Ireland – Antrim Coast
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- What people say...
Our meeting point is Belfast, a changing city undergoing large-scale transformation of the centre and waterfront areas. However, it still retains many examples of its past glories as Ulster's engine room and as a result it has many fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings, making the city well worth some exploring.
Antrim is also the backdrop for much of the "Game of Thrones". En route there is a chance to visit locations such as The Iron Islands and the Dark Hedges - The Kings Road
A sustrans cycle route guides us out of the city and up the Northern coastline. Here we alternate our time between exploring the unspoilt dramatic coastline and beautiful Glens whilst experiencing some of the finest hospitality you will find. Our rest day is in the attractive town of Ballycastle where you can visit Rathlin Island. The famous Giants Causeways and Carrickrede Rope Bridge and the delights of Bushmills Distillery are all part of our Safari.
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On arrival in Belfast, you should make your way to your accommodation. If you get there early you can leave your luggage at the guesthouse and explore this bustling City.
Belfast ~ Carnlough 40 miles / 64kms
Setting out on a Sustrans Cycle path you cycle along the coast to Carrickfergus and its famous 12th Century castle. You then head inland and up into the mountains before descending to the first of the Antrim Glens with beautiful views of the ocean below. That night you stay in the quiet seaside village of Carnlough.
Carnlough ~ Cushendall 35 miles / 56kms
You cycle up into the hills with views of the Sperrin Mountain. It is here where legend has it that St Patrick spent his youth in captivity before escaping, only to return to convert Ireland to Christianity. You then return to the coast and cycle along the beautiful Antrim coastline to Cushendall where you will spend the night.
Cushendall ~ Ballycastle 35 miles/56kms
You explore the pretty and less visited Glen of Glenaan and then return to the coast for lunch in Cushendun. In the afternoon one of the highlights of the week, a breathtaking cycle along the coast road to Ballycastle passing along green fields dotted with sheep, while you look out over beautiful views of Scotland and the Mull of Kintyre, just across the sea.
Rest day in Ballycastle
One attractive option on the rest day is to take the ferry to explore nearby Rathlin Island which has one of the largest bird colonies in the country as well as a small seal colony. It is a wonderful place to spend a rest day giving you that sense of being away from it all that you can only experience on an island.
North Coast Loop 35 miles / 56 kms
Today's cycle is a wonderful route, mixing the best of Antrim's iconic sites along with "Game of Thrones" locations such as the Dark Hedges!! You start with a cycle along beautiful coastline to view the hexagonal basalt rock formations at the Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland’s most famous landmark. The route includes the swinging Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge en route to the whiskey town of Bushmills.
Ballycastle ~ Belfast 25 miles/40 kms
For our last day's cycle, you head South back into the Glens towards the ECOS centre. From here we arrange a transfer for you back to Belfast and last night on the tour.
- 7 nights accommodation ( small hotels and guesthouses )
- Guide in a support van (guided tours only)
- Luggage transfer
- route details and maps
- 24 hour service hotline
- GPS tracks available (on request)
Bike Rental is not included in the basic tour price.
All rentals come with a pannier, lock, helmet and repair equipment.
On a self-guided tour we will organize your bike hire, the accommodation, and the luggage transfer. Your route details will be waiting for you in your first night’s accommodation. In the route details, you will also find recommendations for lunch stops and places to have dinner. You will set off by yourself and the luggage will be transferred to the next stop by our local taxi transfers. And should there be a day you won’t be able to cycle, it is possible to arrange a lift with the luggage transfer.
You can also contact us in the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on our emergency number if you need assistance.
You can start the cycling tour on any day that suits you.
If you prefer to cycle with a support van and/or guide we are happy to send you a customized quote for this.
On a self-guided tour it is possible to add extra days or shorten the trip if you wish to or we can customize the route for you.
Guide in a support van / no cycling guide
We offer set departure dates for group tour bookings. If we reach a minimum of 8 people on the set departure tour date the tour will be run with a guide in a support van.
The guide will meet you each morning to give you a short briefing for the day ahead. Then you can set off in small groups or individually. Each person has their own route details. Your guide will then collect the luggage and deliver the bags to the next night's accommodation before catching up with the group again.
Although the guide will not be cycling with you, he or she will be driving the support van and will make a sweep to ensure that all is well, and offer lifts to those who want a break.
This provides a sense of freedom in that you can travel at your own pace in the security that the guide is there for you in the event that you might need them. The guide will recommend places to eat and try to find out where the best entertainment is each night.
Most importantly, the guide sets the right tone to make you feel welcome to the country and to help you in whatever way possible so that each day you are free to leave your worries behind.
If we don’t reach the minimum of 8 bookings, this tour will go ahead as the self-guided version with luggage transfers via our local taxi companies. There might be others cycling the same route, but there won’t be a guide in a support van. However, you can always contact us in the office to get assistance and if you need a lift we can organize this for you.
ike rental is not included in the basic tour price
You can rent a GIANT CITY bicycles for our tours
Bikes come in different sizes and in gents and ladies style frames.
It is very important you give us your height on booking so that we can allocate the correct bike to you.
You can also rent an E-Bike
We are using EASE-E+ 2 ELECTRIC BIKE or similar please click here for more details.
We offer small and medium-sized e-bikes. Recommended body heights for our e-bikes range from 160cm - 183 cm.
ooking at a scale from 1 - 10 (1 = easiest, 10 = hardest) we are giving this tour 7 points.
The average daily cycling distance is around 40-60 km.
