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Portrush, on Northern Ireland's north coast, is a cheerful mix of retro seaside town and adventurous outdoor-sports destination. As the Atlantic's waves swell against the cliffs of White Rocks, visitors clutching candy floss tour the peninsula's amusement arcades and shops. Add some adventure in the form of the dramatic, towering boulders of the Giant's Causeway. Finally, throw in a handful of world-famous filming locations and some classic Irish legends, and you've got a firm favourite with a hometown feel.
Portrush hostels are centrally located on its peninsula. Choose a dorm in a Portrush hostel with a nautical theme and you'll be just a few steps from the nightlife of Portrush's Main Street and harbour area. Or take some time out by a real coal fire for cosy evenings in with new friends. You'll find free breakfast, as well as communal kitchens, outdoor terraces and barbecues for doing your own thing. Free Wi-Fi is also available in most hostels in Portrush.
Ending at rocky Ramore Head point, three roads run parallel down the peninsula of Portrush, creating its major areas. Main Street is the place for cafés and restaurants, while Kerr Street is pedestrianised and includes a series of arcades. On either side of the town you'll find sandy beaches known as strands; walk the length of East Strand to reach the chalk cliffs of White Rocks. From here the coast becomes more rugged. Despite being featured in the Game of Thrones TV series, craggy Ballintoy Harbour to the east remains a largely unvisited corner of Northern Ireland's shores.
You can't talk about activities in Portrush without mentioning surfing. Grab a board from one of the stalls in town and head to East Strand for the best waves. Walkers are also spoilt, with routes of all lengths along the scenic coastal paths. Head east to reach the lonely ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle (another Game of Thrones filming location) and continue on to the enigmatic Giant's Causeway's basalt rock columns. Head to Bushmills Distillery to sample free tasters while learning about Ireland's whiskey smuggling past.
The closest airport is Belfast International Airport, which connects to Portrush by train. Portrush railway station is south of the town centre, just two minutes' walk from Main Street. As well as Belfast, trains also run to Derry (50 minutes) and Coleraine (12 minutes). A local bus service goes from near the train station and travels east along the coast to Giant's Causeway, and west to the town of Portstewart too.