Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland (with Map & Photos)

There are places that simply don't seem out of this world. The Giant's Causeway is one of them and in my two visits it has always amazed me greatly. This surreal landscape of basaltic columns that form a walkway to Scotland has the wonderful ability to make visitors dream of legends of giants, natural phenomena and mysteries. You have been? Today I tell you how to get there and what to see on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

One of the World Heritage Sites of the Emerald Isle, the Giant's Causeway (or the Giants' Causeway, as you prefer) is a place forged by the forces of nature that incites dreams and myths. And a perfect excuse for a day trip from Belfast.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

The legend of the Giant's Causeway

Legend has it that in Ireland and Scotland there were two rival giants who were always fighting each other and so many rocks were thrown that they created a kind of walkway between the two corners. Such was the enmity between Finn (the one from Ireland) and Bennandoner (the one from the island of Staffa, in Scotland ) that the Scotsman one day decided to take advantage of the stone path to cross to Ulster and give the Irishman what he deserved. Bennandoner, apparently, was bigger and stronger than Finn… Although not smarter. The wife of the Irish giant, seeing the Scotsman coming, dressed him as a baby. Arriving and seeing a creature of such dimensions, Bennandoner thought that his father would be three times the size and he took a flying dive back to Scotland. Yes indeed, he made sure to stomp on the rocks so that they sank into the sea and Finn couldn't get to Staffa Island. Whether legend or not, the truth is that both on the north coast of Ulster and in Staffa there are the most curious basaltic column formations.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

What to see in the Giant's Causeway

If I tell you that the Giant's Causeway is an area off the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland with some 40,000 columns of basalt that formed about 60 million years ago due to the rapid cooling of lava from a volcanic crater, maybe you give some laziness. Believe me, behind this definition of manual is hidden a wonder of nature that you will never forget.

The Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Nature Reserve for reasons that are obvious as soon as you step foot there and your gaze rests on that sea ​​of ​​geometric columns that merge the land with the sea in a composition wonderful. It is surprising to be able to see them up close, touch them, walk on them and admire the landscape. Despite the fact that it can get very busy, it retains the magic that I saw almost 13 years ago on my first visit to Ireland.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

Enjoy the walk to the Calzada. It is a while, about 15-20 minutes but if you don't feel like walking you can always pay a little and take the bus that leaves from the interpretation center… Although you will miss the experience of seeing the landscape evolve as you get closer. Because yes, everything is beautiful, not only the area of ​​the lava columns. The cliffs, the green of moss and grass, the black of volcanic rocks, the blue of the sky and the sea. Once there, enjoy the beating of the waves, the noise of the seagulls, the wind, climbing on the columns, sitting on them and admiring the horizon.

Seriously, you will love it. And if you don't want to go that far, in La Garrotxa (Catalonia) there are somewhat similar landscapes that can be seen if you do " The route of the three lava flows " in Sant Joan les Fonts.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

Tips for visiting the Giant's Causeway

  • Wear comfortable shoes and, if possible, with a rubber sole. Some of the columns, being in constant contact with water, can be somewhat slippery. In addition, you have to walk a while from the parking lot / visitor center.

  • Wear comfortable clothes. You will appreciate it when you want to climb the corners and do not have to worry about staining your favorite jacket or the jeans that you like the most.

  • Remember to bring something waterproof: the weather in Northern Ireland is almost as unpredictable as in Scotland and you can experience all 4 seasons in one day. Wearing a waterproof jacket with a hood will be great to cut off the wind, the rain that can become horizontal and the splashes of the waves breaking against the Giant's Causeway. The hood will also help you control “crazy hair” if hurricane-force winds blow.

  • Make sure you have enough battery power in the camera because you won't be able to stop taking snapshots of the place.

  • Take your time: rush is never good, especially if you are going to visit a place as beautiful and special as the Giant's Causeway.

  • Be careful: do not get too close to the areas against which the waves break, especially if the sea is rough. If you don't, one of the National Trust guards will blow a whistle and get your attention. It is for your sake. You do not want to fall into the cold waters and even less suffer more of a bruise on the rocks.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

How to get to the Giant's Causeway?

By train: from Belfast or Londonderry (Derry) to Coleraine, where you take the Ulsterbus Service 172. You can check timetables on the Translink website.

By car: On the B147 Causeway Road, two miles from Bushmills village, 11 from Coleraine and 13 from Ballycastle. Parking is available.

By bus: there are several regular bus services, although some depend on the season. They are the Ulsterbus Service 172, Goldline Service 221, Causeway Rambler Service 402, Open Top Causeway Coast Service 177 and the Antrim Coaster Service 252. You will find complete schedules on the Translink website.

From March to October there is a bus every 20 minutes from the town of Bushmills.

By bike or on foot: there are several routes that reach the Giant's Causeway and are accessible for walkers and cyclists.

Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland
Giant's Causeway Northern Ireland

Practical information about the Giant's Causeway

Address: 44 Causeway Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, BT57 8SU

Telephone: +44 (0) 28 2073 1855

Visitor center hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Visitor center price: £ 4.50 (children) - £ 9 (adults). Visiting the road itself is free.

Giant's Causeway Map