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Northern Ireland’s Coastline by Tall Ship and Bike

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  • 7 nights | 21 miles/day
  • Difficulty Level: 3
  • Guided from: €1390
  • View Dates

Tours using road, hybrid or touring bikes:

  1. Mostly flat
  2. Flat with some gentle slopes
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs
  5. Extensive climbing

Tours using mountain bikes:

  1. Mostly flat, wide trails
  2. Some gentle slopes, wide trails
  3. Rolling, hilly terrain and/or narrow trails
  4. Some long and/or steep climbs and/or technical trails
  5. Extensive climbing and/or highly technical trails
  1. Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  2. Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  3. Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge.
  4. Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year.
  5. Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  6. Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Tour Type: Guided Self-guided

Tour description

Rarely is any other region subjected to the forces of Mother Nature as the green island of Ireland. Nevertheless, 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 controversial Northern regions remain dormant due to their volatile past.

Join us on a discovery tour along the exceptional and dramatic coastline of Northern Ireland. Visitations to important, historical and future orientated cities such as Bangor and (London)Derry 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, among additional highlights such as the Giants Causeway. Your floating accommodation for the week on board 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.

Daily program

Day 1: Bangor
Arrival to Belfast is organized individually, followed by a taxi ride to the boat in Bangor. An early arrival will give you time to visit the lively harbor town. 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.

Day 2: Bangor – Glenarm – Cushendall (approximately 6 – 14 miles/9 + 20 km; approximately 790 ft/240 m elevation gain)
After breakfast we will take a guided tour around multifaceted Bangor on our bikes. Afterwards, we leave the harbor of Bangor on board the Thalassa. The first crossing by boat will bring us to Glenarm, the oldest town in the region. We have the opportunity to cycle along one of the most scenic coastal stretches in Northern Ireland on our way to Cushendall, where we spend the night on anchor.

Day 3: Cushendall – Cushendun – Rathlin Island – Ballycastle (morning: approximately 5 miles/8 km; afternoon: approximately 9 miles/15 km; approximately 860 ft./260 m elevation gain + approximately 6 miles/9 km; approximately 230 ft/70m elevation gain)
In the morning a short first bike ride leads us from Cushendall to the nearby little coastal town of Cushendun. Here, we will pass by a cave, which was once a filming spot in the popular series Game of Thrones. After a coffee break, we board the boat and take 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 island cycle tour. Thousands of brooding birds of all varieties settle here, amongst them the

After a coffee break, we board the boat and take 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 its extraordinary birdlife in the Kebble Cliffs National Nature Reserve on the western point of the island; our first stop on today's island 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. We cross over to the mainland and enjoy the evening in one of the cozy pubs of Ballycastle.

Day 4: Ballycastle – Londonderry (sailing day)
Today we enjoy a 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 quite space to read a book or gaze dreamily over the horizon.

Day 5: Londonderry (round tour by bicycle) – Greencastle (approximately 42 miles/66 km; approximately 3,000ft/900m elevation gain)
On today's cycle tour we will leave Northern Ireland behind and will explore a small part of Donegal County. Numerous migratory and endemic bird species share this peninsula as a place of refuge and living space. Enjoy a marvelous 360° degree view from an old fortress, where you can look until Derry on one side and far up to Ireland and Northern Ireland on the other one.

Back in Derry we go for a stroll on the well-maintained city wall of the old town and visit some of the most important places of the long-lasting conflict in Northern Ireland. After an eventful day, we board the Thalassa for a crossing to 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 close to Greencastle.

Day 6: Portstewart – Ballycastle (approximately 30 miles/48 km, approximately 1,350 ft./410 m of elevation)
Crossing to Portstewart, where we start our bike tour to Ballycastle. A couple of great highlights await us on today's tour. A visit to the Bushmills distillery, Ireland's oldest licensed distillery, gives us the chance to taste the famous whiskey produced here, as well as an education of the various whiskey types of Northern Island.

After our visit, we immerse ourselves in Irish mythology on a stroll to the "Giant's Causeway," following in the footsteps of the giant, Fionn Mac-Cumhaill. This UNSECO World Heritage site features 37,000 fascinating basalt columns thought to have been formed by lava flows more than 60 million years ago. Our cycling tour continues along rolling hills all the way to Ballycastle, where the Thalassa is already waiting.

