Shrouded in myths and legends, the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland is a land of tales worth telling. With decades of history lining her paved streets and preserved architecture, in recent years Belfast has quickly become one of the hottest destinations in Europe worth visiting. 

For first time explorers, here are six of the attractions Belfast has to offer.

The hexagon rocks at the Northern Ireland

Titanic Belfast

Housed in an iconic, six-floor building, this state-of-the-art visitor experience tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.

Recently named the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, the museum which opened just in time for the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, allows visitors to walk in footsteps of the men who made her and explore the legacy of the liner through an immersive award-winning tour.

Titanic Belfast

Tour the murals

Emblematic of Belfast’s turbulent past, the political murals of the city paint a vivid picture of life at the time of The Troubles in Northern Ireland and is a must-see for anyone looking to gain an insight into how modern-day Belfast has come to be. 

Covering off areas such as the infamous Falls Road and Shankill Road as well as the city centre and the Europa Hotel – once known as the most bombed hotel in all of Europe, jump in one of the city’s iconic Black Taxi’s and let a knowledgeable driver take you on a drive back through history.

Belfast Dockers and carters strike mural near Shankill street in commemoration of the 1907 strike

Step into the football boots’ of George Best

Born in Belfast on 22 May 1946, George Best was one of the greatest players to ever kick a ball and today remains one of the cities favourite sons. 

Fans of the wing wizard with the pop star looks, who made his name at Manchester United, will want to take the self-guided George Best Trail and see the places that shaped the fifth Beatle.’

Points of interest include the Cregagh Estate, where George grew up, his favourite east Belfast haunts – including the ice cream parlour where he was partial to a slider’ – and final resting place at Roselawn Cemetery.

George Best family house in Burren road

Crumlin Road Gaol

Built-in 1845 to house prisoners tried at the courthouse across the street, Crumlin Road Gaol – also known as Europe’s Alcatraz – closed its doors on the 31 March 1996 before reopening as a major visitor attraction on the 19 November 2012.

Today you can take a tour of this historic landmark building, with a Blue Badge guide, and learn about when women and children were held within its walls through to the political segregation of republican and loyalist prisoners.

Crumlin Road Gaol

The C.S. Lewis Trail

Did you know that CS Lewis was born in and inspired by Belfast? 

Fans of the Chronicles of Narnia author can take a self-guided tour of his childhood spots. Starting from The Searcher sculpture, based on the character from The Magician’s Nephew, you’ll visit the literary giant’s birthplace, school and some of the places that inspired his most famous work.

Cs lewis square

Giant’s Causeway

Technically, this isn’t actually in Belfast but a visit to Northern Ireland would not be complete without visiting the Giant’s Causeway.

According to legend, Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill had a long-standing rivalry with Scottish big man Benandonner. One day after a long battle of swapping insults, Fionn built a path to use as stepping-stones to reach Scotland and come head to head with his arch nemesis. What we’re left with today is are the remnants of that bridge.

While scientists tend to disagree and instead identify the phenomena as 40,000 interlocking basalt columns formed from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the only way to decide: mysterious geological formation or giants?

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

For a deeper look at why Ulster should be on your bucket list, check out our other guides to Belfast.

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