This is your chance to learn everything about the legendary Titanic. Here you will find nine galleries featuring mind-blowing exhibitions and covering fascinating details of the fitting of the ship, the maiden voyage, the sinking of the ship and all that happened after. Even the building itself is a sight for sore eyes.
A great way to see Belfast’s political hot spots is in a black taxi. At very moderate prices, a cab will show you the famous political murals, Falls and Shankill Roads and the Peace Walls. Moreover, these rides are usually often highly entertaining, depending on the driver you chance upon.
This Neo-Romanesque building, that gives the Cathedral Quarter its name, is full of impressive multi-coloured mosaics, and sumptuously decorated with elegant marble. The church has been at the forefront of cross-community initiatives in recent years, hosting weekly “heal our land” services for people of any denomination.
A Lagan Boat Tour is a great way to get a unique perspective of Belfast. Make your way through the city by boat and visit the birthplace of the infamous Titanic with an 8 kilometre tour of the River Lagan, or hire a boat to have your own party aboard and spend a special night.
This former Victorian prison, now open to visitors, is the spot to visit if you want to learn more about the dark history of the city. Here, you will have the unique opportunity to explore the rooms where inmates were imprisoned while hearing their at times heart-wrenching stories.
Visit the magical world of chocolate and sweets at Aunt Sandra’s, where you can also make your own chocolate pizzas, lollipops or any kind of sweets you can imagine. The factory is nationally renowned for its finest handmade chocolates, fudge and boiled sweets, made using time-tested 100-year-old recipes.
This majestic castle nestled in the slopes of Cavehill dates back to 1870 and offers great views over Belfast Lough and the city. It is one of the most imposing buildings in the city, and visitors flock there to enjoy afternoon tea or a meal at the in-house restaurant or just to stroll around the beautiful, landscaped garden.
With this open-top double-decker City Sightseeing bus, you will get a great view over some of the most important sights in the city. The tour starts from Castle Place in Belfast city centre but you can hop on at any stop along the route. There are 20 total stops, and the entire route takes about 1 hour.
Being one of Belfast’s newest and more stylish restaurants, Bull & Ram attracts an extensive clientele. This is ideal for pre-theatre dining thanks to its location a mere ten minute stroll from the Lyric Theatre and Grand Opera House. Go on Sundays to try the famous "Toast to the Roast".
This hidden gem may not be the easiest spot to find, but it's highly recommended to make an effort because it will surely become one of your favourites. This old coaching stop houses a bar and a cosy wood-panelled restaurant upstairs, where you will be served experimental creations prepared with fresh, local ingredients and a full steak menu.
This New York style deli serves great wine and delectable food for lunch and dinner. Deane’s Deli can be found in the heart of Belfast, close to the City Hall, and is a relaxed establishment where to enjoy simple, stylish, elegant dishes made primarily with locally sourced ingredients.
This Indian restaurant is top-notch when it comes to food, but also in creating a perfect dining experience thanks to the service-minded staff and the night entertainment. Come here and spoil yourself with some fine Indian specialities, such as the unmissable chicken jalfrezi.
This is definitely one of the best Italian restaurants you will find in Belfast: discover the authentic taste of renowned Italian cuisine and let the extremely efficient staff take good care of you. Make sure to try the homemade meatballs with tomato sauce, topped with cheese and served with garlic bread.
As you can tell from the name, this spot is not your average old-school restaurant; here, in fact, the quirky interior design reflects the concept on which Slums Street Food is based: high quality street food prepared with the best produce. On the menu you will find wraps and salads to combine with different toppings.
Opened in 2012, this fusion restaurant will delight you with different kinds of Asian cuisine served in a very elegant venue whose interior takes inspiration from the Orient. Come here and make sure to try their duck salad along with one of their renowned cocktails, such as the passion fruit cocktail and the raspberry mojito. Furthermore, House of Zen is located right next to one of the main attractions of the city, St Anne's Cathedral.
Ever since opening in 2000, Ginger Bistro has won many awards and is recognised as one of the best restaurants in Belfast. Located just off Great Victoria Street, this popular gem serves modern Irish classics with an international twist. The well balanced menu highlights locally sourced seafood and lean meats, such as the chicken schnitzel and their famous Gingers Squid and Dips.
A hidden gem tucked away in the city centre behind Bank Square, the restaurant serves fusion Asian and European food prepared with local produce. The high-quality food is beautifully presented by the skilful chefs and served by the attentive staff in a location with a unique decor and full of character.
Serving truly authentic Nepalese and Indian food at its best, Kathmandu Kitchen offers a unique dining experience, enhanced by the beautiful Nepalese-inspired design of the restaurant. The menu combines fresh and healthy imported ingredients and local produce; come here and taste their delicious starters and spicy meats.
When dining at this stylish and vibrant restaurant, one can enjoy their celebrated steaks, cooked to perfection on a charcoal grill. On the menu you will also find fresh fish, pasta dishes and Sunday roast. The carefully selected wine from around the world complements the mouth-watering food in an impeccable way.
