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Are you planning your trip and wondering if renting a car in Northern Ireland is worth it? Having visited Northern Ireland more than once, I will share what you need to know to make the best decision for your vacation.
I’m here to tell you all about my experience renting a car in this beautiful part of the world. From the breathtaking scenery to the friendly locals and from finding great deals on wheels to navigating winding roads! Here is everything you need to know in 2023!
Best Car Rental Company in Northern Ireland
If you are looking for the best way to find cheap rental cars with services check out Discover Cars.
What You Need To Know About Renting A Car In Northern Ireland
Is this your first time renting a car in Northern Ireland? Don’t stress, renting a car in Northern Ireland is pretty straightforward. The roads are well-marked, and the locals are always happy to help. So with a bit of common sense, you’ll be cruising in no time!
When I rented my car, I was given all the necessary information on insurance policies and road safety rules. The rental agents of Discover Cars were friendly and helpful too. They made sure I knew exactly what I was getting into.
And, of course, they had lots of great deals on cars and cars with extras like GPS navigation systems!
Should you rent a car in Northern Ireland?
If you’re planning a trip to Northern Ireland, you may be wondering if you should rent a car.
The answer is – it depends! If you want to explore all the stunning sights that Northern Ireland has to offer, then having your own set of wheels would definitely come in handy.
That said, if you plan on sticking around Belfast then a car may not be necessary. Northern Ireland has excellent public transportation within the city!
So if you’re trying to decide whether or not you need to rent a car – it’s really up to you and your itinerary. When I last visited I was interested in exploring the countryside and all the Game of Thrones sites I could find.
If you are interested in more than just a Belfast itinerary renting a car is essential.
But no matter what you decide, you’ll have an amazing time exploring this beautiful corner of the world.
Is there Uber in Northern Ireland?
Yes, Uber does exist in Northern Ireland, but only in Belfast! So if you’re in and around the city of Belfast you can use your Uber app.
If you want to explore the outer regions of Northern Ireland you are going to want to have a car.
How easy is it to get around in Northern Ireland without a car?
Not having a car in Northern Ireland doesn’t mean you can’t explore the country – it just means getting around becomes a bit more adventurous! Public transport is available, but there could be a long route of connections depending on where you are planning to visit.
If you are looking for freedom and flexibility in your travels, then having a rental car is the way to go! With a rental car, you can explore all the incredible sights of Northern Ireland at your own pace.
On top of that, by taking the roads less traveled, you can find hidden gems you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. When I visited Northern Ireland I was able to visit the most amazing places that are off the beaten path.
Plus, navigating the winding countryside roads of Northern Ireland is sure to be an adventure in and of itself!
Is it hard to drive in Northern Ireland?
Driving in Northern Ireland is not all that difficult to navigate. Coming from the US, my biggest challenge was getting used to driving on the left side of the road!
Generally speaking, driving in Northern Ireland is pretty straightforward. When you get outside the major cities, like Belfast, you are often on long winding narrow roads.
Those can be a little scary at night since there are often fewer street lights than you might be used to. I just made sure to do all my driving in the daytime.
The driving conditions in Northern Ireland can vary. Yes, you’ll have to contend with all the usual hazards of driving including potholes and bad weather – but that’s typical of any destination you visit.
It is unlikely to snow in Northern Ireland, but it could happen in the winter months. Getting a rental car with built-in roadside assistance is always a good idea.
Getting from A to B in Northern Ireland is easier with Google Maps. It is essential to get GPS or use your phone for navigation.
I recommend you consider getting a SIM card for your phone, or for an additional fee just add the navigation to your rental car. It will make driving in Northern Ireland quite manageable.
Also, be sure you read up on the rules of the roads in Northern Ireland before getting behind the wheel of your rental car.
Best Rental Car Company in Northern Ireland
When it comes to finding a car hire company I use Discover Cars. They compare local rental car dealers against larger car rental companies so you get the best deal! Check Rates & Car rental locations here.
