Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast can’t help but capture your heart with its electic mix of historic, street art covered city center, tasty eateries, artsy bars and interesting cultural offerings. I visited for a weekend in May and fell in love with the cities creative and historic vibe. Here are 9 reasons we think you should make it your next European city getaway.
1 – The Colourful Street Art Covering the Historic City Center.
The buildings of Belfast’s city center are covered with colorful murals and street art depicting politically charged messages which paint a picture of the problems the city has faced and is overcoming. For street art lovers its a great place to stroll around and explore the back streets with your camera.
2 – The Titanic Museum.
One of the most interesting museums I have ever visited! The Titanic Museum fills you in on everything Titanic, from how the making of the ship changed the face of the city, to living conditions on board, the details of the sinking and the survivors to how the ship is being restored today.
3 – The Artsy Bars and Unique Pubs.
Belfast is full of independently owned bar and pubs with a unique and artsy vibe. You can spend an afternoon trying out the different offerings and sampling the local beer of choice, Guinness! Two of the coolest places we found were old fashioned ‘The Crown Pub’ with mosaic filled interior and private, stable doored stalls, and ‘The Dirty Onion’ located inside Belfast’s oldest building.
4 – The Black Cab Tour.
Take ant black cab from the clock tower and ask them to drive you around Belfast’s historical and political hot-spots including the Easter Rising and Memorial Murals located in the housing estate’s just outside the city center. They provide an intimate insight into the hardships and troubles recently experienced by the people of Belfast and show their working effort for peace.
5 – The Street Markets.
The Victorian built Central Market is a great place to hit up for a selection of craft pieces and locally sources products and the open-air Food Market located around the City Hall has stalls serving incredible organic and locally sourced food. Its great for a quick lunch alfresco or for a snack in between sight seeing. Keep your eyes peeled while at the markets to see if you can spot statues depicting the characters of C.S Lewis’s Narnia.
6 – To Visit the Most Bombed Hotel in Europe.
The Europa Hotel, where dignitaries, prime ministers and presidents, including Bill Clinton, have stayed during their visits to Belfast, has suffered from 36 bomb attacks during the Northern Ireland political troubles and, incredibly, is still standing. Take a coffee in the hotel bar, see the rooms Bill Clinton and Marget Thatcher stayed in and see the exhibition about the bombings and the hotels incredible history.
7 – The Price Point.
Being a European capital city, I expected a weekend in Belfast to be in the same price range as London or Paris. However I was so surprised by how affordable everything is. You can eat out at amazing restaurants, bar hop around cool bars and experience a host of cultural activities each day all without breaking the bank!