I came to Northern Ireland without any expectations in mind.
I had never heard of it as a top tourist destination. Even among my travel-loving friends, the name of Northern Ireland never came up.
Moreover, I had not even watched the show “Game of Thrones” (at that time) from which Northern Ireland’s locations were getting popular.
In short, my trip here was not a very thought-out and planned thing. In fact, it was the spur-of-the-moment-lets-see-how-it-goes type of thing.
To say that my experience was eye-opening would be an understatement. I had never expected it to be this beautiful! The locations, the scenery, the people. Each and everything was perfect.
Northern Ireland has an abundance of scenic locations to visit that range from rugged coastlines, thick forests, mysterious caves to beautiful valleys and mountains. On top of that, the Irish have been among the friendliest people I have ever met. This is the second place I have wanted to move to only after my first visit. (The first time this happened to me was with Scotland).
An additional thing which I absolutely loved about Northern Ireland was that you get such a variety to choose from at only a short drive from wherever you are staying. You can be at the North coast at one time enjoying the views while you can end up in the Mourne Mountains only roughly after 2 hours. This is really quick in my opinion and a great plus point. Everything is a maximum of 2 hours away!
Silent valley, Mourne Mountains
There are so many incredible places to explore here. Some of my absolute favourite things to do and must-visit places that I would not mind visiting again and again are listed below.
Must-See in Northern Ireland:
❤️ The Causeway Coastal Route
This is Northern Ireland’s very own coastal road trip which let me tell you from experience, is amazing!
This is a drive that takes you around the stunning coast of Northern Ireland from Belfast to Londonderry.
It is approximately a 120 miles’ drive. It is studded with sandy beaches, wild cliffs, pretty fishing villages, beautiful towns and lush green valleys. The scenery is epic!
❤️ Mussenden Temple
Although I have never had the opportunity to visit the temple from inside but the reason this is in my favourites list is because of the stunning location it sits in.
The whole scenery is breath-taking. And the view of the temple just resting on the very edge of the cliff is spectacular plus a little anxiety-inducing. You have to see it yourself to know what I am talking about.
❤️ Benone Beach
This is a 7 miles long beautiful golden sandy beach surrounded by mesmerising scenery.
It is the same beach that you can see from the Mussenden Temple.
One word: Spectacular!
Whenever I have visited it, it’s been fairly quiet and I get to enjoy the scenery in total peace. The beach is also very accessible in that you can take your car right on the beach, park there and then go for a lovely walk along the water.
❤️ Cuilcagh Mountain Walking Trail
Although Northern Ireland has an abundance of hiking trails from forest walks to the popular walks in the Mourne Mountains that are a hiker’s delight, I particularly loved the whole vibe of the Cuilcagh Mountain Trail.
I have a full video and post showing this walk with very useful tips.
Do check it out if you are interested in this walk.
❤️ Murlough Bay
This lies on the North Coast between Fair head and Torr Head. This is another spot I absolutely loved due to its remote location and outstanding beauty. I felt like being transported to a different land where I had the whole place to myself!
The road down to the bay is quite narrow and very “twisty” so driving was also an adventure. But the views you get rewarded throughout are sensational.
❤️ The famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
This is a very popular tourist spot and honestly, while I think that the rope bridge experience is not bad and the views from the island of Carrickarede are fairly nice, but what I truly loved here was the scenery and the walk to the rope bridge. It was full of striking scenery and I wouldn’t mind going here again just for the views.
❤️ Giants causeway
Another really popular spot among the tourists, the Giants Causeway is an area containing around 40,000 basalt columns with many myths surrounding their origin. The whole area has a very interesting and mysterious vibe. Plus, the views! Unbelievable.
Apart from the obvious attraction here, I particularly love the cliff walk that lets you observe these columns from above. It’s so incredible.
❤️ Lough Navar Forest Drive
It is approximately a 7 miles drive but OMG!
This is one of my very favourite forest drives. I have done it 4 times by now! I love stopping at the two major viewpoints that come along the way. Normally I spend a good hour at each just absorbing the beauty and let it fill me with peace.
❤️ Marble Arch Caves
If you love to explore the inside of a cave in a boat which slowly glides through the mystery and eeriness of millions of years of history, then you will also love these caves. I have a full video showing my experience of these caves and the boat ride. You are welcome to watch it on my Facebook page.
❤️ Titanic Museum
So, I’m not much of a museum person myself but I did love the movie “Titanic”. So, naturally I was curious about the whole topic. This museum didn’t disappoint. It is full of interesting facts about the building of the great ship and the tragic aftermath. It held my attention till the very end of the displays which is saying a lot.
Lastly, I should point out that this is not an exhaustive list. I absolutely love a lot more locations in Northern Ireland than the ones mentioned here but listing them here would have meant a never-ending article. If you are curious or want to know more, feel free to comment below.