A Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast to Walk the Causeway Coastal Route

A Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast to Walk the Causeway Coastal Route

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Lonely Planet named Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland as the best place to visit in 2018.  They weren’t wrong.  From the moment I arrived in Belfast I have felt welcome, safe, and have been wowed by the hospitality of the people and the gorgeous scenery of the coast.  When you are visiting Belfast, you definitely should visit the Giant’s Causeway, and either spend a couple of days exploring the region or take a Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast.  By far the best way to explore the coastline is to walk some of the Causeway Coastal Route, so I took a tour with Away a Wee Walk to get the best of both worlds.

What is the Giant’s Causeway?

The Giant’s Causeway is an area on the northern Irish coast which is made up of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which were the result of volcanic fissure eruptions and the subsequent cooling and weathering of the rocks.  The stones formed hexagonal shapes, and don’t appear to be natural at all!

The Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland - Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

Another explanation of the rocks is the story of Finn McCool, a giant who lived in Northern Ireland and built the causeway to cross over to Scotland so he could fight a Scottish giant.  However, when he arrived in Scotland he realised that the Scottish Giant was far bigger and fiercer than he could imagine, and he ran back across the causeway to his house.  The Scottish giant saw him running, and gave chase.  Lucky for Finn, his wife had the idea to dress Finn up as a baby to hide him from the scary giant.  When the Scottish giant arrived at Finn’s house, Finn’s wife welcomed him into their home, and made him a cup of tea (ahh go on).  Confused, the giant looked around for Finn, but all he saw was a huge baby giant tucked up in his crib.  When he saw the huge baby, he decided that the daddy giant would be sooooo huge that he ran back to Scotland, destroying the causeway as he went.  Well, I know which version I believe.

Where is the Giant’s Causeway in Relation to Belfast?

The Causeway Coastal Route runs all the way from Belfast on the east coast of Northern Ireland along the coast to (London)Derry where Northern Ireland borders the north coast of Ireland.  The Giant’s Causeway is close to the most northerly point of Northern Ireland, about 60 miles north/northeast of Belfast.

Exploring the Giant's Causeway after our Causeway Coastal Route Walk - Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
Exploring the Giant’s Causeway after our Causeway Coastal Route Walk

Why Take a Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast?

Getting from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway with a tour is easy, convenient and a wonderful way to see more of Northern Ireland in just a day.  There are lots of companies who arrange day trips to the Giant’s Causeway, but Away a Wee Walk is the only one that works with the National Trust to provide walking tours along the Causeway Coastal Route to the Giant’s Causeway.

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Giant’s Causeway Tours from Belfast

Generally, day tours to the Giant’s Causeway from Belfast will include:

  • Transport to and from the Giant’s Causeway
  • Entry to the National Trust Visitor’s Centre and Giant’s Causeway Site
  • Visit to Bushmill’s Whiskey Distillery
  • Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge Crossing
  • Photo Stops at Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus Castle, and one or two stops along the way

As I don’t drink whisky, I had no interest in the Bushmill’s Distillery, and I wanted to spend more time outdoors.  When I read on the National Trust website that there were hiking tours to walk along part of the Causeway Coastal Route I knew that was the tour for me.

Instead of the itinerary above, the Giant’s Causeway Cliff Path walking tour includes:

  • Transport to and from the Giant’s Causeway
  • Entry to the National Trust Visitor’s Centre and Giant’s Causeway Site
  • 4 or 5 mile walk along the cliff path of the Causeway Coastal Route to reach the Giant’s Causeway on foot
  • Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge Crossing
  • Photo Stops at Carrickfergus Castle, and one or two other stops along the way

Bear in mind that the itinerary changes slightly in the winter time from November to February, when there is a shorter walk, starting from the other side of the Giant’s Causeway in Portballintrae.

The Giant's Causeway reaches out into the sea - but is it the work of Finn McCool? Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
The Giant’s Causeway reaches out into the sea – but is it the work of Finn McCool?

Why Walk the Causeway Coastal Route?

Taking any Giant’s Causeway day tour from Belfast is a good way to catch a glimpse of the beautiful coastline, but to fully appreciate the scale and beauty of the Northern Irish coastline, you really have to explore more than just the Giant’s Causeway.  If you are fit and able, I highly recommend walking along some of the Causeway Coastal Route for more mind-blowing views and incredible scenery.  Away a Wee Walk guides will accompany you on the hike, explaining different landmarks, myths, legends, and science behind the creation of the Giant’s Causeway as you go along.

