Belfast is a beautiful city and it’s worth visiting without a doubt! If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant Northern Irish gem, you may be wondering, “How many days in Belfast is enough?”
Well, fear not, this blog post is filled with all the insider tips and recommendations on how to make the most of your time in Belfast from a local’s perspective. This post should help you figure out the perfect number of days to spend in Belfast, so you can make memories that will last a lifetime.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
- How many days in Belfast is enough?
- What to See in Belfast
- What to Do in Belfast
- Final thoughts: How many days in Belfast?
“How many days in Belfast” is a million-dollar question, it’s so common, and a common question about any city anywhere in the world. The truth is: there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it all depends on your travel style and preferences. This applies to Belfast, and it applies to anywhere else too. Some travellers may be content with a quick stopover, while others may prefer to fully immerse themselves in the city for an extended period of time.
That being said, if you’re looking to experience the essence of Belfast without feeling rushed, it’s recommended to spend at least 3 days in the city. With three days, you can strike a balance between exploring Belfast’s top attractions and even squeezing in a day trip to the awe-inspiring Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist sight.
With 3 days, you can take your time to uncover Belfast’s fascinating history, whether you choose to take one of the many Belfast tours, or visit the iconic Titanic Belfast museum, you are guaranteed to learn a bit about the history of Belfast during your trip.
But it’s not just about the city itself. With 3 days, you can also venture beyond Belfast and experience the natural wonders of the Causeway Coast. A day trip to the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and Dunluce Castle is an adventure worth embarking on. Marvel at the breathtaking coastal landscapes, soak in the fresh sea breeze and create unforgettable memories along the stunning Causeway Coastline.
Of course, if you have more time to spare, there’s even more to explore in and around Belfast. From the picturesque Mourne Mountains, one of the most Instagrammable places in Northern Ireland, to the serene Lough Neagh, NI’s largest lake, there’s an abundance of natural beauty waiting to be discovered. There’s a reason so much of Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland – you can take a tour of these locations by the way – and that is because the landscapes are out of this world. Staying for longer also allows you to take a deeper dive into Belfast’s rich cultural scene, from its lively music scene to its thriving arts and culinary scene.
To sum it up, how many days in Belfast you should spend depends on how you like to travel. Generally speaking, 2-3 days are enough, but 3 days is best as it allows you to explore a bit of Northern Ireland beyond Belfast.
As the answer to “how many days in Belfast is enough” depends on how you like to travel, and your personal preferences, you may be interested in finding out what there is to see in Belfast, to help you make your own decision. So here are 10 of the best things to see in Belfast.
1. Belfast City Hall
Belfast City Hall is a stunning civic building with beautiful architecture and exquisite gardens. The building is in the heart of Belfast and is one of the best things you can see in the city.
2. St. Anne’s Cathedral
A striking cathedral with an impressive spire and intricate stained glass windows, St. Anne’s Cathedral is the most popular church to see in Belfast. Despite the religious conflict in the history of the city, there isn’t an abundance of stunning churches like in other cities like Brussels or Hamburg.
3. Albert Memorial Clock
The Albert Memorial Clock is an iconic landmark known locally as Belfast’s “leaning tower”, unfortunately, it isn’t quite as impressive as Pisa’s version. The clock dates back to the 19th century and stands as a tribute to Prince Albert.
Belfast is famous for its political murals, which tell the story of the city’s history and culture. It doesn’t take an art lover to appreciate the colorful and thought-provoking artwork that reflects Belfast’s past and present, which were all done by local amateurs too, not by established artists.
5. H&W Cranes
The two towering yellow cranes, nicknamed Samson and Goliath, are iconic symbols of Belfast’s maritime heritage, and one of the best landmarks to see in Belfast. You can spot these massive shipyard cranes from various vantage points in the city as they are so tall!
6. CS Lewis Square
Step into the magical world of Narnia with this whimsical public square featuring sculptures of beloved characters from CS Lewis’ famous books. It’s a little-known fact that CS Lewis was born in Belfast, but nonetheless, the square is perfect for literature lovers and those seeking a touch of enchantment in Belfast.
7. SS Nomadic & HMS Caroline
Dive into Belfast’s maritime history yet again by heading to the Titanic Quarter and seeing these two historic ships. Explore the last surviving White Star Line ship, SS Nomadic, and the Royal Navy’s HMS Caroline, both offering fascinating insights into Belfast’s shipbuilding heritage.
8. Belfast Castle
Nestled in the hills of Cavehill Country Park, this stunning castle offers breathtaking views of the city and beyond. Admire the fairytale-like architecture, wander the beautiful gardens, and indulge in a spot of afternoon tea at the castle’s charming café.
