The Best of Belfast and Beyond

One of the things I was most anxious about was driving in Ireland. Or should I say backseat driving.  Thankfully, we were traveling with a friend who is not just a brave soul but a borderline daredevil thought of it as a fun challenge to drive a manual car through the countryside. Leaving Dublin we only had one near death experience but once we got out of the city it was pretty easy to navigate the roads. Especially from the back seat! 

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The drive to Belfast was beautiful and we stopped along the way to take photos and took our time getting there. We finally arrived early evening in time for dinner.  The tourist highlights in Belfast are the black taxi tours which covers most of the political history with the IRA, City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol prison, and of course the birthplace of the Titanic ship.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

All of these tours can be done in one day and then you need to spend an entire day doing the Antrim Coast. Here is the schedule I recommend.

  • Grab an early breakfast and head out to the Dark Hedges for an 8:30am arrival. Even arriving this early there was already a tour bus there but thankfully they were far enough down where we got some photos with minimal tourist in them. If you aren’t a GoT fan, you could skip it but we enjoyed seeing it since it was such a huge attraction.

The Dark Hedges from GoT.

The Dark Hedges from GoT.

From the Dark Hedges you can drive a short  20 minutes to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Once you cross allow yourself a little bit of time to enjoy these views. 

From the rope bridge it’s another short 20 minute drive to Giants Causeway.   Giants Causeway was fascinating but very crowded as expected since we were traveling during high season. I personally like the rope bridge better. If you’re in a situation where you have to choose between the two options definitely go rope bridge. 

Giants Causeway Tip: you pay to park and pay to enter through the visitor center. If you want to avoid both cost you can park down by the train station which is just a short walk up to the visitor center. Parking at the train station is just a few bucks and you can enter the causeway up the grassy hill for free instead of paying to go to the visitors center. Either way you end up at the same place. We didn’t feel the need for a causeway souvenir.

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And now that you know what you are going to do, let’s talk about what you should eat and drink in Belfast!

If you are looking for a good steak try James Street and Co

If you need that fish and chips fix, visit the Crown Liquor Saloon which dates back to 1880.

Looking for a cute breakfast place? Try Harlem Cafe- French toast is amazing!

Just because you are in Ireland doesn’t mean you should skip the Italian at one of the cutest cafes I ever did see! The Chubby Cherub- Try the brick oven pizza, lasagna, or mama’s salad. You also can’t go wrong with a cocktail in a glass you will swoon over.

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And before I forget, let me tell you about where you should absolutely spend 2 or 3 nights in Belfast.

Grand Central Hotel Belfast you were dreamy!

This 5 star hotel located in the city center is just steps away from shopping, restaurants, and those old pubs you must try. Also give yourself some time to walk around and enjoy the city center.

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Grand Central Hotel Belfast

Grand Central Hotel Belfast

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Rachel Lackey