Day 7: Ballycastle – Cushendun – Bangor (approximately 14 miles/22 km; approximately 1,350 ft./400 m of elevation)
Today we take part on our last bike tour along the Torr Head Scenic Road which offers incredible views along the way. Once more we find ourselves in Cushendun, the small holiday destination. A short stroll leads us past impressive caves and looming cliffs, along small coastal walkways to an idyllic sandy beach. Afterwards we board the Thalassa which takes us back to Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, where we spend a celebrative last evening meal on board together with guests, crew and guides.

Day 8: Bangor (Disembarkation)
After breakfast disembarkation and individual trip home or extended stay.

The tour operator reserves the right to make changes to the planned itinerary due to changing wind and weather conditions as well as organizational requirements. Should it be the case, for example, that the harbours on the above mentioned tour sequence are overcrowded, the tour will be operated in reverse.


Sundays: Jul 1*, 8*, 15, 22, 2018 (*indicates fully booked date)


Tour package
Per person, double occupancy
Single cabin surcharge (1 person/1 cabin)
Bike Rentals
Hybrid touring bike, 21-speed
Electrically assisted bike
Bike insurance, hybrid touring bike
Bike insurance, electrically assisted bike
Per person/per direction, Belfast Airport - Bangor harbor (only on embarkation or disembarkation days)
Child, ages 0-15 (on base package price)
Please note: Instead of operating bicycle tours ourselves, BikeTours.com represents local bicycle tour operators around the world. Review the tour operator's information and terms below, then submit your booking request through BikeTours.com. The primary benefits of booking your tour through BikeTours.com include:
  • Lower cost: You pay local tour company prices—less than what big American companies charge
  • Variety: Choose from more than 200 tours offered by local operators in 35 countries.
  • Advice: Our informed advisors help you choose the trip that's right for you.
  • Great exchange rates: Pay low rates thanks to the millions of dollars in foreign currency we buy each year. Or pay in euros!
  • Convenience: We handle the full booking and payment process.
  • Support: We’re your advocates from initial planning through final pedal stroke.
Contact us with any questions about booking and paying for your tour through BikeTours.com. We look forward to serving you!

Island Hopping Terms and Conditions

Individual Cancellation and Changes in Reservations by Customers
You can withdraw from the travel contract up until the beginning of the trip. Your cancellation is valid when your written notification reaches us. If you cancel before the 60th day before the start of the trip, we will refund the amount paid so far, minus a cancellation handling fee.

Individual cancellation fees are:

  • 60 days or more before the beginning of the trip: €100 per person
  • 59 – 31 days before the trip begins: 40% of the trip price
  • 30 – 21 days before the trip begins: 70% of the trip price
  • 20 – 11 days before the trip begins: 80% of the trip price
  • 10 – 1 days before the trip begins: 90% of the trip price
  • On day of departure: 100% of the trip price

Large Group cancellation fees:
If a group fills more than 70% of the boat, the charter downpayment and cancelation policy will apply. (Large group downpayment schedule: 30% of total with booking confirmation; 30% second installment 4 months before tour begins.) If individual group members cancel, the individual cancellation policy and rates apply. However, if the whole group cancels, the following cancellation charges apply:

  • Between December 01, 2018 up to 120 days prior to tour begin 30% of the charter price
  • 119 – 90 days prior 60% of charter price
  • 89 – 30 days prior 75% of invoice total
  • as of 29 days prior 100% of the invoice total

BikeTours.com 15th Anniversary Cruise special conditions:

  • A deposit of $500 per person is taken upon confirmation.
  • A second payment of $500 per person is due by March 15, 2019.
  • Balance payment is due July 15, 2019. Amount of balance payment in U.S. dollars will be based on the value of the euro when the balance payment is made, minus previous payments.

All payments are non‐refundable unless a replacement is found. Due to government regulations, name changes are not permitted fewer than two weeks before departure.

We will send formal confirmation when we have reached the tour minimum of 22 participants. We reserve the right to cancel the tour should the minimum not be met prior to December 1, 2018.

