The capital of Northern Ireland is known for many things: it’s the city that built the Titanic but is more recently known for the violence that took place toward the end of the 20th century. These two tragedies and a culture removed from your typical “European” make for all the more Belfast attractions, and there’s plenty of history to learn about as you tour the great city!

If you’re looking for the most interesting things to see in Belfast, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a comprehensive list of unique things to do in Belfast city and the surrounding areas.

Whether you’re traveling alone, with family and friends, or with your significant other, we have the perfect places to visit in Belfast for your travel situation.

Here’s our EPIC list of the top things to do in Belfast!

Top Things to Do in Belfast

Here are a few of our best picks for the best things to do in Belfast!

1. Stroll Around Cathedral Quarter

flickr-belfast-cathedral
source: Marian McCaffrey (Flickr)

You’ll get the opportunity to learn about the many different cultural influences that impact the Belfast area.

Walk through the Cathedral Quarter, admire the wonderful architecture and marvel at street art while learning how different cultures have influenced Belfast. You can download an audio guide before you head to the Cathedral Quarter to learn more than if you visited alone.

This is one of the cool things to do in Belfast because you see how religion and punk culture came together and created the fusion that is… Belfast.

The Cathedral Quarter was once the center of trade that sprung up due to the thriving linen and ship-building industries. You can learn about all this on a walking tour.

Hear about the key people that lead to the changes Belfast went through to become the city you see before you. If you’re a lover of all things culture, this is the perfect way to spend your day while visiting Belfast.

2. Explore the Belfast Titanic Quarter

Belfast Titanic Quarter

You can spend a whole day exploring the Titanic Quarter which is where the Titanic was built! Visiting the Titanic Quarter is one of the best things to do near Belfast – everyone knows about the Titanic… for one very unfortunate reason.

You can explore the museums and learn about the development of the titanic before looking through memorabilia and artifacts that pertain to the ship. The Titanic quarter covers over 185 acres of land where the Titanic was designed and built before heading to Britain (and then to the depths of the ocean).

3. See All Your Favorite Game of Thrones Locations

Game of Thrones Tour

Spend the day visiting some of the most iconic Game of Thrones scenes were filmed, like the Dark Hedges. You know, the site of the King’s Road?

“I’d stay well clear of that kingsroad, if I were you. It’s worse than bad, I hear. Wolves and lions both, and bands of broken men preying on anyone they can catch.” – Martin, A Storm of Swords

Did I lose you? Feel free to move on to #4. Otherwise…

You can also see the beautiful Dunluce Castle on your way, which offers wonderful photo opportunities whether or not you’re a GoT (or aSoIaF) fan.

You’ll see some of the most beautiful places to go in Belfast, as well as tread the footsteps of Westerosi heroes and plenty of other Game of Thrones characters.

Experience a full coastline adventure as you watch the waves crashing against the cliffs as you drive. Be sure to stop along the way, getting out of your vehicle to take photos of the beautiful scenery! There will be some amazing views along the way!

If you’re a Game of Thrones fanatic, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a variety of film locations near Belfast! Research thoroughly before you go, just to make sure you haven’t missed any.

FIRST TIME IN BELFAST

Central

As the name would suggest, central Belfast is the neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It’s a lively and vibrant area that welcomes travellers and tourists with its incredible architecture and rich history

Places to visit:
  • Shop until you drop at the Victoria Square Shopping Centre
  • Taste some of the best food in town by taking a Belfast Food Tour
  • Visit the Titanic Memorial Garden

4. Sightsee from a Cruise Ship

Titanic Quarter and River Tour

Take a wonderful sightseeing cruise and you’ll take in the sights of the Titanic Quarter from the perspective of the water. Along with the whole Belfast waterfront, you’ll get to see the Titanic slipway from the water.

The best time to book a cruise is in the evening. This way, you’ll be able to see the sunset over the beautiful Musgrave Channel and see Belfast’s largest seal colony bathed in the last of the sun’s rays.

