Giant’s Causeway coast hikeCategories Europe, Ireland, United Kingdom
Find in our travel blog all the information about the beautiful walk that runs from the Giant’s Causeway to the famous Carrick-a-Rede Bridge. Useful information and the hike’s steps.
From start to finish, enjoy breathtaking scenery.
Giant’s Causeway walk
Our advices to prepare this walk
Indeed, before beginning this long walk (16km) but relatively easy (mostly flat), it is better to know 2 or 3 things. Especially if you travel with your own vehicle (van like us, car hire, tractor, rocket … anyway), we have some advices that we would have liked to have when planning this hike.
Useful info (distance, price, parking, bus…)
Walking in wich direction
The walk can be done in one direction as in the other.
Distance / Time
16.5 km, so the walk takes about 3h30, but if you add time to take pictures, a break… it’s better to count 4h30 / 5h.
- Tip: to avoid walking the 32km round trip, the best is to walk in one direction and take a bus to get back to the starting point. The bus stops are easy enough to find (or ask), and it is about 6 € / pers. Dogs (average size) are accepted depending on the driver. (bus 402 – ulsterbus website)
Price / Parking
- Giant’s Causeway: access to the Giant’s Causeway site is Free. It is the parking (obligatorily combined with the access to the visitor center) which is charged and quite expensive about 12 € /pers. for the whole day. But the center closes at 7pm, so if you leave after, nobody is there to check your ticket (no barriers blocking the exit after the closing time of the visitor center).
- Carrick-a-Rede : the Carrick-a-Rede car park is free of charge. Unlike the access to the famous bridge which is charged (about 7 € /pers.). However, a part of the parking closes with a barrier after 18h, so be careful. Also, there is no bus after a certain hour (to check according to the days).
We read on other blogs that the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge was a tourist attraction with worse lines than Walt Dysney. And that it should be avoided. On our side, we were there on a nice weekday in early July, and the queue was less than 10 minutes. So I think from one day to the next, you can have completely different experiences. Ours was pretty good even if 7 €, is still a little expensive!
So, to do this hike spending the less possible (but by visiting the Giant’s Causeway, crossing the bridge and having parking), here is our advice.
In both cases, it will cost you 13 € /pers. (crossing the bridge and bus included, but at least you do not pay for the parking of the Giant’s Causeway (12 € /pers.)
If you want to start from Carrick-a-Rede
We think it’s the best choice. Start in the morning crossing the bridge. Then walk up to the Giant’s Causeway, and come back by bus before 6 pm (if you are parked in the lower part after the gate, otherwise no limit but pay attention to the bus).
If you want to start from the Giant’s Causeway
Park without paying the parking/visitor center fee (it’s a ticket that you keep and show to the ticket inspector, not the kind you let in your car as a parking meter ticket). Start your hike and discover the site of the Giant’s Causeway. Once arrived at Carrick-a-Rede, cross the bridge and go back by bus (pay attention to bus timetables). Get your vehicle back after 7pm to avoid parking ticket checkings.
Walk’s steps (Carrick-a-Rede > Giant’s Causeway)
Start with the famous bridge of Carrick-a-Rede (7 € /pers.). It measures about 20 meters and overlooks the ocean by a 30-meter. With a bit of wind, people who are dizzy will appreciate… nothing really bad, don’t worry.
As mention above, in addition of being the part of the parking that closes after 6 pm, this bay is also a filming location of Games of Thrones. It’s “The Stormlands“, the King Renly Baratheon’s camp during season 2.
Continuing the path (yellow line on the road signs) on the cliffs (by the fields but also on a little road), you will arrive at the Ballintoy Harbour (and its church). Here again, it’s a filming location for Game of Thrones. These are the Iron Islands, the Theon Greyjoy’s stronghold.
White Park Bay
Continuing through sheeps’ fields and other Irish landscapes, you arrive on a wide white beach (the seaweed smell will guide you). At high tide, there is apparently another way to take on the cliffs that joins Portbradden, because here it is no longer negotiable.
The path threads through a natural tunnel in the rocks going to the Dunseverick Harbour.
Continue on a small road and take the small stairs on your right. After crossing a small bridge overlooking a small waterfall (yes everything is small), you will arrive at the castle.
Or at least, its left over. The Dunseverick Castel is actually a ruined castle. Here, there is also free parking (with a 1.90m max barrier), for those who would like to do only this part up to the Giant’s Causeway site, it remains a little less than half of the walk (7,5km).
Approximately 3km later, you can take place on the William Hamilton’s seat. A wooden bench engraved with a map of the coast. It offers a great panoramic view through the Giant’s Causeway site.
After another 2 or 3km you will arrive to an intersection with a big wooden sign. Take the stairs on your right then at the next intersection, the path on your left leads directly to the Giant’s Causeway. The path on the right is very nice, but a scree makes it impossible to cross after about 500m.
That’s it, here we are! And after 7pm, there are far fewer people! It’s so crazy that it does not look natural. Stone columns of hexagonal shape perfectly cut (in places) … it is smaller than what I thought, it is really worth it. It’s also the only site in Northern Ireland listed in UNESCO world heritage.
The myth tells that the Irish giant, Finn McCool, built this causeway to cross the sea to fight against the Scottish giant, Benandonner. On its way back, Benandonner would have followed him. Getting scared for a reason, he would have ripped out the causeway by making a U-turn. It therefore remains the Giant’s Causeway on the Ireland side but also similar formations in Scotland at Staffa!
Then, go up to the Visitor Center. When the main parking is on your left, the small bus stop will be on your right.
Have a good walk and enjoy the view!
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