Belfast, Northern Ireland

How to Spend 48 Hours in Belfast + Itinerary

Since I was studying abroad in Dublin, I knew that I’d have to make a trip up to Belfast at least once. There’s so much history in Northern Ireland and I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, so it just had to happen. Plus, it’s one of the best places to visit in the UK that aren’t London and one of the most romantic places in the UK. Here’s how I chose to spend my weekend, which I highly recommend!


Getting to Belfast

Since Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, it’s not that difficult to get to and it’s easily connected! I was coming up from Dublin so I took the train from Dublin Connolly station to Belfast. It costs about €38 for a round trip ticket, which isn’t bad at all. Plus, you get some great views out your window! I highly suggest sitting on the right side of the train so that you can see all the coastal views.

Another option is to take a bus which is a relatively cheap option. However, I’ve had my own mishaps with how unreliable buses are in the past, so I’m not sure I’d suggest this option unless you have a lot of time on your hands or you really need to spend very little money. You could also rent a car and drive there yourself if you’re somewhere else in Ireland, which could get you some pretty lovely views, but might cost more. If you are flying into Belfast, be sure to fly into Belfast International Airport.

Where to Stay

Now, there are a lot of options of places to stay in Belfast. Some hotel options include Jury’s Inn Belfast (£69-100), Hotel ibis Belfast City Center (£47), or the Titanic Hotel Belfast (£99-149), which are all centrally located. You could also stay at a hostel if you wanted. My friend spent the night at the Belfast International Youth Hostel and said it wasn’t that bad.

However, one thing that I always suggest is to double-check with the prices of Airbnb. Sometimes you can snag an amazing deal for an Airbnb, plus then you can also save money and cook your own meals! Since I was going to Belfast with myself and two friends, this is the route we chose. We stayed at a great Airbnb near Queen’s University and it was within walking distance of almost everything we wanted to see!

If you’re looking to book with Airbnb or you don’t have an account yet, sign up through this link to get a $55 credit!

What to Do (Day 1): Do a Day Tour to get out of the city!

My friends and I booked a tour with irishtourtickets and did the Game of Thrones day tour from Belfast. The tickets were cheap and cost £39 which is about $50.

Breakfast at The Bridge House

We woke up around 7:30 and walked over to one of the Wetherspoon’s branches: The Bridge House. I’m honestly not sure what opinion British or Irish people have on Wetherspoon’s, but if you’re looking for something cheap and okay to eat when you’re in a rush, I think that it’s a great option. The Bridge House is only a short 7 minute walk from the Irish Tour Tickets pick-up location, which is great. Breakfast didn’t cost any more than £7 and I was able to get a coffee and a delicious breakfast. After eating, we made our way over to the pick-up location. All we had to do was walk into the Irish Tour Tickets office, where they directed us to our bus and showed our tickets. It was so easy! Then… we were off.

Morning stops on the tour

This is such a great way to spend your day. Your whole day will luckily be planned out for you from 8:45 to around 6:45. It’s great! The day starts at Carnlough Harbour, which was featured in season six of Game of Thrones. Next, there’s a stop at Cushendun Caves, which is my favorite part of the tour. This area is absolutely beautiful and is fuel for your camera!

Cushendun CavesPIN IT
Cushendun Caves
Carnlough HarbourPIN IT
Carnlough Harbour

Lunch at Fullerton Arms Restaurant

Though lunch is not included, the tour stops at Fullerton Arms Restaurant where you can eat Game of Thrones inspired food! Everything costs about £10-15. Plus, there’s a room that you can get photos with the Iron Throne in! It was a lot of fun.

If you’re interested in learning more about Fullerton Arms, check out this link. Not only is it a restaurant, but you can also stay at this location if you’d like!

Afternoon stops on the tour

In the afternoon, the tour makes stops at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Larrybane Limestone Quarry, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Dark Hedges. That’s right… there’s so many stops! Make sure you bring your camera, because you’re going to be snapping pictures absolutely everywhere.

Carrick-A-Rede Rope BridgePIN IT
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge
Giant's CausewayPIN IT
Giant’s Causeway

Dinner: Cook your own food at your Airbnb!

My friends and I made a quick walk to a local grocery store and picked up a bunch of food to make for dinner. We ended up having spaghetti, dinner rolls, and meat sauce. What a treat! If you stay at an Airbnb, it’s super easy to save money by cooking your own meals, which is one of my suggestions!


What to Do (Day 2): Belfast Sightseeing!