Terrain: The roads are all tarmacked and mainly on quiet back roads. Some climbs.
Other than young children, whom we discourage from attending, people of all ages and abilities come on the tours, so do not worry if you are not super-fit. You have all day to cover the recommended route, and while Irish roads rarely follow a straight line, there are few really high climbs.
We offer Garmin files on request, but you need to bring your own device.
We would seriously recommend that you bring padded cycling shorts and/or a gel saddle cover that will definitely make your day’s cycling more comfortable. Cycling gloves are also a good investment. You can also bring your own saddle which we should be able to attach to our bikes.
We provide pannier bags (not waterproof) in which you can keep your day-to-day items. Otherwise, you may prefer to use a daypack and there are back carriers on each bike for this purpose.
We do not provide rain gear so be sure to bring your own lightweight waterproofs.
Don’t forget sun cream, sunglasses, sun hat as well as a bathing suit for that refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
Our rental bikes don’t have lights – no problem on the long summer evenings, but if you are traveling in May or September, please bring your own light or high-visibility vest.
Finally, if you wish to use toe clips please bring your own pedals with toe clips which we can attach to our bikes (the pedals on our bikes do not accommodate toe clips
You have the option of booking different room types:
Double room = Room with one big bed for two people
Twin room = Room with two single beds for two people
Single room = Room with one single bed
Triple room = Room with one double and one single for three people OR room with three single beds
Family room = Room with one double and two single beds
If the room type you would like to book is not listed on the booking form, you can specify this in the section "other details"
On this tour you will be staying in Belfast, Carnlough, Cushendale & Ballycastle (3 nights).
Please click here for a sample accommodation list.
To confirm you onto our tour, we require a deposit of 250 euro per person.
After your initial booking request, we will be in touch with payment details.
The remaining balance for the cycling tour will be due 60 days prior tour start.
Should you wish to cancel, cancellation charges will be imposed. These are calculated from the day written
notification is received by the company or their agent as a percentage of the total tour price, including
surcharges as follows:
> 60 days before departure – retention of deposit (250 euro per person)
60-14 days before departure – 50%
< 14 days before departure – 100%
To claim the balance back, you need to send the details on to your travel insurance who should reimburse you. Please make sure that your travel insurance covers the costs for unforeseen cancellation before signing up.
We had exceptionally good weather. We needed sun cream every day and had not a drop of rain.
The light breeze made the warmth very acceptable.
Duncan is a very good guide and cycled along with us on some parts.
He had many good stories and added some extra detours, visits on request.
We have been to the regular touristic highlights like the rope bridge and the giants causeway.
Besides this we saw a lot of other beautiful places and landscapes.
We all visited Rathlin Island on the rest-day to see puffins, other birds and the lighthouse.
All together this was a very successful tour, which ended far too soon. This only encourages for more!
Norbert and Tineke van den Bos (Antrim Group Tour 2018)
Brian and I really enjoyed our trip to the Copper Coast. The bikes were excellent quality and brand new (we were at the start of the season), the accommodations booked were excellent and the route instructions perfect. We absolutely loved our trip and we have been telling all our friends about it. We are so happy to have booked through you folks. Thank you for everything!
Liz Dickinson (Antrim Coast self guided tour 2017)
Things I enjoyed the most:
- Torr Head
- The Dark Hedges
- The Carnlough/Cushendall area
Martin Spaetig (Antrim Tour 2017)
The tour was really very nice. The route was really wonderfully done as well – the directions very clear.
The cliffs near Torr Head were incredibly spectacular and that memory (as well as Glengarriff, and secondarily the Giant's Causeway) will remain with me for a lifetime.
Mike Niemeyer (Antrim self led 2012)
2023 SELF GUIDED TOUR PRICE
Stg 885 per person sharing
Stg 285 single supplement ( if travelling with others )
Stg 25 high season supplement for July & August
Stg 95.00 24 speed touring bike
Stg 190.00 E-bike
NB - Northern Ireland does not use the euro so be sure to have Sterling with you when you arrive.
Self Guided Tour Information
Self guided tours are available from 16 April to 1 October and can start any day of the week.
How to get to Belfast City:
It is possible to fly to either Dublin airport, Belfast or Shannon airport.
(Please note: Flying into Dublin airport will have more route options)
You can fly direct into Belfast airport, and it is a short taxi ride to the city from there.
From Dublin airport: Bus service direct from the airport to Belfast city available
(Check AirCoach for more info)
Alternatively, take the Airlink shuttle service into Dublin city and transfer to get direct bus/train to Belfast.
(Bus AirCoach or Train takes approx 2hrs 10mins. Details on Irish Rail)
From Shannon airport: There is a Flight/bus service to Belfast city available
(Check AerLingus.com for info or )
The first and last night of the trip we stay in this beautiful luxurious hotel. Close to the famous sites of Belfast this is the perfect place to discover the city from.
Londonderry Arms Hotel The Hotel is nestled in the picturesque Harbour village of Calough, surrounded by sandy beaches and with the majestic backdrop of Glencloy, the second of the nine Glens. The hotel was once famously owed by Sir Winston Churchill.
The Glendale B&B is a family run B&B with a relaxing feel to it. Only a short walk from the village centre or the beach.
The Meadows B&B in Cushendall is a warm and welcoming place to stay. Overlooking a small harbour and only short walk to the village centre
We spend three nights in this charming and warm welcoming guesthouse An Caislean located only 5 min walk from the beach and the centre of the town it is the perfect place to stay for a few days and really get to know the town and some of the local people.