How to Spend 48 Hours in Belfast + Itinerary (2023)

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Are you wondering how to spend 48 hours in Belfast? You’re in the right place!

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 to spend 48 hours in Belfast Ireland!

Note that this itinerary was put together by me when I was in college and therefore includes all budget-friendly activities that were best for a student studying abroad.

How to Get to Belfast from Dublin

Since Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland, it’s not that difficult to get to, and it’s easily connected to Dublin!

I was coming up from Dublin, so I took the train from Dublin Connolly station to Belfast.

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. This is an easy way to get to the city with just 48 hours in Belfast.

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.

girl standing on rocks at giants causeway
Giant’s Causeway

Where to Stay in Belfast

Now, there are many options for places to stay for 48 hours in Belfast.

Some hotel options include Jury’s Inn Belfast or the Titanic Hotel Belfast, which are both 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 the prices of Airbnb. Sometimes you can snag a fantastic deal for an Airbnb, plus then you can also save money and cook your own meals!

Since I was going to Belfast with my two friends, this was the route we chose. We stayed at a great Airbnb near Queen’s University (which, unfortunately, is not up on Airbnb anymore), and it was within walking distance of almost everything we wanted to see!

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

Since we knew we would only have 48 hours in Belfast, we had to make the most of our time by also trying to explore some more of Northern Ireland. So, we took the first day to do just that by booking a tour, which I recommend if you’re visiting for a limited time.

My friends and I booked a tour with irishtourtickets and did the Game of Thrones day tour from Belfast during our 48 hours in Belfast. The tickets were super affordable for us as students.

If you’d rather get around yourself, you could also consider doing a Northern Ireland road trip.

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 the locals have on Wetherspoon’s, but if you’re looking for something cheap and okay to eat when you’re in a rush, I think it’s a great option, especially as a student studying abroad.

The Bridge House is only a 7-minute walk from the Irish Tour Tickets pick-up location, which is excellent. Breakfast didn’t cost more than £7, and I got 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. It was so easy! Then, we were off.

Girl walking near tall cliffs.
Cushendun Caves

Morning stops on the tour

This is such a great way to start your 48 hours in Belfast. Your whole day will luckily be planned out for you from 8:45 to around 6:45. It’s excellent! The day begins at Carnlough Harbour, featured in season six of Game of Thrones.

Next, there’s a stop at Cushendun Caves, which was my favorite part of the tour. This area is lovely and is fuel for your camera!

Boats floating on the water in a harbor.
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 where you can get photos with the Iron Throne in! It was a lot of fun.

To learn more about Fullerton Arms, check out this link. It is a restaurant, and you can stay at this location if you’d like!

Afternoon stops on the tour

In the afternoon, the tour stops at Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, Larrybane Limestone Quarry, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Dark Hedges.

That’s right, there are so many stops! Make sure you bring your camera because you’re going to be snapping pictures absolutely everywhere.

After the tour ended, we headed back home to have some dinner.

people standing on an old wood bridge
Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge

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

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are better places to eat for breakfast, but this place was closest to where we stayed. We also knew it was affordable since we’d eaten there in Dublin.

If you’re looking for a more local experience, try checking out Alan’s Causeway Cafe or Established Coffee, which are other great options.

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 loved looking at the architecture of this building, even from the outside!

Historic city hall with a green dome and statues out front.
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 Baroque building 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 for beautiful street art in the area.

There are also a lot of fun coffee shops, pubs, and other places to eat along incredibly picturesque cobblestone streets. I easily spent about an hour just walking up and down these tiny cobbled streets.

With 48 hours in Belfast, you definitely want to check out this part of the city!

quaint cobblestone alley with umbrella lights
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 to memorialize Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.

One of the main reasons that everyone goes to see it today is because it has a slight lean to it!

It’s leaning because it was built on top of marshy ground and soon began to lean four feet on one side. The lean isn’t super noticeable 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 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 the Salmon of Knowledge sounds much more interesting.

It’s breathtaking in person; if you get up close to it, you can see a whole bunch of details in its ceramic tiles. Each tile shows some part of the history of Belfast city. The sculpture was built in 1999 to celebrate fish returning to Belfast’s river.

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

This is one of the most underrated places to visit with 48 hours in Belfast.

Blue mosaic fish sculpture by the water.
Salmon of Knowledge

Titanic Sightseeing & Titanic Museum

The Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1911! There are so many Titanic sights to see in Belfast because of this.

The top place to visit is Titanic Belfast in Titanic Quarter, a sight to see if you’re looking for titanic landmarks.

Other sights include TITANICa and the Titanic Dock. If you’re really looking to immerse yourself, you could also do a Titanic tour with a local guide.

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 most enormous 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 featured 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 there since 1604. The building was built in the 1890s, and the market has been held there ever since.

This is a great place to go to, especially for a quick eat. There’s fantastic 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 a card. This is also a great place to look for any Belfast NI souvenirs.

Exterior of a brick building that says "St George's Market."
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 to wind down before heading home because of its proximity to where we were.

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 to 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.

Now you know how to spend 48 hours in Belfast UK!

Frequently Asked Questions: 2 Days in Belfast

Is Belfast in Northern Ireland?

Yes, Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland. It is located on the island of Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom.

Is Belfast in the UK?

Yes, Belfast is part of the United Kingdom. It is the capital city of Northern Ireland and is located on the island of Ireland.

How to reach Belfast?

There are a few ways to get to Belfast.

You can fly into the Belfast International Airport or the George Best Belfast City Airport. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from any of England, Scotland, or Wales ports.

You can also take a train if you’re coming from anywhere else on the island.

What is there to do in Belfast?

There are plenty of things to do in Belfast! For history buffs, there are several museums and historical sites to visit, including the Titanic Museum and Belfast Castle.

Nature lovers can explore one of the many parks or walk along the River Lagan. There are also plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars to keep you busy.

How many days should I spend in Belfast?

There is no set answer to how long to spend in Belfast as everyone’s travel preferences are different. However, we recommend spending at least 2 days in Belfast so that you have enough time to explore all of the city’s top attractions.

If you are pressed for time, 1 day in Belfast may suffice, but you will likely feel rushed.

Check out the videos of our time in Belfast:

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  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. This makes our plan trip to Belfast and Dublin more exciting – but it will be this December as our only free time to go with the fam. Thanks to this post, it will surely help us go around the two cities.

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