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Belfast, United Kingdom is a top destination for anyone visiting Northern Ireland. The city hosts a handful of fun attractions, features fascinating districts and is within easy reach of the idyllic coastline. Travelers can use our useful Belfast Itinerary to plan their perfect trip!
That said, there is more to planning a trip to Belfast than figuring out what to see and do. Therefore, we share helpful travel tips, our top picks for places to stay and advice about what to pack. With the help of our Belfast, Northern Ireland Itinerary, you will have your entire vacation planned in no time!
Belfast might not have an abundance of tourist attractions, per se, but the city is so much more than a checklist of sights. In our Itinerary for Belfast, we feature the must-see spots, but also allow time to learn about the city’s poignant history and delve into the unique culture.
While our day-by-day outline offers an excellent sightseeing plan, we share more detailed information in our list of the Best Things To Do in Belfast. We also include suggestions for eating and drinking, but refer to our complete guide to the Top Pubs and Restaurants in Belfast for more ideas.
How Many Days in Belfast?
Many travelers wonder how long to stay in Belfast for a vacation. Is one day in Belfast enough? Is a week too long? We think spending 3 days in Belfast is ideal for most visitors. It’s just enough time to see the top sights and go on a day trip from Belfast to the coast. Therefore, we have outlined exactly what to do in 3 days in our Belfast Itinerary.
In our trip plan, we recommend using local transportation and guided tours to experience the best of Belfast. Those touring Northern Ireland by car could possibly spend just 2 days in Belfast and quickly cover it all if necessary.
How To Create a Belfast Itinerary
When we were researching cool things to do in Belfast, we came up with a long list of interesting places. However, we struggled a little when it came to fitting everything into a Belfast 3-Day Itinerary.
Now that we have visited the city and understand the layout, we optimized our trip plan. Based on our experiences, we have created a perfect 3-Day Belfast Itinerary that features the best things to see!
Planning a Trip to Belfast
Belfast is often just one destination on a longer trip including the Republic of Ireland and more of the UK. If your Belfast travelers include other nearby destinations – like cities in Scotland, England or Ireland – we can help!
Our travel articles are designed to make the most of your trip! Get top tips on Dublin Sightseeing. Learn how to spend One Day in Glasgow, Manchester or Birmingham. Use our guide to the Best Things To Do in Edinburgh and how to Plan a 3-Day Trip to London.
Additionally, visitors coming from overseas can use our detailed guide to Planning a European Vacation.
In order to stay organized while planning a Belfast trip, we recommend using a Travel Planner. Our printable planner comes with 26 pages of travel organization!
Belfast City FAQs
Before we jump into our 3 Days in Belfast Itinerary, we want to answer a few frequently asked questions. These are the basic things to know about Belfast before you set off on your trip.
Is it Belfast, Ireland or Belfast, Northern Ireland?
Okay, let’s clear up some of the confusion. First, Is Belfast in Ireland? Well, yes and no. Belfast is in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK. Northern Ireland is not part of the Republic of Ireland. Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are located on the same island, which is named Ireland.
What is Belfast Famous For?
Belfast has many claims to fame – including the construction of the Titanic, being a filming location for Game of Thrones and home to a hefty concentration of fun pubs and bars.
Is Belfast Safe to Visit?
Belfast has a reputation as a dangerous place (which stems from the times of The Troubles), but recent data shows otherwise. Belfast experiences a rather low crime rate – and the rate of petty crimes (like pickpocketing) is very low when compared to bigger European cities.
Is Belfast Affordable?
Generally speaking, the United Kingdom is a fairly expensive place to visit. The cost of accommodations, entry to sights and meals in restaurants can all add up quickly. That said, while some of the attractions on our list require a ticket, many are free of charge. Throughout our itinerary, we share money-saving activities for Belfast budget travelers.
Are There Belfast Attractions for Kids?
Yes, there are many family-friendly sights. Although our list is not specifically geared towards things to do in Belfast with kids, we do feature many family-friendly activities.
How To Spend 3 Days in Belfast
During our Belfast trip, we planned three full days of adventures. We believe this is an ideal itinerary for Belfast in 3 Days that includes what to do as well as where to eat.
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Belfast Travel Guide to plan your trip to Northern Ireland!
DAY 1 in Belfast
Check into your hotel early – or at least leave your luggage so you can start exploring Belfast. We share recommendations for the best hotel in Belfast in the next section. Now, let’s begin the fun times in Belfast!
Tour Belfast City Centre
Set off on foot to see the best Belfast sights in the center of the city. Start your exploration at City Hall on Donegall Square. The stately building dates to year 1906 and is surrounded by gardens, monuments and statues. Travelers interested in touring the interior can join a free City Hall Tour.
From City Hall, set off to discover more of the city center. We recommend climbing to the top of The Dome at Victoria Square Shopping Centre, looking up at the Albert Memorial Clock, standing on the stairs of The Merchant Hotel and visiting St. Anne’s Cathedral.
