Northern Ireland in detail

Getting Around

Car The easiest way to get around Northern Ireland is by car; roads are good and traffic is rarely a problem (although avoid routes in and around Belfast at rush hour).

Bus Buses serve urban areas and connect the province's main towns and cities, with less frequent services to most (but not all) rural villages.

Train Some towns are linked to Belfast by train.

Air

There are no commercial domestic flights between airports within Northern Ireland.

Bicycle

Northern Ireland is compact, and hiring a bike – for an hour or two, or a week or longer – is a great way to really see the country if you have time to spare.

See www.cycleni.com for details of on- and off-road cycle routes in Northern Ireland. Popular routes include the Loughshore Trail around Lough Neagh, the Kingfisher Trail in County Fermanagh, the Larne to Derry coastal route and the Strangford Lough Cycle Trail. Maps are available from www.sustrans.org.uk.

Bicycles can be brought on Translink NI Railways trains (space permitting) after 9.30am and at weekends.

In theory bicycles are also permitted on Ulsterbus Goldline express services, providing there is space in the luggage storage compartment underneath the bus; regular luggage takes priority.

Boat

Rathlin Island Ferry Northern Ireland's only inhabited island can be reached on the daily ferry service from Ballycastle in County Antrim.

Strangford Car Ferry Operates a car-ferry service between Strangford and Portaferry in County Down.

Erne Boat Hire Rents boats for exploring the uninhabited islands of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

Bus

Ulsterbus runs bus services to all Northern Ireland towns and cities and many rural areas.

Ulsterbus Goldline express buses – with comfortable leatherette seats and on-board wi-fi – connect Belfast with other large towns and cities including Newry, Derry, Enniskillen, Omagh, Armagh, Portadown, Newcastle, Cookstown and Larne.

Other Ulsterbus services make more frequent stops on shorter routes, including connections to rural towns and villages. However, not all rural areas are served by buses; check the journey planner on www.translink.co.uk for the best transport options.

Car & Motorcycle

Compared with many countries (especially the USA), hire rates are expensive in Northern Ireland; the smallest cars start from about £150 per week, and it's around £200 and upwards per week for a medium car. All rates include insurance and unlimited mileage.

Rental outfits include:

Avis (www.avis.co.uk)

Belfast Motorcycle Rentals (www.belfastmotorcyclerentals.com)

Budget (www.budgetbelfast.co.uk)

Dooley Car Rentals (www.dooleycarrentals.com)

Europcar (www.europcar.co.uk)

Train

Northern Ireland has five train lines, all operated by Translink NI Railways.

  • Newry–Portadown–Belfast line
  • Bangor–Belfast line
  • Larne–Carrifergus–Belfast line
  • Derry–Coleraine–Belfast line
  • Portrush–Coleraine–Belfast line

Tickets have fixed prices and aren't any cheaper when bought in advance; the maximum single journey fare within Northern Ireland is £13. Fares for individual journeys can be seen on www.translink.co.uk.