Breakfast at Eddie Rocket’s

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there are better places to eat for breakfast, but this place was closest to where we were staying. We also knew that it was affordable since we’ve eaten there before in Dublin. If you’re looking for a more local experience, try checking out Alan’s Causeway Cafe or Established Coffee, which both have high ratings on Yelp. Unfortunately I’ve never eaten at either of these places though.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall is a must see when visiting Belfast. If you’re looking to go inside, you can go between the hours of 8:30 – 5, 7 days a week. There are also public tours at 11 AM, 2 PM and 3 PM Monday – Friday or 12 PM, 2 PM and 3 PM on the weekends. I unfortunately was in a bit of a rush so I didn’t have time to go inside at all, but I loved looking at the architecture of this building from the outside.

Belfast City HallPIN IT
Belfast City Hall

If you’re interested in the history of this building, it first opened in 1906 after Belfast was finally considered a city by Queen Victoria in 1888. The building is Baroque and was made out of Portland stone, and cost almost 128 million pounds.

Explore the Cathedral Quarter

The Cathedral Quarter is named such due to being the area surrounding Saint Anne’s Cathedral. It’s known for its nightlife, but also for its street art! Since I came to explore during the day, I searched around for some beautiful street art in the area. There’s also a lot of fun coffee shops, pubs, and other places to eat along cobble stone streets that are extremely picturesque. I easily spent about an hour just walking up and down these tiny cobbled streets.

Cathedral Quarter of BelfastPIN IT
An alleyway in the Cathedral Quarter

Albert Memorial Clock

This clock tower is in Queen’s Square and was finished in 1869. To this day, it’s one of Belfast’s top landmarks. The clock tower was made in order to memorialize Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. One of the main reasons that everyone goes to see it today is because it actually has a slight lean to it! It’s leaning because it was built on top of a marshy ground and soon began to lean four feet on one side. The lean isn’t super noticeable though unless you know about it. Unlike most towers in a city, this is not one that you can go into and climb to the top.

Salmon of Knowledge

The Salmon of Knowledge actually comes from Irish mythology, but you can see it for real in Belfast! Supposedly you can give the fish a kiss and get wisdom. It’s located right along River Lagan, near the Titanic Museum. Some people also refer to it as “The Big Fish” but I think that the Salmon of Knowledge sounds so much more interesting. It’s really breathtaking in person – if you get up close to it you can see a whole bunch of details in its ceramic tiles. Each tile actually shows some part of the history of Belfast city, which is awesome. The sculpture was built in 1999 in celebration of fish returning to Belfast’s river.

Since it is now the 21st Century, you can actually text the Salmon of Knowledge! There’s signs posted everywhere near the fish and he shares his wisdom through you. Of course I texted him and it was quite fun!

Salmon of Knowledge blue fish in BelfastPIN IT
Salmon of Knowledge

Titanic Sightseeing & Titanic Museum

The Titanic was actually built in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1911! There are so many Titanic sights to see in Belfast because of this. Unfortunately, since I was on a time crunch, I actually didn’t get to visit any of these things, but you can easily fit these into your day. The top place to visit is Titanic Belfast in Titanic Quarter, which is the sight to see if you’re looking for titanic sights. Tickets are £17.50 a person.

Other sights include TITANICa (£9 a person) and the Titanic Dock (£5 a person). If you’re really looking to immerse yourself, you could also do a Titanic tour, like Belfast City Bike Tours or even a segway tour (both tours are £30 a person)! City Hall is also considered a Titanic Sight because the man who created the Titanic also helped a lot with the building ideas behind City Hall.

Beacon of Hope

This is one sculpture that you can’t help but see while walking in downtown Belfast. It is one of the largest sculptures in Belfast too and is located in Thanksgiving Square. The Beacon of Hope is actually based on a design by a woman from Texas. It was built in 2006 and features a woman holding the ring of thanksgiving. At her base is a globe symbolizing peace, harmony, and thanksgiving, and its surface even marks the many places that people from Belfast have migrated to and come from.

Lunch at St. George’s Market

St. George’s Market is one of the best markets in the United Kingdom from what I’ve heard! It’s also one of Belfast’s oldest places, as there has been a market at this sight since 1604. The building was built in the 1890’s and the market has been held in there ever since. This is a great place to go to especially for a quick eat. There’s amazing macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and more. Almost everything you could imagine for food is at this market, and there was live music! On the plus side, from what I’ve seen, almost every booth took cash or card. This is also a great place to look for any Belfast souvenirs.

St. George's Market in BelfastPIN IT
St. George’s Market

Coffee Break at Caffe Nero

After exploring St. George’s Market and having a quick lunch, my friends and I went across the street to Caffe Nero. My one friend was flying back to London where she was studying abroad, so we chatted over some chai teas and lattes and soon had to part ways. We wouldn’t be seeing her again until we visited her in London later in the semester!

