The Giants Causeway Walk is one of the most popular things to do on the island of Ireland. The Causeway is located in County Antrim, in the North and it is one of the most visited attractions on the island. A visit to the Causeway is a truly unique experience, a must on any Ireland vacation.
The Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is made up of interlocking basalt columns, a result of an ancient volcanic eruption. However, how the Causeway truly came to be is the subject of Irish myths and legends.
There are a total of 3 walking routes along the Causeway Coast, however, before we dive into which route is best for you let’s discuss opening times, parking and how to get there.
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The Giants Causeway Opening Times
The Causeway itself is technically always open, it’s possible to visit the basalt columns at any time. However, if you wish to take part in the visitor experience it is best to check opening times before you arrive.
At the time of writing, the summer and Autumn months (May-October) the visitor centre is open from 10.00am to 5.00pm.
And in the winter months, the visitor experience is open from 10am to 4.00pm.
The Causeway closes for Christmas (24th,25th & 26th of December).
The Giants Causeway Visitor Experience
If you wish to take part in the Giants Causeway visitor experience it will cost £13.00 for Adults and £6.50 for children.
Tickets include on-site parking, access to the visitor centre, toilets and the option to take part in a guided tour or go on a self-guided tour with an audio guide.
The visitor centre also has a coffee and souvenir shop onsite.
Giants Causeway Parking for FREE
While taking part in the visitor experience for first-timers in Ireland can be enjoyable, it is rather expensive. If you would prefer to visit the Causeway on your own accord without any of the included facilities, I’d advise parking in the car parks outside the property. These parking sites are no more than a 5-minute walk from the causeway entrance and are generally a lot cheaper.
I usually park in the car park facing Finn McCool’s Giants Causeway Hostel, it’s cost £5 per car and is only a short walk away from the main car park.
How to get to the Giants Causeway:
By Car: It is rather easy to reach the Giants Causeway by car, with a range of parking facilities nearby. The Causeway is located just 1 and 30 minutes drive from Belfast and a 3 hour and 20-minute drive from Dublin.
Day Trip from Belfast: If you don’t have access to a car one of the most popular ways to visit the Causeway is by taking a day trip from Belfast. You can book your ticket here.
Day Trip from Dublin: The Giants Causeway is also a perfect addition for those who have an extra day to add to their Dublin Itinerary as it is a popular day trip from Dublin. You can book your ticket here.
These tours generally include stops at other famous attractions along the Causeway Coast including the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle and Game of Thrones filming sites, The Dark Hedges and the town of Ballintoy.
Check Out My Day Trips from Dublin Post
The Giants Causeway Walks
There are a total of 4 walking trails at the Giants Causeway, the blue, red, green and yellow trails. I had a browse on the National Trust Website for a greater understanding of each trail and while it gives a good indication of the start and endpoints of each walk. I would like to add my own route which combines the routes together to make sure you get the most out of your Giants Causeway Experience. Let’s call this the Causeway Loop. It will be route 5 on the list 😉
1. The Blue Route – Straight to the Causeway
The Blue Route is the shortest of all 4 walks in the Giants Causeway. It begins at the visitors centre and continues along a wide road for about 15 minutes before reaching the main part of the Causeway.
Most visitors are unaware, that when visiting the causeway you must take the blue route to the main area as the visitor centre is not located at the main site.
For those taking part in the Visitors Experience, there is a free shuttle bus included in the ticket price, this will allow you to visit the Causeway without having to walk at all.
Please be mindful that walking back towards the visitors centre via the Blue Route can be steep in places, I, therefore, suggest the shuttle bus for those with reduced mobility.
2. The Red Route
The red route brings visitors along the one of the most beautiful cliffs in Ireland and offers a 360 view of the Causeway and the coastline. This route begins at the Causeway Hotel and continues for 3.2km before reaching Shepherd’s Steps.
In order to stay on the Red Trail, you need to walk down the steps until you reach the lower floor of the Causeway. From there, take a right and walk towards the Organ and the marvellous red rocks (My favourite area of the Causeway). From the red rocks, you will be able to see the Causeway off in the distance.
I’d highly recommend checking out the red route as it is not too strenuous and allows walkers to see the Causeway from a different perspective.
Check Out My Packing for Ireland Guide
3. The Green Route
The Green Route is for those of all abilities, making the Causeway accessible for those with mobility concerns. As well as those looking to bring strollers.
