Planning a trip to the birthplace of the Titanic? Here is the perfect one day in Belfast itinerary that checks off the important landmarks, and sites.
Even if you have just a day in Belfast, be assured it will be a wonderful experience that will leave you wanting to come back again.
That said, in the limited time at your disposal, all you have to do is carefully pick and choose which Belfast city attractions you want to experience the most, travel slowly, and spend the maximum time in the place of your preference.
Perfect One Day in Belfast Itinerary: Belfast City Trip Preparation
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Belfast is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast of Ireland. It’s a city of contrasts, where old and new sit side by side.
Belfast is a city with a rich and complex history. From its days as a major industrial hub, the birthplace of the RMS Titanic to the more recent Troubles, Belfast has seen it all.
A visit to Belfast is not complete without learning about its past. There are many ways to do this, including guided tours, walking tours, and museums, and we will cover all the highlights below
Things to do in Belfast in one day: Belfast Itinerary
- Saint George’s Market
- Belfast City Hall
- Black Taxi City Tour
- Titanic Quarter
- Crumlin Road Gaol
- Cathedral Quarter
Getting to Belfast Northern Ireland, UK
Belfast lies within Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom. The local currency, therefore, is not euros but British pounds.
Getting to the city couldn’t be easier, as Belfast has two airports, a sea connection from Scotland and England, and a direct train link from Dublin.
The Belfast Visitor Pass is your ticket to save time and money and with your one day pass for £6, you can explore most of this vibrant city, in addition to a wealth of discounts on key attractions, cultural venues, shops, and restaurants.
Where to stay in Belfast
If you are looking to spend the night in Belfast after your day of sightseeing, the Clayton Hotel will tick all the boxes. Not only is the staff warm and welcoming, but Titanic Belfast and other attractions are also all within walking distance.
The room was spacious and I am sure you will have a good night’s rest on a comfortable bed. Book your stay here
Alternatively, a centrally located hostel will cost as low as £15 and a night’s stay at the Europa Hotel will come to around £180.
Belfast is an ideal solution for a short vacation, so here is a perfect itinerary for your twenty-four hours in the city.
Pro tip: You may want to visit during the weekend because that is when the best attractions are open for extended hours.
Saint George’s Market (09:00 am to 10:00 am)
On weekends the St George’s Market is the soul of Belfast and the best way to begin your Belfast day trip itinerary is at this amazing place.
Hundreds of outlets here sell everything from antiques to candy and seafood allowing you to taste the very essence of Belfast.
This bustling market located on May street is the only surviving local indoor Victorian market in Belfast and a firm favorite with the locals.
Vintage vendors set up stalls at times where you can score great deals on some handmade items and eclectic jewelry.
- Address: St George’s Market, East Bridge St, Belfast BT1 3NQ, United Kingdom
- Hours: Fridays 8:00 am to 2:00 pm | Saturday: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm | Sunday: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
- Entry: Free
Tip: If you are visiting on a weekday, plan to spend more time at the City Hall gardens listed below (little picnic of sorts)
Belfast City Hall (10:00 am to 11:00 am)
From the market, the City Hall is just a short minute’s stroll. This civic building was opened to the public in 1906 and I found the myths, stories, and stained glass windows quite fascinating.
The City Hall offers free tours every day. They are offered on a first-come and first-serve basis. Tours are led by an experienced guide, and they last about an hour and include the history of Belfast City Hall and its finest features.
You can enter at the main door, and then confirm your spot on the next available tour. Worth it, if you like visiting administrative/parliamentary buildings!
The monumental building complex has the Titanic Memorial Garden on its eastern wing, where the 1512 victims of the shipwreck are commemorated on bronze plates.
- Address: Donegall Square N, Belfast BT1 5GS, United Kingdom
- Hours: Weekdays: 09:30 am to 5:00 pm | Weekends: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Entry: Free
Black Taxi City Tour (11:00 am to 12:30 pm)
If you have only a day in Belfast the number one thing to do is to go on a Black Taxi Tour for general insight into the famous sights with a political angle.
Belfast was the epicenter of tension for many years and the stories about the IRA, UVF, Protestants, etc were true eye-openers.
On this tour, your guide will be someone who lived through the turbulent years of ‘The Troubles’ and share the experience.
This ninety-minute political black taxi tour will provide you with all the gory details of the spots where people were either gunned down or blown up in the tragic struggle.
The tour is fascinating and you will be stunned and shocked by what happened in this country. Do not be afraid to ask all the burning questions.
Our tour guide was such an amazing person and he did a great job in describing the history of both Belfast and Dublin, and how popular music and literature have connected the people over the years.
Top tip: If you are planning to visit Belfast for a day you will really need to book your Black Taxi Tour ticket in advance, and as soon as possible so you can skip the long lines that form during busy periods.
Book: Black Taxi Tours here
Lunch (12:30 pm to 01:30 pm)
There are some fantastic lunch spots around the Belfast City Centre. For delicious Naples-styled pizzas head to the Little Wing, but if you are looking for locally sourced cuisine the Havana Bank Sq is the perfect place for a tasty afternoon bite.