What You Will See on the Causeway Coastal Walk

The coach will drive you to Dunseverick Castle, a small ruin which marks the starting point of the walk.  To say it is a castle is quite an exaggeration in its current state, but apparently, it used to be one!  From here, the Coastal Causeway footpath leads you along the cliff tops, following the coastline until you reach the Giant’s Causeway.

Our First View of the Giant's Causeway on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk - Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast
Our First View of the Giant’s Causeway on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk – Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast

You’ll pass magnificent rock formations in the cliffs and emerging from the water below, around each turn the scenery gets better and better.

Spectacular Rock Formations on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk - Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast
Spectacular Rock Formations on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk

We also passed Moon Bay, where a small house provided shelter for salmon fishermen in a cove.  Nowadays fishermen are few and far between, but kayakers and other adventure sports lovers use the shelter.

Moon Bay on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk - Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast
Moon Bay on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk – Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast

The full Giant’s Causeway tour from Belfast also included a trip to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and the chance to cross the bridge if you’re feeling brave enough!

Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge - Another stop on our Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge – Another stop on our Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast

The bridge was made by salmon fishermen in 1755 so they could cross the 20 metres wide chasm 30 metres above the water, carrying their precious cargo.  Nowadays, the bridge is much safer to cross, but it still nerve-wracking!  Unsurprisingly, the views from and around the bridge are just as incredible as the rest of the coastline!

Crossing the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge on our Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
Would you dare to cross?

After crossing the bridge, we returned to the coach, and our driver David drove us back to Belfast along the rest of the Causeway Coastal Route.  We passed through pretty little towns, lush green glens and stopped off at Carnlough for ice cream and to take a few photos around the port.

Stopping off at Carnlough on our way back to Belfast
Stopping off at Carnlough on our way back to Belfast

How is the Hike Along the Coastal Causeway Route?

The Causeway Coastal Path is very well maintained and is mainly flat.  There are some ups and downs, and in steep areas, there are steps to climb and descend, including some steep steps down to the Giant’s Causeway site.  The walk is not a difficult one, although our guide Gavin set quite a good pace.  There was time for plenty of photographs along the way, but this certainly wasn’t a relaxed stroll.  Bear in mind that the longer your group takes on the hike, the less time you will have at the Giant’s Causeway site.  There is no need to rush, but don’t dawdle.  I have done various multi-day hikes in the past, like hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru or the Lost City Trek in Colombia but having struggled through these I was relieved to just do a day hike here.  I am not the fittest of people, but I had no problem with this hike, but for your own comfort and for the rest of the group, you should be relatively fit and healthy to be able to complete the hike in the allotted time.

One of our Hikers on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk - Giants Causeway Tour from Belfast
One of our Hikers on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk

What to Bring on the Causeway Coastal Route Walk

  • Good walking shoes Good walking shoes or boots are strongly recommended (sometimes trainers are fine, but only in summer when the weather is dry). If it rains, the path and the Giant’s Causeway stones can get very slippery
  • Layers of clothing to include wind and rainproof jacket (and trousers if heavy rain is forecast)
  • A light portable lunch and snacks to bring with you or eat on the coach on the way back
  • Water
  • Camera if you want some incredible photos
  • AVOID JEANS, if they get wet they will stay wet.

You should also consider:

  • Suncream and hat (that won’t blow off in the wind)
  • Contact lenses instead of glasses to make it easier to see if it rains
  • A change of clothes in case you get wet (to leave on the bus)
  • Plastic bags for your camera and phone in case of wet weather
  • Travel insurance
Hexagonal Basalt Columns at the Giant's Causeway
Hexagonal Basalt Columns at the Giant’s Causeway

How to Book the Causeway Coastal Route Walk and Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast

For full details of the walk, check out the details on the Away A Wee Walk page.  You can book directly with them, or through their partner Irish Tour Tickets.  If you are travelling in a group and not everyone wants to do the walking part of the tour, Irish Tour Tickets also offer the non-walking version of the tour so you can all travel together and choose which option you want to do.

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What I Loved About the Away a Wee Walk Causeway Coastal Route Walk

The scenery was absolutely stunning.  I loved walking along the cliff tops, gazing out to sea and spotting Scotland in the distance.  The views inland were pretty good too, I could wax lyrical for hours about the rolling green hills but I won’t bore you.  Suffice to say the walk is beautiful.

Our guide Gavin was fabulous, he used to work for the National Trust as a manager at the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s Centre and knew everything there is to know about the Causeway and the coastal walk.  He was funny, informative and super friendly.

Me Hiking the Causeway Coastal Trail on a Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
Me Hiking the Causeway Coastal Trail

Anything I Didn’t Like?