Ireland is known for the iconic Cliffs of Moher, however, the Green Route hosts amazing cliffside views of the Causeway, on a clear day it is also possible to see as far as Scotland. The walk itself takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete and is 3.2km long. However, getting to the main viewing point takes around 30 minutes.
4. The Yellow Route
The Yellow Route is for those who want to get a little further off the beaten path and enjoy the Giants Causeway Hike. Much like the Red Route, the yellow route brings walkers along the cliff edge for a spectacular 360 view of the Causeway and the coastline.
However, instead of descending down the Shepard Steps like the Red Trail, the Yellow trail continues to follow the Cliff Edge until you reach Hamilton’s Seat.
This trail will take 30/40 minutes to complete, it is only suitable for those with a moderate to a high level of fitness as it can be steep and dangerous in areas.
Check Out my Tip For Visting Ireland for the First Time Guide
5. The Causeway Looped Walk
While the official Giants Causeway Coastal Trails all share an equal level of beauty, combining them is the best way to see all of which the Causeway has to offer.
I suggest you begin your trip to the Giants Causeway by walking down the main road leading from the visitor centre (aka the blue route). This will take 15 minutes and will bring you to the main area of the Causeway. Here, I suggest taking some time to take photos and enjoy the basalt columns up close and personal.
Once you are finished follow the path towards the Red Rocks seen in the distance (aka the end of the Red Trail). Before approaching the red rocks you will come across the organ. A line of basalt rocks that shoots up towards the sky.
Once you reach the red rocks, it’s time to retrace your steps. Continue along the path until you reach Shepards Steps, don’t worry if you missed them on the way, they are a lot easier to see on the way back.
The steps will bring you up onto the cliff edge, from here you will have a birdseye view of the Causeway. Continue along the red trail until you reach the visitors centre.
Causeway Coast Road Trip Youtube Video
On my 3-day road trip down the Causeway Coast, we decided to walk the Causeway Looped walk. Feel free to give the video a watch for a better idea of the walk and other places to visit along the Causeway Coast.
The Giant Causeway Myths and Legend
Like many famous sites across Ireland, the Giants Causeway is the subject of Irish Myths and Legends. The Causeway was said to be created by Giant Fionn mac Cumhaill, a Giant that lived off the coast of Ireland.
One day Benandonner a Giant from Scotland threatened Ireland, Fionn got angry and started to break up parts of the Causeway Coast to create a passageway to meet Benandonner. However, when Fionn reach Scotland he soon realised that Benandonner was a much larger Giant than he was. He quickly made his way back to Ireland and with the help of his wife dressed himself up as a baby. The plan was to trick Benandonner into thinking Fionn was much larger than his baby. Once Benandonner reached Ireland, he got scared and started to break up bits of the Causeway on the way back to Scotland.
Now, whether you believe in Myths and legends one aspect of the story has been proven to be true. There is in fact a part of Scotland known as Fingal’s Cave which features the style of Basalt Collums as the Giants Causeway. It is said to be the opposite end of the Causeway built by Fionn mac Cumhaill.
The Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge
Located just a short distance down the road from the Giants Causeway lies the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge. The bridge is not for the faith hearted, spanning 30 metres above the water and rocks below. Tourists flock here to get the adrenaline pumping and the heart racing as they cross. The bridge is connected to Carrickarede Island. The Island is the host to stunning views of Antrim’s coastline.
Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge FAQ
How long does the Carrick a Rede rope bridge stay open for?
February to June: 9.00am to 6.00pm July to August: 9.00am to 8.00pm October to December: 9.00am to 3.30pm (This is a general time schedule and may change) Carrick a Rede Day Trip
How much does the Carrick a Rede rope bridge stay open for?
Admission into the Carrick a Rede rope bridge costs 9 pounds for Adults and 4 pounds 50 for children. Carrick a Rede Day Trip
Is there parking at the Carrick a Rede rope bridge?
Yes, the car park is built into the price of the ticket and is located directly in front of the ticket kiosk. Carrick a Rede Day Trip
*Please note that it is currently not possible to cross the bridge*
Thanks for Reading! I hope you enjoyed this guide to the top Giants Causeway Coastal Walks. If you have any more questions please feel free to send me a message over on Instagram.
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