16 Stunning Walks To Take In Northern Ireland
It’s not all romantic and rugged coastlines.
Benone Strand Beach Walk, Londonderry
7 miles of white sandy gloriousness in Northern Ireland – who knew? This has to be one of the most beautiful walks to take in Londonderry, and one of the easiest too.
The standard walk along the North Coast is only a couple of miles long, but you can walk the entire stretch of the beach from Downhill to Magilligan Point. You can also bring your pup if you’re visiting outside of May and September, but it’s definitely at its most enjoyable on a warm (as warm as it gets in NI) summer’s day.
The Giant’s Causeway Coastal Walk, Antrim
In two miles you can squeeze in all of Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. Whilst it might seem like the “‘touristy” thing to do, it’s still pretty damn cool to walk over the giant, honeycomb-shaped rocks, and ponder at how they were actually formed.
The walk itself takes you down to the beach, over the Causeway and up towards the cliffs again. If you’re wanting to get the perfect Instagram, make sure you head down before the crowds hit the rocks. There’s something about small children that ruins those moody long exposure shots.
Ballintoy to Bushmills Walk, Antrim
This 12 mile ramble comes with a brilliant reward at the end: Bushmills Distillery. It also includes the aforementioned walk around the Giant’s Causeway, but this route starts at Larry Bane Bay, crossing Dunsverick Harbour, Benbane Head, the Giant’s Causeway and finishes in the town of Bushmills.
Hamilton’s Seat is the highest point of the track, and it offers epic views of the Northern coastline.
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Walk, Antrim
Carrick-a-Rede Island actually used to be an old salmon fishery, but now it’s just home to a rather noisy colony of birds.
The walk to the rope bridge is a great way to spend an afternoon, as the walk itself is tiny, but it’s so close to the Giant’s Causeway that you may as well tick off both. It’s also meant to be a brilliant viewpoint for spotting dolphins in summer.
Cave Hill Country Park Loop, Belfast
This is the easiest walk to do if you’re in the city for a few days, and you just need to get out for some fresh air.
It’s about a 15 minute drive up to the Belfast Castle Estate, and from then on the walk is well marked through the Cave Hill Country Park. On clearer days, you can see right across Belfast Lough.
Dunluce Castle Walk, Antrim
Murlough National Reserve Nature Trail, Dundrum
This nature trail has everything you could want on a walk. Excellent beach? Check. Epic backdrop of the Mourne Mountains? Check. Cosy café for hot cups of Punjana tea at the end? Check.
Tollymore Forest Park River Trail, Newcastle
We were never going to get through the article without a sly nod to the Game Of Thrones filming locations.
Tollymore Forest Park made its debut in the first episode of Season One, it’s also the spot where Ned Stark and the boys found the direwolf pups. Whilst you’re probably not going to come across Wildlings/adorable dogs, you will come across a number of romantic settings like Parnell’s Bridge and the Cascades on the Shimna River.
Gortin Forest Ladies View, Gortin
The Vinegar Hill route is the bigger walk around Gortin, joining onto Craignamaddy and the Ulster Way with 7 miles of lush green hills – and some excellent farm houses to spy on, too.
Binevenagh Scenic Loop, Londonderry/Antrim
Amazing landscape that makes me think about Game of Thrones. Seen from viewpoint on Bishop Road overlooking Magilligan, Co. Londonderry/Derry, Northern Ireland. #viewpoint #bishoproad #magilligan #londonderry #derry #loughfoyle #northernireland #ni #gameofthrones #landscape #nature #outdoors #shapes #rock #view #tourism #destination #uk #ireland #iloveireland #photooftheday #instalate #instaphoto #insta_ireland #ios8 #photoediting #snapseed
If you don’t fancy getting sand in your shoes on Benone Strand, take the scenic route around Magilligan Point. You still get the epic views and deliciously fresh coastal air, but you get it with a splash of greenery and a great viewpoint too.
Lough Erne & Lusty Beg, Fermanagh
Lusty Beg is the island that balances happily on the northern shores of Fermanagh’s lakeland. You can stay on the island for a weekend away in the wilderness, however as it’s only 75 acres you can’t walk too far.
The Loughshore Trail gives you great views of the island, but the Lough Navar Trail gives you much better fewer of the lakes, as well as a good work out. Take snacks and a raincoat – you’ll probably need it.
Belfast Murals Walking Tour, Belfast
Yes, you could take one of the walking tours or a Black Cab tour of the murals, but you could also take a look at the map and see which ones you want to tick off.
There are almost 300 murals in Northern Ireland, all signifying political and cultural moments in the regions history.
Mourne Wall Challenge, Down
To think people don’t know that this is on their doorstep. The Mourne Wall was built over 100 years ago, and you can walk along all 22km in the Mourne Wall Challenge.
They don’t advise groups of over 12 doing it, as they’re trying to preserve the area, but if you’re going to be walking 22 miles you’re going to want to bring a buddy with you.
Slieve Donard Walk, Newcastle
This linear route over Slieve Donard takes you to the highest point in Northern Ireland (it might only be 850m, but we’re proud of it).
On sunny days, you can see over to the Isle of Man and you get a beautiful view of Newcastle Beach. On cloudy days (when it inevitably throws it down) you can huddle up in one of the cafes in Newcastle over cheese toasties and tea.
P.S Slieve Donard is also included in the Mourne Wall Challenge, but this 3 mile option is much, much easier.
Silent Valley Reservoir Walk, Kilkeel
Milford Sound, you ain’t got nothing on this. Granted, this is a 9 mile trek, and you probably shouldn’t be dabbling with it if you’re unfit or with small children, but those who do try it are rewarded with the well-kept secret viewpoints of the Mourne Mountains.
Belfast Bar Crawl, Belfast
Pub crawls count as walks, right? Start by exiting the Europa and stroll straight into the mother of all gin palaces, The Crown Liquor Saloon. Then head to Robinson & Cleaver for top-notch steak, chips, and Guinness with a view of the city hall, before venturing into Cafe Vaudeville for a quick Instagram mission and a cocktail, then finish your night in one of the Cathedral Quarter’s .