Titanic Quarter (2:00 pm to 04:00 pm)
In the afternoon, head to the Titanic Quarter voted the “World’s Best Tourist Attraction” of 2017.
Many people may not be aware that the Titanic ship was built in Belfast and Titanic Belfast shows how it was done and details about the people who bought the fateful tickets, the conditions, and how it sank.
Additionally, there is a huge projection of the wreck site which one can explore.
Tickets are £19.50, but well worth the price and trust me, you won’t regret the visit.
Even if you have no interest in Titanic, the museum will leave you spellbound. It is worth budgeting three hours, but since you are on a schedule, you may have to skim a lot.
If you have the time and the inclination, you can opt for the Titanic Visitor Experience, a compelling and authoritative 1.5-2.5 hour narration of the world’s most famous story – from the shipyard where Titanic was built to the launch and its final resting place after the sinking.
The Titanic Visitor Experience is worth it, and it will keep your afternoon busy!
- Address: Titanic Queen’s Road, The Titanic Quarter, 1 Olympic Way, Belfast BT3 9EP, United Kingdom
- Hours: Variable hours, depending on the season
- Entry: Ticket options here
Alternate activity – Crumlin Road Gaol (1:30 pm to 3:00 pm)
An alternative option is to do a tour at this 19th-century A-grade jail that is open to the public for tours, concerts, and events.
The Crum was the strictest jail that held prisoners since 1846. But it is known for its role in the detainment of Republicans and Loyalists during the Troubles.
This guided 70 minutes tour will showcase all aspects from the linking of the courthouse on one side of Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, hospital, and graveyard.
Here you will follow the footsteps of over 25,000 prisoners who witnessed births, deaths, executions, jailbreaks, and riots. You will also visit the cell of the condemned men where 17 men were executed.
Starting from the beginning, you will learn about the jail’s history and why this location was selected as a prison.
- Address: Crumlin Road Gaol Visitor Attraction and Conference Centre 53-55 Crumlin Rd, Belfast BT14 6ST, United Kingdom
- Hours: Opens seven days a week from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm
- Tickets: Adults £12/£10.80 online | Child (5-15). £7.50/£5 online | Seniors £10/£9 online . Book it online here
You will have a few hours before the next activity – you may return to your hotel for some rest and enjoy a steaming pot of afternoon tea with finger-licking sandwiches and sweet treats to prepare yourself for the evening ahead.
Cathedral Quarter (06:00 pm to 08:00 pm)
As the evening moves on, head to the hip Cathedral Quarter if you really want to see how Belfast has progressed since the years of political strife.
There are plenty of cool bars here but the ones I liked most were Harp Bar and the Dirty Onion. Harp Bar has amazing live music too!
As things begin to warm up, be prepared to enjoy a late and loud evening of debauchery.
Belfast is known for its street art and some of the best examples can be found in Cathedral Quarter which you won’t find in any art gallery. We found some of the creations truly incredible and worth checking out.
Dinner (08:00 pm to 09:00 pm)
Now that you are done with the sightseeing for the day, head for a traditional meal at Molly’s Yard, for excellent local cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. Located in the first microbrewery in Belfast and the smallest in Ireland.
The most popular drink here is the most popular liqueur in the world, Baileys, which is a product of Belfast.
Alternate tour recommendations for Belfast one day itinerary
Belfast is a small city and easy to navigate with all the top attractions just 20 minutes away from each other, and that too by foot.
So let’s look at some more tours which could be an ideal option from the ones described above.
Ulster Museum – Botanic Gardens
The Game of Thrones tapestry has put the Ulster Museum at the top of a Belfast itinerary. It is one of Belfast’s premier art galleries and is home to over 15,000 historical as well as contemporary works of art.
The museum is located within the Botanical Gardens, quite close to the help Botanic Avenue.
They are open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on all days except Monday when it is closed.
Belfast Murals Tour
If you are an art fan, there are two main ways to see the stunning art around Belfast: by a guided walk or traveling in a taxi accompanied by a guide to explain the importance of each and every illustration.
The most significant place on the tour will be the Peace Walls, followed by the places which witnessed The Troubles, including Shankill Road and Falls Road on either side of the Wall
The Belfast Murals Tour is a must-do if you want to learn about the divided area and what the murals of the Republicans and Loyalists represent.
Alternative Belfast Tour
This tour will take you well beyond the usual tourist destinations, right inside the heart and soul of the city.
The Alternative Belfast Tour will cover some underground sights, world-renowned street art, and haunting hangouts of the famous infamous.
You also get to see the landmarks of punks and sports stars and plenty of art deco architecture, which otherwise goes unnoticed on usual tours.
This free tour is tip-based and provides an excellent opportunity to experience Belfast and its alternative culture while paying only what you can.
Day trips from Belfast UK
Belfast is an excellent base for visiting many of the highlights of Northern Ireland, as not only there is good connectivity across the region but most guided day tours depart from Belfast itself.
Keeping this in mind, here are some of the best options for day trips from Belfast.
Giant’s Causeway Tour
Without an iota of a doubt, the day trip to the geological marvel, known as the Giant’s Causeway is one the most popular from Belfast.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is quite spectacular to behold with its series of hexagonal basalt columns linked together like a path heading to the sea.
