Belfast and Causeway Coast ranked as “top” region in world to visit in 2018

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 lists Belfast and Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast as top region in the world to visit.

The Northern Ireland region takes top spot in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018, an inspirational, travel yearbook that highlights the top places to visit in the year ahead.

Belfast and the Causeway Coast came in ahead of Alaska, the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France and the Aeolian islands in Italy. The writers praise the Causeway Coast “whose timeless beauty and high-grade distractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks – are more popular now than ever.”

They also highlight the region’s transformation, especially Belfast.

The city is now “full of hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes”. “The rusting old docklands are now the vibrant Titanic Quarter, home to fancy apartments and a sensational museum.”

Black taxi tour

The authors suggest travellers take a black taxi tour – something we arrange for Ireland Chauffeur Travel clients – to discover the political legacy of the Troubles. They then suggest heading north for golf on Portstewart links course and recommend Harry’s Shack for food. They also suggest visiting the Giant’s Causeway.

These stop-offs have featured on the Ireland Chauffeur Travel customized tours of Northern Ireland for many years. Now we are seeking new off-the-beaten track gems to avoid the crowds that might be inspired by the book!

According to James Smart, Lonely Planet’s destination editor for Britain and Ireland: “Belfast and the Causeway Coast topped our list of the top 10 regions because it is deservedly now recognised as a must-visit destination by travellers from across the globe”.

“Dynamic Belfast has put its troubled past behind it and is a city transformed. Its streets are packed with buzzing bars and great stories. The coastline beyond boasts spectacular scenery and plenty of great diversions. The region may be famous for Game of Thrones but its many scenic filming locations are just the start,” he said.


We recently spent time in Belfast and we agree! The Titanic Quarter has a fantastic new addition – the Titanic Hotel. It is built in the old Harland & Wolff offices. Once you enter you cannot but be wow-ed by the renovations to the original Drawing Offices. These bright, vaulted ceiling rooms were where the plans for the RMS Titanic and numerous other White Star Line vessels.

Northern Ireland has heightened appeal right now because of the pre-Brexit value of the pound. This means it is very good value for travellers to the region.

“While the value of the pound hasn’t been great news for British travellers, it has been a great boost for people looking to visit the UK. We expect this to continue next year,” says Smart.

According to Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, the ranking is “another well-deserved accolade”. Tourism Ireland has planned a campaign on the back of the accolade. This includes a dedicated page on their international website, The website attracted almost 19.4 million visitors last year.

We have included one of the Lonely Planet videos showing why Belfast and the Causeway Coast took the honours. At, you can view three other videos.

Contact us

Please contact us at Ireland Chauffeur Travel (toll-free: 1800 329 9138 or email if you would like to arrange a tour in Northern Ireland. We would be delighted to assist you. Please quote #BestInTravel.