Ulster Way: 10 best walks on the iconic route

The Ulster Way is a 1000 km (625 miles) circular walking route that winds its way around Northern Ireland. Read on to discover its best bits.

When it comes to great walks in Northern Ireland, any that make their way along the Ulster Way will be a safe bet. Stretching 1000 km (625 miles), this circular walking route makes its way through all six counties.

Taking in some of the most scenic parts of Northern Ireland, this iconic route is a must. Whether you just want to stretch your legs, are looking for a fun family day out, or want to discover somewhere new, there will be something you can enjoy.

So, no matter where you are in the country, here are the top ten best walks on the Ulster Way.

10. Lagan Towpath – discover the historic canal

The Lagan Towpath is one of the best walks on the Ulster Way.
Credit: Instagram / @darktolightphotos and @christopher_warering

First up on our list of amazing walks along the Ulster Way is the Lagan Towpath that starts in Belfast city, not far from Botanic Gardens.

Stretching from Belfast to Lisburn, this fantastic 19.2 km (12 miles) route is popular with both cyclists and walkers. Following the River Lagan, this stunning route comes alive in summer when it is awash with an array of flora and fauna.

Starting point: Lagan Towpath

9. Sliabh Beagh Way – soaked in myth and legend

f you want to discover some of the most remote parts of the Ulster countryside, then you must follow the Sliabh Beagh Way.
Credit: Instagram / @sliadhbeaghadventures

If you want to discover some of the most remote parts of the Ulster countryside, then you must follow the Sliabh Beagh Way.

This fantastic 65 km (40 miles) walk starts in Aughnacloy and finishes in Lisnaskea. This route passes through three counties: Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Monaghan, and oozes myth and legend. Points of interest include Sliabh Beagh bogland and St Patrick’s Chair.

Starting point: Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone

8. Belcoo to Belleek, including Lough Navar Forest – discover Fermanagh’s uplands

Belcoo to Belleek is one of the best walks along the Ulster Way.
Credit: Instagram / @thequietwilderness

Lough Navar Forest is one of the most underrated spots in Northern Ireland. Thus, taking this route will allow you to enjoy some time in these magnificent surroundings.

The 46 km (29 miles) route from Belcoo to Belleek takes you on a journey through Fermanagh’s uplands. Plus, if you fancy heading past Belcoo, you can even make the trip to the fantastic Cuilcagh Way, a Global UNESCO Geopark.

Starting point: Belcoo, Enniskillen

7. Ring of Gullion Way – explore a volcanic landscape

Slieve Gullion is one of the best walks along the Ulster Way.
Credit: ringofgullion.org

The 59 km (37 miles) Ring of Gullion Way stretches from Newry to Carnbane through the volcanic landscape of the Ring of Gullion.

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty takes in various ancient monuments and quiet villages along the way. Thus, making it a very enjoyable walk.

Starting point: Newry, Co. Down

6. Lecale Way – a beautiful and historic route

Stretching from Downpatrick past the beautiful Strangford Lough to Newcastle is the much-underrated Lecale Way.
Credit: Instagram / @tomirvinephoto and @josefhine89

Stretching from Downpatrick past the beautiful Strangford Lough to Newcastle is the much-underrated Lecale Way.

This astounding 75 km (47 miles) walk takes in some of the most incredible views you will find in the southeast of Northern Ireland. Tower houses, castles, and ancient monuments are also dotted along this route.

Starting point: Downpatrick, Co. Down

5. Antrim Hills Way – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Antrim Hills Way is one of the best walks along the Ulster Way.

Next up on our list of best walks along the Ulster Way is the stunning Antrim Hills Way.

Cutting through the Antrim Coast and Glens, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the views on this walk are truly breathtaking. This 35 km (22 miles) mostly off-road route passes through fields, so dogs are not allowed even on a lead.

Starting point: Antrim Hills Way car park

4. North Sperrins Way – the best of the northwest

The best walk along the northwest Ulster Way is the North Sperrins Way.
Credit: Instagram / @theantrimrambler and @chrisbrown.12

Making its way across the main spine of the Sperrin Mountains is the incredible North Sperrins Way, an exhilarating route.

Stretching 60 km (37.5 miles) from Dungiven to Swan’s Bridge near Binevenagh, this route takes in some of the most amazing parts of Northern Ireland’s west. Along the way, you will trek various terrains, from mountain trails to forest walks to quiet country roads.

Starting point: Dungiven, Co. Derry

3. North Down Coastal Path – perfect on a sunny day

Holywood forms part of the North Down Coastal Path.
Credit: Facebook / @StewartMcfarland

Not far from Belfast, the beautiful North Down Coastal Path makes its way between Holywood and Groomsport.

Popular with dog walkers, runners, and families visiting the beach, this 19.2 km (12 miles) walk is beautiful on a sunny day.

Starting point: Holywood, Co. Down

2. Causeway Coast Way – for breathtaking coastal views

The Causeway Coast is one of the best routes along the Ulster Way.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

If you’re a lover of the coast, then you need to check out the Causeway Coast Way.

Stretching 52 km (33 miles) from Portstewart to Ballycastle, this challenging trek is made worthwhile by the breathtaking views. The route also passes some of the most iconic spots in Northern Ireland, including the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle.

Starting point: Portstewart Strand

1. The Mourne Way – trek through the foothills of the Mournes

The Mourne Way takes top spot on our list of the best walks along the Ulster Way.
Credit: Instagram / @dayoffdanders and @clarebailey__

Stretching 42 km (26 miles) through the stunning Mourne Mountains, the Mourne Way is not to be missed when it comes to the best walks along the Ulster Way.

Winding its way through the foothills of the Mournes, this diverse landscape will make your heart skip a beat. Starting in Newcastle and ending in Rostrevor at Kilbroney Forest Parks, this is truly one of the most scenic walks in Northern Ireland.

Starting point: Newcastle, Co. Down

Notable mentions

Tyrella Beach is among the notable mentions for the best walks along the Ulster Way.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Glenariff Forest Park: This stunning Antrim forest park covers over 1,000 hectares and is one of the nine Antrim Glens. 

Lough Bradan to Gortin Way: This walk begins in County Tyrone, near to the border with County Donegal, often providing views of Donegal’s Bluestack Mountains. 

Tyrella Beach to Dundrum Way: This is one of the best walks in all of County Down along the Ulster Way, taking it the stunning Tyrella Beach with views of the Mournes.

FAQs about the Ulster Way

Where does the Ulster Way start?

The Ulster Way is said to start and end near Belfast. Public transport can be used along the way to help along with the collection of walking trails. 

Can you cycle the Ulster Way? 

Yes, absolutely. Some parts of the Ulster Way would be better cycled than walked, with quality roads and trails. 

How many miles is the Ulster Way? 

The Ulster Way is 636 miles, or 1,024 km long. The original route of 540 miles (869 km) was unveiled in 1979.

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