Car hire in Northern Ireland
Hiring a car in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is a destination that balances busy city life with green open spaces and stunning coastline.
The vibrant nightlife of Belfast is a sharp contrast to the artistic vibe of Derry, while the natural landscape of Giant’s Causeway is simply spectacular.
One of the highlights is the granite Mountains of Mourne, which have been classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is home to more than 300 ancient monuments - making Northern Ireland ideal for those who love to explore great outdoors.
What you need to know
Despite its relatively small size, there are a number of options for car hire in Northern Ireland, with the main airport being Belfast International (BFS)](https://www.holidayautos.com/en-us/car-rental/ireland/belfast-international-airport) providing a base to many of the major car rental firms.
There are also plenty of locations across Northern Ireland to collect or drop-off hire cars, including Belfast city centre.
To save extra hassle and expense on arrival in Northern Ireland make use of our website to find the best price and pre-book your car hire needs before beginning your vacation.
Where to pick up your car
If you have booked a car for collection at Belfast International Airport then the car rental desks can be found close to the baggage claim section in the main terminal.
Alternatively, George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD) has a car hire collection point. Anyone arriving at the transport hub and wanting to pick up the keys to their vehicle should head to the ground floor of the airport terminal.
Best Car Rental Companies Northern Ireland
Car Rental Reviews Northern Ireland
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time. Booking with Holiday Autos was easy and I received the car that I had asked for, just perfect!”
Where to go
Northern Ireland has plenty of facilities centred around the main city of Belfast, however, it is worth exploring other parts of the country to get a real feel for the local culture.
Take some time out to discover the great number of local businesses that are based throughout the region, with plenty of food producers and artisan crafts on sale in both the large cities and the smaller towns.
Northern Ireland�s second-largest city Derry is a great place to head if you enjoy music. The city has various venues that host up-and-coming bands, as well as overseas artists.
Driving Northern Ireland
Motorists drive on the left side of the road in Northern Ireland - the same as in the UK. There are no toll roads and speed limits are signposted, although, as you get closer to the Irish border signs often change from mph to km.
If you want a good drive then head to the Antrim Coast Road, part of the A2. The popular western section of the road passes by Dunluce Castle and the Giant's Causeway, as well as the picturesque Ballymoney - where some scenes from the television show Game of Thrones are filmed.
The road was constructed between 1832 and 1842 by civil engineer William Bald and is just over 198 km (123 miles) long.
If you fancy a longer drive then head towards Ireland. The Irish city of Dublin is just under two hours drive away from Belfast along the A1 and M1.
Dublin benefits from a thriving tourism industry and is home to everything Guinness-related, including a popular museum and tour.
The capital of Ireland also has Dublin Airport (DUB) which is less than 6 km from the centre of the city. This is ideal if you plan to start your trip in Northern Ireland and head to Dublin, as you can drop off your hire car before returning home.
You could also consider exploring Galway - which is a longer drive at around four hours from Belfast along the M6. This area of Ireland is famous for its medieval buildings and delicious oysters.
Top attractions in Northern Ireland
There are plenty of interesting spots and attractions across Northern Ireland, but there are a few that are essential for any itinerary so you can really get a feel for the region’s culture.
The Giant's Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and is very popular with visitors to the region.
It is thought the unusual rock formation was created as the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. However, folklore and local legend claim the rocks were carved by a giant called Finn McCool, citing other stone formations nearby, such as the Giant’s Boot and Wishing Chair, as evidence of his existence.
As well as the Giant’s Causeway itself, there is also a high-tech visitors centre, designed by Heneghan-Peng. It allows 360 degree views of the coastline, as well as exploring more behind the history of the attraction.
Titanic Belfast can be found in the centre of Belfast and is dedicated to the famous ship that was built in the city.
The Titanic experience has nine galleries that tell the story of the vessel, including its maiden voyage and tragic sinking.
Visitors can see a number of exhibits that date back to the early 1900s, such as the last letter ever written aboard the ship, as well as a copy of a restaurant menu from the Titanic onboard restaurant.
Audio tours are available in a number of different languages, and you can enjoy afternoon tea in a suite completed with a replica of the famous Titanic staircase.
St Patrick's Trail
You could follow in the footsteps of St Patrick and travel through a number of spots linked to the famous Irish icon.
The trail has 15 sites scattered across Bangor, the Ards Peninsula, Downpatrick, Newry and Armagh that explore the impact St Patrick had on Irish culture.
The start of the trail is North Down Museum and is the ideal way to begin your journey into the local history.
Visitors can get up close to a replica longhouse, as well as take a look at various archaeological finds, such as the Ballycrochan Swords.
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