BELFAST.

Captivating tourists with the charm of Victorian architecture, Belfast is a re-discovered mass tourism destination. It has recently managed to put its tragic history behind it, showing the tourists a new face. Today, Belfast is all about stylish hotels, wild partying and great cuisine. The city changes for the better every day, with new venues being opened and locals trying hard to get their tourism on track. Be it art, food scene or entertainment, everything seems to be changing for the better. From the iconic Titanic Belfast, all the way through the charming Cathedral Quarter, to the vibrant nightlife of in many pubs, clubs, and bars of Belfast, it is guaranteed that your city break to Belfast will be a highly cherished memory. Yet, what entranced us the most in Belfast, is how welcoming the locals are – you can feel their appreciation of you visiting their city at every step, which ensures that everyone feels at home in Belfast.

Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips

Best Period to Visit Belfast

Best Period to Visit Belfast

Accomodation Tips for Belfast

Accomodation Tips

Getting Around Belfast

Getting Around Belfast

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Belfast

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Belfast

Other Things to See and Do

Other Things to See and Do

Money Saving Tips

Get a heritage pass

Sightseeing in places where there are plenty heritage sites may get quite expensive, especially in places like Belfast. You might want to look for a heritage pass while you’re all settled, as it provides various kinds of discounts and even allows you to enter some sites free of charge, all for a reasonable price.

Visit the museums

Most of the museums in Belfast, such as the Ulster Museum, are free of charge for visitors to enter. Enjoy a lesson on the history of Belfast and Northern Ireland while walking through the halls of the museums, but you should probably stay away from the cafés inside, as they tend to overprice their products.

Book the attractions beforehand

A good way to save some money before the trip has even started is to plan ahead and book the attractions you want to visit before your flight. Many of the attractions in Belfast provide better prices for those who make a reservation a couple of weeks before, and even better for those who book a month before.

Do a free tour of the City Hall

Every day of the week the City Hall of Belfast hosts free public tours, led by an experienced guide. The tour lasts approximately an hour and includes some interesting information about the history of the city. You must book the tour at least fifteen minutes before it starts, but make sure to come sooner to avoid lines.

Eat an Ulster Fry for breakfast

While most of the times regional food is more expensive than regular food, in Belfast you can actually get a traditional Ulster breakfast for a very reasonable price. There are a couple of restaurants – like Bright’s Restaurant – which are located in the heart of the city and serve this tasty treat that is bound to fill you up.

Try the Mexican cuisine

While not exactly domestic to the Ulster region, Mexican cuisine is exceptionally cheap in Belfast, while retaining good quality. Visit a restaurant like Boojum, where you can easily find an arrangement of burritos or tacos which will suit you, and there are even plenty of vegetarian options if you prefer not to eat meat.

Have a drink during the week

If you do not have to wake up early in the morning on the following day, make sure to visit one of many Belfast's apartment diners, where you can not only get a two-course meal for a reasonable price – it also comes with a glass of wine. All of that for only about €14, but the discount is only viable during the week.

Visit the Cathedral Quarter

The Cathedral Quarter is home to many small-time pubs and bars, made in traditional style. Listen to the folk music while having a pint of beer at a reasonable price. Pubs are a big part of social life in Belfast, so make sure you visit to socialise with the locals and listen to the stories of their rich heritage.

Make sure to haggle

Since Belfast is quite a tourist town, people will often approach you to sell you their services – be it cheaper attraction passes or bus trips around the town. Make sure you haggle with them, as they are usually prone to lower the price quite a bit, especially when it comes to bus tours which are a great way of moving around the city.

Check online for new art venues

There are plenty of different exhibitions and displays of art taking place around the city of Belfast, many of which are only open for several days. Generally, most of the exhibitions are open to the public and free to attend, so make sure you check online where the current events are taking place.

Best Period to Visit Belfast

Tourism

Belfast is the most popular between May and early September, due to the weather being the warmest during these months. Belfast is never really crowded, compared to the other more popular cities around the world, which makes it attractive throughout the year.

Weather

The warmest month in Belfast is July, peaking with around 19°C. November is when it starts getting colder, with around 4°C lows between December and early March.

Money

From May to September it’s hard to scoop any discounts, as that’s when the season is. Between October and February, prices for accommodation and food often get lowered a good 30%.