Best place to rent a car in Northern Ireland
If you’re looking for the best place to rent a car in Northern Ireland, look no further than Belfast. Not only is it the capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, but it also boasts some of the most competitive rates on car hire.
You can find Discover Cars car rental agencies at Belfast International Airport as well as Belfast City Airport. Check Rates & Availability at car rental locations.
Whether you’re planning a road trip around the stunning landscapes of County Antrim or just want to explore Belfast, you’ll find car hire companies offering everything from luxury vehicles to budget-friendly options.
Plus, there are plenty of local experts ready to give their advice on the best routes and attractions in the area. I found the people of Northern Ireland to be incredibly helpful and friendly!
Can I rent a car from Dublin Airport and drive it to Northern Ireland?
If you are planning a weekend in Ireland and want to take your vehicle from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, you can! Just be sure to tell your rental car company in advance.
I wasn’t charged an extra fee to take it to Northern Ireland, but policies can change, so it is best to double-check.
Is it possible to pick up my rental car in Dublin and drop it off in Belfast?
Yes! You can do one-way rentals with Discover Cars! If you are picking up your car at the Dublin airport but want to drop it off in Belfast, you just need to arrange this ahead of time.
If the car rental agency allows it, they almost always will charge a one-way fee. Some rental car locations don’t allow it at all, this is how I came to find Discover Cars in the first place.
How much does renting a car in Northern Ireland cost?
How much does it really cost to rent a car in Northern Ireland? Well, the cost of renting a car in Northern Ireland really depends on what type of vehicle you’re looking for, as well as the time of year you are visiting.
Getting around without breaking the bank is important to me when I was traveling solo in Belfast. You can rest assured that there are plenty of affordable rental options available in this beautiful country. Discover Cars compare reputable companies like Hertz and Enterprise, to budget-friendly local rental companies. This makes it possible to find the perfect set of wheels for your needs and budget.
Prices start from as little as £30 per day, with longer-term rentals averaging around £150 per week. Of course, larger vehicles such as SUVs and luxury cars will be more expensive, but you can expect to pay around £50 per day or £300 per week for these.
However, it’s important to remember that prices are always subject to change, so be sure to shop around for the best deals.
With so many rental options available, you can be sure to get where you need to go for a price that works for you.
I was surprised at how low the car rental prices were compared to the United States.
Top Tips for Renting a Car in Northern Ireland
1) Make sure you’re aware of the rules for renting a car in Northern Ireland. It’s different from the rest of the UK. You need to have both valid insurance and a local driving license.
2) Consider parking when you book your hotel in Northern Ireland. Many hotels have it included, but it is best to double-check when making your booking so there aren’t any surprise fees headed your way.
3) Don’t forget the extras – you’ll want to check for additional services such as unlimited mileage or roadside assistance. And make sure you’re aware of any extra costs, like petrol costs or insurance fees.
4) Consider a pre-paid fuel option – this can save you time and hassle when returning the car. You won’t be charged extra for unused petrol, so make sure to top up before you return it!
5) If you need an automatic transmission, book your car early! If you’re renting during peak tourist season, make sure to book your rental well ahead of time. Please note, there may be an additional cost.
6) Check for hidden costs – be aware of any additional fees that may come with your rental, such as taxes and airport pickup charges. These can add up quickly, so double-check before you sign on the dotted line.
7) Don’t forget to enjoy the scenery – Northern Ireland is a fantastic place to explore. So, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the sights along your journey!
Cheapest Car Insurance in Northern Ireland
Getting insurance for your car rental is required. At the most basic level, all drivers must have Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance before they can legally drive. This means that if you cause an accident, your insurer will pay for any damage to the car.
🚗 Tip: Check with your credit card companies to see if your credit card covers it. Chances are not likely, but it is worth asking.
I always go for comprehensive coverage, the piece of mind is worth it to me.
With Discover Cars, you can get full coverage for $6.85 a day. That is less than I pay for a latte in the US.
Purchasing full coverage with a Super Collision Damage Waiver insurance will add some extra cost to your rental car, but it will cover any minor damage. Meaning if someone opens their car door into your vehicle (it happens) or loose rocks happen to leave a mark. You are covered!