You can gather a lot of information about the explanation of this geological formation at the excellent Giant’s Causeway Centre, located at the top of the hill.
The journey from Belfast takes about an hour to cover the 97 km (60 miles) distance to the causeway via the M2 motorway. Public transport is also available by bus number 221 which takes ninety minutes.
Finally, multiple tour companies offer small group trips to the Giant causeway, varying in length and time. You can also book a Causeway and Game of Thrones Tour here
If you are looking for some heart-pumping fun visit this dramatic red rope bridge located just fifteen minutes’ drive west of the causeway.
This thick suspension rope bridge is the only link from the mainland to the tiny island of Carrick-A-Rede for thousands of years.
Needless to say, walking over the strategically placed wooden planks, is not for the faint-hearted.
The bridge was constructed in 1755 by salmon fisher folk and is visited by millions of tourists every year.
On a good day, visitors can see dolphins frolicking in the sea waters, and if the conditions are perfect, Scotland is in the distance.
The Gobbins Cliff Path
This dramatic newly restored cliff path will have you walking along a cliff face in the company of a guide to experience some of the most spectacular coastal scenery of Northern Ireland, sea life, and birds.
The walk lasts roughly two and a half hours but must be booked in advance by phone or by email.
Gobbins is only 29 km (or 18 miles) east of Belfast and can be reached by car in just thirty minutes.
Your tour must be booked in advance and you need to park at the visitor centre before boarding a shuttle to the walk itself.
No guided tours from Belfast are available, so you either drive or use public transport.
Note: The tour does not run year-round and there can be cancellations due to the weather conditions. So check the official website before setting out.
Dublin is about 169 km (105 miles) from Belfast and takes two hours by car to reach.
The capital of the Republic of Ireland is a fun place and spending a day here will give you a good idea of what Dublin has to offer from tasting Irish whiskey and drinking lots of ale at the Guinness Storehouse.
Dublin’s beautiful architecture, old library rooms, and the party hub of the Temple Bar make it a must-visit city from Belfast, especially because of the good connectivity from Belfast.
Parking is expensive in Dublin, so we suggest you opt for the regular train or bus services from Belfast.
Visiting Belfast in a day: Sightseeing Map
Belfast travel tips and frequently asked questions
Belfast is located in Northern Ireland. It is part of the United Kingdom. If you are planning a visit to the UK, you can plan an itinerary to also explore England and Scotland.
The two official languages of Northern Ireland are English and Irish. English is widely spoken in Belfast.
British pounds (GBP) is the currency in N. Ireland.
The UK is not a part of the European Union. If you require a tourist visa to enter most European countries, then you have applied for a UK travel visa (not the Schengen Visa).
Passport holders from the USA and Canada can enter visa-free and stay in the UK for up to 6 months.
When planning a day trip to the Republic of Ireland or Dublin, however, a Schengen Visa is needed as it is part of the EU. During our day trips from Northern Ireland to Ireland, there were no border checks (Canadian Passports).
You will not need a passport to cross the border from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland and vice versa when driving or traveling by train or bus.
If you require a visa for either Ireland or the UK you must carry your passport with you, with the appropriate visa, when crossing the border.
Other quick tips for Belfast
- While in Belfast, one should not miss out on trying the Ulster Fry, a delicious concoction of fried tomatoes, fried eggs, baked beans, and black and white pudding washed down with a cup of builder’s tea.
- If this is your first trip, look for a hotel in the Cathedral Quarter in order to stay close to all the main attractions, including the good bars and restaurants which are all within easy walking distance.
- Belfast is a paradise for hikers and some of the best routes are in the rocky outcrops known as Napoleon’s Nose inside Cave Hill Country Park.
- Community pride is very high in Belfast and church attendance is common, however, religion is one topic of conversation which should be best avoided, except among friends.
Is Belfast safe? Safety in Belfast
The North Irish city is not considered to be unsafe anymore and violent incidents of crime and petty crime are low. However, like any city across the world, there are areas to be avoided and Belfast is no different.
At night, avoid the dimly lit areas of the Belfast City Centre and especially East Belfast, in particular Short Strand.
Moreover, Crumlin and Shankill road areas are not a good idea at night, so if you want to enjoy Belfast during the day, stick to the western part of the city. Common sense should always prevail.
What is a good budget for Belfast?
The best way to enjoy your day in Belfast is to plan ahead to budget for the experiences which are on top of your must-see list. You should plan to spend around £106 per day on your vacation to Belfast based on the spending of a mid-budget traveler.
The breakup includes £39 for food, £11 for local transport, and £109 for a hotel room for two people.
Again, if you are traveling in large numbers or with kids, the cost can come down as rooms can be shared and tickets for kids are discounted.
Plus guided tours and shopping are additional.
Plan to tip 10% when dining out unless there is a service charge included.
Was one day in Belfast enough?
While Belfast is loaded with unique attractions, it is an ideal place to visit for a one day break as it is remarkably compact.
You can check off the iconic landmarks, and then venture outside the city, as the rest of Northern Ireland is waiting for you!
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