The only downside of the tour is that we didn’t get very much time at the stones themselves.  This was partly due to me and another girl taking photographs the whole of the way, and so taking more time on the walk, and partly due to the torrential rain which came thrashing down just as we arrived at the Giant’s Causeway.  If it had been a dry day, I think we would have got about 20 minutes at the stones, which is probably enough for most people, but it was a shame for us that the weather forced us off quicker than I would have liked!  Of course, you can’t control the weather but it was a disappointing end to our Causeway adventure.  Luckily the weather bucked up a bit for our rope bridge crossing!

Final Thoughts on the Away a Wee Walk Causeway Coastal Walk Day Tour from Belfast

I loved the hike, the scenery and the rest of the tour was great fun too.  The walking guide and our coach driver were funny and informative, and the trip to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge was an added bonus.  If you only have one day spare to visit the Giant’s Causeway and want to see more of the Causeway Coastal Route, this tour is a brilliant way to do that and I definitely recommend it for a unique way to see the stones and more of the incredible coastal scenery.

A Very Wet Giant's Causeway - Giant's Causeway Tour from Belfast
A Very Wet Giant’s Causeway

However, if you are able to spend more time in the area or want to spend longer at the Giant’s Causeway (weather permitting) then there are other options which may be better for you.  If you have more time in the area, I would recommend visiting the Giant’s Causeway one morning or evening on your own when the stones are quieter and you can spend as long as you like there, then you could also do the half day tour with Away A Wee Walk which doesn’t include visits to other destinations or transport to/from Belfast, or do the full day tour on your last day in the area, to include the transport back to Belfast.  Whichever you choose, I still highly recommend the walk, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot from our guide, even after already visiting the stones on my own.

What do you think, would you like to do this Causeway Coastal Walk?  Have you taken a Giant’s Causeway Day Tour from Belfast?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Prepare for your trip to the Giant’s Causeway and Northern Ireland with these top picks from Amazon:

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Away a Wee Walk and Irish Tour Tickets kindly offered me a complimentary tour in exchange for this review.  However, all opinions are my own, and the fact that I loved the walk clearly influenced my review.

Just to let you know, this post may contain paid or affiliate links, which help to maintain Tales of a Backpacker and give me the chance to keep travelling, and to keep creating awesome content for you!

Tales of a Backpacker is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  I only recommend goods and services I believe are useful and reliable.

Last updated: October 4, 2018
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11 thoughts on “A Giant’s Causeway Tour from Belfast to Walk the Causeway Coastal Route

  1. So many people went to Ireland this past year. It has really put Ireland back on the travel wish list. I have visited Dublin area but have not yet been to Belfast. The Giant’s Causeway looks like a great reason to visit. It looks like a giant’s building block set! I love that there is a fanciful story about how this was created. A day trip from Belfast sounds like a great way to visit. Hubby would want to try the whiskey for sure! But a long walk along this route really did get you some amazing scenery. I am glad to hear that this is doable even if I am not in top fit shape. This sounds like something I could do. Great suggestion about visiting for two trips to get both the stones and the walk.

  2. The hike looks stunning and it seems really cold when you’re at it!! When was it – and do you recommend it for a hiking with a baby? The bridge looks scary though!! Love your courage!

  3. Belfast is on our list and we will definitely visit the Giant’s Causeway. Your photos are stunning. Walking along the Causeway Coastal Route sounds fantastic. I appreciate learning that Away a Wee Walk works with the National Trust. It’s definitely a walk I’d enjoy, except for the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

  4. The scenery looks amazing here! I totally hear you on sometimes just wanting to do a day hike, and on choosing the option that included more walking and not going to a distillery. (Definitely would rather be outside than drinking!)

  5. I never knew just how much there was to the Giant’s Causeway. That bridge is INSANE looking. I would totally be nervous doing it, but I would totally cross! It’s so crazy you can see Scotland from there too!

  6. I would love to do the Causeway Coastal Walk! Sounds and looks fantastic! 🙂 And I just love the story of Finn McCool – know which version I believe too 😉 Aah, that torrential rain must have sucked, so sorry! But glad that you enjoyed it, overall.

  7. We love Giant’s Causeway! We went self-guided and got up super early to be among the first there but I really like the sound of this guided walk from the castle and getting more context from a local guide.

  8. I love the coastal approach here. You really get a sense of place and grandeur before you reach the causeway itself. I was looking at your pictures and thinking the weather didn’t look bad for Ireland. Guess I was wrong. I would have been so disappointed to have been rushed off the rocks early.

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