Bookfinders Café allies the pleasures of a warm cup of coffee with those of literature in a library or bookstore. This artsy place was the first of its concept in Ireland. It has impressively low prices and you can also have a small bite if too much reading made you hungry.
The staff and owners at Ground Espresso Bar is not only passionate about their coffee, they also give a lot of importance to music. The coffee shop runs live acoustic sessions every week in Belfast (in the Waterstone mall) and throughout their various branches across Northern Ireland.
This café is run by a team of volunteers who will warmly welcome you once there. This is the right place if you are looking for award-winning local teas, or if you just want to savour a coffee with a tasty tray bake. Instead of a price list they run an honesty box and let the customers choose what to pay.
Boasting a relaxed ambience and efficient service, Established Coffee is a thriving café and retailer in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. The staff is dedicated to serve coffee from some of the best farms across the world and they put care and attention into everything they do. Here, the menu is simple, and focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.
If you want to play English aristocracy around a traditional English Afternoon tea, there is no better place than in the luxurious ambience of the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Savour the delicate pastries, scones and sandwiches served with premium blended teas and just enjoy the whole experience.
Create your cup with your favourite frozen yoghurt and toppings. There are 16 flavours of frozen yoghurt and over 40 topping so it is easy to get carried away by all the choices, however be aware the price is calculated by weight. Lactose-free, gluten-free and sugar-free options are also available.
Located on the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, The National Grande Café is housed in a beautiful Victorian building. Coffee, breakfast, food and cocktails are served daily in a chic and stylish atmosphere by the friendly staff. If the weather permits, enjoy your meal in the large outdoor garden area.
Mauds is a great busy place, which prides itself on quality ice creams and good service. It sets the highest standards to the quality of its products as well as their provenance. The result is apparent: their ice creams and dairy products are beyond delicious, and they have multiple awards to show for it.
If you are looking for fair trade coffee and ethically sourced food, then head over to Common Grounds, an establishment that won Belfast’s Best Fairtrade Café award two years in a row. The laid back atmosphere and the hip staff make it a great place to spend some time. There are brunch and dessert menus as well as a dinner menu with dishes like traditional burrito wrap, veggie burger, soup of the day and tortilla chips.
A popular spot, Oliver's Coffee Bar is a little gem where to enjoy freshly made food and desserts. It has earned a good reputation for its homemade Granola and award-winning scones, so why not give it a try while here? The welcoming staff and the well thought interior design only enhance the café experience.
Located on the corner of Eglantine Avenue and Lisburn Road, this family owned café combines awesome breakfasts and tasty meals with a friendly staff which will make you feel at home. Mad Hatter Café is famous for their great variety of fry-ups and mouth-watering cakes. When here try their famous Ulster fry or the homemade apple pie.
White’s Tavern was founded in 1630, and it is the oldest pub you will find in Belfast! This ancient establishment, that features a big turf fire and traditional music nights, is a cosy hideaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday-life. It offers live music from Thursday to Saturday.
Kelly's Cellars, one of Belfast’s oldest pubs, is a venue full of character and a great place for a hearty Ulster fry. Here you can spend a great evening in a warm atmosphere enjoying traditional music sessions which are held on a regular basis, and order first class beers.
The Errigle has great variety of food options (also for vegetarians), excellent beers and some outdoor seating during the summer. This is also home to the Real Music Club, a haven of folk, country, rock and blues; treat yourself to a few pints and some exciting entertainment.
The Duke of York is a great, cosy and friendly bar with live traditional music on Thursday nights and DJs on the weekends. It hosts Ireland's largest Whiskey collection. An interesting fact to know about this pub is that the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, used to be a barman here.
Empire is not only home to Belfast’s longest running comedy club (in operation from September to June), it also hosts various musical events offering its guests the chance to enjoy a variety of genres. Moreover, you will definitely fall in love with the sumptuous and sophisticated interior design of this venue.
At this multi-award-winning bar you will be met by knowledgeable staff who will be pleased to help you with your selection from the highly renowned drink menu. The decor and the lighting is simply majestic, with many original interior design features. Antique chandeliers, damask walls and elegant curtains are just some of those.
With six different venues under one roof, Lavery’s Pool Room offers something for everyone. Lavery’s Public Bar is a great place to drink and eat, while Lavery’s Back Bar and Beer Garden is a bohemian bar with free entertainment every night. At the Lavery's Ballroom and Roof Terrace you will find 22 pool tables and two roof terraces, while every Saturday night it becomes an alternative club. Last but not least is the Pavilion Public Bar, a Victorian style exquisite bar and Pavilion Boutique Bar with live music, comedy clubs and DJ sets.
Explore some fantastic traditional pubs with some excellent Irish music by joining this Traditional Irish Pub Crawl. At this well organised tour you will be shown the nightlife of the city, its sights and sounds, and some interesting stories will be told along the way. Mingle, have fun and meet some new friends, it will certainly be a night to remember.
