Belfast Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, is a city with a reputation. Once upon a time, this was one of the most dangerous cities in Europe thanks to the violent struggle for Irish independence. However, those dark days ended in the 1990s. Modern Belfast is a city that looks to the future, not the past, and as a result, it is one of the most interesting places in Europe to visit.
Officially part of the United Kingdom, Belfast combines both British and Irish culture into something truly unique. Belfast’s history is worth exploring, but there’s much more to the city than the dark days of the Troubles. And as more and more visitors explore the brighter side of Belfast, the city is learning to embrace its tourist potential. Drop off your heavy bags at a Belfast luggage storage locker and explore this unique location for yourself.
11 Best Ways To Experience Belfast in 2023
Belfast is a city steeped in history, some of which continues to unfold to this very day. It offers plenty for the curious traveler and for people wishing to rediscover roots long forgotten.
There is much to see and do but if you are going to make the most of this venture then you will probably want to do so without the burden of large bags. Bounce has thought of this and you will find it easy and convenient to locate one of their luggage storage services where you can leave your extra bags with complete peace of mind.
Best art tour — Xplore Belfast Murals
Belfast is a city whose history is painted on its walls. This company will guide you through that history from the Belfast Peace Wall to the infamous Shankill Road and with much more in between. Let them take you on this famous tour or ask to design a custom tour to your own requirements. Call +44 757 625 9077 or email XploreBelfastMurals@gmail.com
Best shore excursions — Cruise Ship Tours Belfast
If you are visiting this iconic city by cruise ship, then this company is standing by to guide you through some of the famous sites when you come ashore. Whether you fancy a Game of Thrones Tour, a St Patrick’s Tour or a deeper look into the turbulent historical past, Cruise Ship Tours will be able to make your visit more meaningful. Call + 44 786 645 8504 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best regional tour — Tours of Derry
This company can guide you through most parts of Northern Ireland using local guides with a deep knowledge of their areas and the history that they are revealing. They can also arrange meals, accommodation, and transport ranging from cars through to coaches. Call +44 781 208 4903 or email email@example.com
Best rural tour — Mourne Road Tours
If you want to discover the delights of the Mourne and County Down areas then this company can help you do so. Whether you fancy visiting castles, caves, breweries or eateries, or perhaps a little of each, these guys have the know-how. You can customize your own tour or simply place yourself in their hands.
Call +44 736 852 9714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best walking tour — Experience Belfast
This company doesn't shy away from telling you about past troubles but it also offers hope and laughter on their walking tours of the city. You will experience the food, the culture and, of course, that famous Irish music. All of this while traveling on foot and in the iconic black taxis. For more info call +44 777 164 0746 or email email@example.com
Best off-the-beaten-path tour — Colm Kelly
This is a rugged and unforgiving countryside where you can see breathtaking sites and take unforgettable photographs if you place yourself in the hands of the right guides. This company will tailor tours to suit your needs while using local guides who know just where to go in order to get off the beaten track and escape the crowds.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +44 770 206 0573
Best themed tour — Game of Thrones Tours
If you hadn’t ever seen much of the landscape of Ireland previously, Game of Thrones probably changed all of that. This company offers themed tours to Winterfell Castleward and the Causeway coast, but they have much more to offer as well. They can guide you through the history of shipbuilding and of Northern Ireland, through to some of the country's hidden gems.
Email email@example.com or call on +44 770 206 0573
Best car tour — Cab Tour Belfast
There can be few more iconic ways to experience this city than in one of their famous black cabs. Accompanied by a local guide, options rage as widely as the Crumlin Road Gaol through to the impressive scenery of the Giant’s Causeway. To learn more about the full range of tours to choose from call +44 771 364 0647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best historical tour — Belfast Walking Tours
Many will agree that Belfast is a city that is best taken in on foot. This tour guide tries to offer a more in-depth vision of the city where he was born. In addition to learning something of the city’s history and seeing some of its amazing architecture, you will also be exposed to some of the music for which the Irish are so renowned. Tours further afield can also be arranged.
Tel +44 755 230 9575 or email email@example.com
Best bike tour — Wee Toast Tours
This is one for those who enjoy a good party. It is part cycling tour and part mobile pub. Their bikes carry fifteen people but require a minimum of eight to keep moving forwards. You can cycle to destinations of choice or allow your hosts to set the agenda. What’s more, you can bring your own tipple or allow for that to be supplied as well. Tel +44 289 593 1763 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Best luxury tour — Scenic Tours NI
This is a company that has deliberately aimed itself at the VIP end of the industry. They will tailor-make tours in Belfast and the rest of the country to your requirements so that you only need to visit the sights that most appeal to you. If golf is more your thing, Scenic Tours can get you to most of the country’s major courses. Journeys are made in top-end luxury vehicles and airport transfers can be arranged.
