Giant's Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Photo courtesy of Tour Operator.

The Irish love their salmon and soda bread. Photo via Flickr:Jeremy Keith

Bike and Sail Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Bike + Barge Tours

Discover Northern Ireland

On this unique sailing experiernce, you will bike and sail the exceptional and dramatic coastline of Northern Ireland. This small and rugged isle, engulfed by the surges of the Atlantic swell, is a place of natural beauty and diversity. While the Western side of the island is commonly frequented by tourists, the Northern region remains relatively undiscovered. Visits to important, historical and dynamic cities such as Belfast and Londonderry are combined with a unique sailing experience and the discovery of scenic landscapes and natural wonders by bike.

The tour itinerary includes a visit to Rathlin Island and other hightlights such as Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede-Bridge.

Your floating accommodation for the week, the Thalassa also offers a hands-on experience for all who are interested in learning what it means to bring a tall ship into motion.

Highlights:

  • The mighty city wall of Derry
  • The Giant's Causeway (one of the most facinating coastal roads on earth)
  • Carrick-a-Rede Bridge
  • Kebble Cliffs National Nature Reserve
  • Turf smoked native salmon

Skill Level

This is a moderate to difficult tour in a hilly landscape with stages of 12 – 37 mi. (20 – 60 km) on quiet country and asphalt roads. In some instances, you will cycle on field paths. Main roads without separate bike paths are used only for short stretches. This tour includes some longer and steeper ascents on which you can always walk your bike. Strong headwinds may also be encountered. You are free to set aside a half or full day to swim or spend time on board the boat, instead of taking a planned bike tour.

Where You’ll Stay

On board the standard plus class sailing vessel, the Thalassa.

What’s Included

  • 8-day cruise on a three masted tall ship with crew
  • Accommodations for 7 nights
  • 4 x breakfast, lunch AND dinner, 3 x breakfast lunch OR dinner
  • Guided bike tours and visitations as described in the itinerary
  • Guided city tour on bikes in Belfast
  • Maps of the individual bike stages on board
  • Entrance for sights and attractions included in the itinerary
  • Bed linen and towels
  • English and german speaking tour guides/info
  • 21 speed hybrid touring bike with pannier

What’s Not Included

  • Individual arrival to boat
  • Drinks on board (tally sheet)
  • Meals and drinks ashore
  • Entrance fees to museums and sights
  • Tips for crew and tour guides
TourBike+Boat
TypeGuided
SkillModerate–Difficult
Length8 days
From1490 Rates
Client Reviews

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Tour Dates

July 9, July 16, July 23, and July 30, 2017

Tour Boats

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Embarkation in Belfast
Day 2: Belfast - Larne - Glenarm, 6 + 13 mi./1215 ft. elevation (10 + 21 km, 370 m of elevation)
Day 3: Glenarm - Cushendall - Rathlin Island - Ballycastle. Morning, 14 mi./560 ft elevation (22 km/170 m). Afternoon: 8 mi./660 ft. elevation + 6 mi. 230 ft. (Morning, 22km/170m. Afternoon: 13 km/200 m)
Day 4: Ballycastle - Londonderry
Day 5: Londonderry - Buncrana - Carndonagh - Moville - Greencastle - Portrush, 53 mi./2625 ft. elevation (85 km/800 m), alternatively, 31 mi. (50 km)
Day 6: Portrush - Ballycastle, 25 mi./1350 ft elevation (40 km/410 m)
Day 7: Ballycastle - Cushendall - Belfast, 19 mi./1900 ft. elevation (30 km/580 m)
Day 8: Belfast

Our local agent reserves the right to make changes to the planned itinerary due to changing wind and weather conditions as well as organizational requirements.

