Belfast,the capital city of Northern Ireland is experiencing a great resurgence ininterest as a popular European tourist destination, helped by the successfulstaging of the MTV Music Awards and the Giro D’Italia. For accommodation Belfasthas a variety of options from 5 star luxury hotels to many of the leadingbudget hotel chains all found within walking distance of the city’s leadingattractions.
A must see destinationon any visit to this once great industrial city is TitanicBelfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience. Visitors areable to explore the shipyard, travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover thefull story of the sunken ship in the city where it all began. Titanic Belfastis located in the aptly named Titanic Quarter of Belfast,an area of the city that is undergoing a bit of a resurgence of late and isbecoming a popular tourist destination with the nearby OdysseyArena home to many restaurants and events. This area is also thelocation of the city’s famous Harland and Wolff cranes, two large yellow cranesthat dominate the city skyline.
With Northern Ireland’s recentpast steeped in the history of the troubles, Belfasttaxi tours offer a great experience and insight into this past, something thathas become a surprise tourist destination in recent years. With the option ofbeing collected at your hotel door, you will be taken on a journey through Belfastthat will open your eyes to the chequered history of this once troubled city.You’ll find the taxi drivers and tour guides are very informative and haveplenty of opportunities to photograph the wonderful city murals and visithistoric sites that will help you to visualise the different perspectives ofthe conflict of the past and more recent times. If you have time, visit CrumlinRoad Gaol, first opened in 1846, housing prisoners from both sides of NorthernIreland’s troubles. Today after restoration the Gaol is opened to the publicwhere you can walk in the footsteps of over 25,000 prisoners.
For families, Belfasthas plenty to see and do. Admission into the UlsterMuseum, a treasure house of art, history, and natural sciences, isfree and it’s a must see, what with three interactive discovery zones packedwith plenty for young children to engage with and enjoy. Alternatively if theweather is good a trip to BelfastZoo or the local Streamvale Open Farm is well worth a visit.Streamvale Open Farm is designed for families to enjoy and learn about thecountryside, while they will have the opportunity to get a closer look attraditional Irish farm animals. If you time your visit you may be lucky andcatch the farms dairy cows being milked every afternoon.
Those in need of someretail therapy won’t be disappointed either, Belfasthas many of the world’s leading brands to shop in, found on the city’s famousRoyal Avenue located at the foot of the popular City Hall, or the newly built VictoriaSquare Shopping Centre. Head straight to the top of Victoria Squarefor an unparalleled 360 panoramic view of the city.
Belfastis also a growing favourite for foodies, with many popular restaurants withinthe city all cooking locally sourced Northern Ireland produce. The CathedralQuarter of the city is home to many popular local restaurants andbars. Take a stroll around this area after a long day touring the city andenjoy some food and drink in one of Belfast’s manyfamous watering holes. St Anne’s Square in the Cathedral Quarter is one foodiehangout in particular that attracts crowds seven days a week.
The nearby StGeorge's Market is one of the city’s oldest attractions and home tosome of the finest food produce and arts and crafts. Open at weekends, themarket attracts thousands of visitors every week and on Saturday and Sunday youcan look forward to the sounds of traditional and popular music bellowing out.
Northern Ireland’sfamous landscapes have made it draw the attention of film crews as a backdropfor filming scenes, with Belfast the home of theAmerican fantasy drama series Game of Thrones. If you are a fan take theopportunity to visit sites of the series’ most popular scenes near Belfast.