North Ireland Small Ship Tours 2023/2024
Save up to 40% on North Ireland Small Ship Tours 2023/2024North Ireland Travel Guide
An untamed, rugged coastline, picturesque rural landscapes, hip cities, and rich history and cultural heritage make North Ireland a big draw for visitors. There are many must-sees on the Emerald Isle, but you can't go wrong if you put the Giant's Causeway, Castle Ward, and Titanic Belfast on your list. With tour operator volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 40% versus assembling the same itinerary on your own! Book your North Ireland tour today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted tour headquarters. View North Ireland Tour Deals and DiscountsNorth Ireland Travel Guide
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North Ireland Travel Guide
North Ireland Tours Highlights
- Wander the cobbled streets of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter with its vibrant street art and many pubs.
- Visit Castle Ward, a unique 18th-century mansion located in a rolling pastoral landscape and overlooking the tranquil waters of a sea loch.
- Explore the beautiful Strangford Lough, a marine nature reserve home to an unrivaled wealth of sea life.
- Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Causeway Coastal Route, one of North Ireland's most picturesque drives that goes past historic castles and wild seascapes.
- Be mesmerized by the dramatic Giant's Causeway, an awe-inspiring geological formation.
- Get acquainted with North Ireland's rich maritime history at the Titanic Belfast, one of the country's most popular attractions.
- Discover the incredible natural beauty of the Mourne Mountains in County Down, famous for their towering peaks and crystalline lakes.
- Take a boat trip in Kilkeel harbor where tall ships once traded and watch the fleet landing their catch on the quayside.
North Ireland Tours Travel Tips
- The best way to see all the spectacular landscapes in North Ireland is by road. Driving in North Ireland is on the left side of the road (opposite to the US). If you don't want to bother with the logistics of driving, a guided North Ireland tour is your best bet. All you have to do is sit back and soak in all the wonderful sights.
- North Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and uses the Pound Sterling as its currency. International bank cards are widely accepted.
- Visitors from outside the EU who stay less than 3 months are entitled to tax-free shopping in North Ireland. Show your passport at participating outlets and ask the retailer for a VAT 407 form. You can then show customs the purchased goods and receipts at your point of departure from North Ireland and get your money back.
- It's customary to tip 10% in restaurants with table service. Some establishments add a service charge, especially for large groups, so check if it's already been added to your bill.
- The weather in North Ireland is predictably unpredictable but rarely extreme. There can be bucketloads of rainfall, however, so dress in layers and come prepared with waterproof shoes and a rain jacket.
North Ireland Tours Things To Do
- Enjoy a Night Out in Belfast
There are few institutions like the Irish pub, and Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, with its buzzing nightlife is the ideal place to experience it. The Cathedral Quarter (the area surrounding St. Anne's Cathedral) is a dynamic district with interesting street art and hip bars and pubs. And right at its heart, on Hill Street, is Black Box, an innovative arts venue that features theatre, music, magic, and comedy, allowing visitors to delve into contemporary Irish culture.
You Should KnowYou can join a local on a pub crawl to gain an intimate knowledge of the city, enjoy live music, and visit different venues ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. Foodies can enjoy a food trail led by an experienced local guide who'll take you to both popular and offbeat restaurants. A great way to immerse yourself in the Irish culinary scene.
- Marvel at the spectacular Giant’s Causeway
This symbol of North Ireland is an area of outstanding natural beauty and dramatic geological formations. The unique feature is some 40,000 massive basalt columns formed 60 million years ago, rising from the sea and creating a sort of pavement. Legend has it that giants used this pathway to cross the sea to Scotland. Visitors can enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery from the cliff tops and see the geological features up close from the well-maintained paths.
You Should KnowThe Giant's Causeway Visitor Center offers 360-degree views of the coastline and interactive exhibits that unlock some of the secrets of this magnificent landscape. Food and refreshments are available onsite, as are toilet facilities, parking, and a Bureau de Change (currency exchange kiosk).
- Immerse Yourself in Maritime History at Titanic Belfast
With more than nine interactive galleries, the Titanic Belfast is a multi-dimensional exhibition that's an ode to North Ireland's maritime history. Consisting of special effects exhibits, an electronic dark ride through a shipyard, and full-scale reconstructions, this popular attraction makes for a fascinating day out. Visitors have the chance to walk the decks of the Titanic on its maiden voyage in 1912, experience its launch as well as its unfortunate sinking, and explore the wreck as it lies on the seabed today.
You Should KnowYou can step back in time and enjoy the elegant luxury of Sunday afternoon tea in a recreation of the opulent Titanic Suite located near the ship's Grand Staircase. Dine on mouth-watering classic scones and finger sandwiches, and add a sparkle to your afternoon with champagne, a signature cocktail, or a glass of prosecco. You can book a combined ticket online for the Titanic Experience and Afternoon Tea.
- Work Up a Sweat in the Mourne Mountains
Keep your fingers crossed for good visibility, because on a clear day, the Mourne Mountains are staggeringly beautiful. The 28 peaks are a natural playground that will challenge even the most avid of hikers. The tallest, Slieve Donard, is a tough climb but rewards you with spectacular views of Newcastle and Murlough Bay. But the Mournes have several trails for less strenuous walking too, such as Slieve Lamagan and Slieve Binnian. Keep your camera handy. The light and the landscape are nothing short of magical.
You Should KnowWalking and hiking can quickly dehydrate you, so make sure you carry enough water. Even if the weather looks clear, it can change quickly, so pack a rainproof jacket and wear waterproof walking/hiking shoes.
