Ireland has a special place in my heart and I have visited this beautiful island 4 times already. Dublin, The Wild Atlantic Way and a roadtrip in the South West made me fall in love with the cities, landscapes and the people. Belfast has a violent history that ended not that long ago. In 1998 to be exact. The years before 1998 are called “the Troubles”. During these years of civil war the unionists/ protestants and the nationalists/ catholics fought a battle over whether Ireland should become an independent nation or part of the United Kingdom. But oh my, a lot has changed since then… This is my Belfast City Guide!
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View from Grand Central Hotel | Belfast City Guide
Nowadays Belfast is a bustling city with warm pubs, cosy hotels and beautiful street art. The people here are some of the friendliest I have met in the world. The weather was so great during this city trip. We did not use our umbrella once and I think I even got a bit of a tan!
Belfast is an important port city and is famous for ship building. This is where they build the Titanic! But the city is also known for the world’s best wiskey, great restaurants, cosy pubs, tasty specialty beers and Guinness ofcourse!
Street art by Australian artist Smug One / Belfast City Guide
Sleep in Belfast
Naomi and I stayed at the lovely Bullitt Hotel. The rooms are comfortable and spacious. There is a great bar and rooftopbar: Babel where they serve killer cocktails and there are live performances every now and then.
Sights and highlights in Belfast:
Black Taxi Tour
A local drives you through the city, shows you favorite spots, pubs and restaurants and tells you personal stories about the troubled history. A unique experience! The Irish are great storytellers. Our driver was mr. Billy Scott! You can book a tour through TouringBelfast.
Black Cab Tour & The Peace Wall / Belfast City Guide
Visit The Peacewall
This huge wall, full of writing and street art, seperates the protestant neighbourhood from the catholic neighbourhood. This is where most people were killed during the war. Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama wrote loving words on the wall and so did we: ‘We are one.’
St. George Market
At this award winning market you will find delicious food, beauty products, clothing and antiquities!
St. George Market / Things to do Belfast
Visit the Titanic Museum
This impressive, 32 meters high museum, is just as high as the Titanic was and one of the biggest highlights of Belfast. Inside you learn all about the history of Belfast and hear stories about the Titanic. It is an amazing experience with lots of interactive galleries! In one area you can try a 3D experience. This is the stop 5 if you book a hop on hop off bus tour in Belfast. I felt like I was on board of the Titanic… before it sank…
Book a High Tea in The Great Room at the Merchant Hotel
Like you would expect at a 5* hotel you get the royal treatment here. In this huge, impressive, Art Deco space, you feel like you’re going back in time. The cakes are almost too beautiful to eat. Fun fact: one of my favorite Netflix series, The Fall, was filmed here! Unfortunately I couldn’t find Jamie Dornan anywhere…
High Tea at The Merchant Hotel / Belfast City Guide
Explore Cathedral Quarter and check out the beautiful street art here. Don’t miss Hill Street! I think this is one of the best areas in the city, with lots of unique shops and pubs. Our hotel, Bullitt Hotel, is located just minutes away of Cathedral Quarter.
Visit University Quarter: the Ulster Museum, the Botanical Gardens and the Queen’s University.
Special Shops in Belfast
The Friend at Hand: for the best wiskey in the world.
No Alibies Bookstore
Co Couture: award winning chocolate, the best in the city.
Sawers: the oldest deli in Ireland, with a loooot of delicacies! Enter at your own risk…
Coffee in Belfast
Established Coffee: delicious coffee and a great work spot for a Latte & Laptop session. You can also grab your coffee to go!
Restaurants in Belfast
OX: restaurant with a Michelin star by the water. We had an AMAZING 8-course-tasting-dinner here, with beautiful wine pairing and a meet & greet with the chef! The atmosphere is relaxed and the dishes are prepared with seasonal products from local suppliers. I loved the fresh truffle, the Dory with Vanilla and the goat cheese dessert!
Dishes at Restaurant OX / Belfast City Guide
Taylor & Clay: this restaurant at the Bullitt Hotel specialises in meat. They have an Asador Grill here and serve tender Wagyu Beef! Try some of the delicious cocktails too, like the Espresso Martini!
Restaurant tips by our Black Cab Tour driver Billy
Deanes, Holahan’s at the Barge, Harry’s Shack, Brunel’s, Mourne Seafood Bar, Coppi Restaurant and Ginger Bistro. I liked the look of Fish City too, but we didn’t have enough time to go there for dinner!
Belfast City Hall / Belfast highlights
The Best cocktails in Belfast
Babel – Bullitt Hotel: love this bar with a beautiful ‘garden’ rooftopbar and tasty drinks!
Love & Death Bar: number 1 spot for cocktails in the city
The Tipsy Bird: stunning interior!
Grand Central Hotel Belfast: the highest cocktail bar in Ireland with an amazing view over Belfast. I took the first photo of this blogpost there!
The Dirty Onion / bars and restaurants
Best pubs in Belfast
The Filthy Quarter: I loved this spacious pub with live music and a laid-back vibe. A really cosy and fun place for a night out!
The Dirty Onion: located in the oldest building in Belfast, build in 1780. An authentic and warm Irish pub with a modern twist. On the first floor you find Yardbird: a rotisserie, where you can satisfy your chicken craving.
The Duke of York: the most famous pub in Belfast located in the heart of Cathedral Quarter.
Muriel’s Cafe Bar: specialised in gin.
The Spaniard: specialised in rum.
Other great options are: The Perch, Fibber Magees, Bittles Bar, Sunflower, Kelly’s Cellar and The Crown Liquor Saloon.