After we had coffee, we headed home for Dublin! This itinerary was a great way to spend the weekend, and visiting not only Belfast, but also exploring the rest of Northern Ireland is something I highly suggest.

Curious to see this in video form? Check out my vlogs from my weekend in Belfast & Northern Ireland!

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Comment

55 Comments

  • Haley @ Fangirl Fury
    12.26.2019

    I’m actually going on a short study abroad trip to Ireland in next weeks and this post was so helpful! I’m only going to be in Belfast for a day, but I definitely want to check out St.George’s Market!

    • Krystianna
      Haley @ Fangirl Fury
      12.26.2019

      That’s so awesome! I hope you have a blast – Ireland is my favorite country. 🙂 If you need any more tips or if you have questions about Ireland, I’m happy to help!! I love talking about travel and Ireland in general. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Greg
    12.26.2019

    This is so helpful to have tips like this! I’m going to make some notes on those hotels in case I ever make it to Belfast haha! Seriously though, great post- thanks for sharing this!

    • Krystianna
      Greg
      12.26.2019

      Thank you! There’s so much to do in Belfast — I could’ve spent way longer there! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Kelly
    12.27.2019

    Oh wow, I had no idea how stunning Belfast was! My mother was born in Dublin and lived there until she migrated to Australia. That Game of Thrones tour is super cheap for an entire day, it must have felt a little surreal being in the same locations, can you recognise them from the show? About to check out your travel vlogs, it looks amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Krystianna
      Kelly
      12.27.2019

      It was so fun seeing all the locations in real life! Belfast is gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    • World of Lina
      Kelly
      12.29.2019

      Belfast looks awesome! I really wanna have a photo with the iron throne too 😍

      • Krystianna
        World of Lina
        12.29.2019

        Belfast is so much fun! Hope you get to go sometime. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jocelyn @ A Little Nerd Told Me
    12.27.2019

    I went to Belfast years ago and really want to go back, especially to see the Titanic museum. I did several of the things on this list, Giant’s Causeway being one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Love the story behind it too.

    I also went across the Carrick-A-Rede bridge, but even though I’m not afraid of heights, I have issues with bridges (grew up in a place where a major bridge collapsed during an earthquake) so about halfway across that bridge I ended up having to crawl across it on my hands and knees with my eyes closed haha

    Awesome post!! It’s making me want to go back to NI asap.

    • Krystianna
      Jocelyn @ A Little Nerd Told Me
      12.27.2019

      Oh no, that’s terrible! I’m sorry to hear about that. I am glad that you enjoyed Giant’s Causeway though. The landscape there doesn’t even seem real! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  • Everywhere I Traveled to in 2019: Ranked - Volumes and Voyages
    12.27.2019

    […] Belfast is filled with so much history and I couldn’t help but love that. Plus, we were able to explore a lot of Northern Ireland using Belfast as our home base.Favorite sight: The Salmon of Knowledge is my favorite sight here! I don’t know why I loved […]

  • Aditi Sharma
    12.28.2019

    Visiting Ireland is on our bucket list. Your detailed Belfast itinerary will definitely come in handy when we plan our trip around this beautiful country. Thanks for sharing

    • Krystianna
      Aditi Sharma
      12.29.2019

      Of course! I hope you get to Belfast one day. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mayuri
    12.28.2019

    Such a handy guide and itinerary for Belfast. I hope to visit next year! Thanks for putting this together!

    • Krystianna
      Mayuri
      12.28.2019

      Of course – I hope you enjoy your time there when you finally get to go! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

    • Elsa
      Mayuri
      12.28.2019

      Love this! What a great real adventure. Thanks for this!

      • Krystianna
        Elsa
        12.29.2019

        Of course – thank you for stopping by! 🙂

  • Brittany Sneller
    12.28.2019

    Girl, I love your blog! I have never been to Belfast but I’d love to go one day! This is such a great guide so I’ll be sure to save it for later. xx

    • Krystianna
      Brittany Sneller
      12.28.2019

      Thank you so much! I really love your blog too. 🙂 I hope you get to Belfast one day – thanks for stopping by!

  • Patti
    12.28.2019

    I love Ireland. The emerald country of greeeeen! I hope to visit it one day soon.

    • Krystianna
      Patti
      12.28.2019

      Ireland is so gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Susann
    12.29.2019

    Your travels look so amazing! I wish I was there

  • Kez
    12.29.2019

    I love Belfast. There’s pictures are great.

