Get Outside and Explore Northern Ireland

Elena Sprick is an ISA Site Specialist for Europe and Latin America. Elena works with students studying abroad in Belfast, Brussels, Prague, and Barranquilla .

study_abroad_Belfast
An ISA student takes in the beauty of Country Antrim.

Breathe fresh air and stretch your weary legs with a stroll through the lush green fields of the Irish countryside while studying abroad in Belfast. The greedy bustle of the city seems to eclipse the natural beauty of the landscape that is often missed by visitors to this busy but charming capital of the North. For those however adventurous enough to leave the dorm and explore the countryside, here’s a list of a few of our favorite outdoor activities.

Biking: Whether you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon cycle around Belfast Lough (the bay) or an adventurous cross-country ride to span the weekend, there are plenty of options for you here. As cycling is a popular past time, there are numerous bike trails and biking resources around the country for beginners through to experienced cyclist.

Canoeing: Spend a sunny weekend day on a peaceful paddle around a lake, feeding the ducks and picnicking with friends.  For a little more adventure, join a guided trip to search for wildlife, island hop off the coast, paddle through historical sites or even spend the whole weekend canoeing and camping under the sidereal Celtic night sky.

Horseback riding: Feel the cool breeze in your hair and the rugged grip of the saddle as you trot past ancient castles, white sand beaches and rolling fields of green spotted with fluffy white sheep.

Hiking: Just within the city limits of Belfast lies Cave Hill; a small mountain that plays home to Belfast Castle and some historical caves for which the small mountain was named.  Take the short hike up to get a stunning view of the city and even peer over to Scotland on a clear day.  If you’re looking for a bit more of a climb, venture just 30 miles south to the Mourne Mountains, the highest and most dramatic mountain range on the island.

Golfing: Which Northern Irish golf pro ranked #1 in the world in 2011 at the tender age of 21? Rory McIlroy duh,  and where do you think Rory got his practice?  On the incredible greens in Northern Ireland of course! Check out the Royal County Down Golf Club, one of oldest and most picturesque golf clubs on the island.