VISIT BELFAST IN 3 DAYS

The history of Northern Ireland has always fascinated me. This year I made a trip to Ireland and had an amazing time discovering Belfast and the up North surroundings. The people are very friendly; there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to choose from; the landscape of Northern Ireland is breathtaking. Below you find as summary of my three days in Belfast.

After I landed in Ireland on Dublin airport, I took a Translink bus directly towards Belfast. The trip was enjoyable with a change of landscape as soon as you cross the border into Northern Ireland. I arrived the evening before and check-in to The Gregory, a lovely family run guesthouse – you can read more about it on a dedicated post [post coming soon].

DAY 1

Morning

Start the trip in the University Quarter by discovering the central part of the city. First, take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens that are home to the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine. Choose the alleys that will take you towards the Queen’s University. The university can be visited, or at least the main hall and some of the rooms. It is worth a short stop in this red brick building dating back to 1845 – surprisingly, there is even a souvenir store.

Afterwards, you can get lost on the little streets towards the center and try to reach St George’s Market for an excellent lunch break. The market building was built in the 1800s and it is hosting local producers every Friday to Sunday from morning until 3 PM.

Afternoon

After lunch, go ahead for a tour of the beautiful Belfast City Hall. The entrance in the city hall is free and it can be visited either with a group (check the schedule upfront) or alone. This is the most iconic civic building in town and it is a great location for culture and history discovery.

Across the street is the Visit Belfast tourist information office, which is also the best place in town for buying souvenirs. If you want to go for a shopping spree, head towards Victoria Square which has a shopping mall and plenty of street shops.

Evening

The best place to spend your evening is on the streets of the Cathedral Quarter. There is plenty of choice for traditional Irish bars and pubs. Also, look out for murals and for the picturesque narrow streets. You must have a pint of local beer at the Duke of York, a pub with a fantastic atmosphere and live music.

DAY 2

It is time to head for a road trip towards the Northern Ireland coast. We have opted to join an organized bus tour for GBP 35 for the entire day. If you can, stay on the right side of the bus so you can have a direct view of the coast, plus amazing photo shots.

A must see of the trip is the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Hope you will be luckier than I was. When I went there was pouring rain and the bridge was closed down. Nevertheless, even from the distance the view was breathtaking.

Make a stop to the Old Bushmills Distillery. This is the oldest distillery in Ireland. If you have enough time, take a 1-hour tour. Otherwise, you can walk through the history hall, the souvenir shop and down to the bar where you can have some whiskey tasting.

Take a trip that includes the Giant’s Causeway, which is a UNESCO Work Heritage site. The uniqueness of the area comes from more than 40,000 basalt columns aligned one next to each other. In addition, the few versions of the Giant legends are bringing more magic to the place itself.

When you return to Belfast, have a delightful dinner at The Barking Dog that has an interpretation of the traditional Irish meals. Moreover, if you do not feel like eating a lot, they have a great variety of tapas and nice cheese platters.

DAY 3

Morning

Spend the morning with a lesson on history. In Belfast is very popular for tourists to take a black taxi tour. We have booked a tour of the murals through the hotel and for about GBP 40 we did a tour of 2.5 hours.

You will see the Peace Wall and the communities of the Republicans and Loyalists from both sides. The wall is living history as it is covered by street art and graffiti. You can also leave comments on the wall (your driver will make sure that he has a marker with him) and you will put your signature along the famous one of Bill Clinton or Dalai Lama.

Afternoon

A visit in Belfast is not complete without a visit of the Titanic Belfast. In case you are hungry, on the ground floor there is Bistro 401 that serves freshly prepared food.

The famous titanic was built on these premises. The museum has a very interactive manner of presenting the times when the Titanic was built, as well as the grandeur of this ship. There is a short wagon ride on the journey of the Titanic’s production.

For the late afternoon, do not miss out the SS Nomadic, which is included in the ticket you buy for the Titanic Museum. This tender ship is located next to the Titanic and the last remaining White Star Lines ship.

Evening

Before heading out of Belfast, you should definitely have one more beer pint and some traditional Irish stew and chips. The best place for this is in one of the private booths of The Crown Liquor Saloon. Although, you need to make a reservation in advance to be sure you get a glimpse of the mesmerizing Victorian style architecture.

The pub is conveniently located just across the street of the bus terminal where I took the bus for a new adventure in Dublin [post coming soon].

 

If there are any other spots or activities you really enjoyed while in Belfast, please share with the other readers.

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