I have always been of the opinion that walking is the best way to explore almost any city. Belfast is no exception. While you might not be able to see everything by foot, there are so many excellent things to see and do within walking distance of the city center.
Belfast is walkable but exploring areas outside the center may be difficult by foot. By walking, you will see much of the city, like the Cathedral and main shopping districts. However, if you want to explore sights like the Ulster Museum or the Titanic Experience, you may need alternate transportation.
When visiting Belfast, like anywhere, it is a good idea to know exactly how you will be able to get around. Here I have gone into detail on how to explore Belfast by foot. I have also outlined how much you can realistically see when walking in Belfast.
How Walkable is Belfast
The center of Belfast is walkable, with the surrounding areas being more difficult to reach by foot. Many of the city’s most popular attractions, pubs and restaurants are within about a 20 minute walk of the main train and bus stations. If you want to go a little further out, you may need to get a taxi or public transport.
The central part of Belfast is a safe and enjoyable place to walk around and explore. At the center of Belfast is the City Hall building, which also houses a museum. From here, you will be able to see many great sights and there are plenty of excellent walking tours that start from this location.
To find out more about the walking tour I recommend of Belfast, you can find their website linked here.
However, when in Belfast, you might want to see other attractions that lie outside of the main, central area. If you want to see somewhere like the Titanic experience, then you will need to go a little further out. While you can get there on foot, getting a taxi or bus may be a better option for some.
I will go into more detail on what you can see by foot in Belfast below. If you plan on walking everywhere, you might be limiting the amount of things you will be able to see in your time there. Make sure to research exactly what you want to see and know that you might not be able to see everything!
What to See in the Center of Belfast
There are plenty of things to see and do in the center of Belfast and, especially in the last couple of decades, it has become a popular place to hang out with both locals and visitors alike. There should be something for everyone in this part of the city.
Some of my favorite things to do in the center of Belfast are below:
In the very center of the city is Belfast City Hall. This is a beautiful building, constructed during the height of Belfast’s economic prosperity when the shipbuilding industry was particularly strong. There is a great museum here and tours of the building.
I have already talked about the walking tour that I recommend above. This is a free walking tour that will give you a great overview of the city’s history and the local guide will make sure to provide plenty of recommendations on places to check out while there. Free tours are tips based.
Another tour I highly recommend that everyone do in Belfast is the Conflicting Stories walking tour. This is where guides will discuss their own personal experiences of the recent conflict in Northern Ireland and you will explore neighborhoods from both communities and hear both sides.
Bars and Restaurants
In the last five to ten years Belfast has seen the same “foodie revolution” that has taken hold on the rest of the island of Ireland. While you might not find quite as many older restaurants in Belfast as you would in a city like Dublin on Cork, there are plenty of new places opening up all the time.
If you want more information on some of the best places to eat in Belfast, you can find my recommendations linked here. I will be adding more to this list over time.
Public Transport in Belfast
When getting around Belfast, there will be plenty of options when it comes to public transportation. The bus system in Belfast is well connected and can easily bring you to places a little further away from the city center.
If you want to visit somewhere like the Titanic Experience, the Ulster Museum or Stormont (the Northern Irish Parliament), then public transport can be a good option. There are also plenty of taxis in the city, which are a cheap and effective way of getting around.
Is Belfast Easy to Get Around?
Overall, Belfast is an easy city to both navigate and explore. The city is built on a grid pattern which means that it is easy to get around once you know exactly where you are. There are also plenty of maps around the streets to aid in navigation.
This is in contrast to most other cities in Ireland which are usually based around their medieval streets. Visitors to Ireland from places like North America, in particular, should find Belfast far easier to get around than somewhere like Galway.
One of the unique things about this grid pattern is that once you start going down the little alleyways off the main streets, you will find countless hidden gems. Many of the best pubs and restaurants in Belfast are located on these little side streets just out of view.
While these are some of the best things to find, getting around these little streets can be more difficult.