Like already mentioned on my Facebook page, I recently travelled to Northern Ireland, more concretely to Belfast.
When I met a friend a few months ago, who just travelled Ireland, he told me it would be fine to just skip Belfast and spend more time in other parts of (Northern) Ireland. Even though I considered taking his advice, I decided to see myself what Belfast is about. And to be honest, I liked it. (I feel like I say that about every city, but that’s because I think everything has a beauty in itself. But that’s a topic for a whole new blogpost.)
I only spend around 2 (and a half) days in Belfast, so of course I didn’t see all of it. But here are some of my highlights I’d recommend you to do and some things I unfortunately didn’t have the time to explore enough.
#1 Daytrip to The Giant’s Causway
Okay, it sounds like all you can do in Belfast is to leave that city but that’s not what I want to imply. But once you are up there it’s a shame not to visit this breathtaking UNESCO world’s heritage site. We decided to do the tour with McCombs but there are a lot of different companies who do tours around that area. I would have loved to do it by car but since that wasn’t a possibility for us that choice was fine. We also stopped at Carrick-a-Rede, where a big Rope Bridge connects to cliffs. The landscape was breathtaking around there but since the bridge was 5,90 pounds to cross we decided to leave it at taking pictures of it.
We also stopped at a castle and at a Whiskey Distillery until we finally made it to the Giant’s Causway. It was insanely windy and pretty cold but it was still worth it. I feel like words wouldn’t do it justice so I let photos speak again 🙂
#2 The Titanic Experience
Another place where people told us it’s not worth it. And again, I don’t agree. You should definitely plan some time for that, we stayed about 2 hours and we didn’t even read every single information plate there was. For those of you who don’t know: The Titanic was built in Belfast, so that’s what the whole exhibition is about.
The museum starts off by talking about the work situation back in the beginning of the 20th century in Belfast and how a lot of people were working in ship construction. After that it gets more interesting and you can see how the ships were designed and constructed and you can even take a little ride (nothing scary) to experience the different stations of work. Of course it ends up with the tragedy of Titanic and some interesting facts about people on board. I loved how interactive the museum was, I always become a little child when it comes to pressing buttons, turning wheels or clicking at computer screens. So, for students it was 11 pounds, which kind of hurt but it’s still a cool (and interesting) thing to see.
#3 The Cathedral Quarter
Apparently the Cathedral Quarter is the equivalent to Dublin’s Temple Bar with Bars and Pubs and Clubs. We didn’t experience it completely that way (it was too quiet and there were not as many places as we expected) but I still think it’s a pretty cool area, if you explore it a bit more. We went to The National a restaurant/bar which had a great outside area with live music (and heaters!). We just caught a short glimpse of the inside but it looked very cool as well. When we walked around a bit more on our last day before we had to take our bus to Dublin we found some other cool restaurants we would have loved to check out. So if you are in that area, definitely look around St. Anne’s Cathedral and check out Made in Belfast or the little ally of Commercial Court.
We stayed at the Global Village Hostel which was in a pretty cool area with lots of Cafés, Bars and Restaurants and we loved it! I guess there are a lot of Hotels, Hostels and Guest Houses around Belfast but in case you need a little tipp where to stay and you don’t mind dorms and shared bathrooms check that Hostel out!
Well, like I said we only had a short time and we didn’t get to do everything there is to see but I think you couldn’t fill more than 3-4 days in that city. Only if you decide to take some more Daytrips. For example, for all the Game of Thrones Fans out there: There’s a Game of Thrones tour which takes you to the places it’s been filmed around Belfast. So maybe that could fill up another day.
I know that Belfast and the North have a rough history but as far as I experienced it, they try their best to improve and make Belfast better every day. Go visit before everyone else discovers it! 🙂