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Antrim Coastal Road Northern Ireland

Classic Ireland at Leisure

(14 days / 13 nights)

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TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN PACE AROUND THE EMERALD ISLE

If you want to see all the top Irish locations while travelling at a leisurely pace, then this is the tour for you! Picture yourself driving along winding roads, with rolling peaks, rugged sea cliffs and historical landmarks at every corner. This is what you can expect on this 2-week road trip. You’ll have time to explore Dublin before travelling to Northern Ireland. Then you’ll drive down the west coast, choosing when and where you want to stop.

Would you prefer having your own guide? Check out a private tour with similar itinerary.

14 days / 13 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in EUR

Approx 3016 EUR

— Why book with Nordic Visitor

  • Seamless travel experience
  • Handpicked hotels and routes designed by Ireland experts
  • Reliable rental cars with trusted Irish partner
  • Comprehensive itinerary, personalised map & travel guide
  • 24/7 helpline during your tour
  • Service from trusted Ireland travel experts
  • Great customer reviews
  • Carbon offsetting included

Read more

— Cancellation Protection

  • Rebook your tour on one occasion, or
  • Cancel for any reason and receive a partial refund and travel credit

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the historic and vibrant Irish capital, Dublin
  • Roam around the Northern Irish capital, Belfast, and see the incredible Giant’s Causeway
  • Experience the gems of Ireland’s most iconic driving route, the Ring of Kerry
  • Delve into the magic of the lunar-like area of the Burren
  • Discover the northernmost reaches of the island in the city of Derry and the rugged area of Donegal
  • Immerse yourself in traditional Irish culture and music in Galway
  • Walk along gigantic sea cliffs to take in the beauty of the renowned Cliffs of Moher
  • Discover ancient castles and medieval sites such as Bunratty Castle and The Rock of Cashel
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle and receive the “Gift of Gab”
  • Enjoy a road trip with peace of mind with your personal itinerary from a travel expert

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Countryside and natural scenery i, Culture and History i, Slow Paced i

Season

Apr - Oct

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

1915/1190 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

  • Day 1: Arrival in Dublin

    Upon your arrival in Dublin, make your way to your accommodation in the city centre. You may choose to take a taxi or use public transport. For a more direct and comfortable ride, we are happy to organise a private airport transfer for you.

    If you’re arriving early in the day, start exploring the city today. Take a stroll along the cobbled streets of the Temple Bar district or grab a pint at the Guinness Storehouse for a taste of the world-famous beer. You could visit the historic Trinity College to see the ancient Book of Kells or stroll along the characterful O’Connell Street. Another option is to book an afternoon tea sightseeing tour of the city on a vintage bus for a unique experience.

    Spend the night in Dublin. 

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 2: Explore Dublin

    You have a whole day to explore Dublin, the Irish capital, at your leisure. You’ll find a city with an eclectic mixture of heritage sites, museums and historic pubs and there’s many ways to take advantage of it.

    You can learn more about Ireland’s troubled past at the Kilmainham Gaol or Dublin Castle. Or discover your own ties to Ireland at the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. Or enjoy a sunny day outdoors at Phoenix Park. Another highlight you won’t want to miss is the famed St Patrick’s Cathedral.

    Spend another night in Dublin. 

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 3: Megalithic Newgrange & Landscapes

    Today, you start your road trip, so pick up your rental car and set off! Your first stop is the charming 12th-century Malahide Castle. Further along, you could visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Newgrange, where you can see megalithic passage tombs which are believed to be older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. This is one of Ireland’s most popular and fascinating attractions. Next, stop to admire the high crosses of Monasterboice, the historic ruins of a Christian settlement. Then cross into Northern Ireland to reach the capital Belfast.

    Spend the night in Belfast.

    Average driving distance: 191 km / 121 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 4: Discover Belfast

    Today you have a full day to explore Belfast, an exciting city with a mix of Victorian grandeur, industrial grit and living history. Don’t miss out on the city’s leading attraction, the Titanic Belfast. Experience the story of the world’s largest and most luxurious ship, which was constructed here in 1909. You can also see the Peace Walls and their famous murals and admire the architecture of the City Hall. Or opt to visit the Ulster Folk Museum, a complete recreation of an early 1900s traditional Northern Irish town.

    Spend the night in Belfast.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 5: Giant’s Causeway & Antrim Coast

    Explore the beautiful Antrim Coast. First, pass by the atmospheric Dark Hedges, a striking Game of Thrones filming location. If you prefer, skip this sight and follow the Antrim Coast via the town of Cushendall for a scenic detour. Then, enjoy a scenic coastal walk at Carrick-a-Rede to cross its rope bridge swaying 30 metres (98 feet) above the sea. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the cliffs below.

