Belfast & the Causeway Coast: Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2018!

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Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

Here's why renowned travel bible Lonely Planet loves Northern Ireland's capital city and its coastal getaway

Lonely Planet has spoken! And it's voted Belfast and the Causeway Coast Best in Travel 2018. Hip restaurants serving cutting-edge cuisine, Titanic history re-enacted for eager 21st century explorers, and a buzzing energy thrumming underneath it all. This is Belfast, the epitome of great things coming in small packages. But the fun doesn’t stop at the city limits.

Beyond Belfast lies the Causeway Coast, whose timeless beauty and high-grade distractions are more popular than ever.

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Travel north to the Causeway Coast and you'll discover landscapes so dramatic they've wowed audiences of HBO’s fantasy hit Game of Thrones®. This is part of one of the world's great touring routes – the Causeway Coastal Route, which hugs the road between Belfast and Derry~Londonderry. And did we mention, this little slice of heaven can be served with some of the world’s finest whiskeys?

Let’s talk about Belfast

Nicely blending the old and the new, Belfast owes some of its grandeur to Victorian architectural treasures such as Belfast City Hall, but this rejuvenated city has become quite the design destination, as a stroll around the arty Cathedral Quarter or the trendy new towers of the Titanic Quarter will show.

The Titanic Experience is an unmissable multimedia extravaganza that charts the history of Belfast and the creation of the world’s most famous ocean liner. 

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Titanic Belfast's innovative take on the RMS Titanic’s creation is a definite must-do, while a stay at the Titanic Hotel allows superb views of the Harland & Wolff shipyard from dawn until dusk. Just make sure to leave time to board the White Star’s only remaining ship, the SS Nomadic, before you leave.

Thrilling tours and tasty treats

Explore historic Crumlin Road Gaol, too, where tours reveal the dark secrets within. And don't miss a Belfast Black Taxi Tour, known for local drivers whose stories are delivered with characteristic Northern Irish humour and wit.

Belfast is now full of hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes.

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A Belfast icon in existence since 1604, St George’s Market is a dream for foodies on the lookout for authentic fresh fare and a real slice of local history. Then there's the city's red-hot restaurant scene featuring the likes of James Street South, legendary Deane’s Eipic or the gorgeous Ginger Bistro. A nightcap at the stunning Crown Liquor Saloon or the Duke of York will round off your visit to perfection.

The Causeway Coast © @storytravelers

And the glorious Causeway Coast

Stretching 314km between the cities of Belfast and Derry~Londonderry and featuring some of Ireland's most incredible sights, the Causeway Coastal Route is legendary. The best way to experience it? Take your time, pick a lively little town or village as your base and just go exploring.

Explore Bushmills Distillery’s giant copper stills and embrace the whiskey fog with a snifter of five different blends in the premium testing room of the world’s oldest legal distillery.

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A must-see is the Giant's Causeway, blurring history and myth like no other place. Is it a geological wonder formed during volcanic activity over 60 million years ago – or a causeway built by ancient warring giants as the local legend has it? Head to the Visitor Centre to figure it out…

And the big hitters keep on coming. There's the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge swaying gently above the crashing waves; a host of filming locations from the global hit Game of Thrones®, whose castles are real Northern Ireland piles; the chance to take a swing at world-class links courses, Royal Portrush (venue for The Open 2019) and Irish Open venue, Portstewart.

All that fresh air will work up an appetite, so dine out on delectable eats at Harry’s Shack... an incredible eatery right on Portstewart Strand that serves seafood fresh from the ocean. Or simply order a knickerbocker glory from Morelli’s – it’s been serving up delicious ice cream since 1911!

Getting here

Excited your interest? There are airports throughout the Island with international arrivals. Discover airlines flying to Ireland from your location.

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