Lunch on Day 1
After touring Belfast City, rest your legs and get a bite to eat at The Common Market. The food hall features multiple food trucks under one roof. The vendors dole out international eats in a very hip and fun space. Alternatively, for an upscale mid-day lunch experience, make a reservation for an extravagant Afternoon Tea at The Merchant Hotel.
Titanic Quarter Exploration
Continue your sightseeing in Belfast in the Titanic Quarter. The district is dedicated to preserving the city’s ship building past.
The highlight of the area is the fascinating Titanic Museum. Visitors learn the history of the world-famous ship from it’s beginnings on the Belfast docks right through to the moment it sank in the Atlantic. The museum is one of the top attractions in Belfast, so it’s best to book your ticket in advance.
If time allows, walk the Maritime Mile to see the SS Nomadic tender boat, The Slipways, the Great Light and the Titanic Dock and Pumphouse. Along the route, stop to admire the HMS Caroline and catch a glimpse of the nearby H&W Samson and Goliath Cranes, which are a symbol of Belfast. Use this map for the route or download the DC Tours app.
Pro Tip: To get back to the center of Belfast, either retrace your steps or hop on the G2 Glider Bus at Queens Road (likely the Catalyst Inc stop).
Dinner and Drinks in City Centre
End your first day in Belfast with a pint of Guinness at The Duke of York. While sipping your stout, spend some time admiring the plethora of memorabilia that decorates the walls.
For dinner, eat at the historic Whites Tavern. The long-time eatery is said to be the oldest pub in Belfast. It’s incredibly popular, so be sure to make a reservation.
Day 2 of your Belfast Trip
It’s best to get a fairly early start on your second day in Belfast – as there is still a lot to see and do!
St. George’s Market for Breakfast
If it’s Friday or you’re spending a weekend in Belfast, start off at St. George’s Market for a filling Breakfast Bap. It’s Belfast’s version of an egg and sausage sandwich, and it’s absolutely amazing! While at the market, take a quick look at local products from the various vendors. It’s a great place to pick up a unique Belfast souvenir!
If the market is closed, go to Maggie Mays Belfast Cafe and indulge in a utterly satisfying Ulster Fry. The hearty breakfast meal comes complete with eggs, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, soda bread and a potato cake.
Peace Wall and The Troubles
Spending some time learning about The Troubles is a must for your Belfast Itinerary. During the second half of the 20th century, Belfast was a divided city. The conflict was spurred by political and religious tensions – and a physical wall was built to keep communities apart.
Today, visitors can tour the Falls Road and Shankill Road neighborhoods that are divided by, what is now referred to as, the Peace Wall. The area features several memorials and the Irish Republican History Museum helps visitors to understand the conflict.
Use this map for a looping route if you want to walk the area on your own. Alternatively, hire a Black Taxi Tour driver for a better introduction to The Troubles. The guide will share their honest opinions and personal experiences of living during The Troubles.
Lunch on Day 2
Swing into Sawers, an old-school gourmet deli, for a stacked sandwich and salad for lunch. While at the deli, peruse the goods in the market and consider purchasing a few items that could serve as lunch or snacks for tomorrow’s adventure!
Discover Queens Quarter, Belfast
After lunch, catch a bus or walk to the Queens Quarter, which is the center of Belfast culture and home of Queens University. Take in the beautiful architecture as you visit Queens University campus and consider stopping at one of the many cafes.
Next, head for the spacious and lush Botanical Gardens, which were established in 1828. After strolling the grounds and visiting the Palm House Conservatory, stop by the free Ulster Museum that details the history of Belfast.
Dinner and Drinks on Day 2
If you are enjoying the youthful vibe of the University District, stay for dinner and drinks. Holohan’s Pantry is a low-key diner offering good traditional fare, like Boxty – and The Parlour is a local pub popular with students that serves woodfired pizza.
Otherwise, head back to Belfast City Centre for drinks and dinner. Consider stopping by Kelly’s Cellar or Bittles Bar for a drink. For dinner, eat at McHugh’s, where they make a decadent Boxty. We recommend making advance reservations to ensure you get a seat.
Day 3 in Belfast
On the last of your 3 days in Belfast, NI, take a day tour to the northern coastline – but be back in the city for one last festive evening!
Breakfast on Day 3
Start your day early at Harlem Cafe, because there will likely be a queue. The eclectic space is quirky and fun – and the pancake stacks are a sweet way to get ready for the long day ahead.
Note, however, that if you are joining an organized tour on Day 3, you likely won’t have time for Harlem Cafe. Instead, sit down for an early breakfast at The Grand Cafe at the posh Grand Central Hotel so that you don’t miss your tour!
Giant’s Causeway Tour
Embark on an adventure to the northern Irish coastline to see the UNESCO Giant’s Causeway. The fascinating coast features stacked basalt column rocks that seem to simply rise up from the sea.