Events

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (May)
Festival of Fools (May)
Belfast City Marathon (May)
Belfast International Photo Festival (June)
North Belfast Arts Festival (June)
Fred Festival of Cycling (June)
Orangefest (July)
Belfast Rose Week (July)
New Lodge Summer Festival (July-August)
August Craft Month (August)
Colin Summer Festival (August)
European Heritage Open Days (September)
Bounce! (September)
Autumn Fair (September)
Cinematic Festival (October)
Belfast Fashion Week (October)
Belfast International Arts Festival (November)
Fleadh Feirste (December)

Accomodation Tips

Apartments

Renting an apartment in Belfast for the purpose of the accommodation during your city break in Belfast is a good alternative to staying in a hotel, especially if you'll be traveling with your family or some friends. Prices for short-term rental of apartments in Belfast start around €120 per night.

Budget (1-2 star) hotels

Looking for a cheap hotel in Belfast? Not a problem! This city offers a wide choice of hotels for backpackers or people who don't want to spend a lot of money during their city break in Belfast. Prices per night can be as low as €15.

Standard (3-4 star) hotels

3 or 4-star hotels in Belfast offer convenient location and good quality of service, so if you're looking for a bit of comfort at a reasonable price, it is these hotels that you should focus on. Rates for middle-range hotels in Belfast usually hoover between €50 and €100.

Luxury hotels in Belfast

Luxury hotels in Belfast cost around €200 per night, but are well worth the additional expense. The service is unmatched, facilities diverse and the location leaves nothing to be desired, granting you fast and easy access to the most popular attractions of Belfast.

Getting Around Belfast

Car

As Belfast generally does not have enormous traffic during the day, it is not a bad idea to get around the city with your own vehicle. It is often a cheaper solution than using commute for short-distance travels and might save you some money and time. There are also plenty of car-sharing and rental agencies in Belfast, all of which provide a reliable service and a wide variety of different cars to choose from, so you are sure to find something that will fit your budget well. The weekly charge for a standard, compact car is around two hundred pounds.

Public Transport

The public transport system is relatively well-developed in the city of Belfast and includes buses and metro. A good hub to start your journey with the public transport is the Donegall Square or the City Hall, as most of the stops are placed around these spots. On the square itself, there is also a metro kiosk where you can buy your tickets and even get a map with all of the lines on it for free. You can either buy your tickets at any kiosk or directly from the driver, but you will be required to provide exact change. The standard costs for a ticket within the city is two pounds.

Bicycle

There is a large cycling route which runs across the centre of Belfast, which is called the route nine of the National Cycle Network. This makes it easy and pleasant to travel through the city by bike, which might be a good alternative to using commute or a rented car, and far cheaper. The cycling routes of the city run along the river Lagan and over the northern shore of Belfast Lough, which will provide you with a lot of marvellous sights to see on the way. There are also plenty of bike rental and bike-sharing services, which include a number of stations throughout the city where you can get a bike cheaply.

Tickets & Passes

• Metro dayLink Card – with a price of only three and a half pound a day, this metro card, available in any metro kiosk, allows you to travel without any limits in the city zone from Monday to Saturday and is a much better value than individual tickets.
• Belfast Visitor Pass – if you are planning a vacation in Belfast you might already have this one bought. If not, it is strongly advised to get one, as it allows you not only unlimited travel on both metro and buses but also gives you discounts on many of the city’s attractions. The card costs 6,50 pounds for a single day, 11 pounds for two days, and 14,50 for three.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Belfast

Titanic Belfast

This unique museum of the Titanic allows you to immerse yourself in the history of the tragic cruise, which had its beginnings in the city of Belfast. There are plenty of reconstructions and special effects, showcasing the construction of the Titanic and its maiden voyage which ended with a catastrophic result.

National Football Stadium

A trip to the National Football Stadium, which is quite freshly developed, will allow you to see some of the Northern Ireland’s most famous football histories. As in most of the United Kingdom, Belfast is also home to a vast number of football fans and has a considerable amount of history dedicated to this sport.

HMS Caroline

This attraction gives you the chance to see an authentic First World War battle cruiser for yourself. Explore the ship on your own or with a well-educated guide who will tell you the history of the battleship. The ship also has a cafeteria and a canteen on board, where you can eat a meal afterward.

Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip

Taking a better part of the day, this trip will show you many of the wonders of Northern Ireland, including Giant’s Causeway, Belfast Falls, and Shankill neighbourhood. You will be able to sign the Peace Wall for yourself, walk the unique rope bridge of Carrick-a-Rede – all with organised transport and a guide.

2-hour tour of Downpatrick

The medieval city of Downpatrick is located only thirty-five minutes from the centre of Belfast and holds a permanent exhibition on Ireland's world-known patron – Saint Patrick. The guided tour includes all of the admission fees and entrances to Saint Patrick's Grave, the Cathedral of Down, and the High Cross galleries.

