11:35 AM GMT

Wild Atlantic Way and ‘Game of Thrones’ route named as top drives in the world

Lonely Planet names Irish routes in ultimate top 50 road trips

dunlace castle

Though the term “road trip” might conjure images of American highways. When it comes to the best routes in the world look no further than the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland.

The route, that clings to cliffs along Ireland’s west coast, has been named as one of the top 50 ultimate road trips by Lonely Planet.

Also in the list is Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route, which is becoming well known as a filming location for HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’.

The two Irish routes are joined by Route 66 in the US, Australia’s Great Ocean Road and Bolivia’s salt flats, among others.

The book, titled Epic Drives of the World, borrows from Oscar Wilde to describe the “savage beauty” of the Irish scenery. The Wild Atlantic Way, which is the 2,750km route from Kinsale in Co Cork to Malin Head in Co Donegal, is described as “untamed and utterly divine”.

glens of antrim

Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland

“Ireland’s west coast is a dramatic procession of deserted beaches and towering cliffs where traditional music and ancient castles abound.”

“[It] is battered by Atlantic rollers, strewn with jagged cliffs and littered with wide beaches and coves. It’s a place where inky lakes shelter between mountains, sinewy stone walls clamber across hillsides and trees are frequently bent double by the wind.”

“The roads here are rather narrow and winding, grass often grows along a hump in their middle and a herd of sheep can easily scupper all plans,” it notes but says the driving is “easy”. Donegal’s beaches are described as “gloriously deserted”.

A loop of the Causeway Coastal Route, from Belfast to the north Antrim coast, is also listed in the book. This route includes the Giant’s Causeway and locations now famous as Game of Thrones filming locations, such as the Glens of Antrim, Cushendun and the Dark Hedges.

"dark

Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland | Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

“Often overlooked, the lonely shores of Northern Ireland might just be the perfect day-tripping antidote to Belfast’s urban core.” according to Lonely Planet. “Road signs advertise the Dark Hedges up ahead – one of the many recesses now famous as a backdrop for Game of Thrones.”

Each entry in Epic Drives of the World includes a first-hand account with tips and advice for planning a short or long road trip.

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