Further cancellation details:

If you cancel on the day of the trip or if you do not appear for the start of the trip, we charge the full trip price.

If you miss the start of the trip or are prevented from traveling due to incomplete travel documents, this will be considered as a cancellation.

Reservation changes are handled the same way as cancellations.  For changing your reservation, we will charge 50 € changing fee for changes made 28 days or more before the beginning of the trip.  Any later changes (if possible) will need to be handled as a cancellation and new registration. Cancellation and reservation change fees are due immediately.

These terms and conditions, which you agree to by booking your trip, govern the contractual relationship between you as traveler and us as tour operator.  The terms and conditions supplement Paragraph 651 and those following in the German BGB (Buergerliches Gesetzbuch) that govern travel contract law. Please read all the following terms and conditions carefully.

Trip Cancellation
If the minimum number of participants required for a trip is not met (18 participants for bus and boat trips, unless otherwise noted), we reserve the right to cancel it. The decision about whether the trip will take place or not will be made as early as possible, three weeks before the beginning of the trip at the latest. In case of trip cancellation, all payments you have made will be fully refunded. There can be no additional claims made against us.  As the tour operator, we have the right to cancel the tour if the trip is jeopardized, made difficult, or impaired due to an act of God.

The foundation upon which the trip is organized is the description of the services, which is available in the brochure, in official pamphlets and on our website, and confirmed in your travel contract. Alterations that become necessary after the finalization of the contract and that are made in good faith are permitted if they are not substantial, and do not change the overall character of the trip.  We assume no liability for information in the brochures of our partners or in our own brochure, even if we issued them.

We are liable within the scope of a merchant’s duty of care for diligent trip preparation, careful selection and supervision of participating agencies, accuracy of service and activity descriptions, and standard provision of the services agreed upon. Our liability for damages other than personal injury is limited to three times the cost of the trip, provided the damages are neither intentional nor due to gross negligence. This limitation is still in effect if we are responsible for the damage due to the fault of a service provider.  If we are solely procurers of foreign services, we are liable only for proper procurement, not for the services. We are liable for damage or loss of luggage up to the amount of 250 € only if the damage was caused by us and was indicated to us immediately.  Scratches on luggage, torn luggage handles, and damaged wheels are excluded from any liability.  Upon delivery of luggage at the accommodation facilities, the liability is transferred according to § 701 BGB to the officer of the accommodations.  Services that were not made use of will not be reimbursed.

A vacation that involves exercise and physical activity requires greater commitment than a conventional package tour. It is your duty to make certain that you are up to the physical challenges of such a trip.  The pre-condition for a bike-tour is that you are able to handle a bicycle in street traffic and on unpaved paths under any weather conditions.  If you rent a bike, it is your responsibility to check the condition of the bike, particularly the brakes.  You bear sole responsibility for adhering to all legal regulations at home and abroad, particularly regulations about travel documents and cross-border trade.  When traveling across the exterior borders of the EU, your luggage must remain unlocked, to facilitate passage through customs.  If your baggage is searched, you will be notified about it upon arrival at the destination.  If problems with the procurement of the services occur, you are required to help within the scope of legal regulations, in order to avoid potential damages or keep them at a minimum and report any complaints to us immediately.

Duty of Care
During the duration of the trip, you are liable for damage to or loss of bicycles and any equipment entrusted to you.  For guided tours, this is only valid if you have separated yourself from the group, have disobeyed instructions from the tour guides, or caused the damage or loss intentionally, through negligence or gross negligence.

You can demand redress if the trip services are not rendered according to the contract. This can be solved by us providing compensation of equal or greater value.  In the case of disproportionate effort, corrective action can be denied.  For the period in which the services that have not been rendered according to contract, you can request a reduction in travel price after your return. The pre-condition for this is the immediate notification of our deficiencies or those of our tour guides, so that we have the opportunity to find a remedy.  Tour guides are not authorized to recognize claims.  Independent of a reduction in travel price, you can demand compensation due to non-compliance with the travel contract, unless we are not responsible for the defect.