It’s worth noting that the castle isn’t in the center of Belfast, it’s about 20 minutes outside, so if you are on a shorter timeframe, consider skipping the castle.
9. Peace walls
These barriers once separated communities during Belfast’s troubled past, but now stand as poignant reminders of the city’s journey towards peace. Seeing them offers a great opportunity to reflect on Belfast’s history and the challenges it has overcome to get to where it is today.
10. Queens University Belfast
The final of the most popular landmarks to see in Belfast is the main building of Queens, the biggest university in Northern Ireland. The “Lanyon” Building, named after its architect, attracts tourists from all over the city to see it, and for good reason. It’s one of the most impressive buildings in Belfast without a doubt.
You may also be interested in what there is to do in order to make your own decision on how many days in Belfast is right for your trip. Remember, everyone is different. Don’t feel like there’s too little or too much time. Belfast is a great visit no matter how long you have to spend.
1. Black Cab Tour
Hop into a traditional black cab and embark on a unique guided tour of Belfast’s history and culture unlike any other tour in the world.. Engage with the friendly local drivers as they share their personal insights, anecdotes, and hidden gems of the city.
2. Visit Titanic Museum Belfast
The Titanic is possibly the most famous ship in history, and it was made in Belfast. Immerse yourself in the captivating story of the world’s most famous ship at the Titanic Museum. You can interact with interactive exhibits, learn about the ship’s construction, and relive the tragic tale of the Titanic through state-of-the-art displays- it’s a really modern museum.
3. Visit Crumlin Road Gaol
Belfast’s history is never-ending, and another great place to learn a bit more is at the old jail, Crumlin Road Gaol. You’re able to take a guided tour through the eerie cells, where you can learn about the prison’s turbulent history, and hear spine-chilling tales of its notorious inmates.
4. Walk through the Botanic Gardens
Most cities have botanic gardens, but few are as good as the one in Belfast. It’s such a popular spot for locals- so that’s how you know it’s good. The palm house is one of the best in Europe.
5. Shop at St. George’s Market
St. George’s Market is a good ol’ fashioned market in the heart of Belfast. The market stalls offer the opportunity to buy pretty much anything your heart contents, but simply walking through the market is an experience in itself. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir too.
6. Have fun at W5
Unleash your inner scientist and adventurer at W5, Belfast’s award-winning interactive science and discovery centre. It’s great for kids and adults too, with opportunities to explore hands-on exhibits, participate in mind-bending experiments, and discover the wonders of science in a fun and engaging way. You can never be too old for W5!
7. Go axe throwing
Release your inner lumberjack with some thrilling axe throwing! Test your skills at one of Belfast’s multiple axe-throwing venues where it has grown rapidly in popularity in the city in the last few years. It’s an adrenaline-pumping activity that guarantees a memorable time.
8. Find Line of Duty filming locations
Anyone from the UK may be aware of the hit TV series “Line of Duty”. But did you know it’s exclusively filmed in Northern Ireland from Series 2 onwards? You can embark on a thrilling scavenger hunt to locate the show’s iconic filming locations in Belfast and follow in the footsteps of AC-12 and uncover the secrets of this gripping police drama. There’s even a reserved table for AC-12 in the Duke of York bar!
9. Have a pint at the Crown Bar
Step into the timeless charm of Belfast’s legendary Crown Bar, a historic pub that exudes character and history. It’s a must-visit spot for a taste of Belfast’s pub culture and a memorable experience in a truly iconic setting. If you visit Temple Bar in Dublin, you have to visit Crown Bar in Belfast.
10. Relax and unwind at the Merchant Hotel
Treat yourself to some pampering at the luxurious Merchant Hotel, one of the best Belfast spa hotels. After a long day of exploring the city, what better way to unwind than to indulge in a rejuvenating massage or spa treatment at this opulent 5-star hotel?
Final thoughts: How many days in Belfast?
And there you have it, a complete guide to “how many days in Belfast?”.
Remember, the answer is “how long is a piece of string?” as the saying goes. But 3 days offer enough time to see everything there is to do in Belfast as well as take a trip to the Causeway Coast, which would be a sin to miss if you are visiting Belfast.
No matter how long you choose to spend in the city, you are guaranteed to have a great time. Belfast is one of Europe’s hidden gems for sure.
This post was written by Josh Band from A Backpacker’s World. Josh loves to write about travelling all around the world. From Southeast Asia to Europe, and everything in between, Josh loves to explore and write about his travels.