Northern Ireland's beauty is intertwined with rich culture and the renowned friendliness of its people. Northern Ireland has grown a lot over the years. For those looking for a dose of culture, you can choose from boisterous oyster festivals to authentic horse fairs, and from ancient castles to elegant country houses. But escaping to the great outdoors is where this spectacular part of Ireland really comes to life.
Take the Causeway Coastal Route, for instance. Voted one of the best scenic drives in the world, it takes in the magnificent Giant's Causeway, with its 40,000 basalt stone columns that step into the Irish Sea. Those looking for exceptional vistas and panoramic views would do well to visit the slopes of Slieve Donard in the magical Mourne Mountains; pleasure seekers should take a trip to the glistening Fermanagh Lakelands where watersports and bankside strolls go hand in hand; or maybe you could take a hike across the Sperrin Mountains, which stretch from the shores of Lough Neagh in County Tyrone to south of beautiful County Londonderry.
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is alive with energy and making your way round is easy, as the city is split into four equally distinct quarters - the cathedral quarter, the Queen's Quarter, the famous Titanic Quarter and the Gaeltacht Quarter. The walled city of Londonderry, meanwhile, is rich in heritage and walking these magnificent ancient structures that stretch 1.5km around the outskirts is an ideal way to appreciate the historic cityscape and the shimmering River Foyle at their very best.
Christian heritage is strongly embedded in Northern Ireland, too, with the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of St Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. Maybe pay a visit to 5th century St Patrick's church in Armagh City while you're here, or take a trip to his burial spot, which is reputed to be in the grounds of Downpatrick Cathedral, County Down. Whatever you do, and wherever you go, you're bound to find something to keep you enthralled in Northern Ireland.
The six counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone are just waiting to be explored