- Drive the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland
- Explore towering Slieve League and the Cliffs of Moher
- Experience the colorful culture of Galway and Belfast
- Visit national parks and go stargazing
- Tour the famous streets of Dublin
|Day 1||Arrive in Belfast, Optional Activities & Mourne Mountains||Belfast|
|Day 2||Belfast Walk & Hike to Cave Hill||Belfast|
|Day 3||Drive to Ballycastle via the Antrim & Causeway Coasts||Ballycastle|
|Day 4||Bushmills Distillery & Dunluce Castle||Ballycastle|
|Day 5||Drive to Londonderry (Derry), Optional Activities||Londonderry (Derry)|
|Day 6||Drive to Donegal via Glenveagh & Slieve League||Donegal|
|Day 7||Drive to Westport, Wild Nephin & Stargazing||Westport|
|Day 8||Drive to Galway, City Tour & Cliffs of Moher||Galway|
|Day 9||Drive to Birr via the Hidden Heartlands & Leap Castle||Birr|
|Day 10||Drive to Dublin, City Tour & Jameson Distillery||Dublin|
|Day 11||Depart Dublin|
Day 1: Arrive in Belfast, Optional Activities & Mourne MountainsWelcome to Northern Ireland! After decades of civil strife known colloquially as "The Troubles," in more recent years this part of the UK has been at peace. In fact, not only is Northern Ireland surviving—it's thriving. The whole region is experiencing something of a renaissance, and this is no more obvious than on the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland's capital. On arrival at the airport, a driver will pick you up and transfer you to your hotel in the city. After settling in, you can hit the streets on a self-guided tour.
Day 2: Belfast Walk & Hike to Cave Hill
Eat a hearty breakfast and then hit the streets to see more of beautiful Belfast. You can begin the walk in the Cathedral Quarter, named for the Romanesque St Anne's Cathedral. Wander the cobblestone streets of this cultural enclave that today is home to trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants. Admire the street art before stopping for lunch and/or coffee.
Then head to the city's outskirts for a walk up Belfast's most famous landmark: Cave Hill. A two-hour hike will take you to the top of the mountain. There, you'll enjoy incredible panoramic views over basalt cliffs to Belfast and the countryside below.
Later, you can browse the iconic St George's Market for souvenirs. Then, after a busy day of sightseeing, head into the Cathedral Quarter again for dinner at a restaurant or historic pub like The George, The Duke of York, and Kelly's Cellars. Or enjoy dinner in your hotel, followed by a relaxing evening walk along Belfast's revitalized waterfront.
Day 3: Drive to Ballycastle via the Antrim & Causeway CoastsThis morning, you'll pick up your rental car and leave Belfast on a road trip around the scenic Causeway Coastal Route. This 195-mile (313 km) drive runs from the Glens of Antrim coastal valleys in the northeast up to the iconic Giant's Causeway geological landmark. During part of this trip, you'll drive along the craggy Antrim Coast, a 20-mile (32 km) stretch of road that's regarded as perhaps the most beautiful seaside drive in all of Ireland.
Day 4: Bushmills Distillery & Dunluce CastleAfter breakfast, you'll drive about 20 minutes west of Ballycastle to the charming village of Bushmills, home to the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery (est. 1608). Here, you'll enjoy a distillery tour that naturally includes a free sample. Later, you'll embark on another scenic drive around the Causeway Coastal Route, stopping at any landmarks you might have missed yesterday.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Drive to Londonderry (Derry), Optional ActivitiesGet back on the road this morning as you drive 48 miles (77 km) west to Northern Ireland's border and the colorful city of Derry (also known as Londonderry). It sits on the River Foyle where the Causeway Coastal Route meets the Wild Atlantic Way, the famous scenic route that runs 1,553 miles (2,500 km) along the west coast of Ireland. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and will have the rest of the day free to explore on a self-guided tour.
If you like, venture outside the city to explore County Londonderry's lush green valleys. Kayaking or paddleboarding on the River Foyle is another option, as is cycling the quiet country roads along the Foyle Valley Cycling Route, which runs just over 20 miles (32 km). Or, hop the border and tour the ancient hill fort Grianán of Aileach, which dates to 1700 BCE. Cap the day with a stroll along the tops of Derry's ancient walls, which are some of the best-preserved in Ireland.
Day 6: Drive to Donegal via Glenveagh & Slieve LeagueAfter breakfast, you'll say goodbye to Northern Ireland and cross the border into Donegal, the northernmost county in the Irish Republic. This untamed region is so off the tourist trail that it's often referred to as Ireland's "forgotten county." You'll drive about 48 miles (77 km) southwest until you reach Donegal Town, where you'll overnight.
Day 7: Drive to Westport, Wild Nephin & StargazingLeave Donegal Town behind this morning and continue 102 miles (164 km) south along the coast to Westport (a drive of about two hours). This charming town is nestled in an Atlantic inlet and features a historic center filled with Georgian architecture, stone bridges, and a tree-lined promenade on the banks of the Carrowbeg River. After checking into your hotel, feel free to stretch your legs on a walk around town as you browse Westport's colorful shops.
After dinner in the park, you'll enjoy an evening of stargazing. An area of 58 square miles (150 sq km) within the Nephin wilderness was officially accredited as a Dark Sky Reserve in 2016. Information signs here direct you to the best spots to gaze up at the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and (in winter) the constellation of Orion. On clear nights more than 4,500 stars glitter in the light pollution-free skies.
Day 8: Drive to Galway, City Tour & Cliffs of MoherAfter breakfast, you'll drive about 1.5 hours to Galway. Located about 50 miles (80 km) south of Westport, this city is the heart of Ireland's west, with artistic, musical, and culinary scenes that are second to none. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and can then venture out and discover Galway on a self-guided tour.
Perhaps take a stroll through the Latin Quarter, which is filled with boutiques, restaurants, and the best pubs and live music in the city. Walk under the Spanish Arch, which dates to the 16th century and was once visited by Christopher Columbus. Check out the traditional Claddagh Village, which is renowned for its romantic Claddagh ring design. Galway was named a European Region of Gastronomy in 2018, so there's fantastic food of all types to be found in this lively city.
Day 9: Drive to Birr via the Hidden Heartlands & Leap Castle
Wake up early for a pleasant breakfast in Galway. Then it's time to hit the road again toward Birr, located about 60 miles (96 km) inland. The drive takes just over an hour, but take your time as you wind through the area known as Ireland's Hidden Heartlands. This unspoiled region of the interior spans counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, and Kilkenny. It has peaty boglands, soaring mountains, trickling streams, green valleys, and thick woodlands. Even the quaint riverside towns and villages in this area seem right out of a bygone age.
Day 10: Drive to Dublin, City Tour & Jameson DistilleryLeave Birr behind as you get back on the road for a final 1.5-hour, 85-mile (137 km) drive east to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. This captivating metropolis is at once traditional and modern, famous for its history, culture, music, and cuisine. Upon arrival, return your rental car, then head out and discover Dublin's myriad treasures on your own.
Day 11: Depart Dublin
Eleven days go by in a blink. Enjoy one more leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Dublin before transferring to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!