Europe > United Kingdom > Belfast
See: Why rent a car in Belfast ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Belfast?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.
That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Belfast?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Belfast car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Belfast with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Belfast?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Belfast, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
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?
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season.
We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.
Belfast is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)
General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Belfast?
Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Belfast between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 5/10
Non car score:2/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
Why? Visiting Belfast using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Belfast ?
Do you need a car in Belfast?
Public transport limitations
GB Railcard note
Why not? Visiting Belfast without a car
Why don't you need a car in Belfast ?
Beyond Belfast & Northern Ireland
Ratings: How does Belfast compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Belfast? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Belfast, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Belfast? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Belfast (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Belfast? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Belfast airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Belfast car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 6
2019 - 7
2021 - 8
Average score - 7
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.
Do you or don't you need a car in Belfast ?