If you’ve been wondering what to do in Belfast, this is a great option that allows you to see the beautiful city from a completely different perspective! (And I promise it doesn’t cost loads of money.)

5. Go on a Black Mountain Walk

Black Mountain Walk

Climb the mountain that rises out of the heart of Belfast while getting your fill of fauna, flora and incredible wildlife!

Take a hike up the beautiful Black Mountains. The landscape is luscious and green, making for a beautiful view all the way to the top. Once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with the impressive overlook of the city below.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as there’s plenty of wildlife along the way. You’ll experience a few different terrain types and breathe beautiful hill-country air. Mmmmmm-ahhhhhh…

6. Watch a Giants Game

Watch the Giants - Belfast
source: sportsflair2000 (flickr)

Get to know the passionate ice hockey supporters that call Belfast their home! When the Giants are playing, the whole stadium comes alive with excitement and you can get into chanting and war cries too!

If you’re a sports fan, or just love to be a part of all the action, this is a great place to attend during your time in Belfast. The electricity in the air is enough to bring even the most reserved fans to their feet!

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    7. Become a Whiskey Connoisseur at Bushmills Distillery

    distillery, belfast
    source: Supermac1961 (flickr)

    If you visit Bushmills, visit one of the most famous Irish whiskey distilleries! You’ll take the scenic route to Bushmills distillery, giving you the opportunity to take in the beautiful coastal views, and even stop off at some iconic photography spots along the way.

    You’ll then be guided on an in-depth tour of the Bushmills Distillery before tasting true Irish whiskey. You might end up buying a bottle or two of the wonderful golden liquid to take home as a souvenir for family or friends.

    You’re sure to be a whiskey connoisseur by the time you’re done with this must-do in Belfast!

    8. Explore Hillsborough Castle

    Hillsborough Castle Guided Tour

    Discover the stories of Hillsborough Castle and wander its the elegant rooms like you’re some bougie aristocrat from the 19th century.

    Hillsborough Castle has witnessed pivotal moments in history over the past 300 years. The castle is, after all, the official Northern Ireland residence of Her Majesty the Queen! It has also been the home of the Northern Ireland secretary of state since 1970 and played an important part in the peace that Belfast has experienced since The Troubles.

    You’ll see a collection of rooms throughout the castle, including the grand Throne Room, the State Drawing Room, Lady Greys Study, the State Dining Room, the Red Room and the Stair Hall.

    If you’re wondering what to do in Belfast Ireland, exploring a grand castle sounds like a top choice to me!

    9. Take a Trip to Derry

    Private Guided Minivan Tour

    Derry, also known as Londonderry sits on the edge of the River Foyle. Londonderry is famous for its 17th century Derry Wall which has 7 gates! Within the wall, you’ll find St Columb’s Cathedral, which displays artifacts from 1699, which was when the siege of Derry took place.

    You’ll also get the chance to see the peace bridge and the Tower Museum which showcases a range of historical exhibits. You’ll see incredible architecture while you learn about its history and the cultural significance of each place you visit.

    10. Visit Bobby Sands’ Grave

    Bobby Sands Grave Tour

    If you’re a history buff, politics buff or cemetery buff (do those exist?), you should make a point to visit the Republican Museum, Miltown and the Republican Plot, where you’ll see Bobby Sands’ grave! You’ll learn about his life as well as his high profile death and how he affected the course of Ireland’s history.

    800 years of conflict have taken place in Ireland. By visiting these museums and historically significant places you’ll learn so much about Ireland’s troubled passed. Bobby Sands and the other IRA members are divisise charecters in Ireland, considered hero’s by some and villains by others. We will not comment on the politics but do feel that a visit here offers a great insight into the history of “the troubles”.

    If you’re looking for stuff to do in Belfast, this should be high on your list!

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    Unusual Things to Do in Belfast

    Here are some of our favorite unusual things to do in Belfast!

    11. Ride a Beer Bike Around Belfast

    Beer Bike Tour

    Some of you might not find this one unusual. I promise you some of us do think it a bit off (but I’ll have a go next time in Belfast anyway).

