Hiking the Causeway Coast Way in Northern Ireland
// The trip and this post is made in paid collaboration with Ireland Tourism but my experiences and opinions are my own //
The Causeway Coast Way hiking trail stretches 51 km between the towns Ballycastle and Portrush.
It takes about 3 days to hike, as the views are too good to rush by and there will most likely be many photos stops among the many mesmerizing sights. Really, the entire hike is so scenic I had to control myself not to keep taking photos every other minute.
You can read my guide on how to get to Ireland from Scandinavia through London without flying here.
If starting the hike from Ballycastle as we did, it takes about 2-3 hours from Belfast and you can find the best connections for you on Translink where you can also get daily weekly or monthly tickets. We got a zone 4 ticket for a week that gave us unlimited travel across all Translink scheduled bus and rail services in Northern Ireland. You just tap it on the bus or at the train station and get a printed ticket right then and there.
If you make the hike from the other way, it only takes about 1 hr 37 min from Belfast to Portrush by train.
Once you’re up there, there’s a bus running along the whole trail with many well-located stops on a regular basis so you can easily hop on and ride on the bus on the sections of your choice.
We split the hike up into 3 segments, giving time for both sleeping in and taking time at the different sights we wanted to spend more time by.
We stayed at The Salthouse Hotel (the view from the restaurant, bar and spa is simply breathtaking)
Budget: Castle Hostel
B. White Park Beach:
We stayed at Whitepark House (our absolute favourite stay!! An experience itself. Highly recommend this B&B)
Budget: White Park Bay Youth Hostel
C. Giant’s Causeway:
We stayed at Causeway Hotel
Budget: Bushmills Hostel
We stayed at Portrush Atlantic Hotel (their restaurant has an amazing vegan Wellington on their menu)
Budget: Portrush Holiday Hostel
The stage between Ballycastle and White Park Beach is along the winding roads, mostly without pavement and as many others suggest I agree that this part is not suitable for hiking as it is not safe. There is as mentioned above a bus that runs along the entire Causeway Coast Way so you can easily hop on and hop off on this stretch as the buses run regularly even offseason.
The hike between White Park Beach and Giant’s Causeway is absolutely gorgeous and while it starts off rough at the end of the beach on big rocks, the hike is a must-see. Easily on the top list of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done.
On your way from Giant’s Causeway to Portrush, you will pass the famous Dunluce Castle also known as House of Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. It is a very impressive sight and definitely worth a visit to the castle area. The little café Wee Cottage Café by the parking lots is also worth having a tea of coffee in.
After the castle, you will pass by the white limestones when you get to the Portrush East Strand beach that leads you all the way to Portrush centre.
- Many places only take cash, so always keep some on you.
- The Irish are extremely warm, friendly and hospitable.
- From my understanding, the rule of camping in Northern Ireland is a wee bit complicates but if you set up your camp late in the evening, pack up early and follow the leave-no-trace rules you’ll probably be fine in some secluded area along the trail.
- Please bring a plastic bag with you to pick up trash along the way to keep the trail tidy. Especially if you choose to walk along the road between Ballycastle and White Park Beach, as there’s, unfortunately, a lot of cans and plastic bottles on the side of the roads.