    The highlight of the day is the jewel of Northern Ireland and World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway, with its iconic basalt columns. Nearby, you can visit Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest whiskey distillery. We also recommend stopping for a view of the breathtaking, medieval ruins of Dunluce Castle, located by dramatic coastal cliffs.

    Spend the night in the Derry area.

    Average driving distance: 183 km / 114 miles
    Average driving distance via the Antrim Coast: 200 km / 123 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 6: Discover Derry & The North Irish Coast

    Spend the morning discovering the historic town of Derry. You can walk the city walls and visit the Bogside murals. Or learn more about the history of the town at the Free Derry Museum.

    Later, you’ll cross back into Ireland to explore the region of Donegal. Don’t miss the Grianan of Aileach fort just across the border. Further along, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the town of Letterkenny. It is famous for its Gothic cathedral and its long main street dotted with shops.

    Spend the night in the Donegal area.

    Average driving distance: 84 km / 52 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 7: Wild Atlantic Way & Slieve League Cliffs

    Today, you can decide to have a relaxed day in the Donegal area or get your first taste of the iconic Wild Atlantic Way route. This is a coastal journey past soaring cliffs, buzzing towns, epic bays and hidden beaches.

    As your first stop we recommend Glenveagh National Park where you could go admire or hike through its towering mountains and enchanting woodlands. Drive past the imposing Mount Errigal and over the winding Glengesh Pass to Glencolumbkille, one of Ireland’s best living-history museums. Then experience breathtaking views at the imposing cliffs of Slieve League, which, at 600 metres (nearly 2,000 feet), are some of the highest marine cliffs in Europe.

    Spend another night in the Donegal area.

    Average driving distance: 223 km / 138 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 8: Connemara National Park

    Drive south through County Sligo, driving past the stunning Ben Bulben, perhaps one of Ireland’s most recognisable mountains. Then you’ll arrive in the striking region of Connemara with its landscapes characterised by rugged mountains, white sand beaches, picturesque lakes and heathlands. Stop in the town of Westport and then by Killary harbour, Ireland’s only true fjord with a length of 16 kilometres (9.9 miles). Further along, visit Kylemore Abbey where you can admire spectacular Gothic architecture and take a stroll in the Victorian Walled Garden.

    If time allows, drive the circular Sky Road near Clifden for broad views of the Atlantic and arrive in Galway, a lively and colourful city.

    Spend the night in the Galway area.

    Average driving distance: 327 km / 203 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 9: Galway or The Aran Islands

    You can choose your own adventure today. You could spend the day experiencing all that Galway has to offer. This way you could wander through the centre, discovering Eyre Square, the Latin Quarter or Salthill by the sea.

    Or you could take the ferry for a day out on the Aran Islands. These 3 windswept islands are one of the few places where the Gaelic language, culture and music still truly thrive. Don’t miss the prehistoric fort Dun Aengus overlooking the Atlantic. You could also opt for a traditional horse & carriage tour, the most popular way to get around.

    Spend another night in the Galway area.

    Average driving distance for Aran Islands: 76 km / 47 miles

    Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 10: Cliffs of Moher & Limestone Landscapes

    Start the day by visiting Dunguaire Castle. Sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking Galway Bay, it is one of the most photographed castles in Ireland. Further ahead, explore the unique, lunar-like landscape of The Burren. Then you’ll arrive at the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s top attraction, showcasing some of the country’s most iconic coastal scenery.

    Continue your drive south and, if time allows, you can stop by the 15th-century Bunratty Castle. Here you’ll also find the Bunratty Folk Park, where you can experience what Irish rural life used to be like a century ago.

    Spend the night in the Killarney/Tralee area.

    Average driving distance: 269 km / 167 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 11: Ring of Kerry

    Take in the magic of the Ring of Kerry, a classic “must-do” scenic drive of the Irish countryside. Stop at Kells Bay House, to see its primeval forest of planted giant ferns. Other highlights include the ancient stone forts of Caherdaniel and Staigue, and Derrynane Bay with its beautiful white sand. Complete the circle with a visit to the picturesque Torc Waterfall. Today, you could also take an optional boat tour from the coast to see the Skellig Islands from up close. These otherworldly islands were recently featured in the Star Wars movies.

    Spend another night in the Killarney/Tralee area.