    Use the pedal power of your small group to tour the city center while sipping on the drinks that you brought along for the ride.

    If you’re looking for things to do in Belfast city center, this is the perfect thing to do as you pre-drink your way through the city before your night out on the town.

    You’ll get to see Belfast from the unique perspective of a 12 -man pedal bike! You’ll learn all about the city’s unique history as you pedal through the streets and sip on a pint of lager. Though this isn’t the best tour available if you want to retain all that information…

    You’ll see a variety of Belfast tourist attractions along the way, allowing you to learn all about the incredible city while you enjoy a drink and exercise off all the consequences of those extra calories!

    Disclaimer: The above claim is unsupported by actual scientific evidence. Anyway, enjoy your beer cycle!

    12. See the Famous Belfast Murals

    Private Driving Tour

    Here’s a way to see lots of the best Belfast points of interest all in one go. You’ll explore the city and see some of the best street art that Belfast has to offer!

    You’ll see the Peace-line wall for an up-close look at the art murals that range from professional to “aspiring” professional. Be sure to take a picture or two as this is a Belfast landmark you’ll want to keep stashed away in your memory bank!

    13. Board the HMS Caroline

    HMS Caroline Self Guided Tour

    The HMS Caroline is a World War I light cruiser that opened to the public for the first time in June of 2016. The cruiser has been in service for 100 years, of which 90 of those were for Belfast.

    When you board the ship, you’ll get to explore the various areas and feel the tense atmosphere aboard the vessel. You’ll also watch a film that teaches you about events that took place aboard the HMS Caroline. It’s not exactly a Nicolas Cage suspense-action-thriller blockbuster, but it’ll give you a feel for the ship and its history.

    You’ll see some of the ship’s original analogue components, which blow my millenial mind. This activity is a must when you visit Belfast.

    14. Eat Northern Ireland’s Biggest Breakfast

    Eat Northern Irelands Biggest Breakfast
    It’s the baked beans that’ll have me tapping out. | source: Natalia Lisovskaya (Shutterstock)

    This activity is a true challenge for your stomach! The Irish really do know how to put together a hearty breakfast. If you wake up feeling rather famished, head to Newton Cafe Brunch Bar to attempt to make a dent in their huge breakfast portions.

    If you’re really feeling up to the challenge, order the Goliath XXL which is a traditional Irish breakfast that consists of 34 pieces. If you manage to make it through even halfway, you truly deserve a medal. Heck, a pat on the back for even 15%!

    The owners of the restaurant assure you that only 52 people have ever attempted this breakfast, and only 1 has ever completed it (God rest his colon).

    15. Commune with the Ancestors at the Newgrange Megalithic Tombs

    Newgrange Megalithic Tombs

    If you visit Newgrange Megalithic Tombs you’ll learn about the Irish (especially pre-Anglo) history while visiting this ancient and fascinating tourist site.

    When you visit the Newgrange Megalithic Tombs, you’ll be visiting sites that are older than the Egyptian pyramids (which, by the way, are twice as old as Jesus). The Newgrange Megalithic tombs are 5200 years old. For perspective, that’s older than about anything else you’ve ever heard of. The tombs were built by stone age farmers and covers an impressive 1-acre area in the Boyne Valley.

    Walk down the main passage of the tombs, which measures 19-meters long. You’ll also spot stones that surround the tomb which have megalithic art engraved into them and are thought to serve as tombstones for those buried inside. Look, but DON’T TOUCH!

    Safety in Belfast

    Belfast is much safer than in previous decades and is definitely worth your time and hard-earned travel dollars. But it’s not worth losing that money! The normal fears, like pickpockets and scams are still around and any number of unexpected situations can lead to lost luggage, valuables or cash. Read our tips for traveling safely before you fly and always get travel insurance. Check out our roundup of the best travel insurance.

    Things to Do in Belfast at Night

    If you’re looking to stay busy in Belfast after dark, here are a few activities that are sure to keep you entertained until the early hours!

