2 Days in Belfast
Located on the east coast, Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital and home to over a quarter of the country’s inhabitants. For a relatively small country, tourists flock here every year to visit the home of the Titanic, explore the beautiful countryside and see some of Ireland’s most famous castles, coupled with world-famous culture and local warmth.
Tourism is on the rise in Northern Ireland, with more than 5 million visitors in 2018 and 128 cruise ships docking in the same year, compared to only 62 cruise ships in 2013. So, if you’ve decided to spend 2 days in Belfast and are looking for things to do in Northern Ireland’s capital, we’ll walk you through some of the countries must-sees!
Belfast’s Famous Landmarks
It’s no secret that one of Belfast’s biggest draws is the RMS Titanic and the location where it was built. Titanic Belfast was made into a visitor attraction in 2012 and is a monument to Belfast’s maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard. Visitors can walk through the 9 interactive galleries of the Titanic Experience, find out the meaning of the iconic building, dine at the in-house restaurant or even plan an event/wedding!
What’s a trip to Ireland without a historic castle visit? Belfast Castle was built by the Normans in the 12th century, and it sits on a prominent position in Cave Hill Country Park overlooking the city.
St George’s Market is another must-see in Belfast. Proudly advertising itself as one of the city’s oldest attractions, St George’s Market is a vibrant cultural hub with some of the finest local produce, as well as unique gift and souvenir shops. You can also listen to some of the best local musicians—for free!
The iconic Belfast City Hall was fully built in 1906 and renovated in 2009 and today serves as the civic building for the city council. Visitors can take historical tours, available 7 days a week and led by experienced guides, to learn about the building’s past, admire public art and stained glass windows and visit the gift shop.
The political murals throughout Belfast mark and symbolise darker times during the city’s ‘Troubles’ era, which saw Belfast divided by a raging political conflict that started in the late 60s. Northern Ireland has had a complicated political history, and when wandering the streets of this now vibrant and peaceful city, you’re constantly reminded of what happened just 40 years ago. Almost 2,000 murals have been created depicting the civil unrest and conflicts, and these paintings illustrate the complicated history and difficult past this city struggled through in a unique and powerful way.
Food & Drink
Belfast, and Northern Ireland in general has an incredible agriculture sector which provides the country’s restaurants and bars with some incredibly high-quality ingredients. From world-renowned Michelin star restaurants to cosy pubs and family-friendly locations, Belfast has something for everyone.
If you’re looking to try some traditional Irish dishes made with local ingredients, head over to Mourne Seafood Bar to try the best from the ocean! You’ll also need to go to ‘the best-kept secret in Belfast’, a.k.a. John Long’s Fish & Chips. Nothing fancy here—just a hearty and delicious plate of traditional British cuisine made with the highest quality fish and potatoes!
Try something unique and head to Bia Rebel, a Japanese and Irish-fusion ramen restaurant. If that description doesn’t entice you, you should know that they use a traditional Japanese-style ramen recipe and a perfect mix of local Irish ingredients to create a hearty bowl of this famous Japanese dish. It’s a great location for all the family!
Belfast is also famous for having a vibrant and varied nightlife. The Sunflower is a great little traditional Irish pub, often with live music and a great variety of local craft beers. And Muriel’s Cafe Bar is a quirky yet classic bar and has a great indoor and outdoor seating area—perfect for watching the city fly by!
Another one of the city’s gems, Kelly’s Cellars is one of Belfast’s oldest pubs and offers live music, pints of the famous black stuff and bowls of the ever-popular Irish stew. Lastly, another must-visit bar is the Crown Liquor Saloon. Large wooden booths invite guests to comfortably take a seat in this 1820s pub that is famous for its interesting but enticing decor.
Overall, there is so much to see in Belfast, and we hope this blog gives you an idea of where to start if you’re visiting. If you’re based in Dublin and want to visit Belfast, no problem. We offer an exciting day tour from Dublin to Belfast, with a stop at the incredible Giant’s Causeway, giving those who are staying in Dublin the opportunity to visit historic and cultural Northern Irish port city. Hope to see you soon!