    Average driving distance: 198 km / 123 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 12: Ancient Castles & The Blarney Stone

    Today, you can visit Blarney Castle, a legendary medieval stronghold that houses the Blarney Stone, surrounded by many myths and tales. Later, you could spend some time or grab lunch in Cork, Ireland’s “second city”. It’s a buzzing place with a vibrant cultural scene.

    Then head north to Cashel, where you can visit the spectacular Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most visited attractions. The historic site is a fantastic collection of medieval buildings that span over 1,000 years of history. Continue to Kilkenny, a medieval town nestled around a majestic 12th-century castle.

    Spend the night in the Kilkenny area.

    Average driving distance: 241 km / 150 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 13: Through the Wicklow Mountains to Dublin

    If you wish to spend more time exploring Dublin, you can head straight to the city this morning.

    Alternatively, we highly recommend a drive through the scenic Wicklow Mountains to take in the beautiful views. In the area you could visit Glendalough, a 6th-century monastic settlement, and the Powerscourt Estate, featuring the restored mansion Powerscourt House. On the estate, you will find Ireland’s highest waterfall as well as magnificent gardens.

    Back in Dublin, enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure, perhaps with a fine Irish dinner to top off your memorable journey.

    Spend the night in Dublin.

    Average driving distance: 123 km / 77 miles
    Average driving distance via scenic route: 165 km / 102 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 14: Departure from Dublin

    It’s time to say goodbye to Ireland. When you need to head to the airport, you can take a taxi, or we can arrange a convenient private transfer directly from your hotel. If your flight is in the afternoon, you can spend the morning enjoying some last-minute shopping, visiting one of the many attractions or simply relaxing and taking in the atmosphere of the city one last time.

    See Activities for this day

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

We recommend adding your extra activities to the tour now for the best booking experience and to secure your spot, as activities are likely to sell out.

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Essential information

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this self-drive tour in Ireland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Ireland Travel Guide.

On a self-drive tour, Nordic Visitor supplies you with a quality rental car and a detailed personal itinerary. You act as your own tour guide and driver, and you get to pick the road trip music!

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your rental car and accommodation in Ireland, along with planned activities, as specified in the itinerary.

As this is a self-guided tour, you’re welcome to stop whenever and wherever you wish along the way. Except for accommodation and booked activities, other highlights we’ve listed in the itinerary are suggestions based on Nordic Visitor favourites.

And rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive personalised information, including an itinerary, hand-annotated map and our very own Ireland Travel Guide. Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us.

The minimum age to hire a car in Ireland is 21. Please note that you will need to have held a valid driver’s licence for at least 5 years to rent a car. A small fee will also apply to any drivers under 25.

If you are under 25, you may also be restricted in the size of vehicle you are able to rent. Please contact your personal Travel Consultant if you are unsure about which car to choose.

There is no maximum age, but our car rental partner has some requests for those 75 and older.

If you are between 75 and 79, you should be driving regularly. You will also need to provide 2 letters:

  1. One from your doctor to state that you have been in good health for at least the last 12 months.
  2. One from your insurance provider stating that you have not had an accident in 5 years. It should also confirm that you hold a car insurance policy and are currently driving.

If you are 80 or older, please contact us directly. We’ll look at alternatives for you.

This applies to all those who want to drive on your self-drive trip.

During your Ireland tour, you’ll stay in accommodation hand-picked by our travel experts. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience.

In Ireland, you can choose from single or double rooms. Twin, triple and family rooms are not commonly available. Please also note that in Ireland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America.

For example, a double room often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. And single rooms are often smaller than the standard double.

Due to the historic nature of the properties we usually select, most of the rooms are only accessible by stairs. Lifts are not common in Irish hotels. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are not able to walk up stairs.

Travelling with your kids? No problem! Just let your travel consultant know during the booking process. We’ll arrange any cots needed at your accommodation.

If you need multiple rooms, please note that we can't guarantee family rooms or interconnecting rooms at all accommodation. You may even have rooms on different floors.

If you'd like us to arrange for a car seat to be provided for your trip, please let us know ahead of time. This will incur a small extra cost.

The roads in Ireland are usually in good condition all year long and are renowned for their road trip worthiness.

Please be aware that in Ireland motorists drive on the left side of the road (and on the right side of the car). If you are not used to driving on the left, we highly recommend choosing a vehicle with automatic transmission for your self-drive tour.

If you want a manual transmission vehicle, keep in mind that you will need to shift gears with your left hand (floor pedals are the same).

Drivers will need to get used to the narrower roads of Ireland as well as the rural single-track roads. If you meet another driver on one of these single-track roads, one of you needs to tuck into a passing place, which might be behind you. In these areas, you should also be careful of animals on the road.

