Tucked away in Northern Ireland, this city was ready to be discovered! Boasting a rich history and an array of delightful dining spots, Belfast offered an indelible weekend escape that I suggest to those seeking a break from Dublin. Our three-day adventure up north provided a substantial glimpse into the charms of Belfast leaving us eager to uncover even more of its treasures! Read more about what you can do in 3 days along with 5 food reccomendations!
Here are some things to do in Belfast for a 3-day weekend:
Day 1: Check-in and Get Out
We arrived in the afternoon, quickly checked into our hotel, and then went out to see the city! Our first day in Belfast led us to a classic yet captivating choice: the hop-on hop-off bus tour. While it may seem like a typical tourist activity, we knew it was the perfect way to immerse ourselves in the city's essence and learn about its history. Despite being my third visit to Belfast, I eagerly anticipated the tour once again, and it did not disappoint! The witty and knowledgeable bus drivers added a delightful touch as we embarked on our journey through the city's heart. From the moment we stepped onto the charming double-decker, we were transported into Belfast's past and present. Iconic landmarks like City Hall and the Peace Wall unfurled before us, accompanied by engaging narratives from our guide. Embracing the flexibility of the hop-on hop-off concept, we disembarked at various stops, each revealing a unique facet of the city. The historic Crumlin Road Gaol left us pondering its tales of bygone eras, while St. George's Market immersed us in the local culture, a true feast for the senses. The highlight was undoubtedly Titanic Belfast, a testament to the city's maritime heritage and a marvel of architecture. As the River Lagan glimmered beside us, we were reminded of Belfast's transformation and renewed vibrancy. The hop-on hop-off bus tour had not only unveiled the city's treasures but also left us eagerly anticipating more discoveries in the days ahead.
Day 2: Going outside the city center
The next day we embarked on an easy journey from Belfast to two iconic Northern Irish wonders: Carrick-a-Rede and Giant's Causeway. The ease of access from Belfast makes this adventure a must-do for travelers seeking to witness the country's breathtaking landscapes and immerse themselves in its rich history.
Carrick-a-Rede, located along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route, is your first stop. A short drive from Belfast, this enchanting site is renowned for its rope bridge that connects the mainland to the tiny Carrick Island. Originally built by salmon fishermen in the 18th century, the bridge now offers adventurers a thrilling experience and unparalleled views of the azure waters below. As you cross the swaying bridge, you'll be surrounded by the rugged coastline, where dramatic cliffs and vibrant wildflowers create a scene straight from a postcard.
Continuing along the Causeway Coastal Route, you'll arrive at the world-famous Giant's Causeway. A geological wonder steeped in myth and folklore, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a testament to the power of nature's artistic hand. The Causeway's hexagonal basalt columns, formed by ancient volcanic activity, create a mesmerizing landscape that has inspired tales of giants and magical beings for centuries. Stroll along the intricately patterned stones, marvel at the towering cliffs, and breathe in the briny sea air as you delve into the geological history that shaped this unique spectacle.
The weather was perfect, the hike was light, and both stops are about 20 minutes from eachother. *Pro tip: book your visit ahead of time online because they are quick to fill up!
As our journey drew to a close, we opted for a leisurely day in town, soaking in the local culture and atmosphere. The streets buzzed with activity as the much-awaited PRIDE parade painted the town with vibrant colors and joyous celebrations. Immersed in the festive spirit, we joined the lively crowds, connecting with the community and reveling in the inclusive vibes. Amidst our exploration, we ventured into charming eateries, quaint boutiques and shops, and found some real hidden gems! We reluctantly embarked on our journey back to Dublin. Yet, the allure of discovery remained, leading us to a brief detour in Newry, where we continued to shop for a bit while on a driving break.
Here are 5 food reccomendations:
Ox: Renowned for its modern Irish cuisine and impeccable service, Ox offers a sophisticated dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients.
Mourne Seafood Bar: Seafood lovers will relish the fresh catches and delightful flavors served at Mourne Seafood Bar, where the emphasis is on high-quality, sustainably sourced seafood.
The Muddlers Club: This stylish restaurant combines innovative dishes with a cozy atmosphere, making it a favorite among those seeking a unique and memorable dining experience.
Home Restaurant: With a warm and welcoming ambiance, Home Restaurant delivers comfort food elevated to gourmet levels, showcasing the best of Irish flavors and hospitality.
Hadskis: Set in a historic building, Hadskis impresses with its rustic charm and inventive dishes, offering a diverse menu that highlights local and seasonal ingredients.