Resembling 40,000 patio tiles, the perfectly hexagonal basalt columns of Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway look entirely manmade. Local legend says these were stepping stones laid down by Fion Mac Cumhaill, a giant crossing the sea to fight a Scottish rival.
In fact, the columns are hardened lava that bubbled up from the Earth and cooled at a very specific temperature to create an interlacing geometric symphony. Though similar formations exist throughout the world, none can match the grandeur of Giant’s Causeway. That means you often have to share this spectacular space—come early or near dusk to avoid the worst crowds.
Insider tip: Beautiful coastal walks line this area. To avoid the parking fee, walk from either Dunserverick Castle or Portballintrae. Of course, you can always book a a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, too.