    16. Go Bar Hopping

    Go Bar Hopping, Belfast
    source: William Murphy (flickr)

    Belfast has some of the best bars and pubs in the world that serve as unique watering holes to mingle with your travel buddies and the Belfastians (feel free to correct me on that). If there’s one thing Northern Irelanders are remembered for, it’s their ability to drink like there’s no tomorrow. This stereotype isn’t universal for every local, but you certainly can find a heavy drinking scene!

    There are plenty of unique pubs around that are definitely worth a visit. Bittles Bar is shaped like a tower and the red interior is covered in pictures of celebrities. Their Guinness is great and the bar is a hit amongst the locals. Other local favorites include Crown Liquor Saloon and Morning Star.

    17. Visit Lagan Lookout

    Vist Lagan Lookout, Belfast
    source: William Murphy (flickr)

    Taking a trip to Lagan lookout is well worth your time while you’re in Belfast. You’ll get to see the Lagan River, lit up by street lamps, boat lights and twinkling lights coming from the waterfront restaurants and other buildings.

    Enjoy the view from the lookout, or take a stroll through the waterfront and explore the many shops and restaurants in the area. There’s no better place to catch a wonderful view in the night time.

    18. Party at a Club in Belfast

    Club Mono, Belfast
    source: Ardfern (Wikicommons)

    Spend the night partying like the locals in the diverse Belfast clubbing scenes!

    There are loads of styles and vibes in Belfast – one to fit every taste. Club Mono is one of the most popular clubs in Belfast and is where the locals get their boogie on. Every so often the club flies in an international DJ to play a set or two, so keep your ears peeled for that!

    Love and Death may look like an effortlessly cool cocktail bar, but through a back door, you’ll find a club scene like no other! The club plays funk, soul, hip hop and any other kind of music that gets the crowd dancing.

    19. Listen to Live Music

    Kellys Cellar, Belfast
    source: Ardfern (Wikicommons)

    There is an overwhelming selection of live music spots to listen to the locals showing off their talents. If you’re looking for a relaxed evening activity, here you go.

    While staying in Belfast, you’ll likely realize that there’s live music playing on almost every street corner. If not by a street performer then at a local watering hole. Music isn’t hard to find, but here are a few of our favorites.

    Kellys Cellar is a truly old-fashioned old bar that feels like home to many of the local musicians who play traditional music. The John Hewitt Bar serves Guinness in generous portions (as you like it) and offers live music performances every night.

    Where to Stay in Belfast

    Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Belfast.

    Best Hostel in Belfast: Global Village

    global village

    This is our top-rated hostel in Belfast. Situated in a 19th-century building, this hostel combines historic character with modern charm. It has a young and energetic staff, comfortable rooms and a beer garden/BBQ area. Enjoy a great selection of sightseeing, dining and nightlife options nearby.

    Best Airbnb in Belfast : Homey city pad

    Belfast Homey City Pad

    This homey city apartment is great for those wanting to get the most out of there time in Belfast. Complimentary tea and coffee is always a winner, and you’ve got full washing and cooking facilities. Easy links to the airport and train station make this a hassle-free choice.

    If you’re looking for an Airbnb option that includes breakfast, you should check out our list of the the best B&B’s in Belfast!

    Best Hotel in Belfast: Ten Square

    Ten Square

    Set at the centre of the city, this hotel provides easy access to Belfast’s best tourist attractions. It also has bars, restaurants and shops on its doorstep. This hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities, like a mini bar and a refrigerator. You can also enjoy the on-site restaurant and bar.

    Romantic Things to Do in Belfast

    If you’re visiting Belfast with your S.O., here are a few of our favorite things to do in Belfast that could make your trip just that little bit more special!

    20. Stroll Through Hillsborough Castle Gardens

    Hillsborough Castle Guided Tour 2

    Explore 100 acres worth of manicured gardens that date all the way back to the 1780s. Discover waterways, woodlands, the kitchen gardens and ornamental grounds. There is a small entrance fee to enter the castle grounds, but the tickets last the whole day, so be sure to make the most of them by taking a picnic and enjoying the idyllic scene!

