Giant's Causeway world heritage site, Northern Ireland

Giant Causeway is a popular tourist destination in Northern Ireland. Tourists visiting both Belfast and Dublin often take day trips to Giant Causeway. When in Belfast, I did take a day trip to Giant Causeway for want of better alternatives. This post explains the destination as I saw it and some useful information about Giant Causeway if you're planning a trip.

What is Giant Causeway?
Giant Causeway is a beach area with thousands of interlocking rocks which seem like nicely cut and positioned to create a walkway into the ocean from the cliff. Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO world heritage site and a protected nature reserve under UK govt. The rock blocks are said to hexagonal but four, five edged ones are also found in plenty. Check some photos below.


How did Giant Causeway came into being?
While scientific reasons attribute it to volcanic activity, there're some mythological versions attributing the Causeway to a King who wanted to cross the ocean without wetting his feat. If interested, read more on Wikipedia and Visit Belfast websites.

How to reach Giant's Causeway?
Giant's Causeaway is about 60 miles north of Belfast on motorway, a little longer if you take scenic coastal route.

Option 1: Day trip from tour company
Dozens of tour companies operate from Belfast and Dublin conducting day trips to Giant's Causeway. Day trip from Belfast costs 25 GBP and from Dublin cost is about 50 GBP (approx, can vary 10-20% depending on operator, season etc). This will be most convenient option. Tour bus will also stop at few other interesting places such as Carrick-A-Rede Suspension Rope bridge etc.

I took a day tour from McComb's. It was fine experience- but got only about 90 minutes at Giant's Causeway-which was enough for the visit but couldn't walk the additional scenic trails. Detailed review here

Option 2: Bus from Belfast Europa Bus station
A bus operated by translink leaves Europa Bus station everyday at 9 AM, has a few pick up points on the way. Return ticket costs 13.1 GBP.

Advantages: Gives you more time at Giant's Causeway than a tour bus would- about 3 hours, 50% cheaper than a day tour ticket.
Disadvantages: Can't book in advance- need to buy ticket on the spot on the day of travel, no other stops on the way

Option 3: Train + Bus combo
Google map did show a train+bus combo route to Giant's causeway from Belfast, showing travel time of about 3 hours. Staff at Translink counter strongly recommended not to take this as time and money wise it doesn't make sense. She said Option 2 is better.

Option 4: Taxi/Rental car/Own vehicle drive
If you have a car or wish to rent and drive one or want luxury of a private taxi, you can.

What else to see/do at Giant's Causeway
1. Walking trails:
There're multiple walking trails around Giant's Causeway of varying length and difficulty level. View from the cliff will be nice. Depending on the time and energy you can decide to try a few of these. If you're taking a tour bus usually you won't have enough time for long walks.
2. Visitor Centre
Visitor centre entry is ticketed- about 12 GBP per adult- gives you access to shops, restrooms, cafe etc. It is not mandatory to go via visitor centre- entry to Giant's Causeway is free.

3. Causeway hotel- if you feel like spending a night in the locality

4. Cafe: There's a private coffee shop near parking area.

5. Stop at other attractions- 
Easy if you have a vehicle at disposal or your day tour includes these stops.
Carrik A Rede rope bridge , Bushmills distillery etc.

Other things to know while visiting Giant's Causeway:
1. Giant's Causeaway stones are about a mile from parking area. Free to walk but if you wish, shuttle buses are available (GBP 1/ Euro 1.2 each way
2. Walk carefully, beware of unstable rocks, slippery surfaces, strong winds
3. National Trust members get free entry to visitor's centre, shuttle bus etc. National Trust membership costs about 72 GBP an year and gets you free entry to lots of heritage spots maintained by National Trust- might be a good investment for those who stay in UK and travel often to tourist spots. Details here

Similar: Wicklow Mountain tour from Dublin * Edinburgh free to explore attractions * Brecon Beacons National Park * London Public Transport explained * 

4 comments:

Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.