Day 1: Embarkation in Belfast
It is suggested that you take a taxi to the embarkation point or take advantage of the available transfers. The first evening meal will give you the opportunity to get to know your travel group and guides, who will accompany you for the duration of the week. The first night is spent on board the boat in Belfast. Meals included: (D)

Day 2: Belfast - Larne - Glenarm, 6 + 13 mi./1215 ft. elevation (10 + 21 km, 370 m elevation)
After breakfast, you will take a guided tour around Belfast by bike. Departing the harbor in Belfast on board the Thalassa, the first crossing by boat will bring you to the harbor town, Larne. In the afternoon, there is a scheduled cycle tour from Larne to Glenarm, the oldest town in the region. The night is spent in "roadstead", anchored in the harbor. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Glenarm - Cushendall - Rathlin Island - Ballycastle.  Morning, 14 mi./560 ft elevation (22 km/170 m). Afternoon: 8 mi./660 ft. elevation + 6 mi. 230 ft. (Morning, 22km/170m. Afternoon: 13 km/200 m)
Today you will have the opportunity to take part on two beautiful bike stages along one of the most scenic coastal stretches in Northern Ireland. The first stage will take place in the morning, leading you through untouched coastal scenes to the village of Cushendall. Here you board the boat for a majestic crossing to the nearby nature reserve, Rathlin Island. The small, rugged island is well known for its picturesque coastal landscapes as well as it’s extraordinary birdlife in the Kebble Cliffs National Nature Reserve on the western point of the island; our first stop on today’s cycle tour. Thousands of brooding birds of all varieties settle here, amongst them the guillmots, kittiwakes, razorbills and puffins.Those who wish can also explore the southern point of the island by bike, inhabited by hundreds of seals. In the afternoon we cross back over to the mainland and spend the night on anchor in Ballycastle. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Ballycastle - Londonderry, sailing day
Today you will  enjoy your day sailing on the Thalassa. Enthusiasts can seize their chance to hoist the sails, and tie the knots, whilst those looking to relax can find a quiet space to read a book or gaze dreamily over the horizon. After arrival in Londonderry, you are able to take a guided walk along the ‘’Walls of (London) Derry’’, the exceptionally preserved city walls, or to enjoy exploring the city at our own free will. (B,L)

Day 5: Londonderry - Buncrana - Carndonagh - Moville - Greencastle - Portrush, 53 mi./2625 ft. elevation (85 km/800 m), alternatively, 31 mi. (50 km)
Today you will be confronted with the Kings Stage of the week. You will leave Northern Ireland behind and will venture onto the isolated Inishowen Peninsula with its towering cliffs. Numerous migratory and endemic bird species share this peninsula as a place of refuge and living space. You will cycle through rolling green landscapes, past traditional straw-thatched cottages, and historical monuments, along clifftops and beaches with picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. The Thelassa awaits  in the lively fishing village of Greencastle. With a bit of luck we will have the chance to witness members of the local seal colony as they poke their heads out from under the water. Depending on the weather, the boat will either stay in Greencastle or continue on to Portrush. (B,D)

Day 6: Portrush - Ballycastle, 25 mi./1350 ft elevation (40 km/410 m)
In the morning you start your bike tour from Port Rush to Ballycastle. Four great highlights await you on today’s tour. A visit to the Bushmills distillery, Ireland’s oldest licensed distillery, gives you the chance to taste the famous whiskey made here, as well as an education of the various whiskey types of Northern Island. After this visit, you immerse yourself in Irish mythology on a stroll to the ‘’Giant's Causeway’’, following in the footsteps of the giant, Fionn Mac-Cumhaill. This UNESCO World Heritage site features 37,000 fascinating basalt columns thought to have been formed by lava flows more than 60 million years ago. The tour continues along the coast to Dun-luce Castle, Ireland’s most romantic and picturesque castle ruin, dating back to the 15th century. Those seeking adventure can cross the rickety Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, a construction of planks and rope designed by local fishermen, spanning the 20 m gap between the mainland and a nearby isle, at 30 m above the submerged rocks below. The Thelassa awaits you in Ballycastle where you spend the night. (B,D)

Day 7: Ballycastle - Cushendall - Belfast, 19 mi./1900 ft. elevation (30 km/580 m)
Your last bike tour along the Torr Head Scenic Road  offers incredible views all along the way. You will pass through Cushendun, a small holiday destination.  A short stroll leads you past impressive caves and looming cliffs or along small coastal walkways to an idyllic sandy beach then, along the flat until Cushendall where the Thalassa awaits. After lunch, you sail back to Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, where you spend a celebrative last evening meal on board together with guests, crew and guides. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Belfast
End of tour.

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Bike and Sail Northern Ireland Boats + Barges

Thalassa Photo

Thalassa Northern Ireland Standard Plus Class Boat Standard Plus class boats contain cabins are more spacious, have private bathrooms, and either flat/low beds or bunk beds.

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