Our visit to Giant’s Causeway was without a doubt one of the major highlights on our short road trip in Northern Ireland. Maybe you are considering to visit this stunning place? Then I would like to share 5 tips for visiting Giant’s Causeway that can help you plan your visit.
1: It is free to visit Giant’s Causeway
If you do not know, it can be difficult to see… But you can actually visit Giant’s Causeway without spending a penny (and without cheating of course). When our guide dropped us off at the entrance, he made a big deal about telling us to go directly through the entrance – and NOT into the visitor center to buy a ticket. I must admit that we thought about buying a ticket anyway, cause on several signs, a (fairly high) price is written very clearly. But we did as Bobby told us to, and he was right. Right by the entrance it is written with teeny tiny letters that the admission to Giant’s Causeway is free.
But if it is free to enter Giant’s Causeway, what are you paying for then? Well, as Bobby told us, the entire visitor center is a quite new thing. And so is the manned parking right next to it. If you arrive by car and want to park right next to the entrance, you will have to get that wallet out of your pocket. There is no such thing as “pay for parking only”. If you want to park here, you also pay for the visitor center. In the visitor center itself, you can learn about the history of the place, you can pick up an audio guide to take with you to the columns, you can do some shopping in the souvenir shop and café, and you can use their toilets (and no, there will be no toilets available unless you have paid 10,5 pounds to use the visitor center. Tip: buy something to drink at a nearby pub and use their toilet instead).
Whether or not you want to pay for the experience at the visitor center is totally up to you of course. We chose not to, and we still enjoyed our visit to Giant’s Causeway very much! If you arrive by car, it can be difficult to avoid paying the price, since parking is not paid for separately. I have heard of others though, who have parked in a town nearby, and then just chose to see the walk to Giant’s Causeway as part of the experience.
You can read more about prices, opening hours and facilities in the visitor center right here.
2: Read up on the history
In continuation of tip number 1, it can be a good idea to read about the history and the myths about Giant’s Causeway from home – especially if you choose not to visit the visitor center. Even though there are a few signs along the way down to Giant’s Causeway, the amount of information found is very little. If you are the type of person who has an interest in learning about the things you see, I will advise you to search for information online before you leave home – or alternatively to bring a guide book, if you want to learn about the interesting myths and history on spot.
3: Wear proper footwear
No, there is no reason to invest in some fancy hiking shoes for a visit to Giant’s Causeway. But it will be a brilliant idea to wear something which sits firmly on your feet. A big part of the experience at Giant’s Causeway is to climb around the (very uneven) stone columns and enjoy the landscape from every angle. That might be quite the challenge, if you are not wearing proper footwear. During our visit, we saw several people who looked like they heavily regretted their decision to wear flip-flops…
4: Arrive as early as possible
Are you not a fan of hordes of people either? Giant’s Causeway is one of the most well known in Northern Ireland, so it is practically IMPOSSIBLE to avoid other tourists. But as it is in so many other places, more and more people arrive during the day. Day tours to Giant’s Causeway from both Belfast and Dublin are popular, and it takes them hours of driving to get here. So if possible, I will recommend that you put a visit here as the first thing on your to-do list for the day. We arrived in the late morning and spend a couple of hours on our visit. We never had the place to ourselves, but it was very clear that bus after bus filled with tourists arrived closer to noon.
5: Pack a bottle of water, some snacks and small change
Even though Giant’s Causeway is one of the largest attractions in Northern Ireland, it is almost impossible to stock up on food and drinks here. That is unless you pay to use the visitor center. If you, like me, are at your best behavior when you have had your snack between meals, I will recommend for you to bring them from home. The small change will come in handy if you find yourself to have tired feet. Between the entrance to Giant’s Causeway and the actual stone columns, you can catch a ride with a small shuttle bus (which operates independently from the visitor center). For some small change you can spare your feet for this trip – which might be most relevant back to the entrance, as this way is up (!) hill 😉
You can read more about our visit and where to find Giant’s Causeway right here.
Visited in July 2017
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