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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > Northern Ireland

Getting Around Northern Ireland

Air

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).

Departure tax

When leaving Northern Ireland or anywhere else in the UK on an international flight, air passenger duty is generally included in the ticket price.

Road

There are several freeways leading in and out of Belfast, with subsidiary main roads linking all the key settlements around the country. There are currently no toll roads, although this is due to change with the building of the Belfast-Larne toll road.

Side of the road

Left

Road Quality

Road quality is typically of a high standard in Northern Ireland, with similar levels of maintenance to the rest of the UK.

Road Classification

There are five categories of road in Northern Ireland: motorways, A-class roads, B-class roads, C-class roads and unclassified.

Car Hire

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.

Taxi

Available at main stations, ports and Belfast International Airport and are also bookable by telephone in larger towns and cities.

Bike

Cycling is a fantastic way of taking in the country's diverse scenery. The National Cycle Network in Northern Ireland extends for more than (1290 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.

Coach

Ulsterbus, managed by Translink (tel: 028 9066 6630; www.translink.co.uk) has a comprehensive network of bus routes around the country.

Regulations

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.

Breakdown services

If the car is hired, contact the hire company. Members of the continental equivalent of the AA (www.theaa.com) can contact their 24-hour breakdown service. The RAC (www.rac.co.uk) provides a similar service. They can be contacted from their roadside phones or from any call box. Non-members should consult the Yellow Pages for breakdown services.

Documentation

A valid drivers' licence is required if driving a car in Northern Ireland.

Urban travel

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.

Rail

The main rail routes out of Belfast include those heading north to Derry/Londonderry via Ballymena and Coleraine; northeast to the port of Larne; and east to Bangor along the shores of Belfast Lough.

Rail Passes

The Freedom of Northern Ireland Pass is available for unlimited travel on trains and buses. It can be bought at main Northern Ireland railway stations as a one-day, three-day or seven-day pass.

Water

Northern Ireland's only inhabited island is Rathlin, a few kilometres off the north coast. Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd (tel: 028 2076 9299; www.rathlinballycastleferry.com) operates regular services between Ballycastle and Rathlin.