Limitation of claim
Claims must be made in writing within one month of the contractual end of the trip. The statute of limitation for claims based on the contract expires six months after the contractual end of the trip.  The statute of limitations for all claims of civil offence expires three years after the end of the trip.

Privacy of Personal InformationAll personal information that you give us for the processing of the trip is protected against misuse under German personal data protection law.

Travel ProtectionWe urge you to consider effecting a travel cancellation cost insurance.  Before the trip, please also find out about your medical and accident insurance and about luggage insurance or travel liability insurance, if necessary.

Severability Clause
The nullification of individual clauses in the travel contract or the travel terms does not result in the nullification of the entire contract or the travel terms.

Court of Jurisdiction
The court of jurisdiction is Konstanz, Germany

All photos used by permission. ©Island Hopping


Ratings Snapshot

  • 5 Star 1
  • 4 Star 0
  • 3 Star 0
  • 2 Star 0
  • 1 Star 0

Average Ratings

  • Overall


  • Difficulty level (Actual vs. expected) 3
  • Value 5
  • Included meals 5
  • Bikes & equipment 4
  • Hotels or boat 4
  • Scenery 5
  • Ease of navigation 4
  • Tour documents 4
  • Local tour company services 4
  • Route selection 4
  • Guides (if applicable) 5


Lobogris43 September 21, 2018

Excellent way to see Northern Ireland

A group of five of us, all seasoned travelers, signed up for this tall ship/bike tour of Northern Ireland. The trip was all we expected and more.
The ship, the Thalassa, was impressive - a three-masted schooner with a limited number of cabins (17 total, I think). Because I anticipated that the cabins would be very small, I opted to pay extra for a room of my own but the other 4 people in the group shared a room and did just fine. The single supplement was reasonable and for me, worth it. The cabins had bunks, a lavatory and a shower. Toilets were down the hall and there were enough that there was never a long wait. It was an odd configuration since most boats would have had group showers and in-room toilets, but it was not a hardship. The cabins were narrow and two people would have had to coordinate dressing and other activity, but since the cabins were mostly for sleeping, it was not a problem.
The crew was excellent. They were helpful and friendly and the chef was superb! Meals were European style (continental breakfasts but with eggs, light lunches and excellent dinners. Our first dinner of moussaka set a high bar but the chef hit it almost every dinner following. High marks.) Most of the crew were from Holland (the Thalassa is based in a Dutch port) and almost all of them spoke fluent English as well as German (of the passengers, only 6 of us were from the US - most of the others were German) and several other languages. They all knew their jobs well and were pleasant companions. Like most US travelers, I was surprised at the number of crew and passengers who smoked, but the smokers were considerate and unless you spent a lot of time in the open smoking deck area aft of the bar, it was not noticeable.
Because it was a 'tall ship' experience, several of the passengers opted to assist with raising and lowering the sails (this was rare on our trip - mostly we motored to our destinations) and they clearly enjoyed the experience. I have a bad back and my days of climbing rigging are long gone, but I took some great photos of the boat under sail and the volunteer deck-apes swarming the rigging. Everyone who assisted was safely secured with safety lines in case of miss-steps, but everyone remained safely aboard.
Our bike crew included an excellent guide who had returned as a guide after being a passenger on previous trips and the bike-wallah who drove the sag wagon and minded the bikes was friendly and very good at his job. The bike rides were very fine although the terrain was quite hilly and I was glad that I had opted for the e-bike option. Except for an intermittent battery contact failure which sabotaged me briefly a few times, I had no problem keeping up with the peloton. It only rained hard on us one time during the week and although it was less than fun riding in the rain everyone had adequate gear and we pedaled through the rain with no problems.
The Northern Irish countryside was stunningly gorgeous and seeing it from a bike provided a wonderful perspective that made for a terrific experience. The tour was well-planned and we visited numerous points of interest - Game of Thrones filming sites and the Giant's Causeway and Rathlin Island - as well as lots of cozy pubs for well-earned, post ride beverages. Because we were on bikes instead of in a bus, the group bonded in a way that is rare on most tours and we made new friends (and learned new words in German).
Overall, an excellent experience and a fine way to see Northern Ireland.