With engaging visitor attractions, lively nightlife, and some of Northern Ireland’s most magnificent scenery on its doorstep, Belfast is perfect mini-break material. From exploring Titanic Belfast to mural-viewing in West Belfast to hitting Game of Thrones filming locations, here’s how we suggest you spend your 3-day break in Belfast.
The port city of Belfast was once a shipbuilding powerhouse, perhaps best known for producing the White Star Line’s RMS Titanic. Today the city’s shipbuilding heritage is most keenly remembered at the waterside Titanic Quarter—an excellent place to spend your first day.
Start at the high-tech Titanic Belfast. Explore interactive exhibitions chronicling the famous cruise ship’s construction, take a turn on the Shipyard Ride, and board the SS Nomadic, the Titanic’s tender ship. If you’re hungry for more Titanic connections, a walking tour of the area takes you to the Titanic slipways, the old Harland and Wolff drawing offices, and the floor of the sunken dry dock where the final touches were put on the mammoth cruise liner. Alternatively, explore the HMS Caroline, a World War I ship now permanently stationed here, or take a cruise out on the River Lagan. Later, pop into a waterfront restaurant for dinner and sunset views.
Use day two to learn about Belfast’s history, finding out about the events and influences that have helped shape the Northern Irish capital into its current form. Walking tours and hop-on hop-off bus tours take you past historical landmarks, such as Belfast City Hall, St. Anne’s Cathedral, and the Albert Clock.
Though the country has been at peace since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, evidence of its turbulent history is still visible on the streets, whether in the mural-strewn Shankill and Falls Road neighborhoods or at the still-standing Belfast Peace Walls. History-keen tourists can take a more in-depth look at the Troubles on black cab tours and historical walking tours, both of which check off key sights relating to the conflict.
Come evening, head to the Crown Liquor Saloon for a bite to eat. This historic pub boasts a Victorian-era interior featuring carved wood, stained glass, and patterned tiles.
Extending north from Belfast along the Antrim coastline, the Causeway Coastal Route shows off Northern Ireland’s most spectacular coastal scenery and cultural attractions. Set off on a day trip along the scenic roadway, stopping at the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the waterfalls of Glenariff Nature Reserve.
Fans of the HBO fantasy epic Game of Thrones can opt for a Causeway Coastal Route tour that stops at sites used as filming locations in the series. These tours typically pause at Dark Hedges (the tree tunnel where Arya Stark, disguised as a boy, fled King’s Landing) and Cushendun Caves (where Melisandre of Asshai birthed her shadow baby), and also include free time at the Giant’s Causeway.
Back in town, enjoy a night out in Belfast’s vibrant Cathedral Quarter, an atmospheric neighborhood packed with bars and restaurants.