    • Krystianna
      Kez
      12.29.2019

      It is beautiful there. Thanks for visiting! 🙂

  • Hannah
    12.29.2019

    Despite only living in the north of England we’ve never made it over to Northern Ireland. We’d love to hop over and visit Belfast. I’d love to see the Giant’s Causeway too as it looks magical! Thanks for the great guide.

    Hannah | https://getlost.blog/

    • Krystianna
      Hannah
      12.29.2019

      It is so beautiful there. I hope you visit one day! Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

  • Ana @ JauntingTrips.com
    12.29.2019

    I saw a few months ago a post about the Gian Causeway and let me tell you it’s stunning. I would love to see it for myself. That and in general Northern Ireland has some beautiful landscapes. I just need an adventure travel buddy now hahaha

    • Krystianna
      Ana @ JauntingTrips.com
      12.29.2019

      Yeah a lot of the landscapes in Northern Ireland look like they’re not even on earth. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Vanessa Shields
    12.29.2019

    Great tips and info on visiting Northern Ireland! I’ve yet to visit but it’s on my list of places to see especially the Giants Causeway!

    • Krystianna
      Vanessa Shields
      12.29.2019

      I highly recommend Giant’s Causeway. I hope you get there one day! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  • Melissa
    12.29.2019

    Love this! I’ve been to Northern Ireland and this post makes me want to go back ASAP!

    • Krystianna
      Melissa
      12.29.2019

      That’s so cool that you’ve been! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  • Andi
    12.29.2019

    I’m going to be doing my first trip to Ireland in April, but it’s for business so I literally will only have 24-36 hours! BUT hubby and I are planning to get there for a long trip in 2021 so I appreciate this itinerary nonetheless!

    • Krystianna
      Andi
      12.29.2019

      That’s so awesome! Even though it’s for a short trip, I’m sure you’ll be able to at least have some great Irish food. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mayi
    12.29.2019

    Belfast is a very beautiful city that I don’t know, but I really want to discover! Visiting Ireland is on our bucket list along with Dublin. I will park this article for when I travel there 🙂

    • Krystianna
      Mayi
      12.29.2019

      Yeah, I love Belfast! I hope you get the chance to visit Northern Ireland when you visit Ireland. 🙂

  • Lorena
    12.29.2019

    Thank you for share this itenerary, Belfast is on my bucket list for next year and your post has helped me a lot to enjoy the town the fullest

  • Tamara - Travelling Tam
    12.29.2019

    Love this! I admit I have quite neglected Northern Ireland but it’s on my list so this has been very useful! Thanks for sharing and I love your photos too!

    Tammy
    http://www.travellingtam.com

    • Krystianna
      Tamara – Travelling Tam
      12.30.2019

      Of course – thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Miranda
    12.30.2019

    This looks like an amazing place to explore! I’ve been to Dublin but need to check out Northern Ireland!

    • Krystianna
      Miranda
      12.31.2019

      I love Northern Ireland. I hope you get there one day!

  • Katy Johnson
    12.30.2019

    Wow. Never knew it was that beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing girl! will add to travel list. haha

  • Alex
    01.03.2020

    Loved reading through this post! I’ve been to Belfast almost 7 times now over the past 3 years visiting friends over there so it was great to see Belfast from a tourists perspective! I honestly had no idea that was the story behind the fish, we sat on top of it one night for the city wide festival called Culture Night haha!

    • Krystianna
      Alex
      01.04.2020

      Thank you, that sounds so fun! Thank you for stopping by, too. 🙂

  • Candice Steele
    01.06.2020

    Loved reading about your adventure in Belfast. My brother lived in Ireland for awhile and I was so sad I didn’t make it over to visit him while he was there. Now you’ve got me planning a trip there!

    • Krystianna
      Candice Steele
      01.07.2020

      You should definitely visit! It’s my favorite city. 🙂

  • Northern Ireland: 8 Must-See Game of Thrones Locations
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    […] two easiest ways to get to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge are to either take a day tour from Belfast or rent a car. It’s not easily accessed by public transportation since it’s not in […]

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    […] need to stay in Belfast for long to fully get a feel for it and enjoy all it has to offer. In fact, 48 hours in Belfast is the perfect amount of […]

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    […] need to stay in Belfast for long to fully get a feel for it and enjoy all it has to offer. In fact, 48 hours in Belfast is the perfect amount of […]

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    […] need to stay in Belfast for long to fully get a feel for it and enjoy all it has to offer. In fact, 48 hours in Belfast is the perfect amount of time.    This beautiful city is particularly a good location for […]

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