Game of Thrones Tour

This comprehensive tour allows you to see for yourself the filming locations of the award-winning TV series Game of Thrones. A guide will take you to each place, revealing some behind-the-scenes facts, and let you compare the real-life history of the locations to their vivid representation in the series.

Guided Tour of Crumlin Road Gaol

This one-hour-long tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol showcases Belfast’s most notorious prison and provides a lesson on its criminal history. You will not only visit the reception buildings, where new prisoners were held, but also take a trip to the jail itself, where you can see all of its wings from a high point.

Belfast City Church Tour

There are plenty of beautiful churches in Belfast, and what better way to see them all than an organised tour. This walking tour will take you along the most well-renowned churches of Belfast, starting from Saint Malachy’s Church on Alfred Street and finishing at Saint Anne’s Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter.

Belfast Mural Tour

Travel in a local group across the streets of Belfast while marvelling at its unique form of street art. The graffitis showcase different political and social problems of Northern Ireland and are a way of expression for the locals. See murals painted by both Nationalists and Loyalists and observe their struggle for dominance.

Kildare Village Shopping Trip

This day trip starts in Belfast and will take you to the picturesque village of Kildare, where you can shop around its chic outlet. The trip includes transportation on an air-conditioned bus and provides a range of discounts at high-end brands in Kildare, such as Gucci, Hugo Boss, Coach, and DKNY.

Other Things to See and Do

Stormont Parliament Buildings

Every day of the week you can take a free tour of the Parliament Buildings, just as is the case with the City Hall. Visit the home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which is the main legislative body for Northern Ireland, and see the gorgeous buildings as well as the green surroundings with numerous flower displays.

Belfast Castle

The Belfast Castle spans for over a hundred and twenty meters above sea level and provides an unobstructed view of the cityscape of Belfast. The castle was built in the late 12th century by the Normans but was burned down in 1708. After that, it was redesigned and rebuilt from scratch between 1811 and 1870.

Cavehill Country Park

This marvellous park is located around the Belfast Castle and is a must-see when you’re there. Not only does the park provide a lot of green space for you to wander around and relax, but it also hosts some exceptional landmarks. You can also try to find the nine cats hidden in the garden, which is a fun pastime activity.

Divis and Black Mountain

If you're into hiking, this four-mile long trail spanning between Divis and Black Mountain is not only a tough exercise, but it also provides an extensive view of the city and its surroundings. Divis was closed off to the general public for quite some time but is now fully open for both locals and foreign visitors.

Linen Hall Library

Visit the oldest public library in Belfast, which is over two hundred years old. It has one of the largest collections of Robert Burns' literature outside of Scotland, and it also features the earliest books printed in Northern Ireland. It is also the last subscribing library in Northern Ireland and provides a number of annual events.

Botanic Gardens

Established in 1828, the Botanic Gardens showcase a wide variety of local and foreign flowers and plants. The Botanic Gardens were built due to public's interest in horticulture, and now contain exotic tree species, as well as plenty of specimens from the southern hemisphere, especially in the Palm House.

Barnett Demesne

Once a private estate, the Barnett Demesne park was opened to the public in 1951 and retains much of the original state. Barnett Demesne is located in the centre of Belfast, next to the Malone House, and features an arboretum, an extensive eco-trail, a daffodil garden, and even a playground for kids to spend time.

Gruffalo Trail

This unusual park recreates the characters from Axel Sheffler’s book – Gruffalo. Each of the characters is gorgeously sculpted by Andrew McIntyre, with all of the recreations set against the backdrop of a lush forest. The park not only features the characters themselves but also sculpted trees and rocks.

Golden Thread Gallery

If you’re into contemporary art, make sure to visit this leading art gallery, which actively commits to enhancing its already huge collection. The open space of the gallery is welcome for everyone to come in, and features rotating exhibitions, so each time you visit it you are sure to see something completely new.

Malone House

This Georgian-style mansion, which is located a short walk from the city centre of Belfast, is open to the public and offers a variety of walking tours around its premises. You can even come here after a hard day of sightseeing, as the House is surrounded by a majestic parkland, where you can have a picnic with your family.

The Naughton Gallery

This gallery, located inside of the Queen’s University on the first floor of the Lanyon Building, showcases some of Northern Ireland’s best visual arts. The Naughton Gallery has an extensive schedule of rotating contemporary exhibitions and presents a range of work from artists such as Robert Crumb and Adham Faramawy.

Space Craft

While the name of this attraction might seem counterintuitive, it does not have anything to do with space travel. The Space Craft is Belfast’s most renowned place for sale and promotion of locally made craft and art. Take a stroll across the Space Craft, where you can get your own original jewellery and clothes.