Exploring the area is free of charge, but those interested in learning more about history – and legends – of Giant’s Causeway can buy a ticket to the Visitor’s Center.
Travelers can plan their own DIY trip using public bus or car rental. However, it could be more enjoyable to leave the logistics to someone else and take a tour. Organized excursions to Giant’s Causeway include additional sights, such as visiting a castle, walking through the Dark Hedges and the seeing the famous Rope Bridge. Either way, plan on spending the entire day seeing the incredible coastal sights of Northern Ireland.
Dinner at Crown Liquor Saloon
After touring the stunning coastline, eat your final dinner in Belfast in an iconic location, the Crown Liquor Saloon. Classic and charming, Crown Liquor dates to the 1820s and features sumptuous decor.
Order the Irish Stew with a side of soda bread – it’s one of the house specialties and it is oh-so delicious. After dinner, stick around for a round of drinks and relish the jovial atmosphere to close out your 3 Days in Belfast!
Travel Tips for Belfast, UK
Now that you are well on the way to planning your 3-day Belfast Travel Itinerary, we have a few tips to help you prepare for the trip!
How To Get to Belfast
Belfast can be reached by plane, train, boat, bus or car. How you get to Belfast will likely depend on where you are coming from!
Plane to Belfast
There are two airports in Belfast: Belfast International Airport (BFS) and George Best Belfast City Airport (BHD).
The international airport in Belfast is located 20 miles northwest of the city center. Travelers can get from this airport to the city center in about 30 minutes using the bus, a taxi or booking private transport in advance.
The Belfast City Airport, which is used mostly for flights within the United Kingdom or from the Republic of Ireland, is just 2 miles northeast of the city center. On arrival, visitors can make the short trip into Belfast using public bus 600, taxi or private transport.
Getting Around Belfast
It is relatively easy to get around Belfast on foot – especially when discovering the center, Titanic, Cathedral and Linen Quarters.
Visitors who want to explore the Peace Wall or Queens Quarter – or hop a ride back from the Titanic Quarter – can utilize the public transit system. Check the Translink website to find routes, fares and timetables.
Hop On Hop Off Bus
Belfast Tourists might find it convenient to use the Belfast Hop On Hop Off Bus. The tour offers both 1-day and 2-day passes for unlimited rides and includes stops at 20 top tourist destinations, making it incredibly easy to get from sight-to-sight.
Where To Stay in Belfast
The best place to stay in Belfast is in the heart of the city, just steps from the top attractions and bars and restaurants. With a range of accommodations in Belfast, there is a place to stay for every budget.
Belfast Hotels and Hostels
On short trips to any city, we recommend staying in a hotel. There are many hotels in Belfast for travelers to choose from – we are highlighting two of the best.
Pro Tip: Use our top tips for Booking Hotels before starting your search!
The Flint Hotel
On our Belfast trip, we stayed at The Flint Hotel – an affordable hotel in the heart of the city. From start to finish, we loved everything about The Flint!
Check in was a breeze – as they offer pre-check in online. The hotel was easy to find; it’s ideally situated between City Hall and the bus/train station and just steps to some of the best sights in Belfast.
The spacious rooms feature comfortable beds, black out curtains, air conditioning and a big shower. Although the hotel does not offer breakfast, each room is equipped with a small kitchen and outfitted with everything you need to make simple meals (and there is a Tesco Express just around the corner).
Without question, we would stay at The Flint Hotel again and cannot recommend it enough! Check rates and availability for your trip!
The Merchant Hotel
If you want to splash out on your trip to Belfast, The Merchant Hotel is the place to stay! The luxurious property is centrally located in the Cathedral Quarter. The grandiose building features well-appointed rooms with comfortable beds, on-site dining in the domed Great Room Restaurant and a spa. Check rates and availability!
What To Pack for Belfast
Hopefully it’s almost time to load up your backpack or suitcase! We are sharing a few must-have items for your Belfast trip, but you can find all of our advice on our Travel Packing Page. Also grab your FREE Packing Checklist!
We cover some ground in our Belfast Itinerary! Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I wear versatile and lightweight sneakers for city sightseeing – and they worked great for the trails at Giants Causeway, as well. Kris is prefers wearing Merrell Trail Shoes. Find more tips and reviews in our article, The Best Shoes for Traveling.
Belfast Weather Gear
The weather in Belfast can be warm, hot, cool, cold, windy and rainy…all within an hour. Travelers should be prepared for changing weather when visiting Northern Ireland. It is best to dress in layers, bring a raincoat and a travel umbrella.
Belfast sights are intriguing and the coast is absolutely stunning! Upgrade to a real travel camera for your trip so that you can properly capture the memories of the city and region.
For our Belfast 3-Day Itinerary, we planned long stretches of sightseeing, which meant that we had to carry everything we needed with us the entire time. To make sure it can all be stowed and secured, we use these small backpacks. Use our reviews on the Best Day Bag for Traveling to pick one out that’s right for you!
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