during medieval warfare. At the bottom of Glendun, which follows the dark, peat-colored waters of the River Dun, our reward is seeing the lovely coastal village of Cushendun.
From here, we head south and hit the world-famous Antrim Coast Road, one of the most scenic roadways of the world. We’ll hear the waves crashing the shore all the way to Carnlough, where we sleep in a hotel once owned by Sir Winston Churchill. 34 miles ± 2046’.
Day 7: The last ride of the tour continues along the glorious Antrim Coast Road, with a short detour to see the waterfalls at Glenariff Forest Park. Then it’s through the village of Glenarm, past the 17th century Ballygally Castle and into Carrickfergus, one of the oldest towns in Ireland.
For those wanting a shorter ride, a shuttle takes you back to Belfast. For others, a traffic-free bike path takes us safely into the heart of Belfast, where we’ll celebrate our Causeway Coast tour with dinner and a bit of Belfast nightlife. 33 miles ±2481’ or 44 miles, ± 2825’.
Day 8: We’ll say our farewells after breakfast this morning. You’ll be at your leisure to take a cab or bus to the airport or wherever else your travels may take you.