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Iron Donkey Bicycle Touring : bike tours, cycle vacations and biking holidays in Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy and Spain.

Grand North Of Ireland Self-Guided Tour (13 Nights)

Tour code: NOISG13

Tour Overview

This is a comprehensive tour of the North of Ireland region. The routes take in the Bann Valley, the Sperrins, the Causeway Coast, the Antrim Plateau, the Glens of Antrim, the Antrim Coast Road, Belfast, the Mournes, the Ards Peninsula and St Patrick’s Country.

Starting in either Belfast or Moira, you first ride takes you to Rostrevor.  This route is on quiet, rural roads in County Down and partially along the old Newry Canal on a cycle path past the village of Scarva.  This route is an ideal chance to get acquainted with you bike away from any traffic.  From Rostrevor you then climb through the Mourne Mountains to the picturesque Spelga Pass, where you drop down to the seaside town of Newcastle.  From there you head along the coastline around Dundrum Bay to Strangford for a two-night stopover. The loop route explores St Patrick’s Country and the southern end of the Ards Peninsula.  Your journey from Strangford takes you through both rolling County Down drumlins and coastal cycling routes to your accommodation near Comber. Nendrum Monastic Site is worth a visit from here.  From Comber you can take the greenway all the way into the capital city of Belfast.  There is plenty to see and do in Belfast, but we’ll provide you with loop options should you want them. 

From Belfast you will get a transfer to Antrim, where you begin to explore the alluring Causeway Coast.   Your ride from Antrim is through rural farmland and small towns such as Toome and Portglenone, before settling in Aghadowey.  From this point on you are never far from the stunning, world famous coastline.  You first visit Bushmills for a two-night stay, where you will get a chance to visit the mystical Giants’ Causeway, as well as Dunluce Castle and the ancient Bushmills Distillery.  From Bushmills you continue round the coastline to the seaside resort town of Ballycastle.  There are several more ‘must see’ attractions en route, including Carrick-a- Rede Rope bridge, Ballintoy Harbour and Kilbane Castle.  Much of this coastline has been used in recent years for the filming of hit tv series Game of Thrones.  From Ballycastle you can then do the challenging, but thoroughly worthwhile extension to Torr Head, before hugging the coastline around to Cushendall.  You also have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Glenarriff Forest Park.  The last leg of a memorable tour is a gentle, flat ride into the heart of Belfast, via Carrickfergus Castle.

For information on the en route scenery and attractions see the Regional Details page.

Ten highlights

  • The award-winning Belfast City
  • Gortin Lakes
  • Binevenagh Plateau
  • Mussenden Temple
  • The Giant’s Causeway
  • Dunluce Castle
  • Bushmills Distillery
  • The Antrim Coast Road
  • The Silent Valley
  • Tollymore Forest Park
  • Castleward House
  • Dundrum Castle
  • Nendrum Monastic Site


  • Antrim Plateau
  • Beaghmore Stones
  • Dunluce
  • Glenariff Waterfall
  • Glenelly Valley
  • Mournes
  • Portbraddon
  • Saul Church
  • Sperrins Landscape
  • Whiterocks


  • To lengthen the tour, consider spending a night or two in Belfast at the beginning or end of the biking, or alternatively in the middle of the tour when you pass through the city on your way from the Causeway to the Mournes.

Outline Itinerary

Day Start Stay Core route Other options En Route
→ ml ↑ ft longer Shorter
1 - Moira/ Belfast - - - -  
2 Moira/ Belfast Rostrevor 41 1879     Newry Canal, Newry, Warrenpoint
3 Rostrevor Newcastle 27 2342   Mourne Mountains, Silent Valley, Tollymore Forest Park
4 Newcastle Strangford 34 887 Dundrum Castle, Tyrella Beach, St Johns Point
5 Strangford Strangford 32 1659 Ards Peninsula, Mount Stewart, Strangford Lough
6 Strangford Comber 39 1455   Downpatrick, Nendrum Monastic Site, Castle Espie
7 Comber Belfast 13 688   Comber Greenway, Titanic Experience, CS Lewis Square, Harland & Wolf
8 Antrim Aghadowey 43 1259   (Transfer to Antrim) Lough Neagh, Bann River Valley,
9 Aghadowey Bushmills 36 1134 Binevenagh Plateau, Mussenden Temple, Dunluce Castle
10 Bushmills Bushmills 30 979 Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills Distillery, Dark Hedges
11 Bushmills Ballycastle 15 1032   Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Kinbane Castle, Ballintoy Harbour
12 Ballycastle Cushendall 36 2390   Vanishing Lake, Cushendun, Glenarriff Forest Park
13 Cushendall Belfast 50 1796   Antrim Coast Road, The Gobbins, Carrickfergus Castle

Day-by-Day Summary

Tour Costs

Costs in Sterling Pounds
Basic cost per person sharing 1135*
Single accommodation supplement (if applicable) 440
Optional Costs
Bicycle rental Hybrid 195
Touring 205
Road 225
E-Bike 350
Panniers 20
luggage transfers Total for one or two people 460
Each additional person 25

* Prices for solo travellers are on request

Click here for more details on what's included in the costs above.

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