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In the last decade or so more people are choosing to visit Belfast and there are plenty of reasons why. If you are looking for great food, fantastic attractions and friendly locals in a location with a unique history and culture, then this is the place for you. But you might need to know how much time to spend here.
Many people visit Belfast for 1-2 days. The city works well as a destination for day trips from locations nearby, like Dublin, or as a city break destination. Belfast also works well as a base location, from which visitors will be able to explore most of the northern parts of the island of Ireland.
There are so many reasons why I love visiting Belfast, there is always so much to experience. The city also has great infrastructure for travelers; with plenty of restaurants, accommodation and transport links to other parts of Ireland. If you want to visit Belfast, no matter for how long, there will be something to do.
Why Visit Belfast?
Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the second biggest city on the island of Ireland, after Dublin. As such, there are plenty of attractions for international visitors and locals alike. It is also very accessible, with good transport links and a walkable city center.
Belfast also has a unique and sometimes tragic history. When you walk around the center of Belfast, you will see signs of the wealth that the shipbuilding industry created in the late 19th Century. But you might also find evidence of the recent civil conflict that ended in the late 1990s.
Visiting attractions like the Titanic museum and learning about the troubles are only two of the many reasons why you should visit this city. There are also plenty of other things to see and do while you’re here. If you want to learn more about them, please click here.
How Much Time to Spend in Belfast?
Belfast really works well as a destination for any length of time. So if you are planning a trip to Ireland you should definitely at least consider visiting Belfast. If you’re planning on staying there, you might want to know a little more about what you can do in the city.
Here, I want to talk in more detail about how best to approach a stay in Belfast for different periods of time…
Most people who visit Ireland will try to pack as much as they can into their stay. While I don’t think you should try to see everything in just one or two weeks, Belfast is a great option for a day trip if you are visiting Ireland for a week or two.
Belfast is an ideal destination for a day trip from somewhere else in Ireland, like Dublin. There are plenty of excellent transport links to the city and you can easily make the journey there and back. In fact, I know plenty of people that regularly make this journey as their commute to work!
There are both bus and train services that will bring you from Dublin right up to Belfast. Usually, these journeys take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, depending on the time of day and traffic.
Also, there are plenty of companies that offer day tours from Dublin to Northern Ireland and include a stop in Belfast city center. My preferred tour is operated by a company called Finn McCools Tours. A ticket is €75, and includes a visit to Belfast and some nearby attractions.
There are a couple of tours offered by this company. One of them includes a visit to the Titanic Exhibition and the other spends more time along the beautiful Northern Coast, exploring places near the Giant’s Causeway.
Belfast also works well as a destination for people coming from abroad. There are multiple options for international visitors who want to visit this amazing city. Belfast City Airport and Belfast Port both offer services for international visitors.
If you are coming in from abroad though, you may want to spend more than just a day in Belfast. But I will talk about in the next section.
City Breaks to Belfast
Belfast is an excellent place to spend a weekend away. It will take at least a couple of days to explore the city and see many of its main sights. If you only stay for a couple of hours on a day trip, you will probably leave feeling like you didn’t fully see the city.
By spending at least a couple of nights in Belfast, you will have the chance to see some of the great restaurants and pubs that the city has on offer. You will also get a better chance to meet some of the locals, which is always the best part of any visit to Ireland.
Belfast as a Base
One of the best things about Belfast is how easily you can explore the rest of Northern Ireland from here. There are lots of attractions, from natural scenery to organized tours that you can take.
If you chose to use Belfast as a base from which to explore other parts of Ireland, I would advise spending at least 5 nights here. That way, you can take day trips to other cities, like Dublin or Derry, while also being able to explore some of the nearby natural scenery.
This way, you will be able to explore Belfast itself, the city is worth a visit in its own right. Too many travelers leave feeling they’ve only scratched its surface.