- Visit the Beautiful Dunluce Castle
Built more than 500 years ago and perched on a dramatic basalt cliff in County Antrim, Dunluce Castle has witnessed a long and tumultuous history of violence, rebellion, and intrigue. The imposing ruins of the Renaissance-style manor include stables and guest lodgings on the mainland, separated from the main fortress by a precipitous gap. Game of Thrones fans might recognize Dunluce Castle as Castle Greyjoy, depicted in the popular series as the home of the Iron Islands rulers.
You Should KnowYou can download the free Dunluce Castle app on your phone (iPhone and Android devices) to make the most of your visit.
- Explore the Fascinating Marble Arch Caves
This UNESCO Global Geopark is an underground network of caves carved out by rainwater near the village of Florencecourt, south of the Lower Lough Erne. The Marble Arch Caves are a fascinating natural subterranean world of waterfalls and streams. The winding passageways lead to spectacular chambers with glistening cave formations created over millions of years. A magical world of caverns that delights and amazes both adults and children.
You Should KnowGuided tours lasting just over 1-hour showcase the star attractions in the geopark and include a short boat ride. The caves are open to visitors until 6 p.m. in July and August but may close earlier in other months, so check before you go. In the summer months, book the tours in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Come Face to Face with History at the Ulster Museum
The Ulster Museum in Belfast is a treasure trove of the past and a great place to get acquainted with the rich history of Northern Ireland. The museum's collection includes everything from a 2500-year-old mummified Egyptian who came to Belfast in 1834 to dinosaur eggs and artifacts retrieved from the wreck of a Spanish galleon. The three interactive discovery zones are ideal for children.
You Should KnowThe Ulster Museum is free for visitors. However, booking online is recommended. The Museum is closed on Mondays.
- Admire an Ancient Monastery on Devenish Island
Founded in the 6th-century by St. Molaise, the ruins of an Augustine monastery on Devenish Island include a perfectly preserved 12th-century round tower and a 15th-century high cross. The island has a tumultuous history including being raided by the Vikings and burned to the ground, but it flourished in the Middle Ages as a parish church. Today, the amazing ruins of the abbey sit on a tranquil island where few people venture, so don't be surprised if you have the place to yourself. A great place to wander around for an hour or so.
You Should KnowDevenish Island is only accessible by boat or water taxi. The round tower may be closed in the off-season, so check before going if you've got your heart set on seeing it.
- Discovery Derry
Derry-Londonderry is a pulsating city crammed with heritage and history. It's the only completely walled city in North Ireland with the surrounding walls dating back to the early 17th-century. The best way to experience these magnificent walls is to stroll on the rampart walkway, a 1.5-km promenade that gives you a bird's eye view of the well-preserved town built in Renaissance style. Enclosed within the walls is a network of streets full of character and charm and dotted with craft shops, art galleries, and museums.
You Should KnowThe Derry Walls are open from dawn to dusk and are free of cost.
North Ireland Tour Packages
Northern Irelands' climate is windy, cold, and rainy most of the time. Even in the summer the temperatures never rise above the high 60s. Like most destinations, you should research the weather before you decide what time of the year you will travel.
- Autumn - September to November
Some would argue that autumn is the best time to visit Northern Ireland when the country roads are quiet and the brilliant red and gold leaves drench the pastoral landscape in vivid autumnal colors. However, it can be cloudy, rainy, and windy, so pack appropriate clothing if you're visiting in this season.
- Winter - December to February
In the winter, the days are short and the sunsets by around 4 p.m., meaning outdoor sightseeing may be curtailed. However, many winter mornings can be delightfully crisp with clear blue skies and sunshine. And if there is a dusting of snow, all you have to do is bundle up and enjoy this beautiful country.
- Spring - March to May
The spring season could well be the best time to visit North Ireland because of comfortable temperatures in the 50s, the least chance of rain, a lush green countryside blooming with wildflowers, and the summer tourist crowds not yet descended.
- Summer - June to August
The summer months are the warmest of the year. The days are long with sunlight until 10 p.m., giving visitors plenty of time to explore the wonderful Irish outdoors. Average daytime temperatures are in the 60s. However, this also means that popular attractions can get crowded and prices for accommodations are at a premium.
North Ireland Tours Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I need a tourist visa to join a Northern Ireland tour?
US Citizens do not need a tourist visa for Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom (other nationalities may require a tourist visa, please check with the UK embassy in your country). Your US passport must be valid for the entire duration of your planned stay. US passport holders can use the ePassport Gates on arrival into the UK.
- What’s included on a North Ireland tour?
North Ireland tours are escorted tours that include accommodation in comfortable, well-located hotels, transportation, all breakfasts, some additional meals, and sightseeing at all the must-see attractions.
- What’s the best Ireland tour?
You can choose to explore the northern part of Ireland in-depth or combine your North Ireland tour with a trip to Britain and/or Scotland. There are good ferry connections between North Ireland and Scotland. You can also take a train from Belfast to Edinburgh, but you'll have to make several changes. If you don't want to bother with the logistics of transportation, it's best to book an escorted North Ireland tour.
- How much do North Ireland tours cost?
Northern Ireland tours cost around $100 per person per day. Check our website for great deals on North Ireland vacations, lowest prices guaranteed.
Reviews for North Ireland Tours and Vacations
Our time in Quebec Canada was very enjoyable. The city was lit up at night by thousands of Christmas lights and beautiful. The people there friendly and out going, and our accomdations were just what we had hoped for. Over all we had a great time, but all to short.
The tour was excellent. It was the highlight of 2022 for us.
This was the second time we travelled with CIE Tours and would never travel to Ireland or the UK with anyone else. We were completely taken care of from start to finish! The hotels were clean and comfortable, the pace of the tour is very good. we visited lots of key sites and had excellent commentary as well as free time to discover on our own. the meals and excursions were thoughtful and well planned. Overall a wonderful experience.
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