It’s also a good idea to plan how you will navigate around Ireland ahead of time. Your travel consultant will prepare a detailed hand-annotated map of your route to help you stay on track.

We also recommend using navigation apps on your phone, such as Google Maps. Make sure to download the route ahead of time, in case you don’t have signal in the more rural areas.

For inexperienced drivers who still want to explore and discover Ireland, we recommend one of our guided small group tours or privately guided tours. On these tours you’ll have a local, experienced driver at the wheel.

While Ireland isn’t known for its heat, summers on the Emerald Isle usually feature plenty of warm days. It’s also the driest time of year to visit.

Between May and September, you can expect temperatures of around 13°C–18°C (55°F–65°F). Due to humidity, this can feel a lot warmer, especially in cities like Dublin.

That said, the weather is also very changeable, so you’ll want to come prepared for anything. Rain is always a possibility, and when the sun sets you might need a warm jumper or jacket. We’ve prepared a useful packing guide to help you decide what to bring with you.

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. This means that your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit. If something unexpected occurs, you can call our 24/7 helpline to speak directly with a Nordic Visitor staff member.

Whatever time of year you’re in Ireland, you’re likely to see lots of different types of weather. As you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors it’s a good idea to come prepared for a combination of weather conditions.

Here is a recommended packing list for a summer trip:

  • A warm jumper or fleece
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Good walking shoes or boots (especially if you intend to hike and go on nature walks)
  • Light scarf or thin sweater
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat

For more information, check this packing list suggestion.

There are limited laundry facilities in Ireland’s countryside, but you will find some laundrettes in Dublin. Some hotels do offer dry cleaning for an additional cost.

On your Ireland road trip, you should budget for petrol costs of around €1.60–€2 per litre.

As for meals, your breakfast is included at all your accommodation in Ireland. For the rest of your food, your spending money will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to.

Budget between €15–€20 per person for each day’s lunch. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between €20–€25. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay €40–€50 or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

If you’re arriving from the UK, Canada, the United States, Australia or the European Union, you won’t need a visa to visit Ireland.

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Ireland on the website of Ireland’s Citizens Information Board.

If you are not an EU citizen, your passport will need to be valid for at least 6 months after the date of your departure from Ireland. It’s a good idea to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it.

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline.

During your tour, there will always be an Edinburgh-based travel expert on call to handle any unforeseen situations, such as unusual weather or events.

Yes, you can customise this tour online. During the booking process, you can easily add extra nights to your itinerary as well as optional day trips, excursions and upgrades.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the availability calendar to see which months are open for booking. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking. 

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits so you can reserve your trip as early as it’s convenient for you. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel. 

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well ahead. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

No need! Nordic Visitor is already working on offsetting the estimated carbon footprint of your package. We’ve partnered with an environmental fund in Iceland to carbon offset all our tours.

Carbon offsetting your international flights is not included, but we highly recommend you look into possibilities with your airline or directly through a local environment fund. 

You can get in touch with our Ireland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Ireland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll send you e-copies of your travel documents.

Upon your arrival in Ireland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Ireland Travel Guide and more.

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll send you e-copies of your travel documents.

Upon your arrival in Scotland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Scotland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Ireland?

After picking up your luggage, make your way to your accommodation in the Dublin city centre. We recommend one of the airport buses or to hop in a taxi directly to your hotel.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2–4 PM.

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel if you have to wait. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching public transport or a taxi to the airport.

All bookings are billed in Euros (EUR), the local currency in Ireland.

Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate. This means conversions from EUR to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Comfort Plus

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in good quality 3-star guesthouses or country hotels.

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Superior

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in 4-star hotels or boutique guesthouses.

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Rental car

Enjoy your journey with one of these vehicles and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to reduce liability.

Opel Astra (Manual)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x2
  • M

Opel Astra (Manual)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Manual

Kia Picanto (Automatic)
or similar

  • x4
  • x5
  • x2
  • A

Kia Picanto (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Economy
  • Passengers: 4
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Toyota Corolla (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Corolla (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Skoda Octavia (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Skoda Octavia (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Standard
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Volvo S90 (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Volvo S90 (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Premium
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Nissan Qashqai (Automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x3
  • A

Nissan Qashqai (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate SUV
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Automatic

Ford Transit (Automatic)
or similar

  • x8
  • x4
  • x6
  • A

Ford Transit (Automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Luxury Passenger Van
  • Passengers: 8
  • Luggage: 6
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Automatic

Price per person from

The amount will be charged in EUR

Approx 3016 EUR

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2024
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