Buses are leaving the bus station at Foyle Street in Derry every half an hour for Belfast. It is Goldliner Service 212 that operates between the two cities and a single ticket was £10.50 (March 2011). I was sure I would miss the 10 o’clock bus as I left the hostel late. But when I walked in to the station one minute passed ten the Belfast bus was just in front of me and the chauffeur was just about to close the doors. I bought the ticket from the driver and went upstairs (the bus was a double-decker) to get a good view of the landscape along the way. 1h 45 minutes later the bus arrived at Europa bus station in Belfast and 10 minutes later I was already at the hostel where I was going to stay.
I took the 9.00 bus from Ballintoy to Coleraine. It took 43 minutes and was £3.90 (March 2011). First I had thought of stopping in Bushmills, which is only 15 minutes away from Ballintoy, to visit the whiskey distillery and to take the 11.15 or 13.15 bus from Bushmills on to Coleraine. In the end I decided I rather arrive to Derry early.
From Coleraine I continued with train. The bus station and train station are in the same building so it is easy to find the way and buy the ticket for the onward journey. On the platform it was a bit confusing as the trains on the board were not advertised to where they were going but from where they were coming. I had to ask a woman if the first train was the right one, but the right one was arriving shortly after the first train. The woman also told me that in Derry there is a free bus from the train station to Foyle bus station in Derry city centre.
The train journey from Coleraine to Derry was £8.20 and took 47 minutes, and at a quarter to eleven I was in Derry. Almost everyone from the train went to queue in front of the station and so did I. Only after a few minutes the free bus arrived. I was very happy that I had heard of this bus in time, otherwise I would have walked.
The weather wasn't being cooperative with us when we were visiting Derry so we took a bus tour with Top Tours to have some protection from the rain. It's a hop-on-hop-off tour stopping at 10 different sites around the city. It picked us up and dropped us off at the Guildhall where there is car parking.
Top Tours has tours outside of Derry to Giant's Causeway and Glenveagh National Park.
Trains run regularly between Belfast Central – Coleraine – Derry.
Take advantage of the discounted fares:
Monday – Saturday (1 July-31 August, excluding 12, 13 July, 12, 26 August) ₤7.00 (family=2 adults and up to 4 children - ₤17.50)
Sunday day tracker (all year round) ₤5.00 (family - ₤12.50)
Group (10 or more day return):
e.g. Belfast – Coleraine ₤11.50
Freedom of NI (unlimited travel on all scheduled rail and bus services in NI):
1 day ₤14.00
3 days out of 8 ₤34.00
7 days ₤50.00
Explore the city on foot, and don't worry, you won't get lost!
Btw, Londonderry was the first ever planned city in Ireland, begun in 1613.