Getting Around Northern Ireland
There are no scheduled internal flights within Northern Ireland, due to the short distances between major centres. Belfast and Derry/Londonderry are separated by just 100 km (62 miles).
When leaving Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the UK on an international flight, air passenger duty is generally included in the ticket price.
There are several motorways leading in and out of Belfast, with subsidiary main roads linking all the key settlements around the country. There are currently no toll roads in Northern Ireland.
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Road quality is typically of a high standard in Northern Ireland, with similar levels of maintenance to the rest of the UK.
There are five categories of road in Northern Ireland: motorways, A-class roads, B-class roads, C-class roads and unclassified.
The main firms operate in Northern Ireland and have desks at both Belfast airports with cars available on the spot. There is also a host of smaller firms.
Taxis are available at main stations, ports and Belfast International Airport and are also bookable by telephone in larger towns and cities.
Cycling is a fantastic way of taking in the country’s diverse scenery. The National Cycle Network in Northern Ireland extends for more than 1,290 km (800 miles), mainly on quiet rural roads. It includes more than 160 km (100 miles) of traffic-free paths. Bike rental is available in most regions.
Ulsterbus, managed by Translink (tel: +44 28 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) has a comprehensive network of bus routes around the country.
The speed limit is 30mph (48kph) in towns and cities unless signs show 40mph (64kph) or 50mph (80kph). On country roads, the limit is 60mph (96kph); on dual carriageways, trunk roads and motorways, 70mph (112kph), unless signs show otherwise.
If the car is hired, contact the hire company. Members of the continental equivalent of the AA (tel: +44 800 88 77 66; www.theaa.com) can contact their 24-hour breakdown service. The RAC (tel: +44 330 159 1111; www.rac.co.uk) provides a similar service. They can be contacted from the RAC roadside phones or from any call box.
A valid drivers’ licence and motors insurance is required if driving a car in Northern Ireland.
Public transport is of a good standard in Belfast with numerous rail and bus lines, although the lines tend to radiate from the centre, making it time-consuming to get from one suburb to another. There are good bus routes around Derry/Londonderry.
The main rail routes out of Belfast include those heading north to Derry/Londonderry via Ballymena and Coleraine; northeast to the port of Larne; east to Bangor along the shores of Belfast Lough and southwest to Newry.
The Freedom of Northern Ireland Rail pass which allowed holders unlimited travel on trains and buses, is no longer available but concession tickets are available for seniors and people with certain disabilities.
Northern Ireland's only inhabited island is Rathlin, a few kilometres off the north coast. Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (tel: +44 28 2076 9299; www.rathlinballycastleferry.com) operates regular services between Ballycastle and Rathlin.