16 Of The Most Scenic Walks In Northern Ireland Worth Lacing Up Your Boots For

Hikes, walks and fine aul rambles

mussenden temple walk
Photo by silvester kalcik (Shutterstock)

We recently published a guide to 88 of the best hikes and walks in Ireland.

The guide took in everything from mammoth mountains, like Carrauntoohil, to handier rambles that still offer incredible views, like the Diamond Hill walk.

In this guide, we’re going to take you through some of the best hikes that Northern Ireland has to offer.

For some, you’ll need to be a seasoned hiker. For others, you’ll be able to conquer them without too much hassle.

Visiting Armagh, Tyrone, Antrim, Fermanagh, Down or Derry soon and looking for things to do, as well as hikes and walks? hop into our guide to the best places to visit in Northern Ireland.

1. The Divis Summit Trail (Antrim)

Divis trail
Photo by Arthur Ward via Tourism Ireland

If you’re visiting Belfast and looking to escape the city for a bit, then get yourself up Divis Mountain. You’ll catch a superb view out over the city from here.

There’s a 4.8km looped walk on Divis that was specially designed to ensure that the condition of the mountain slope is maintained, while also providing handy public access.

You’ll kick this walk off at the Long Barn car park (bring change) before joining the Tipperary road and following the waymarkers.

2. The Slieve Donard Mountain Walk (Down)

mourne wall walk
Photo by Ricky Bamford (Creative Commons)

At 850m, Slieve Donard in County Down is the highest peak in the Mourne mountains (it’s also the highest in Northern Ireland!).

There are several different trails that you can head off on here, but the pick of the bunch (in my opinion) is the one that kicks off at the car park in Donard Park and that follows the Glen River and then the Mourne Wall.

The hike here will take you between 4.5 and 5 hours, depending on pace, and offers magnificent views of everywhere from the Isle of Man and the Wicklow Mountains to the peaks of Wales, Scotland, and Donegal.

The Mournes are home to some of the best hikes in Ireland – if the climb up Slieve Donard is too much for you, there are plenty of lower level trails to try.

3. Slieve Gullion (Armagh)

Slieve Guillion summit views
Photo by AlbertMi/Shutterstock.com

You’ll find Slieve Gullion mountain in south Armagh. It’s here that, on a clear day, you’ll be treated to some of the best views in Ireland.

There’s a 15.2km circular route up Slieve Guillion that’ll take you through lush woodland, along steep paths and across peaty grounds. 

When you pass the end of the forest, you’ll be treated to views like the one in the photo above. This is a brilliant walk that can take the guts of 4 hours, when you factor in time for stops.

4. The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (Fermanagh)

climbing cuilcagh mountain
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

When it comes to hiking Ireland’s home to a number of routes and trails that tend to receive a heap of attention online. The Cuilcagh Mountain Walk is one of them.

This is a straightforward walk that follows a clear path from top to bottom and should take no more than 3 hours to finish.

It’s not overly strenuous, so it should suit walkers with lower levels of fitness. One thing to keep in mind if you try this walk is that the car park can be a bit of a nightmare. Get there early or you won’t get in at all.

5. Slieve Binnian (Down)

slieve binnan
Photo by James Kennedy NI/Shutterstock.com

We’re rounding this guide off with a trip back to the Mourne Mountains for a lovely 3 hour climb (with stops) on Slieve Binnian.

The easiest starting point for Slieve Binnian is the Carrick Little car park. If you start your walk here you can follow the Mourne Wall all the way to the summit.

Those that reach its summit on a clear day can expect to catch a glimpse of everywhere from the Isle of Man to the Wicklow Mountains.

6. The Murlough Bay Nature Trail (Antrim)

Murlough bay antrim ireland road trip
Photo by Matthew Woodhouse

You’ll find Murlough Bay in Antrim, between Fair Head and Torr Head, where it offers views of Rathlin Island and beyond.

The Murlough Bay Nature Trail is a 4km walking route that starts and finishes in the nearby car park and that shouldn’t take much longer than 90 minutes to complete.

The walk follows the main walkway to the magnificent Murlough Beach before taking the Archaeology Path to the Central Reserve. It then loops back to the car park.

7. Portstewart Strand (Derry)

portstewart strand
Photo by Chris Hill

Portstewart Strand is a 3.2km long stretch of beautiful golden sand that’s widely regarded as one of the finest beaches in Northern Ireland.

Visitors to ‘the Strand’, as it’s known locally, will be treated to unbeatable views of the Inishowen headland along with Mussenden Temple.

How long you spend sauntering along the sand at Portstewart is up to you. You can walk the entire length of it or just tackle a chunk.