Opened in October 2011, Voodoo has become a Belfast hot spot and brought a different beat to the heart of the city. Both the vibe and the red and black decor with skull and crossbones attract the younger, alternative clientele. Rock, punk and alternative live gigs will entertain you here.
The CastleCourt Shopping Centre, situated on Royal Avenue, is Northern Ireland’s largest shopping mall, with more than 80 different shops and countless spots where you can take a break with a good coffee or a tasty meal. New Look, Miss Selfridge, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Jack & Jones, Toys R Us are some of the stores located here.
Saint George’s Market is the last surviving covered Victorian market in Belfast which has been newly restored, giving it a new lease of life. On Fridays you can find a wide array of products in the Variety Market, including food and antiques, while on Saturdays the City Food and Craft Market mingles food and handmade crafts, as the name suggests. On Sundays the two markets basically fuse together into the Sunday Market.
Victoria Square is a major shopping centre in Belfast, split over four levels and home to over 70 stores, cafes and restaurants including House of Fraser and Topshop. Located in a beautiful modern building, the shopping centre is Belfast's newest landmark and is definitely well worth a visit even if you don't fancy shopping. Stores like Hugo Boss, Guess, H&M, Levi's, Karen Millen, Mango, Michael Kors, and Replay are all housed here.
Looking for lovely hand-crafted Belfast creativity, where no mass-produced items exist? Then head over to The Dock Market where local entrepreneurs such as artists, jewellery designers, pizza-bakers, cupcake creators and loads more all peddle their crafts. So whether you want a quick bite to eat, a unique gift, or a great souvenir to bring back home, you won't find a better place to browse than the Dock market.
Whether you want to buy a souvenir to bring back home or a gift for someone special, you will surely find it at this Irish-to-the-bone location. This retail store features many Irish brands, so it can be the right place to find the perfect memento of your time in Ireland.
Skechers is a shoe store with locations around the whole world and one can be found in Donegall Place, Belfast. Here you will find quality shoes for the whole family, for every age and activity. If you are a walker or casual runner, they have a huge variety of fitness/performance-geared shoes.
Situated just 25 minutes south of Belfast, The Outlet Village is a leading European outlet destination with over 50 stores offering exclusive brands and cafes. This is the perfect place for bargain hunters where to get the world’s best known retail brands with always 30% to 70% off RRP. Some of the stores you will find here are Calvin Klein, Clarks, Gap, Timberland, Nike, Jaeger and Paul Costelloe.
At this food hall and tea house you can buy local, award-winning, artisan food to eat in or take home as a gift. They have their own kitchen in Ballymoney, where some of the products are made, but they also work together with small local farmers and producers from whom they source authentic, home-grown food.
This art shop and gallery is a must-see in Belfast. It sticks works of local artists such as Jim Fitzpatrick, Mitch McDade and Hugh Clawson as well as Celtics and Irish designed objects and handcrafts. Here you can also attend classes to learn the local crafts, or just explore their regular exhibitions.
Belfast International Airport is located approximately 20 minutes from the city centre and you have different options to choose from when deciding on the best way to get here. Car hire agents like Hertz and Europcar are located right in the terminal building. Buses run between the airport and the city centre roughly every 20 minutes and the journey takes about 30-40 minutes. Taxis are also available outside the terminal building. The International Airport Taxi Company, for example, is available every day, all day. +44 28 9448 4353 www.belfastairporttaxis.com
Belfast City Airport is located to the east of the city centre, about a 5 minute drive from the centre. You will find car hire companies at the airport, but other ways of reaching the city are available too. Trains run every half an hour during the day between Sydenham Station, near the airport, and the central train station in Belfast. The Airport Express 600 takes you to the city centre and leaves every 20 minutes, but you can also take Metrobus number 3 or The Airporter. www.translink.co.uk Finally, you can also reach the city centre by taxis, which leave from outside the terminal building. Value Cabs: +44 28 9080 9080 www.valuecabs.co.uk
Citizens of the European Union member-states, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) only require a valid passport to enter the UK. Residents of a further 10 countries do not require entry visas for stays under 6 months: the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Nationals of some further countries do not require a visa, but need to hold an entry certificate. Use the UK Government website to check for specific requirements: www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa
April to September / October is the best time to visit Belfast. Be prepared for some wind and rain, but there are also adequate sunny days, especially in the summer. Try to avoid the two weeks around the 12th of July: many people have their holidays during the period when the traditional Protestant marches take place.
Translink runs the public transport system in Belfast that consists of metro, bus and railway. At the front of all Metro vehicles you can see the number and destination and services usually start and end around the City Hall with fares that can be paid in coins directly to the bus driver/operator on-board. Smartlink Multi-journey tickets and travel cards are available in shops displaying the Metro sign or from the Metro Kiosk in Donegall Square West, but you could also buy your ticket online.
You can easily call for a taxi or hail one down in the street. Value Cabs, for example, is always available right in front of the two airports and will also collect and drop passengers at their preferred locations, operating 24 hours. +44 28 9080 9080 www.valuecabs.co.uk FonaCAB +44 28 9033 3333 www.fonacab.com