Top Day Trips from Belfast
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Belfast, Northern Ireland, makes a great long weekend city break. Great food, music, and museums, it’s a buzzing and vibrant city. But if you’re looking to extend your break or interested in what can be found outside the city, there are plenty of excellent Northern Ireland day trips within easy reach of Belfast. We’ve rounded up our top day trips from Belfast for the nature lovers, history buffs, and beach bums.
Silent Valley Reservoir, County Down
Just over an hour outside of Belfast in Co. Down, Silent Valley Reservoir is a scenic hike in the Mourne Mountains, offering a chance to reconnect with nature. You can wander the trail through the valley, or if you’re up from something more challenging, you can climb up the Mountain Access trail to reach the High Mournes. Silent Valley is over an hour’s drive from Belfast – but if you would prefer public transport, the Mourne Mountain Rambler Bus Service begins its route at Newcastle bus station and stops at the entrance of the mountain park.
The Causeway Coast
Winding along the North Atlantic Ocean, the Causeway Coast is 30 miles of stunning ocean views, quaint towns, and historic sites. The Causeway Coast is home to the UNESCO-heritage site Giant’s Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery so whether you choose to pick a tour or rent a car to go your own speed, there will be plenty to see. Game of Thrones fans will recognise multiple scenes – Dark Hedges, Binevenagh Mountain, and the caves behind Cushenden village.
There are also plenty of pretty towns for you to enjoy some classic seaside fun. Portrush and
Portstewart have beautiful beaches, lovely high streets and promenades, and fantastic
independent pubs and restaurants.
If you want to go at your own pace, but don’t fancy the responsibility of a car, all towns along the Causeway Coast can be reached from Belfast by bus or you can hop on the Belfast-Derry train line which hugs the stunning coastal route.
Derry-Londonderry, County Londonderry
Northern Ireland’s second largest city is well-connected by the capital. There are regular direct buses from Belfast City Centre as well as direct trains that follow the Causeway coastal route. Derry is flourishing as an art and cultural hub, but there’s still plenty of history to absorb and appreciate. To get the best feel for the city, walk the edges of the Derry’s 17th century walls or check out a guided tour of the city's murals or a guided tour of the Bogside, to learn more about The Troubles and Derry’s place in the conflict.
Cuilcaigh, County Fermanagh
On the border of Co. Fermanagh, NI and Co. Cavan, Ireland, Cuilcagh is a boardwalk trail across one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland. Also called the Stairway to Heaven, the steep climb leads to the viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain for breathtaking views of the lowlands. Cuilcagh is about a two-hour drive from Belfast with limited direct public transport – unless you’re going as part of a tour, it’s easiest to drive.
Bundoran, County Donegal
Another beloved seaside town, Bundoran is a favourite of families and surfers. It can get pretty busy in the summer, particularly on good weather days, but you can take in the breathtaking scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way year round. Bundoran is a little over two hours’ drive or you can take the coach from Belfast City Centre - bear in mind that you will need to change coaches in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
The Republic of Ireland’s capital is pure magic and is rich with the best of the country’s history and culture. Embrace your inner novelist and explore James Joyce’s old haunts or head immediately into the revelry of Temple Bar. A visit to Grafton Street for the buskers and shopping, the Guinness brewery and museum, and a stroll around St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College are must-dos to tick off. Dublin is easily reached from Belfast - there are trains and coaches daily and journeys take about two hours.