Are you looking for a perfect European getaway? Whether you’re tired of your good ol’ routine or are just visiting Europe for work, we’ve got an awesome suggestion to treat the traveler or sea-lover in you. Are you ready? – It’s Belfast, Northern Ireland. Why, you ask? Well, Northern Ireland is home to some of the most wonderful beaches in Europe. And believe us, that is not all!
Although some of the beaches on the list are around an hour’s drive from the city, the scenic beauty of the country would make up for it and the drive is an added bonus. Don’t worry about the distance, just enjoy the ride!
How to Get to the Most Beautiful Beaches near Belfast?
Belfast, the birthplace of Titanic, is one of the most beautiful places in the United Kingdom. Sure, things did not go too well with Titanic water-wise but hey, the beaches near Belfast would still give you all the feels. The sandy texture, exceptional water quality, scenic views, and beautiful surroundings would give you a relaxing vacation you need. And not to forget, the cozy pubs and quaint little English ambiance of Belfast would also satisfy the tourist in you. What’s more, Game of Thrones fans will be beyond thrilled to explore the filming locations near Belfast. It would definitely be one hell of an experience for you.
In order to make things easier for you, we are going to list some itineraries around Belfast with specific routes for you that can be covered in a day.
1. Giant’s Causeway Beach
One of the top five beaches in Europe; 1.25 hours from Belfast
Located at one-of-a-kind coastline where you will find the most gorgeous landscape. Being a major tourist attraction, it might be a little crowded during the holidays but the beautiful black basalt columns would definitely make your day. There are around 40,000 of them. They came to be through a volcanic activity that occurred some 50 million years ago. It’s also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK.
#TravelTip – You could get a National Trust membership, which would entitle you to get a lot of deals and discounts.
Address: 44 Causeway Rd, Bushmills BT57 8SU, United Kingdom
Rock in the road; 15 minutes from Giant’s Causeway & 1.25 hours from Belfast
Although the distance of this tiny little place is about 59 miles from Belfast, we figured if you’re visiting Giant’s Causeway, you could take a small detour of 7.7 miles to this amazing destination. A rocky island where fishermen used to go and catch the migrating salmon. The main attraction of this one is the rope bridge that connects the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. You can cross it by paying a small fee.
#Travel Tip – Again, getting a National Trust membership would be handy here.
Address: Whitepark Rd, Ballycastle BT54 6LS, United Kingdom
3. Ballycastle Strand
Grassy dunes and glowering cliffs; 12 minutes from Carrick-a-Rede & 1 hour from Belfast
The next great beach near Carrick-a-Rede in the list is especially famous for swimming and surfing. Not only that, tourists can canoe, dive and fish here as well. But one must be careful here as there are no lifeguards present on this otherwise safe-for-swimming beach. The grassy dunes and glowering cliffs make this white-sand beach a popular tourist destination.
Address: Ballycastle BT54 6JZ, UK
1. Portrush Whiterocks Beach
35th best beach in Europe; 1.25 hours from Belfast
If you’re planning a visit to the UK, it would be really unfair to just visit Giant’s Causeway and not explore Portrush Whiterocks Beach. They’re both special in their own way. Especially famous amongst the locals, this one deserves at least one day out of your travel schedule, especially if you’re into swimming, surfing, fishing or any such watersport activities. Simply perfect for a day-trip from Belfast.
The special takeaway of this one is the labyrinth of caves and arches which, sometimes, are accessible only from the sea!
Address: Portrush BT56 8DF, United Kingdom
2. Castlerock Beach
Peaceful and relaxing; 30 minutes from Portrush Whiterocks Beach
The golden sands of Castlerock Beach that look out over the North Atlantic Ocean are simply beautiful. Winner of Rural Beach Seaside Award in 2014, this one is full of small bays and rock pools. Quiet and peaceful, the beach would provide you some exquisite views.
Address: 4 Sea Rd, Castlerock, Coleraine BT51 4RE, United Kingdom
3. Downhill Beach
A Game of Thrones site; 5 minutes from Castlerock Beach
Another one located on the Causeway Coast Route, this beach is close to Castlerock and is mostly sand and slight shingle. You’d be amazed to know that many sequences of Game of Thrones were shot here! Yes, this was the famous Dragonstone where Melisandre burned Seven Idols of Westeros and also proclaimed her prediction, “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”
One of the essential points that makes it a popular attraction is the ability to drive on the beach. The hard sand makes it easy for one to drive on the beach but even if you do hit a soft sand spot and get stuck, you might find some help nearby, especially if you’re visiting during the summer season. Otherwise, it is reasonably quiet and who knows, you might even find the entire beach to yourself.
Address: Near Castlerock Beach, Coleraine, UK
1.Helen’s Bay Beach
Ireland’s Hidden Gem; 15 minutes from Belfast
When we’re talking about beaches close to Belfast, it would be a crime to not mention Helen’s Bay Beach as it is often considered to be one of the best in Northern Ireland. With a reputation of having wonderful water quality, this one is often tourists’ first choice for a little beach fun and bathing. Surrounding this beach are some great picnic spots as well as scenic routes for a perfect relaxing walk with your loved ones (or some me-time if you prefer to go solo).
Address: 22 Grey Point, Helen’s Bay, Bangor BT19 1LE, United Kingdom
2. Ballyholme Park and Beach
A long-time favorite for families; 17 minutes from Helen’s Bay Beach
Since this one is a suburb beach located in the seaside town of Bangor, you can find more amenities and public here. The mile-long beach is used all year round by windsurfers and families around the area. If you’re planning to spend a little time around here, here’s what you can expect – sandcastles with children playing around, wet-suited surfers & watersport enthusiasts skimming along the waves and just some families carrying out random activities or picnics having their fun day out.
Hopefully, you won’t have a hard time deciding which of these most beautiful beaches near Belfast you want to visit. These are our top picks that surely won’t disappoint the traveler in you.