The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most breath taking sites. A certified UNESCO World Heritage Site, named the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom, Giant’s Causeway’s network of hexagonal basalt columns should be on any explorer’s bucket list.
Located on the northern coast, The Giant’s Causeway is best accessed via a guided tour from Northern Ireland’s capital city of Belfast. There are many companies willing to take you on this day trip from Belfast to the coast, but for the best experience and the best stops along the way, stick to one of these top three rated tours.
- Odyssey Coaches – Odyssey Coaches limits tour groups in size and transports you in a small coach in order to offer you a more personal experience. They offer free hotel pickups if you request in advance. The coach travels inland directly towards the Causeway in the morning, affording stops at Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, Ireland’s oldest working distillery, and the ruins of Dunluce Castle atop a basalt cliff, for a photo stop.
You are then given two hours to explore The Giant’s Causeway and its ancient stones. Pack a lunch, or plan to visit one of the authentic restaurants for a taste of coastal Irish cuisine. The drive back takes you along the eastern coast, with a stop at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The brave can pay a small fee to travel across the bridge on foot, while others can snap photos and amble about the beautiful landscape.
The ride home is along the Antrim Coast Road, or Coastal Causeway Route, which is regarded as one of the world’s most dramatic scenic routes. As the coach hugs the coastline, you will be enchanted by dramatic cliffs and untouched beaches. The consistent high ratings and unique small-coach experience puts Odyssey Coaches as the #3 Giant’s Causeway Tour.
- McComb’s Coach Travel – McComb’s Coach Travel sets itself apart as the longest-running tour from Belfast to Giant’s Causeway. They also offer free pickup within the city centre if you inquire upon booking. Their luxury coach takes you up the coastal route, affording you the gorgeous views of Northern Ireland’s eastern coast. The first stop is at Carrickfergus Castle on the shore of Belfast Lough, an important artifact of military history controlled in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French, and one of Northern Ireland’s most well-preserved castles.
Next, the coach stops at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, originally built by salmon fishermen and spanning over 60 feet to connect the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-a-Rede. The tour then stops at Bushmills Whiskey Distillery, giving you time to wet your whistle over lunch. The afternoon gives you a long stop at The Giant’s Causeway itself, giving you time to climb over the stones and learn about the myths and legends of the site.
The ride back is more direct, featuring only one stop at the dramatic ruins of Dunluce Castle to stretch your legs and snap pictures of the unforgettable scene. As the oldest tour with highly-rated guides of great historical knowledge, McComb’s Coach Travel offers the #2 Giant’s Causeway Tour.
- Allen’s Tours – Allen’s Tours offers special rates, giving you the top tour to The Giant’s Causeway at less than what you would pay for competitors. Not only that, but the tour takes you to unique villages you would not see on other tours. They offer free pickup upon request as well.
The first stop of the day is at the infamous Carrickfergus Castle, with time to walk around and take photos. Next, the coach drives through the dramatic Glens of Antrim, a series of majestic valleys that offer iconic images of Ireland. You will pass through the idyllic villages of Glenarm, Carnlough, Cushendall, Balleycastle and Ballintoy, each with its own distinctive charm.
In between Balleycastle and Ballintoy, the coach stops at the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge with time to explore and cross if you wish. For refreshment, the coach stops at the Causeway Cafe and the Bushmills Whiskey Distillery before the main attraction of The Giant’s Causeway. You will have ample time to explore the 60 million year-old stone formations and learn the local lore of their formation. The drive back affords a stop at the gorgeous and historic Dunluce Castle. With the award of Best Tour Company Worldwide by hostelworld.com and a unique drive, Allen’s Belfast Bus Tours is your #1 choice.