We are often asked what is the best was to get to the Giants Causeway. Our answer is almost always the same, it depends, and it depends on you and how you like to travel as there are so many different ways to get here. So we have pulled together a few different ways to get here.
Where is the Giants Causeway?
Ok, so let us start with where exactly is the Giants Causeway. The Causeway sits on the North Coast of the Island of Ireland, an area known as the Causeway Coast. However, it is not actually in the country of Ireland. It sits in the county of Antrim which is part of Northern Ireland, which itself is part of the United Kingdom or Britain. Well, not go into the geopolitics of this, best saved for someone else.
The Causeway sits between the towns of Bushmills, famous for its Whisky Distillery and Ballycastle, famous for the historic Auld Lammas Fayre. Close by are the seaside towns of Portstewart and Portrush, homer to the 2019 Open Golf Championship and the 2018 Irish Open.
Belfast is around 60 miles (100km), or just over an hours drive, to the south-east and Dublin, about 160 miles (270km) or 3 hours drive away.
How to Get Here By Car?
There are two ways to get to the Giants Causeway from Belfast, the first which we will detail below is the most direct and takes around an hour and 15 minutes. The second is along the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route; you can find more about this route here. We highly recommend that if you have time you take this route, you won’t be disappointed.
Leaving Belfast on the M2, follow the signs for “The North”, and no these are not part of the Game of Thrones, it will also be signposted for Londonderry and International Airport. This is where the Causeway Coastal Route and the direct Route split off and above.
Follow this motorway for around 17 miles (28km) until you reach Junction 1 of the M2 Motorway and see signposts for Antrim, Ballymena, Coleraine A26 (see image below)
Come off the Motorway at this junction, get in the right hand or middle lane of the off-ramp and take the third exit, which will be signposted “B’MENA ONLY” & A26. Follow the A26 for a further 7 miles (11km) until you reach the Ballee Roundabout (known to locals as the Seven Towers Round-a-bout)
From here take the 3rd exit onto A26 heading to Coleraine/Ballymena A26 on a green signpost. This will take you onto the A26 “Frosses Road”. Follow this for approx 15 miles (25km) until you reach the next roundabout.
At this roundabout take the first exit signposted for “A26 Coleraine Ballymoney” and follow the road for 8 miles (13km) to Ballymoney going straight over at the Kilraughts Roundabout and onto the (2nd roundabout) Portrush Road Roundabout.
At Portrush Rd Roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Ballybogey Rd/B62 it will be signposted Portrush B52, Ballybogey, Bushmills (B17) on a white signpost and “GIANTS CAUSEWAY 12” on a Brown sign.
Follow this road (the B62) for 10 miles (16km) through the village of Ballybogey and onto Portrush. You can turn off after about 7 miles (10 km) onto the Priestland Road. Through the town of Bushmills (which is a great place to stop), however, we recommend going via Portrush for the epic views of Royal Portrush Golf Club, The North Atlantic and Dunluce Castle.
Once you reach Portrush (you’ll see the Royal Court Hotel on your right), take a (very very) sharp right hand turn onto the A2/Causeway Coastal Route. The Atlantic should now be on your left-hand side. Follow this route for 4 miles (6km) along the coast past Magheracross View Point (great for views of Portrush, Dunluce Castle and on a clear day Islay & Jura) Dunluce Castle and Portballintrae to Bushmills.
Once in Bushmills, you will pass the Old Bushmills Railway on your left and the then Bushmills Inn before getting to the Market Square Roundabout, here take the first turn off (left) and follow the road through Bushmills. The route will be signposted Giants Causeway. There is a Park & Ride Facility in Bushmills which can be useful in peak season.
Follow this road for about a mile (2km) out of Bushmills.
You will now see the Smugglers Inn on your right, and you should follow the signposts for Giants Causeway (left-hand turn).
Follow this road for about a mile, and you will see the Giants Causeway Visitor Centre and Hotel on your left-hand side. You can find out more below about Parking.
Travelling by Rail to The Giant's Causeway
Translink operates a regular timetable, usually every hour or less between Belfast and Coleraine. You can find the schedule here, or use their app/website here. The journey from Belfast Central takes around an hour and 20 minutes through the Antrim countryside.
From Coleraine, you will have to change to get a bus (the 172/402 (see timetable) from the bus station, which is part of the same building as the Train Station.
You can also change (see timetables) for trains to Portrush. Trains run every hour, and the journey takes around 10 minutes. There are two stations in Portrush. Dhu Varren, which is on the western entrance overlooking West Strand and Portrush Station in the centre of town.
From Portrush, you can pick up the 172/402 (see timetable) at the Dunluce Centre (about a 3-minute walk from the Main Portrush Station. This is a much more beautiful route in our opinion, as the train passes through the countryside and along the famous West Strand Beach.
The Derry-Londonderry rail line is one of the most scenic train trips in the world. The route weaves along cliffs, through tunnels under temples, past over two runways and along the banks of Loch Foyle.
Many famous train enthusiasts, such as Micheal Palin and Micheal Portillo, have written fantastically about the Derry-Londonderry line.
You can see our trip earlier this year from Coleraine to Derry.
The trip takes around 35 minutes and is one we highly recommend.
As with the trains from Belfast, you will have to change for either Portrush or get a bus (see above)
Getting to The Giant's Causeway by Bus
Translink runs several bus options for getting to the Giants Causeway from the Causeway Rambler, Ulster Bus and Goldline depending where you are coming from.
From Belfast and Derry-Londonderry
When coming from Belfast, you can use the regular 218 Goldline (Timetable here) coach service from Belfast. This can be boarded at Great Victoria Street Bus terminal. From Derry~Londonderry you can pick up the 234 Goldline from (timetable here) the Foyle Street bus station or the new Train station on the other side of the river.
Both of these services arrive at Coleraine Rail and Bus station, where you can easily jump on the 172 or 402 buses (see timetables) that will take you to the Giants Causeway Via Portrush.