Everybody loves a great view, whether you’re travelling somewhere new or soaking up what your local area has to offer. Northern Ireland has an abundance of great views that are a feast for the eyes. Here are ten amazing scenic walks you must experience when in Northern Ireland.
10. Navan Fort
For the best view of Armagh, Northern Ireland’s smallest city, a walk at Navan Fort on a clear day is an absolute must. Park at the Navan Centre, take a short stroll to Navan Fort and be rewarded with spectacular views of Saint Patrick’s City, with the spires of the two cathedrals standing proudly above the skyline.
9. Whiterocks Beach
Take a leisurely walk along the golden sands of Whiterocks Beach in Portrush and you will be rewarded with a view of varied natural phenomena: the striking white chalk cliffs, sea stacks and a chalk arch. On top of the geological wonders, you will also get a glimpse of the haunting ruin of Dunluce Castle looming on a cliff edge in the distance.
8. Hare’s Gap
Not such an easy-going walk, a trek up to Hare’s Gap in the Mourne Mountains in County Down will afford the hiker with awe-inspiring panoramic views, as well as an up close look at the famous Mourne Wall. The dramatic mountain pass was formed by the slow movement of a glacier that carved out the landscape.
7. Cave Hill, Belfast
If you’re looking for a great view of Northern Ireland’s capital city, look no further than Cave Hill. From below, the basaltic outcrop known as ‘Napoleon’s Nose’ makes the hill easily recognisable. From the summit, you can enjoy sweeping views over the city, all the way to the Mourne Mountains, and on a clear day, the Isle of Man and the Mull of Galloway in Scotland are also visible.
6. Kilbroney Forest Park
The stunning Kilbroney Forest Park in Rostrevor, County Down affords stunning views over Carlingford Lough, conjuring up magical scenes of a Nordic fjord in Northern Ireland. Take a walk to the Cloughmore Stone and circle back through the majestic forest to make the most of your visit.
5. Rathlin Island
The only inhabited offshore island in Northern Ireland, Rathlin sits just six miles from the mainland and a short ferry trip from Ballycastle will leave you at the harbour. From April to July, you can catch a puffin bus (or walk a few miles along narrow country lanes) to the RSPB Bird Sanctuary to marvel at the thousands of fulmars, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins in residence on the nearby cliffs.
4. Slemish Mountain
Often regarded as Saint Patrick’s Mountain as he was said to have spent his time here tending sheep while he was a slave, Slemish is actually the remains of an extinct volcanic plug, giving it the distinctive flat-topped shape that can be seen from miles away. The ascent is steep in parts but the reward for your work is 360-degree views all the way to the Sperrin Mountains and Lough Neagh.
3. Downhill Strand
A ramble along the golden sands of Downhill Strand offers the walker views of sand dunes, a waterfall and, of course, the incomparable 18th century Mussenden Temple towering high above on a cliff top. Game of Thrones fans may also recognise the beach as the eerie location of Dragonstone
2. Cuilcagh Way
Not for the faint-hearted, Cuilcagh Way, straddling the Cavan-Fermanagh border, is a 4.6-mile hike, with a steep ascent to the 666-metre summit. The now iconic 450-step staircase was constructed to preserve the protected blanket bog that covers much of the mountain, but the hike is nevertheless a gruelling one and should not be undertaken by the inexperienced walker. It is also one of the most iconic things to do in Northern Ireland.
1. Giant’s Causeway
It’s almost a cliche at this stage, but if you’re listing the top views in Northern Ireland, you simply cannot exclude the natural marvel that is the Giant’s Causeway on the North Antrim Coast. Consisting of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the popular tourist attraction was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986 and continues to draw thousands of visitors year round. For the best views of the coast, take a bracing walk along the Red Trail on the cliffs above the Causeway.
This article was contributed and written by Sarah Murphy at The Geocaching Junkie.