Belfast and Northern Ireland are one of the most overlooked countries in Europe.
While is southern brother Ireland gets loads of tourist is Northern Ireland still pretty untouristy except for the hardcore Game of Thrones fans that visit the country every year.
If you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland with you kids, be sure to check out this guide for things to do in Northern Ireland with your kids.
With a hope to see one of their favorite actors or doing a tour to see some of the locations that Game of Thrones has been filmed.
I didn’t do either since I have never seen the show, but 99% of the tourist I did meet during my trip Northern Ireland was there because of Game of Thrones.
Belfast has gotten a huge facelift in recent years; it’s been cleaned up, with parks and art areas, with tons of hipster cafes and bars around the University area.
Belfast doesn’t offer too many sights around the city except the Titanic museum, Belfast City hall, and some cathedrals.
All things I don´t really care too much about, so I decided to rent a car and see the country sight instead.
The route following the coast in Northern Ireland is considered to be one of the most scenic in Europe; you will pass old castle ruins, natural sights like the Giant Causeway.
The first stop on the drive along the coast is Carrickfergus Castle; the castle was built back in 1177, it has been fully rebuilding and restored since then and now serves as an open-air museum.
The next obviously stop on the coastal route is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, tho say it fast and honestly it’s not worth the stop, it cost 5£ for crossing the 20m long Rope Bridge, a huge waste of money.
Like I have already mention is Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a big waste of money, so its no reason to stop there, BUT if your a fan of Game of Thrones so is one of the locations that´s used in tv series just 10min away from the bridge, don’t ask me which scene that was filmed here, but two of the Game of Thrones tour buses was parked up in the same parking lot as you use to see the “famous” rope bridge.
While the bridge is disappointing, so are the drive along the coast really spectacular, with small local towns where it is great to stop for some food.
Since Northern Ireland is such a small country is it never far between sights to see, so less than 20minutes after you have visited the famous rope bridge will you arrive in Bushmills home to the world-famous whiskey Distillery, The Bushmills Distillery.
The Bushmills Distillery claims to be the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world and dates all the way back to 1608.
It´s possible to do booth a distillery tour and whiskey tasting, I would have liked to do the booth, but the place was crowded with tour groups, so I decided the best choice was to move on to the Dunluce Castle ruins and The Giant Causeway probably the most famous tourist attraction in all of Northern Ireland?
Booth less then 20miniutes away from the town of Bushmills.
First, stop Dunluce Castle ruins.
The Dunluce Castle ruins It´s documented back to 1513, and are well worth a shortstop, not a place to spend a full day but a good place to spend an hour, but it gets crowded as well, all tour groups that travel up down the cost do stop here.
So then it’s only one big sight left on the coast of Northern Ireland, but it´s the most famous of them all UNESCO world heritage sight, The Giant Causeway.
The Causeway has created over 60 million years ago following a volcanic eruption. The formation of the Giant’s Causeway was due to intense volcanic activity.
But to be honest, so it´s 10miniutes enough at Giant Causeway, it´s no more than a bunch of rocks.
Additional info about Northern Ireland
How to get there
While Belfast has two international airports but the airports mostly cover destinations in Great Britain and the most common charter tourist destinations.
So the best way is to fly into Dublin International airport down in Ireland and take an airport shuttle from Dublin Airport to Belfast city center.
The bus ride takes about 3 hours and costs 22 £ for a return ticket.
English Pound £ is the currency in Northern Ireland
Belfast and Northern Ireland is a reasonably priced country, more expensive than Eastern Europe but still a bit cheaper than Ireland and England.
You should be able to have a daily budget of 25-40 pounds a day.
1,5L Bottle of water – 0.82 £.
0.33L Coke/Pepsi – 1.10 £.
A meal in a local restaurant – 7-11 £.
A meal in a good restaurant – 15+ £.
Big Mac meal at Mcdonalds – 6 £.
Coffee in a coffee chain – 3 £.
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) – 8.5 £.
Beer local 0.5L can – 1.06 £.
Beer imported 0.33L (Heineken) –1.3 £.
Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.4 £.
Where to Sleep
Small hostel located close to the University and all the hipster cafes.
Dorms from 9.99£ with freshly cooked breakfast in the morning, friendly and helpful staff that can arrange all kinds of tours.
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