8. The Blackslee Waterfall Walk (Fermanagh)

navar forest drive
Photo via Marble Arch Caves

We’re off to County Fermanagh next to the magnificent Navar Forest. There’s a brilliant walk here known as the Blackslee Waterfall Walk.

This is a 6.5km 2.5-hour walk that starts with a bang at the Aghameelan Viewpoint, where you’ll catch some excellent views out over the Fermanagh countryside.

The highlight of this walk is the beautiful Blackslee Waterfall. If you visit, bring a mini picnic and kick-back here for a while as you watch the water crash down from a 20-metre high cliff.

9. The Downhill Demesne walk (Derry)

mussenden temple walk
Photo by silvester kalcik (Shutterstock)

Downhill Demesne is home to several gorgeous sheltered garden and cliff walks. I’ve been here in the past and the Downhill Demesne walk is well worth doing.

It starts at the Bishops Gate entrance to the Demense, and begins by taking you through the walled gardens.

The 3.2km 2-hour walk climaxes at Mussensen Temple where there are exquisite views out over Portstewart Strand.

10. The Scrabo Hill Walk (Down)

scrabo Tower at dawn
Photo by Bernie Brown via Tourism Ireland

If you’re after a short walk that’ll treat you to a breath-taking view, get yourself to Scrabo Hill in County Down. There’s a handy 5 to 10-minute walk from the car park to Scrabo Tower.

The views of Strangford Lough and North Down from the summit of Scrabo Hill will knock you on your arse.

You can take a walk to the summit of the hill where you’ll find Scrabo Tower, which was built in 1857.

11. The Tollymore Forrest Red Trail (Down)

a bridge in Tollymore Forrest
Photo by Chris Hill

A summers morning ramble through Tollymore Forrest in County Down is up there with the best things to do in Northern Ireland.

The park covers an impressive 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and is the perfect location for a bit of walking. There are 4 different trails that you can head off on at Tollymore.

I did the Red Trail here last year and it was excellent. It’s a 4.8km walk that passes through beautiful woodland and that offers dramatic views of the Pot of Legawherry.

12. The Dart Mountain Loop Walk (Tyrone)

Sperrins walk
Photo by Daragh Burns on Flickr (Creative Commons Licence)

The Dart Mountain Loop Walk is a 17km looped walk that can take up to 5 hours to complete. It’s one of several brilliant walks in the Sperrin Mountains and it takes in the peaks of Sawel and Dart.

Although this is a tough hike, it’s a reasonably straightforward one thanks to wire fences that can be used to help navigate the trail. 

if you’ve yet to explore the Sperrins, get them on your to-visit list. They straddle the Tyrone and Derry border and are the largest mountain range in Ireland.

13. The Causeway Coast Way (Antrim)

the causeway coastal walk

The chances are you’ve heard about the Causeway Coastal Route – it’s a scenic route for drivers, cyclists and walkers and offers the perfect combination of rugged coastline, towering cliffs and gorgeous little towns and villages.

For those looking to get the heart rate up, one of the best ways to experience Antrim’s landscape is by heading off on the Causeway Coast Way walk.

This trail links the towns of Ballycastle and Portstewart and it takes in some of Antrim’s most popular nautral attractions over 2 to 3 days. 

14. The Ramparts Top Walk (Derry)

derry city walls
Photo by Brian Morrison

Derry is far too often overlooked by those exploring Ireland. The city of Derry is officially the only completely walled city in Ireland, and it’s home to a tonne of history.

The Derry City Walls were built between 1613-1618 and were originally used to defend the city against 17th-century settlers. There’s a nice walk around the top of the ramparts that offers a brilliant view out over the city.

The walls are around 1.6km in length, so it won’t take you too long to work your way around them. You can kick things off near the city’s Guildhall Square.

15. Cave Hill Country Park (Antrim)

cave hill belfast
Photo by Arthur Ward via Tourism Ireland

As was the case with Belfast Castle, Cave Hill Country Park offers magnificent panoramic views across Belfast from a number of different vantage points.

Visitors here can explore a host of different archaeological sites, nip into Cave Hill Visitor Centre, ramble around the gardens, and take a number of waymarked walking trails suitable for casual and more seasoned hikers.

16. The Gobbins Cliff Walk

Gobbins Antrim
Photos by Cushla Monk + Paul Vance (shutterstock.com)

Last but not least is the incredible Gobbins Cliff Walk, which is arguably one of the most unique walks in Ireland.

Those that head off on a tour of the Gobbins will be taken, quite literally, along the side of a cliff on the Antrim coast.

There are few places in Northern Ireland where you’ll be able to soak up (literally, on a wet and windy day!) a better view of the mighty Antrim coast.

What walks in Northern Ireland have we missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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