    If you love flowers, fountians, old buildings, lawns, fresh air or sunshine, this is one of the best things to do in Belfast, Ireland (we can’t always promise sunshine, though). You can stroll through the property at your own pace and even spend the whole day there if you like.

    Walk down the Lime Tree Walk and thorugh Granville Garden, but also check out the olden-day structures of the Lady Alice Temple, the Quaker Burial Ground, and an Ice House. It’s easy to see there’s no shortage of entertainment on this grand property!

    21. Make Bread the Traditional Belfast Way

    Bread Making Experience

    The people of Belfast love their bread! So why not learn to make it just like they do? If you take a bread making course, you’ll learn about the history of cooking in Northern Ireland and bake some delicious bread! Your bread options include soda bread, wheaten bread, and potato bread!

    Sample everything you make and take the recipes home to share your newfound cooking skills with family and friends (or don’t – eating whole loaves of bread alone on the couch is a valid way to spend an evening). This is one of the best couple things to do in Belfast.

    22. Explore the Great City Hall

    city hall, belfast
    source: William Murphy (flickr)

    The city hall is open 7 days a week and serves as a multipurpose venue for the city. Taking a tour of the city hall can be the perfect couples’ activity in Belfast! The beautiful old architecture isn’t the only thing to admire, as the city hall has a substantial art collection! Romance and appreciation for the arts go hand-in-hand if you ask me.

    See the beautiful lawns, the extravagant Council Chamber and the Great Hall as the incredible stain glass windows paint the rooms in color. The grounds contain a variety of memorials and statues and host a variety of markets as well as open-air concerts.

    Do You Need Travel Insurance?

    Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.

    Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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    Best Free Things to Do in Belfast

    If you’re on a budget trip, here are a few things to do in Belfast that won’t cost you anything at all!

    23. Roam the Botanic Gardens

    Botanic Gardens Belfast

    The gardens were only established in 1828 but were only opened to the public in 1900. The ancient gardens are absolutely stunning and make for the perfect place to go for a stroll in the early mornings. The gardens are home to the world’s first curvilinear glasshouses in the world, which is an absolutely spectacular sight!

    Also look out for the Tropical Ravine, which has a sunken garden that contains tropical fauna and birds of paradise between two raised viewing galleries. Don’t leave your camera at home for this activity, as you’re sure to get some epic shots of your tropical surrounds!

    24. Browse St Georges Market

    Belfast, Browse St George's Market
    source: Robin Kirk (flickr)

    The market is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and is a great place to blend in with the locals!

    St Georges Market won the UK’s Best Large Indoor Market of 2014 and it’s not hard to see why. The market buzzes with local activity all day long! You’ll get the chance to taste local and international cuisine, as well as browsing books, antiques, artistic creations, and other crafts whilst sipping on an espresso from a busy coffee stand.

    If you enjoy mingling with the locals, this is a great way to get to know Belfast culture in a casual setting. You’ll also find a variety of trinkets that make perfect souvenirs.

    25. Visit Belfast Castle Estate

    Belfast Castle Estate

    Belfast Castle Estate is a beautiful estate that is home to a grandiose castle. You can stroll and explore the grounds for free, and admire the many statues that live amongst the flower beds.

    If you’re feeling up to it, why not climb Cave Hill, which hugs the back of the castle. Here you’ll find a wonderful variety of caves to explore. The trails that wind their way up cave hill supposedly inspired Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels. Anything that inspiring anything literary is surely worth a visit!

    Admire a Masterpiece at an Art Gallery
    source: Ardfern (Wikicommons)

    There’s a colossal number of art galleries in Belfast for the size of the small city. This plays to the benefit of those who appreciate true art! The MAC is the biggest and most popular art gallery in Belfast and there are many reasons why!

    They call themselves an “art venue” as they have much more than just displays and exhibitions. They’re home to many forms of performance art like music and theatre. They’re also known for their many photography displays that have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

    27. See the Big Fish

    Big Fish, Belfast

    This massive ceramic mosaic sculpture was constructed by John Kindness in 1999. It sits in Donegall Quay, Belfast near the Lagan Lookout. It’s over 10 meters long, making it very hard to miss in this area!

