Belfast

Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland and a vibrant city with a unique history. Thanks to its thriving music scene, fine restaurants and art galleries Belfast is now a popular tourist destination.

On Ferryhopper, you can find the best vacation tips for Belfast, what to do and see, and how to get there by ferry! Find the crossing that suits you best and book ferry tickets to Belfast online!

Beltast's modern buildings at sunrise, in the UK

The city center of Belfast at sunrise

Vacation in Βelfast

The city's charm with its hustle and bustle and mix of old and new, attracts all visitors. Young artists and musicians also flock to Belfast to take in the city's rich cultural history.

The Cathedral Quarter, Belfast's oldest neighborhood, is one of the city's most beautiful and lively districts. Explore the beautiful cobblestone streets, see some of the best street art murals and visit one of the city's oldest pubs.

For a glimpse of Belfast's maritime history, go to the Titanic museum, where you can learn about the ship's construction, operation and voyage. No trip to Belfast is complete without a stop at the local market to sample a traditional Irish delicacy. And of course, don't miss out on a music performance in Belfast's underground clubs.

Whether you're a partygoer, a foodie, a culture vulture, or a combination of the above, Belfast has something for everyone. If you stay longer than two days, you can also explore the breathtaking countryside by taking the Causeway coastal route.

How to get to Belfast

You can travel to Belfast by car, train, plane or ferry. If you want to arrive in Belfast by car, the drive from Dublin to Belfast takes just over 2 hours if you take the motorway.

There are also trains that run from towns and cities across the Republic of Ireland to Dublin’s Connolly Station, where you can then catch a connecting train to Belfast. Another option is to fly directly to George Best Belfast City Airport, but the Belfast International Airport often has more frequent international flights. There are frequent bus connections from both airports to Belfast city center.

Alternatively, you can reach Belfast by ferry, as there are ferry lines that offer easy access from Scotland and the United Kingdom. For a more comfortable trip, we recommend that you book a cabin and enjoy the fascinating crossing and breathtaking views. Discover more about ferries to Belfast below!

What to do in Belfast

Being the largest city in Northern Ireland, Belfast has everything you could ask for! With a thriving dining scene, cool museums and a plethora of entertainment options, the city is ideal for a long weekend getaway.

If you want to have an eye-opening experience, go to the Titanic Belfast and learn more about the legendary ship. If you enjoy nature, take a stroll through the Botanic Gardens and explore the diverse collection of plants and trees. The Ulster Museum and Queen's University, 2 Belfast landmarks, are also nearby.

Get lost in Belfast's streets, learn about the city's history through street murals and visit the Cathedral Quarter for some of the best bars in town. If you want to try the local cuisine, the St. Georges Market is the place to go in Belfast. 

If you want to extend your weekend, we recommend taking a road trip from Belfast to the Giant's Causeway Coast and exploring the breathtaking scenery and ancient ruins. Walking across the narrow rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede is undoubtedly one of the must-do activities.

The Titanic Belfast Museum, in the UK

The modern Titanic Belfast museum

Sightseeing in Belfast

Belfast has a rich maritime heritage. There is so much to discover in Belfast, from the well-known Titanic Quarter, the original home of the RMS Titanic with the Titanic Belfast monument, to renowned museums like the Ulster Museum.

Here you can find a list of the top sightseeing in Belfast:

  • the Titanic Belfast
  • the Belfast's City Hall 
  • the Ulster Museum
  • the Cave Hill Country Park
  • the Botanic Gardens
  • the St George's Market
  • the Grand Opera House
  • the Crumlin Road Gaol

The City Hall of Belfast and its park, in the UK

The iconic City Hall in Belfast

Nightlife in Belfast

Belfast has a thriving music scene and a plethora of nightlife options. You can choose between a traditional pub, a live performance, a rooftop bar, and an underground music club.

You can start your night on cobbled Hill Street in the Cathedral Quarter, which has become the heart of the city's nightlife and is packed with lively bars and pubs. The Queen's University area also has plenty of bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Throughout the year, Belfast is alive with vibrant festivals. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to attend an international film, music or dance festival.

