A great base for beaches, seaside resorts, and exploring the Causeway Coast.
Coleraine is a solid starting point for exploring the Causeway Coast with easy access to the seaside towns of Portstewart and Portrush, as well as the 11-kilometre-long Benone Strand and Downhill Beach. From here, the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle are within easy reach, and further afield along the coast from Ballycastle are the nine Glens of Antrim. You can also take a ferry across to Inishowen in County Donegal, or find plenty of camping and holiday parks on the coast and around Portstewart and Portrush.
Both 10 minutes’ drive from Coleraine, these are two typical seaside resort towns with a holiday feel in summer. Walk the golden stands, explore the dunes, or take to the waves. Both have plenty of camping options—check out area holiday parks for everything from tent pitches to geodomes.
The Causeway Coastal Route is considered one of the world’s most scenic drives. Highlights along the way include the unique rock formations at the Giant’s Causeway, the cliff-top ruins of Dunluce Castle, and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. The nine glens of Antrim start from Ballycastle, with forest parks and waterfalls, plus heritage villages like Cushendall and Cushendun on the coastal side.
Take in the golden sands of the 10-kilometre-long Benone Strand, then drive to Magilligan Point to hop on a ferry across Lough Foyle to Greencastle and explore Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula and its beaches. Head to Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point, for serene coastal walks.
The city of Derry (or Londonderry) is set on the River Foyle and its 1.6-km-long walls are some of the best preserved in Europe—take a tour to learn about the bastions, gateways, and ramparts. The impressive 1633 St. Columb’s Cathedral is full of stories, while the stained glass windows at the Guildhall capture some of the city’s history.
The best weather is usually from May to September, a time that draws crowds and tour busses to seaside towns, as well as to the Giant’s Causeway. Campsites can get busy, so advance planning is recommended. Weather can change at short notice so always be prepared for rain.