The Northern Ireland peace process has brought about a significant rise in the number of tourists visiting Belfast. As with most European cities, the main attractions in Belfast itself are easy to walk to, so what about places to visit beyond the city?
Do you need a car in Belfast?
Public transport limitations
GB Railcard note
Beyond Belfast & Northern Ireland
Conclusion — Do you need a car in Belfast? Despite some useful bus connections to supplement the handful of railway routes which are on offer, public transport options in and around Belfast are still relatively limited, and the best attractions in the region are landscapes rather than cities.
This makes our verdict lean heavily towards recommending getting a hire car.
Verdict — yes (strong)
Note — it is easy to pick up a hire car at either Belfast International or Belfast George Best city airport. If you don’t plan on getting a hire car, you’re better off flying into Belfast city airport, which is much closer to central Belfast. You can even take a short shuttle bus journey to nearby Sydenham station to start onward rail journeys within Northern Ireland. For getting to the city centre, it is quicker to take a taxi or shuttle bus. Belfast City airport has a wider network of domestic flights from the rest of the UK, whereas Belfast International has more flights from mainland Europe.
Belfast and Northern Ireland Local transport links:
- Northern Ireland public transport map (Translink)
- Translink home – for trains and bus services in and around Belfast.
- Belfast International Airport (BFS) – official page.
- Belfast George Best City Airport (BHD) – official page.
- Enterprise trains from Belfast to Dublin.
- Bus Eireann – bus services into neighbouring cities in the Irish Republic.