I am a slow and steady driver on Northern Ireland’s roads, but it isn’t always about the driver. You need to watch out for acts of nature like rocks, and branches that get in your way, not to mention other cars.
If you want to rent a car with your own policy, you will need to have a hard copy with you and read the fine print.
When renting with Discover Cars you will read all about the rental car insurance requirements under Rental Conditions which is just under the rental car rating.
Check with your Credit Card Company to see if they cover CDW insurance
As I mentioned above, the credit cards that come with CDW often exclude Ireland. But in the instance, you would be covered and want to rely on it, then opt out of the full coverage.
It is important to understand what you are relying on. A credit card CDW waiver means you are committing to dealing with your credit card company for any insurance needs in the event there is an incident.
This includes paying with your credit card for any damages due to the rental car company and then working with your credit card company for reimbursement.
If this is the route you will take, be sure to read the contract and confirmation which documentation is sufficient for the rental car company.
For me, it sounds like a lot of hassle, but the choice is up to you!
What are the qualifications to rent a car in Northern Ireland?
If you’re looking to rent a car in Northern Ireland, there is a lot you need to know. First, to rent a vehicle, you must be 21 years old. Foreigners must have held a valid driver’s license for at least four years prior to the car rental contract date.
If you are coming from the US or Canada you DO NOT NEED an International driver’s license.
You’ll need to have a valid credit card and present two forms of identification, such as a passport and driver’s license.
Lastly, you must have appropriate insurance coverage for all car rentals in Northern Ireland.
Renting a car with an automatic or manual transmission
Do you know how to drive manual transmission? If you are coming from Europe, I imagine you do. But if you are visiting from the US, the chances are less likely.
If you are considering renting a car in Europe, you should know the majority of car rentals have manual transmissions.
If you’ve never driven a stick shift before, now is not the time to learn. I suggest going with an automatic as it will save you from having to do any additional research (or lessons) before your trip.
Just select automatic transmission when getting your quotes on Northern Ireland car rentals.
Whichever transmission you choose, make sure to take care when driving it!
Which car categories and sizes to choose
When making the decision of which car size to choose you to need to consider a few things.
If you’re always driving solo, like me, then a compact car is probably the way to go. It’s fuel efficient and will save you money on gas. Usually, the best car rental deals are for compact cars.
There are a lot of advantages to choosing a small car, such as fitting into more parking spaces. On the other hand, you must consider the number of carry-on bags you plan to stuff into the car.
If you are going to be more than 2 people, you might want something roomier like an SUV or minivan.
🚗 Note the age restrictions when renting anything larger than a compact car. The minimum age is 25.
On the other hand, if you live in a city and don’t need much space for cargo, then a subcompact or even a hybrid might be the perfect fit. They’re easy to zip around tight corners, and you won’t have to worry about finding parking for a large vehicle.
Ultimately, the size of the car you choose is dependent on your individual needs and lifestyle. So take some time to consider what’s important to you, and then you’ll be able to make the best decision for your perfect ride.
🚗 Best Prices on Northern Ireland Car Rentals
What to expect on a road trip in Northern Ireland
Planning a road trip to Northern Ireland! Just think you can visit Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and other popular cities like Derry or Carrickfergus at your own pace!
As you drive along the causeway coastal route, expect to be greeted by breathtaking landscapes with majestic mountains and shimmering lakes around every corner.
There are so many hidden gems to discover in Northern Ireland, such as Tollymore Park, a film location for Game of Thrones.
When planning your road trip to Northern Ireland, be sure to keep the gas tank full and map out the gas stations along the way.
Best places to visit on a road trip in Northern Ireland
Ah, Northern Ireland. Where else can you take a road trip through rolling hills and lush greenery? There are so many exciting places to visit on a road trip in this part of the UK! From ancient castles to stunning coastal vistas, there’s something for everyone. Here are just some of my favorite stops when I traveled around Northern Ireland.
The most populated road trip destination in northern Ireland is Giants Causeway, followed by The Dark Hedges.