Τip: for an authentic Irish pub experience, visit the Crown Liquor Salloon.

Food in Belfast

Belfast has many delicacies to choose from, thanks to its fresh seafood from nearby waterways and just-picked produce from the Ulster countryside. The options range from modern dishes in high-end restaurants to traditional Northern Irish recipes in local pubs.

Here are some must-try foods in Belfast:

  • pastie (minced meat patty with onions and potatoes)
  • Ulster fry (traditional breakfast consisting of sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, griddle-baked soda farls, and potato bread)
  • Irish stew (meat and vegetable stew)
  • boxty (traditional Irish potato pancake)
  • seafood
  • Belfast bap (bun stuffed with bacon, sausage, fried egg, grilled onions, mushrooms, and melted cheese)
  • Irish coffee (hot coffee with whiskey, sugar and a whipped cream topping)
  • yellowman candy (traditional honeycomb sponge toffee candy)

Belfast bap, a street food delicacy, UK

Belfast pab, the must-try street food when in Belfast

Useful information about Belfast

Belfast is a vibrant city with a wide range of tourist services. In terms of accommodation, Belfast has everything from hostels to luxury hotels. If you only have a few days in the city, we recommend staying in the Cathedral Quarter or near Queen's University.

Belfast may be quieter than some of the other major cities, but it still has a large shopping district, numerous restaurants, bars, cafés, and all the amenities you could want.

As for hospitals, Belfast has several, the most important of which is the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Belfast

Find some useful phone numbers for your trip to Belfast below:

  • Belfast Port Authority: +442890554422
  • Belfast Police Authority: +442890650222
  • Royal Victoria Hospital: +442890240503
  • Belfast International Airport: +442894484848
  • George Best Belfast City Airport: +442890939093
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Belfast

Belfast is a very walkable city, with flat streets and wide sidewalks. In addition, there are numerous cycle lanes and off-road paths where you can go cycling in Belfast. If you don't have a bike, you can rent one from one of the more than 30 docking stations scattered throughout Belfast's downtown.

A fast and reliable alternative to walking or cycling is taking the bus. Translink Metro is Belfast's public bus service, which operates on 12 different routes. If you intend to travel outside of Belfast, the company Ulsterbus manages these buses.

As for trains, Belfast is served by a network of Translink-managed trains that travel to major city suburbs and other Northern Ireland destinations.

The Botanic Gardens in Belfast, UK

The impressive Botanic Gardens

Ports in Belfast

Port Belfast has 2 cruise ship docks. Stormont Dock (Belfast Harbour), located about 5 kilometers north of downtown, serves larger ferry operators, while Pollock Dock serves smaller vessels.

Belfast Harbour is the main port and the cruise terminal is around 3 kilometers from the city center. Belfast port is conveniently located near the motorway network, just off junction 1 of the M2, providing easy access from Belfast city center and the rest of Ireland.

If you do not have a car, the best way to get from Belfast port to city is by bus, which takes approximately 20 minutes.

Belfast ferry: schedules and tickets

Belfast can be reached by ferry from the ports of Liverpool and Cairnryan in the United Kingdom. The ferry company that operates the connection is Stena Line.

Here you can find more information on the ferry connections to Belfast:

  • Liverpool - Belfast ferry: you can catch a ferry from Liverpool to Belfast throughout the year with up to 2 daily crossings. The travel time is around 8 hours.
  • Cairnryan - Belfast ferry: you can catch a ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast all year round with up to 6 daily crossings. The travel time is around 2 hours.

Important: as ferry schedules and connections may change in the future, you can always check our interactive Map of ferries and find available ferries to/from Belfast in real time!

Belfast from above, UK

Breathtaking aerial view of Belfast

Where to book ferry tickets to Belfast online

Are you ready to explore the hidden beauties of Belfast? Plan your ferry trip to Belfast on Ferryhopper! Compare all connections online and book your ferry tickets to Northern Ireland hassle-free!

Frequent ferry connections

Belfast has direct ferry connections with 1 ports :

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