    The outer skin of the fish is covered in ceramic tiles that have phrases and quotes on them that relate to Belfast history. The words on the fish were contributed by school children, soldiers and newspaper headlines that were somehow significant. What better way to get to know a city than through the words of its people?

    Books to Read in Belfast

    Here are some of my favorite books books to read in Ireland:

    The Backpacker Bible – Get it for free! Learn how to ditch your desk and travel the world on just $10 a day whilst building a life of long-term travel with an online income. To inspire and help the next generation of Broke Backpackers, you can now grab ‘How to Travel the World on $10 a Day’ for free! Get your copy here. 

    Ulysses — It has survived censorship, controversy and legal action, and even been deemed blasphemous, but remains an undisputed modernist classic: ceaselessly inventive, garrulous, funny, sorrowful, vulgar, lyrical and ultimately redemptive. Classic James Joyce.

    Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats — I first read Yeats during my Ireland trip. Check out what makes the most celebrated Irish so enjoyable to read.

    Angela’s Ashes — A Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestseller, Angela’s Ashes is Frank McCourt’s masterful memoir of his childhood in Ireland.

    Things to Do with Kids in Belfast

    If you’re bringing the whole you with you on your trip to Belfast, here are a few things to do that are sure to keep the little ones entertained!

    28. Attend a Rugby Match at Kingspan Stadium

    Attend a Rugby Match at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
    source: Florian Christoph (flickr)

    Buy tickets to watch Belfast’s most famous rugby team play on their home grounds! The Ulsters are hometown superheroes and love playing in front of their local crowd. Why not grab a ticket and head down to their home stadium to catch a game.

    Belfast’s most promising team might just bring home a win which will make the crowd go wild with excitement! Make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun! There’s nothing like supporting a local team while traveling abroad!

    29. Walk in the Footsteps of Giants

    Giant Causeway day tour

    Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Giants’ Causeway is one of the most other-worldly scenes you can ever lay your eyes on. You might’ve seen the giant basalt colums on Instagram – don’t they look like something from a sci-fi thriller? But this stretch of coasts also boasts incredible cliff-side ocean vistas along with this geological oddity.

    Spend the afternoon learning about all the myths and legends associated with one of the most incredible Belfast sights. Climb over the ancient stones, take photos and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the area. And don’t worry, the route you’ll take back to the city is equally as beautiful as the one you’ll take there.

    30. Take the Ride of Your Life at Tayto Theme Park

    Tayto Park Theme Park
    source: Cac2000 (Wikicommons)

    If you decide to visit Tayto Theme Park, you should spend the entire day there – you know, to get the most out of it.

    At Tayto Theme Park, you’ll take some thrilling rides, like Europe’s largest wooden coaster. Feel the adrenaline rush pumping through your veins as you take on this scary yet thrilling experience!

    There is also a zoo on the premises with free admission, so if you’d like to see some unique animals, this is a great activity to take part in!

    This is one of the most fun activities in Belfast and a great attraction for kids as they’ll be busy all day long!

    31. Go Paintballing in Belfast

    Paintball Pass

    Spend the entire day on high alert, ready for your next ambush!

    No, maybe this isn’t the best thing for small kids. If you’re now looking after teens and pre-teens, you might have found the activity they’ll remember forever!

    Feel the adrenaline rush or ducking and diving, shooting and hiding! Paintballing is fun for the whole family and is sure to be an exciting and thrilling activity.

    All venues offer a wonderful variety of game zones to explore, which makes the game a little more interesting every time. You’ll be provided with equipment and full-body armor that will protect you against getting hurt.

    Other Things to Do in Belfast

    Here are a few more things to add to your Belfast itinerary!

    32. Picnic at Stormont

    Stormont

    The parliament buildings in Belfast are known as Stormont, and they’re located just a 15-minute drive from the city center. The parliament buildings are set in luscious parkland where they have a wonderful view over the city right to the Belfast Hills and the Black Mountains.