Call +44 754 154 0893 or email email@example.com
Best historical tour — Museum of Orange Heritage
Designed to expand awareness of the Orange Institution in 1795, this museum is housed in two centers. One is in Schomberg House in Belfast and the other in Sloan’s House in Loughgall County Armagh. Together they hold the largest collection of Orange artifacts in the world and since its inception in 2015, the museum has already received more than 100,000 visitors. To find out more visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 0289070 1122
A Weekend in Dubai
A weekend in Belfast will give you enough time to see some of the major attractions. While it may not be enough to make you feel as though you've really gotten to know the place, it will certainly allow you to see how much there is to do here and perhaps plan another trip in the future.
- Learn more about the troubled history of Belfast at Crumlin Road Gaol. In the nineteenth century, this prison held many key figures in the struggle for Irish independence. Now, guided tours explore the history of this feared prison and the part it played in the history of Belfast.
- Discover more about one of the world's most famous nautical disasters at Titanic Belfast. The famous ship was built in the Belfast shipyards, and this cutting-edge museum was opened in 2012 to pay tribute to the doomed ocean liner.
- Immerse yourself in nature at Belfast Botanic Gardens. Established in 1828, the gardens house a grand greenhouse built in the 1840s and contained many rare and impressive plants. It's a great place to get some fresh air and take a break from the busy city.
Belfast is a city that rewards in-depth exploration. You'll find it easier to get to grips with the place if you don't carry more than you need to. Drop off any unneeded bags with a luggage storage service in Belfast so that you can explore more easily. The lighter you travel, the more fun you'll have on your trip.
Off the beaten path in Belfast
Beyond the better-known attractions, Belfast has plenty to keep visitors occupied, whether it’s your first or fiftieth visit to the city. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Belfast suitcase storage shop and explore some of these lesser-known attractions.
- Explore Cave Hill Country Park and see some of Belfast's most ancient sites. Five caves set into the cliffs are just waiting to be explored, and a Neolithic fort sits on top of the hill, offering sweeping views over the Northern Irish countryside.
- Experience a Victorian gin palace at the Crown Liquor Saloon. This stunningly preserved bar looks exactly as it did when it was founded back in the 1880s. Treat yourself to a cocktail here, and you'll be partaking in an ancient Belfast tradition that dates back to the heyday of the British Empire.
- Climb aboard the SS Nomadic. The last remaining ship from the famous White Star line, the Nomadic was launched in 1912 to carry passengers from the Titanic and the Olympic into smaller harbors the big ships couldn't dock at. The Nomadic became a minesweeper during the war and then spent years in Paris as a restaurant. Thoroughly restored to its original glory, the ship now sits in a dry dock and allows visitors to climb aboard and learn more about this vessel's fascinating history.
What to do alone in Belfast
Given its troubled history, Belfast is a remarkably safe city to explore. While there are still certain areas that are best avoided, the tourist areas of the city are great places to visit by yourself. Drop off your bags at a Belfast luggage locker and explore the town at your own pace.
- Shop like a local at St. George's market. In business since 1604, this vibrant market is home to hundreds of stalls where you can buy produce, fish, clothes, books, antiques, and just about anything else. Visit on Saturdays for the best food from around the city, or on Sunday to enjoy live music while you shop.
- Explore the history of the world at the Ulster Museum. Artifacts in this institution go back to the Stone Age, and you'll find Egyptian mummies, treasure from the Spanish Armada, and even a piece of meteorite. It's a great activity for a rainy day, and lets you explore the world without leaving the city.
- Northern Ireland is a completely different country from the Republic of Ireland which lies to the south. However, the two share many cultural traits in common, not least of which is traditional folk music. Belfast is full of lively pubs where you can hear the music of pipes and fiddle, and friendly locals mean you won't be alone for long.
The best souvenirs in Belfast
Pick up anything Titanic-related at the Titanic Belfast gift shop. Not only does the gift shop carry books, postcards, toys, and memorabilia related to the famous ship, but it also has a wide range of Belfast souvenirs. Or you could go for something more traditional at Avoca, where you can pick up a lambswool throw, which the company has been making since 1723. Ireland is also famous for linen production, and Belfast was famous for linen in the nineteenth century. Visit the Irish Linen Center to get your hands on high-quality linens to remind you of your trip.