Portballintrae, County Antrim – A beautiful Causeway Coastal Town


Updated On: April 07, 2024 by   Noha NabilNoha Nabil

Tucked away along the windswept shores of County Antrim, Portballintrae beckons travellers with its tranquil charm and captivating beauty. Situated on the renowned Causeway Coastal Route, this idyllic village offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. With its rugged coastline, sandy beaches, and rich heritage, Portballintrae invites visitors to embark on a journey of discovery, where each twist and turn reveals a new facet of its enchanting character. From exploring ancient ruins to savouring fresh seafood by the sea, Portballintrae promises an unforgettable experience steeped in natural wonder and warm hospitality. Join us as we delve into the heart of this coastal gem and uncover the treasures that await in Portballintrae, County Antrim.

Portballintrae – Beautiful Beach Village in County Antrim

History and Heritage of Portballintrae

The roots of Portballintrae extend deep into Ireland’s rich tapestry of history. Evidence of human presence in the area dates back millennia, with archaeological sites such as the nearby Dunluce Castle bearing witness to ancient civilizations. The village emerged as a fishing settlement, deriving from the Irish Port Bhaile an Trá, meaning “port of the beach.”

Throughout the centuries, Portballintrae has witnessed the ebb and flow of maritime trade, the struggles of coastal communities, and the resilience of its inhabitants. Today, remnants of its maritime past can still be seen in the traditional fishing boats that dot its harbour, and the stories passed down through generations.

Natural Splendor


Portballintrae’s allure lies not only in its historical significance but also in its stunning natural surroundings. The village is nestled within the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a designation that speaks to the area’s exceptional landscapes and diverse ecosystems.

One of the village’s most iconic features is its crescent-shaped beach, a tranquil haven framed by cliffs and dunes. Here, visitors can stroll along the sandy shores, listen to the soothing rhythm of the waves, or simply bask in the beauty of the coastal scenery.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Portballintrae offers many opportunities to explore the great outdoors. The nearby Causeway Coastal Path beckons hikers with its panoramic views and rugged terrain, while sea kayaking and surfing provide exhilarating experiences for those seeking adventure on the water.

Cultural Riches

Portballintrae’s cultural heritage is as vibrant as its coastal vistas. The village hosts various events and festivals annually, celebrating its traditions and community spirit. From seafood festivals to music concerts, there is always something happening in Portballintrae to entertain and inspire.

Local artisans and craftsmen showcase their talents at markets and craft fairs, offering visitors the chance to take home a piece of the village’s creative energy. Traditional music sessions in the village pubs provide the perfect soundtrack for an evening of craic and camaraderie.

Community and Culture

Despite its small size, Portballintrae boasts a vibrant community spirit and rich cultural heritage. The village is home to a close-knit population of residents who take pride in preserving its unique character and traditions.

Throughout the year, Portballintrae hosts various events and festivals that celebrate its maritime heritage and local culture. From seafood festivals and traditional music sessions to arts and crafts fairs, something is always happening to entertain visitors and residents alike. The annual Portballintrae Raft Race, held in the summer months, is a highlight of the village calendar, attracting participants and spectators from far and wide.

In addition to its cultural offerings, Portballintrae is also home to several charming pubs, restaurants, and cafes where visitors can sample delicious local cuisine and relax with friends and family. Freshly caught seafood, hearty Irish stews, and artisanal cheeses are among the culinary delights awaiting diners in the village’s eateries, many of which boast stunning coastline views.

Hospitality and Cuisine

No visit to Portballintrae would be complete without indulging in the local cuisine and hospitality. From cosy cafes serving freshly baked scones to award-winning seafood restaurants showcasing the best Northern Irish culinary delights, the village offers a tantalizing array of dining options to suit every palate.

After a day of exploration, visitors can unwind in one of Portballintrae’s charming bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels, where warm welcomes and comfortable accommodations await. Many establishments offer stunning coastline views, allowing guests to fall asleep to the sound of the sea and wake up to see seabirds soaring overhead.

Additional Attractions near Portballintrae

While Portballintrae itself boasts many attractions and natural wonders, the surrounding area of County Antrim is brimming with even more treasures waiting to be explored. From majestic castles to rugged coastal landscapes, here are some additional attractions near Portballintrae that are sure to captivate visitors:

1. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Just a short drive from Portballintrae lies the iconic Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, a thrilling suspension bridge that spans a 30-meter chasm between the mainland and the tiny island of Carrickarede. Erected initially by fishermen over 350 years ago, the bridge offers breathtaking views of the surrounding cliffs and the wild Atlantic Ocean below. Visitors can test their nerves by crossing the swaying bridge and exploring the island’s rugged terrain, rich in flora and fauna.

2. Dunluce Castle

Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the sea, Dunluce Castle is a hauntingly beautiful ruin that dates back to the 13th century. Once the seat of the powerful MacDonnell clan, the castle’s turbulent history is brought to life through guided tours and interactive exhibits. Visitors can wander through its ancient ruins, explore hidden chambers, and imagine the lives of the lords and ladies who once called this fortress home.

3. The Dark Hedges

A short drive inland from Portballintrae leads to the enchanting Dark Hedges, a picturesque avenue of beech trees that has become one of Northern Ireland’s most iconic sights. Planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family to create a grand entrance to their estate, the gnarled branches of the trees intertwine overhead, forming a natural tunnel that casts dappled shadows on the forest floor below. The Dark Hedges have gained international fame as a filming location for the hit TV series Game of Thrones, adding to their allure for show fans.

4. Bushmills Distillery

No visit to County Antrim would be complete without a trip to the world-famous Bushmills Distillery, just a stone’s throw away from Portballintrae. Founded in 1608, Bushmills is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in the world, producing premium Irish whiskey renowned for its smoothness and complexity of flavour. Guided tours of the distillery offer visitors the chance to learn about the art of whiskey-making, from the milling of the grain to the maturation process, and to sample some of Bushmills’ finest expressions.

5. Ballycastle

Venture further along the Causeway Coastal Route, and you’ll reach the charming seaside town of Ballycastle. Surrounded by rolling green hills and sweeping sandy beaches, Ballycastle is a hub of activity with its bustling harbour, traditional pubs, and artisan shops. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore nearby attractions such as Fair Head, a towering cliff offering panoramic coastline views, or take a ferry to Rathlin Island, home to diverse wildlife and rugged coastal landscapes.

Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future

As Portballintrae continues to evolve and adapt to the demands of modern life, efforts are underway to preserve its unique heritage and natural beauty for future generations to enjoy. Community-led initiatives and conservation projects aim to protect the village’s historic buildings, scenic landscapes, and fragile ecosystems while promoting sustainable tourism and responsible development.

In recent years, Portballintrae has emerged as a popular destination for eco-tourism and outdoor recreation, attracting visitors seeking authentic experiences and a deeper connection with nature. Sustainable practices, such as eco-friendly accommodation options and guided nature tours, are helping to minimize the impact of tourism on the local environment while providing meaningful experiences for visitors.

Looking ahead, the future of Portballintrae shines bright, with endless opportunities for growth and exploration along the Causeway Coast. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of its natural wonders, enchanted by its rich history, or simply seeking a tranquil escape by the sea, Portballintrae welcomes you with open arms to discover the beauty and charm of this hidden gem along Northern Ireland’s coastline.


Portballintrae is a hidden gem along the Causeway Coastal Route, offering visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and culture. Whether you’re seeking adventure along the rugged coastline or simply looking to relax on the beach, this charming village has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your visit to Portballintrae today and discover the magic of this beautiful coastal town for yourself?

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