Narrow winding roads passing through rolling countryside and along beautiful coastal stretches, a drive through Northern Ireland is sure to leave you feeling inspired.
One of the best ways to see a country is by road. So, today we will fill you in on the top ten scenic drives in Northern Ireland you should experience.
From mountain trails to coastal paths, the views from the road across Northern Ireland are some of the best in the world.
10. Binevenagh Scenic Route – for magical views over the north coast of Ireland
Cutting off from the Causeway Coastal Route, Binevenagh Scenic Route is undoubtedly one of the best scenic drives in Northern Ireland.
If travelling west towards Derry, turn left uphill at Downhill Beach and embark on the steep climb up Bishops Road.
From the top of Binevenagh, you can take in the magical views over Magilligan, Donegal, and the Atlantic Ocean, stretching out for miles into the distance.
9. Navar Forest – for stunning countryside views
Located in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Navar Forest covers an impressive 2,600 hectares of bog, heath, open water, woodland, and forest.
The 10 km (6.2 miles) scenic drive leads to what is arguably one of the best views in Ireland at Magho Viewpoint.
Some of the best bits of this drive are Carrick Lough Viewpoint, Aghameelan Viewpoint, Blackslee Waterfall, Magho Cliffs, Meenameen Lough, and the Old Man’s Head.
8. St Patrick’s Trail – discover Ireland’s patron saint
St Patrick’s Trail is a 92 km (57 miles) driving route that links 15 key sites throughout Northern Ireland that have a connection to Ireland’s patron saint.
Beginning at the Navan Centre outside Armagh City and finishing at St Patrick’s final resting place at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, there is plenty to see on this route.
Some of the best bits are St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, the views over Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains, and the beaches of Tyrella and Murlough.
7. Mourne Coastal Route – for scenic coastal views
The Mourne Coastal Route takes you from Belfast to Newry via North Down, the Ards Peninsula, the County Down coastline, and the Mourne Mountains.
Stretching 164 km (102 miles) along the southeast coastline of Northern Ireland, this drive takes in views of the Ards Peninsula and the County Down coast.
Some of the best bits on this route are Castle Ward, Strangford Lough, Donaghadee Harbour, Down Cathedral, St. John’s Lighthouse, the Mourne Mountains, and Carlingford Lough.
6. Strangford Lough Scenic Drive – for an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Popular with cyclists, a drive around the beautiful Strangford Lough is a perfect way to spend a day. You will also get to take in some of the best views in Northern Ireland.
Stretching around the Ards Peninsula, this drive covers an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Strangford Lough.
Start in Strangford town and head north, following the shores of the lough through Downpatrick, Killyleagh, and Comber. Continue through Newtownards, Mount Stewart, and Portaferry, where you can get the ferry back to Strangford.
5. Lough Neagh – for the largest freshwater lake
Take a drive around the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles that dips into five of Northern Ireland’s six counties along the shores of Lough Neagh.
As one of the most scenic drives in Northern Ireland, Lough Neagh covers an area of 391 square km (151 square miles) in Mid Ulster.
A haven for nature lovers, this drive is sure to give you a sense of tranquillity and oneness with the natural world.
4. Fermanagh Lakelands – for incredible views of Lough Erne
Drive through the stunning scenery of the Fermanagh Lakelands on this incredible drive.
Take in the views of the beautiful Lough Erne and the Benaughlin Mountains through Fermanagh and Enniskillen.
3. High Mournes Scenic Loop – for scenic mountain views
The High Mournes Scenic Loop is a 32 km (20 miles) drive that stretches from Newcastle to Annalong.
This drive offers some of the best views of the Mourne Mountains without having to take on a hike. Some of the best bits are the views over Spelga Dam and the highest mountains in the range.
2. Central Sperrins – for Northern Ireland’s most extensive mountain range
The Sperrins are Northern Ireland’s most extensive mountain range, home to four different scenic drives: the north, south, east, and central.
The central Sperrins drive is a 145 km (90 miles) looped route starting and finishing in the town of Strabane.
Some of the best bits of the drive are the Strabane Heritage Sculptures and Sion Mills Village. Not to mention Aghascrebagh ‘Ogham’ Stone and The Glenelly Valley.
1. Causeway Coastal Route – for the stunning north coast
Topping our list of the best scenic drives in Northern Ireland is the Causeway Coastal Route in County Antrim.
Stretching 212 km (130 miles) from Belfast to Derry along the scenic north Antrim coastline, this driving route takes in some of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.
On the drive, you will pass through the Antrim Hills and along the coastline past the Giant’s Causeway. You will also see Dunluce Castle, Mussenden Temple, and numerous glittering white sand beaches. This is a drive that will stay with you for a lifetime.