How to get from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway (by car, train, bus and tour!)
The Giant’s Causeway is one of my favourite places to visit in Northern Ireland. It’s raw beauty is awe-inspiring – it’s a totally unmissable stop when visiting Belfast! Want to know how you can experience this incredible place for yourself? Here’s how to get from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway, by car, train, bus and tour.
Other Northern Ireland posts you might like…
- Top 10 things to do in Belfast (as recommended by a local!)
- Find the most iconic Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland!
What is the Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway is one of Northern Ireland’s most remarkable and popular sites. With over 300,000 tourists visiting every year!
It’s an area of rock formations which consist of around 40,000 interlocking basalt hexagon shaped columns forming huge stepping stones – reaching as high as 39 feet!
Many of the columns fit together so tightly that when you view it from the cliff edge, it looks like a man made street!
This incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and a landscape of dramatic cliffs which has inspired artists and stirred scientific debate for centuries now.
How was the Giant’s Causeway formed?
There has been much scientific debate about this over the years. However, scientists believe that the honey-comb pattern of basalt columns was formed during a volcano eruption over 60 million years ago.
The thick lava ran down the cliff face so quickly that it dried and contracted into the distinctive shapes and step-like columns you see today.
This also explains why they form by the cliff edge and disappear right into the sea.
Why is it called ‘the Giant’s Causeway’?
According to local mythology, the Giant’s Causeway wasn’t created by a volcano but by a giant named Finn McCool! Which admittedly is a much cooler story and just adds to the mystery of the causeway I think!
The story goes that Finn had an issue with a Scottish giant who lived 25 miles across the sea. But as he wasn’t a good swimmer. So he decided to use the materials that the volcanoes had left behind to build a causeway to Scotland.
He called it, “The Giant’s Causeway”.
Where is the Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway is just over an hour’s drive North of Belfast in Bushmills, Northern Ireland.
What makes it so special?
I didn’t know anything about the Giant’s Causeway before I visited Belfast and I was completely awestruck when I got there!
The unique rock formations, dramatic cliffs and crashing waves makes the Giant’s Causeway quite the sight to behold!
There are some experiences in life that you know are going to be amazing and you know you’ll never forget. But I had no idea the Giant’s Causeway would have such an effect on me.
There’s nowhere else like it on Earth – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
How do I get from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway by tour?
Getting to the Giant’s Causeway via a guided tour is the easiest and most convenient way in my opinion! One of the best things about it is you don’t have to drive or navigate.
As an inexperienced driver I personally find it a lot less stressful to book a guided tour!
It’s also a lot cheaper. A day trip on a guided tour may cost you around £30 on average? However, renting a car for the day, plus petrol (especially in this economy!) would set you back a lot more.
I also enjoy asking the guides lots of extra questions and meeting new people!
When I visited the Giant’s Causeway, it was with McCombs Coach Travel for a Game of Thrones Tour – which was so much fun!
However, there are several different tours from Belfast that cover the Giant’s Causeway. Here are a few I would recommend:
–From Belfast: Giant’s Causeway Fully Guided Day Trip – combining the Giant’s Causeway and Northern Ireland’s most stunning destinations. These include: the Cushendun Caves, Carnlough Harbour, the Dark Hedges as well as Carrickfergus and Dunluce Castles.
–From Belfast: Game of Thrones and Giant’s Causeway Day Tour – a great option that combines a visit to the Giant’s Causeway with all the most iconic Game of Thrones filming locations. These include: the Cushendun Caves, Carnlough Harbour, Ballintoy Harbour and the Dark Hedges.
–From Belfast: Giant’s Causeway and Titanic Belfast Tour – combining the Giant’s Causeway and some Game of Thrones filming locations. This tour also includes coverage of the history of Titanic and free entry to the museum in Belfast.
–From Belfast: Giant’s Causeway Guided Tour with Admissions – a great option that combines visits to the Giant’s Causeway, Carnlough, Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus Castle and the Bushmills Distillery. Here you will learn more about the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.
–From Belfast: Hop-on Hop-off Northern Ireland Bus Tour – see Northern Ireland’s most popular sights via the convenience of a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Choose from a 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day pass and create your own itinerary and adventure. These include popular sights such as the famous Carrick-A-Rede Bridge, the Giant’s Causeway and Game of Thrones filming locations.
How do I get to the Giant’s Causeway by car?
Travelling to the Giant’s Causeway by car from Belfast is super easy.
On average it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to reach the causeway via the M2 motorway. But it’s pretty much a straight line drive – so simple to navigate!
However, if you travel the longer more scenic coast road, you’ll get to stop at the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. You’ll also be able to visit Carrickfergus Castle and Dunluce Castle en route.
The coast route takes about half an hour longer but the gorgeous scenery is well-worth the extra travel time!
The main car park adjacent to the causeway’s visitor centre is reserved for members and ticket holders. However, there is car parking available at 60 Causeway Road for the use of visitors, which costs £10 per car.
Alternatively, there is free parking at the Bushmills Train Station. There you can then board a short two mile train to the Giant’s Causeway.
How do I get to the Giant’s Causeway by public transport?
Getting to the Giant’s Causeway by public transport is a bit more challenging than by car or tour but is totally doable!
It takes between two to three hours and you have two options to choose from:
Option one: take the 221 bus to Aird from Belfast’s Europa Buscentre and get off at the ‘Giants Causeway – The Nook’ stop. From there it is around 30 minutes to walk to the Giant’s Causeway.
This route will take you just over two hours. However, the bus itself is only an hour and a half so isn’t that much longer than if you decided to drive.
Option two: take the train from Yorkgate Train Station to Coleraine Train Station (which is one hour and 16 minutes). Then walk one minute to the Coleraine Buscentre and take the 402 bus to Ballycastle to the ‘Giants Causeway – The Nook’ stop. From there it is a 30 minute walk to the Giant’s Causeway.
This route will take you just under three hours. However, I would only recommend it if you planned to see other landmarks along the way in Coleraine for example.
Otherwise I would just take the bus straight there from Belfast’s Europa Buscentre.
Top 10 facts about the Giant’s Causeway
Just incase you weren’t excited enough for your trip, here are my favourite facts about the Giant’s Causeway. Just to give you a little more background on this amazing natural wonder!
1) It was voted as the 4th best natural wonder in the UK.
2) In 1986, UNESCO declared the rock formation a World Heritage Site – the only one in Northern Ireland!
3) The rocky coastline around the Giant’s Causeway has caused many shipwrecks. In 1588 over 1,000 men were sadly killed when a Spanish ship sank after hitting one of the rocks.
4) The Giant’s Causeway is home to Europe’s first ever hydro-electric tram. It opened in 1883 and runs between Portrush and the causeway itself.
5) Weathering of the rock formation has also created circular structures, which the locals call, ‘giant’s eyes’.
6) Rock features in reference to the infamous ‘giant’ include: the Giant’s Eyes, Giant’s Boot, Camel’s Hum and Chimney Stacks.
7) The Giant’s Causeway was first documented in 1693 and has been intensively studied by geologists ever since.
8) Humans settled around the Giant’s Causeway in the 19th century, but the site is now uninhabited.
9) Scientists date the rock formations to be around 50-60 million years old.
10) The Giant’s Causeway is featured as the backdrop in many TV shows and films. These include: Hell Boy 2, Dracula Untold and even The Simpsons!
Have you travelled from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland yet? 😊
Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links to various tours. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!