The MAC

The Metropolitan Arts Centre in Belfast is the biggest cultural hub in the city. It was opened in 2012 and is open all year for visitors and locals alike. The MAC features a permanent exhibit of a gorgeous sculpture made by an Irish artist Mark Garry, which consists of four hundred metal wires.

CS Lewis Square

If you have read the Chronicles of Narnia when you were a kid, make sure to pay a visit to the CS Lewis Square in Belfast. It features seven bronze sculptures of the characters from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, including Aslan, The White Witch, Mr Tumnus, The Beavers, The Stone Table and The Robin.

North Down Museum

Located in the city of Bangor, which lies very close to Belfast, you will find this fascinating museum, which is both the most visited museum of Northern Ireland, as well as one of the smaller ones. It is located at the nature trail of Castle Park and hosts a range of displays on the lives of monks in early Christian Ireland.

Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum

This tourist attraction is located in Lisburn, which is quite far from Belfast itself but is still worth seeing. The museum is set in the oldest building of Lisburn, a 17th century Market House, and hosts a display on the history of the Irish linen industry, where you can admire the skills of famous craftsmen and see daily demonstrations of sewing.

The Ulster Way

If a tranquil walk in the afternoon is what you’re after, make sure to visit the Ulster Way walking trail, created by Wilfrid Capper in 1946. The walking trail spans across an astonishing six hundred and twenty-five miles and showcases some of the best scenery in all of Northern Ireland along its path.

Helen’s Bay Beach

There is no better way to spend time on a sunny day than to have a picnic around some gorgeous landscape. Pack a rug and a picnic basket and take a walk to the Helen's Bay Beach, which is rarely crowded. Look out for Grey Point Fort, located along the coast, which is a coastal defense battery worth seeing.

Oh Yeah Music Centre

If the name alone is not enough to interest you to visit this music centre, the legacy of the biggest music stars of Northern Ireland sure will be. The Oh Yeah Music Centre hosts a large collection of exhibits and historical information on stars such as Snow Patrol, Van Morrison and Them, The Undertones and Gary Moore.

Titanic Slipways

Take a walk along the restored slipways where Titanic had its first contact with water. The slipways feature a large number of different exhibitions and displays, all revolving around the maiden journey of Titanic. It holds a life-size replica of the Promenade Deck, inlaid in white stone, which is a marvel to look at.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best hotels for Belfast city break?

    Our list of the best hotels in Belfast are: Europa Hotel Belfast, The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast, Hilton Belfast, Radisson Blu Hotel Belfast and Clayton Hotel Belfast. Discover the full list of best hotels in Belfast.

  • What are the luxury hotels in Belfast?

    The finest examples of luxury hotels in Belfast include The Merchant Hotel Belfast, Malmaison Belfast, Ten Square Hotel, The Stormont Hotel, Titanic Hotel Belfast, Self Catering Belfast City Apartment and Self Catering Belfast. Discover the full list of luxury hotels in Belfast.

  • What are the cheap hotels in Belfast?

    Those trying to visit Belfast on a tight budget will find everything they need in hotels such as Jurys Inn Belfast, Ramada Encore Belfast City Centre, OYO Parador Lodge, Park Inn by Radisson Belfast, Holiday Inn Express Belfast City, Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre and Ibis Belfast City Centre. Discover the full list of Cheap hotels in Belfast.

  • What is the best period to visit Belfast for a city break?

    Taking factors such as weather, crowds and prices, the best months to visit Belfast for a city break are May, June, July and September.

  • What are top 5 things to see and do in Belfast?

    Belfast offers plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. Must-sees in Belfast include: Titanic Belfast, National Football Stadium, HMS Caroline, Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip and Game of Thrones Tour.

  • How much does public transport in Belfast cost?

    24-hour ticket for public transport in Belfast costs around €7.80.

  • What are the best night clubs in Belfast?

    The best night clubs in Belfast include: Limelight, ALIBI, Kremlin, Ollie’s and Thompsons Garage.

  • What are the best bars in Belfast?

    Judging on the reviews and customer opinions, the best bars in Belfast are: Bootleggers, Muriel's Cafe Bar, The Perch Rooftop Bar, The John Hewitt Bar and Cuckoo.

  • What are the best places to eat in Belfast?

    Your choice of the best restaurants in Belfast may vary depending on your taste, however, James St, Molly's Yard, Made in Belfast and John Long's are some of the most popular choices.

  • What are the top 5 best restaurants in Belfast?

    Top 5 restaurants in Belfast include: Mourne Seafood Bar, Eipic, Muddlers Club, Saphyre and Noble.