Northern Ireland: Cycle routes and inspiration

A bike is leaning up against two road signs that are pointing in opposite directions to Cushendun and Cushendall both signs also have the words Glendun Scenic Route in a brown square. In the background is a grassy hill and a line of conifers
Famous for its stunning mountains, dramatic coastlines, and rich culture, Northern Ireland is a wonderful place to embrace the joy of cycling

From challenging terrains to urban routes rich in history, Northern Ireland provides an abundance of cycling opportunities for all abilities and interests. In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve put together a selection of cycling routes and inspiring Traveller’s Tales that showcase the wonderful versatility of Northern Ireland.

Cycle routes in Northern Ireland

Portrush to Dunseverick Castle loop, 24 miles

No visit to Northern Ireland is complete without seeing the legendary Giant’s Causeway. This route takes you from the seaside town of Portrush along the Causeway Coast AONB for a scenic stop at the World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. You will also pass the historic castles of Dunluce and Dunseverick, both dramatically perched atop the rugged coastline.

MTB - Full Banagher (25km off road), 16.6 miles

Enjoy an off-road adventure through the picturesque Banagher forest, County Londonderry. With its large lake, impressive dam, native wildlife, and green pastures, Banagher Glen nature reserve is an idyllic setting for mountain biking in Northern Ireland. Featuring a challenging climb, you’ll be rewarded with wonderful views on a clear day.

Scrabo Tower to Strangford Lough, County Down by See.Sense, 30 miles

A pleasingly flat route, this favourite from the smart bike light innovators See.Sense takes you through Strangford Lough. Managed by the National Trust, the area is a haven for marine life and flowers and is also home to the imposing Scrabo Tower. Suitable for all abilities, this is a scenic route with opportunities for café and pub stops along the way.

Lagan and Lough cycle way, 21 miles

Perfect for family rides, the Lagan and Lough cycle way is a mostly traffic-free route connecting Lisburn, Belfast and Jordanstown. As you cycle, you will enjoy views across Belfast Lough before continuing to Donegal Quay and finishing in the heart of Belfast City.

Mourne Loop in Northern Ireland, 45 miles

Experience the dramatic beauty of the Mourne mountains on this 45-mile circular loop. Located in the south-east corner of Northern Ireland, this is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty complete with coastal roads, climbs and several purpose-built off-road trail centres in forest parks.

A woman riding on a bike is leading a group of riders along a stone path at some docks. On the rider’s right is a boat and behind them a red brick building

Traveller’s Tales: Exploring Northern Ireland

In need of more inspiration? Follow the links below to read first-hand accounts of cycling in Northern Ireland from Cycling UK members. These anecdotal Traveller’s Tales include undulating Irish farmland, a tour of Irish border counties and conquering the Wild Atlantic Way.

Belfast and beyond

Cycling across the Irish border

Ireland bit by bit

If you’re looking to plan your own Irish cycling adventure, then you might want to check out our useful journey planner. This tool can help you to plan cycle-friendly routes, whether you’re travelling within Belfast or exploring the Antrim Coast.

Cycling UK in Northern Ireland

Despite its glorious countryside and abundance of cycling routes, Northern Ireland has some of the lowest levels of cycling in Western Europe. At Cycling UK, we know that most people want better, safer cycle infrastructure and for more people to use a bike to get around.

That’s why Cycling UK is working together with representatives, Cycling UK Member Groups, and other organisations, to discuss and deal with matters relating to cycling in Northern Ireland.

You can read more about our latest work in Northern Ireland, including our Cycle Advocacy Network that is championing local change across the nation, and our Roots and Routes project that takes cyclists on a journey of discovery through Belfast’s maritime history.