Both places were among the highlight of my trip! A lesser-known, stop in Northern Ireland is Bushmills! Home to the famous whiskey distillery!
If you’re looking for a bit of history, look no further than Carrickfergus Castle. This 12th-century Norman castle is located just outside Belfast and offers beautiful views of Belfast Lough as well as a fascinating tour through its many rooms and corridors.
Another great spot to explore is the Giant’s Causeway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that were formed by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
If you want to see some of Northern Ireland’s breathtaking coastlines, head down to Murlough Bay. This stunning stretch of coastline is dotted with beaches, cliffs, and caves – perfect for exploring!
Finally, no road trip in Northern Ireland would be complete without a visit to the Mourne Mountains. Located in County Down, these mountains are home to some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Ireland. Whether you’re a hiker or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, the Mourne Mountains are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
No matter where you decide to go on your road trip to Northern Ireland, you’re sure to find something amazing around each corner!
Best Places to Stay on a Road Trip with Your Northern Ireland Rental Car
If you want to fully explore Northern Ireland on a road trip, here are some of the best places to stay.
There are 2 hotels in Belfast I highly recommend both close to the Titanic Belfast.
Titanic Hotel Belfast
Parking is at the garage nearby for 15 pounds a day.
The parking is also at a nearby garage for 15 pounds a day.
Perfect place to stay on the Causeway Coast. This is a castle hotel that is the perfect place to stay on your way to Giant’s Causeway!
The Bushmills Inn – I stayed here on my trip to the coast of Northern Ireland! I recommend eating in the restaurant as well as taking a tour of the distillery!
The town of Bushmills is very small but delightful. It was the highlight of my trip for sure.
Bushmills Inn Hotel & Restaurant
Why not stay at the old castle estate?
Belle Isle Castle and Cottage
What to pack for a road trip in Northern Ireland
When packing for a road trip in Northern Ireland, you’ll need more than just your good luck charm and an upbeat playlist. Here are some things to consider bringing along in order to ensure your adventure is as smooth sailing as possible:
– An extra layer – The weather can be unpredictable and if you’re not prepared for a sudden cold snap, you could find yourself with a chill. Pack an extra layer just in case!
– Snacks – You never know when you might want to take a break and nothing beats the satisfaction that comes from snacking on the side of the road. Choose some snacks that won’t make too much mess and can be easily packed away.
– Camera – The views and scenery in Northern Ireland are some of the best in the world, so you’ll want to capture them. Make sure to bring a decent camera and all its accessories – you’ll be glad you did when you look back at your photos!
– Maps/GPS – Getting lost is all part of the fun, but it might be nice to find your way back home! Pack a map or bring along a GPS device to ensure you don’t get too far off course.
– A full tank – Nothing can ruin a road trip faster than running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you fill up before heading out, just in case!
Final Thoughts about Renting a Car in Northern Ireland
In conclusion, I had a great experience renting a car in Northern Ireland. It is an amazing way to get the most out of your trip. With so many unique sites and experiences available to you, there’s no better way to explore this beautiful country than with the freedom of your own set of wheels!
So if you’re ready for a road trip like never before, head to Northern Ireland and rent a car today! You won’t be disappointed.
Northern Ireland Rental Car FAQs
It is absolutely worth renting a car in Northern Ireland. Without a car, you will be fairly limited in what you can do and see past the city of Belfast.
If you are planning a road trip around Northern Ireland I recommend you rent a car for a minimum of 4 nights. This should give you enough time to slowly explore all that Northern Ireland has to offer.
Select rental car companies will allow you to pick up your car in Northern Ireland and drop it off at Dublin Airport.
Typically a “one-way” fee is charged when you make a reservation to do this.
Northern Ireland Travel
🎟 Titanic Tickets– Skip the line and get tickets here!
About The Author
A Solo Woman Traveling is all about empowering women to take a chance and discover the beauty of traveling alone.
Expert solo traveler, Melissa Byron, has explored over 40 countries on her own. Melissa’s mission is to help women around the world with her travel tips & solo female travel itineraries.