    There are beautiful rolling hills that lead up to the parliament building, which are perfect for a scenic picnic. The buildings themselves are very extravagant and built with incredible architecture.

    33. Visit the Europa Hotel

    Visit the Europa Hotel, Belfast
    source: Navjot Singh (flickr)

    You can’t stay in Belfast without visiting what is known as the most bombed hotel in Europe. The hotel has had its fair share of famous guests including presidents, prime ministers and celebrities.

    The hotel was frequently bombed during The Troubles, with a grand total of 28 bombings taking place at the hotel. This might make you fearful, however, The Troubles were a different time, and the locals will assure you that the hotel is very safe now!

    34. Walk the Halls of Crumlin Road Gaol Historic

    Crumlin Road Gaol Historic, Belfast
    source: GrimsbyT (Wikicommons)

    Walking within the walls of the infamous prison will serve as a lesson into its 150-year-old history.

    If you’re a true-crime lover, you’re going to have a thrilling experience during this Belfast must-see activity. You’ll learn all about prison life throughout the jail’s history and you’ll discover some of the more… mysterious spots in the prison.

    You’ll follow the footsteps of thousands of prisoners walking through the underground tunnel that connects the courthouse to the jail. You’ll see a condemned man’s cell and even see the execution cell where men were hanged! If this tour doesn’t send shivers down your spine, we’re sure nothing will!

    35. Visit St Anne’s Cathedral

    Visit St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast
    source: William Murphy (flickr)

    The St Anne’s Cathedral was built in place of the old St Anne’s Parish Church that was built all the way back in 1776 in the same location. The old Parish church remained in use until 1903 while the new St Anne’s Cathedral was built around it. The church was dedicated to the Ulstermen and women who had fought in the war.

    In 1979 the Dean of Belfast started a tradition outside St Anne’s Cathedral that still continues to this day. The last week leading up to Christmas, the Dean would stand on the front steps of the church collecting money for charities in Belfast. Because of the outfit that he wore to keep warm, he was referred to as “Black Santa”. His successors have continued the tradition to this day, so if you’re visiting Belfast over Christmas time, be sure to stop by!

    St Anne’s Cathedral is well worth exploring and is incredibly beautiful any time of year though! If you’re an architecture fan, you’ll absolutely adore this activity!

    36. See Belfast Through the Eyes of a Local

    See Belfast Through the Eyes of a Local

    There’s no better way to experience a city than through the loving eyes of a local! Let yourself be guided around the city to see the absolute best of Belfast, including the best-kept secrets that many tourists never get the chance to experience. You’re also sure to meet a variety of interesting people along the way!

    You can use local wisdom to figure out what you really want from the city so you don’t waste time seeing attractions in Belfast that you’re not that interested in. Learn from your passionate local about the city you’re sure to love!

    37. Learn the History of The Troubles

    History of Terror Walking Tour

    Learn why and how The Troubles began. Along the way, you’ll see some of the most interesting places to visit in Belfast and learn about the dark and twisted past of today’s unassuming corners of the city.

    You can even discover what it was like to stay in Northern Ireland during these times full of conflict from someone who lived through them! Experience first-hand how far things have come, and just how much reconciliation has taken place over the past 2 decades.

    If you’re a lover of all things history, then you shouldn’t miss outon learning about Belfast’s past!

    Day Trips from Belfast

    If you’re spending a long vacation in Belfast, occupy yourself with a few day trips from Belfast that will help you familiarize yourself with Belfast city and the surrounding area. Be sure to book a few day-trips well in advance to ensure your spot on the tour.

    Walk across the Famed Rope Bridge

    Giant Causeway and Rope Bridge Tour

    On your way to the Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, you’ll see some of the most beautiful places in the small nation.

    The drive out is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever experience. Be sure to take your camera along for the trip, as you’ll encounter some incredible photo opportunities.

    You’ll can also travel to the Northern tip of Ireland and pass by the ancient 12th century Carrickfergus Castle on-route.

    Cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge if you’re daring enough! It provides spectacular views of the coastline below but it’s not for the weak-of-heart. The rope bridge connects the mainland the tiny island of Carrick A Rede, spanning 20 meters and hanging an impressive 30 meters above the sea. This day trip is well worth the travel time and perfect for those looking for stunning photo opportunities, even if you don’t get on the bridge itself.

    Drive to Donegal

    Donegal

    Donegal is a beautiful country with rolling hillsides and gorgeous coast! Take a drive from Belfast, (which should take you around 2 hours), to make the most of all the lovely green scenery along the way. Be sure to stop for a photo taking session to preserve the wonderful views you’ll admire during your drive.

    Prevailing winds can often bring in cold fronts to Donegal county, so be sure you go prepared and take a warm jacket in case the weather turns. Once you’re in Donegal, be sure to visit some of their extraordinary (yet still chilly) beaches!

    Culdaff beach is one we highly recommend because of its sheer cliff faces and the green rolling hills that provide a beautiful view in the distance.

    There are a myriad of small towns dotted along the road to Donegal, so you’ll be able to stop for coffee and breakfast on the way there, and explore the little towns a bit further on the way back!

    3 Day Itinerary in Belfast

    If you’re spending 3 days in Belfast, be sure to make the most of it by creating a 3 day Belfast itinerary just like this one!

    Day 1 – Get to Know Belfast

    On your first day in Belfast, it’s important to get to know the area a little better! We recommend taking yourself for a walk around the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. This is the cultural hub of Belfast and will help you get to know people a little better.

    In the Cathedral Quarter, look out for the famous murals and street art that reflect the city’s past. Ask a local to explain the historical significance of these murals and about The Troubles that make up such a big portion of Belfast’s history.

    In the afternoon, continue the exploration but with a little libative on a beer bike tour of the city. Many such tours meet at the Cathedral Quarter so you’ll be able to save a pretty penny on transport costs.

    Day 2 – Enjoy Belfast Culture

    On your second day in Belfast, explore the creative side of Belfast. Visiting the MAC art gallery is the perfect way to spend the morning! The MAC is the biggest art gallery in Belfast and is a highly creative space.

    Not only do they display artworks but they host a variety of performance artists too. Be sure to check what exhibits are being displayed during the time of your visit, and if there are any theatrical performances worth checking out!

    Continuing with the art theme, make your way over to the Big Fish statue to admire a sculpture built by the entire community. The city bus goes pretty close to both of these destinations and takes around 8 minutes.

    Day 3

    On your third day in Belfast, you should spend some time mingling with the locals. That’s why we recommend visiting St Georges Market! It’s one of the biggest markets in the UK and provides the perfect opportunity to do some shopping for souvenirs, or just for a sweet treat to brighten your morning.

    You’ll find everything from grocery stalls to craft and antique stalls. You can’t possibly go wrong with the endless amount to see at this wonderful marketplace.

    From the market you can rent a bicycle and take a 7-minute ride to the Botanic Gardens. Taking a snack or a light picnic with you is a great option as you can sit back and enjoy the scenery as you sit in the gardens.

    Spend the rest of your day exploring the gardens and making the most of the beautiful surrounds before heading back to your hotel.

    More Great Resources

    Conclusion

    The gorgeous capital city of Northern Ireland has so much to offer! From historical beauty to modern luxuries and leisure, there’s so much to indulge in during your stay in Belfast!

    There are so many things to do in Belfast that will absolutely blow your mind, so you better get planning your Belfast itinerary to make the most of the time you have during your stay!

    It’s not often that you get a chance to visit a city that has so much historical significance as well as activities that are thrilling and exciting. This contrast creates the perfect balance in a holiday and allows you to do plenty of exploring and adventuring whilst being thoroughly entertained during your downtime.

    With so many things to do in Belfast, I wish you the best of luck sifting through them all and creating your ideal itinerary!

    Did we miss anything? Let us know about your favorite activities in Belfast in the comments below!


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