How To Reach Belfast
Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland, located on the banks of the River Lagan and situated along the eastern coast of the country. A city that has been a former industrial powerhouse and also suffers from a troubled past, Belfast gained resounding popularity after being identified as the birthplace of the ill-fated cruise liner Titanic. While Belfast witnesses a lot of influx from visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the origins of the Titanic, the city has moulded itself into a town that is now known for so much more than its history. Explore Belfast and its versatile nature by getting to know the city’s culture, its museums and its lovely gardens. Here are all the top ways to reach Belfast.
Belfast is home to two airports. The George Best Belfast City Airport is a domestic airport located close to the city centre and serves flights to and from cities within Ireland and the British Isles. The Belfast International Airport is located a little farther away from the city centre and connects Belfast to all other major cities across the world. Travellers from India will need to book connecting flights to Belfast since there are no direct connections between the two regions. The terminals at both airports of Belfast are served by buses and cabs to take you to the city.
The main train station in Belfast is the Great Victoria Street Station. This station also has an adjoining bus station called the Europa Bus Centre, and the train section only operates domestic passenger rail service to four regions around Belfast – Portadown, Bangor, Larne and Derry. The Northern Ireland Railways operates these four routes.
If you are looking to travel to Belfast from any other city or town across Ireland, the only way to do so is via Dublin. The Enterprise Train operates rail services to and from Dublin’s Connolly Station to the Lanyon Station in Belfast. The train runs eight times between the two cities every day and the journey takes just over two hours.
- Stena Line connects the Port of Belfast to Stranraer in Scotland and Larne (accessible from Belfast by bus and train) to Liverpool.
- P&O Irish Sea connects Larne to Troon in Scotland.
- Norfolk Line offers crossings to Birkenhead near Liverpool.
Travellers coming to Belfast on a cruise ship can get bus services from the port to the city centre and vice-versa. Sail & Rail tickets, which combine train and ferry tickets and are a considerably cheaper option, are available from most railway stations across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Reaching Belfast via bus from anywhere in Northern Ireland is a wonderfully scenic and also very convenient option since most of the cities and towns in the region are linked via the Ulsterbus service. All the routes between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are operated by Ulsterbus and Bus Eireann, which also includes daily routes from Dublin to Belfast. If travelling from the Great Britain mainland, the National Express runs daily bus connections to almost all cities and towns here. Travellers from Dublin can simply book day trips to Belfast on Wednesdays and the weekend, which is a great way to explore Belfast on a quick trip and get back to the capital on the same day.
Belfast is very well connected to Northern Ireland through its wide road network and those travelling via car will also have no trouble in reaching the city. Apart from the three motorways – M1, M2 and M22 – the country is also well served with trunk roads. Crossings between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are well-marked with signposts and road markings.
While Belfast is small enough for seasoned travellers to explore on foot, the city does have its own urban bus network with several routes that cover most major spots in Belfast. However, these buses do not run at night and if you do need to travel, the only option available is the taxis. For those on a short trip to Belfast, try the open-top ‘Belfast Sightseeing’ buses that let you tour the city in a span of just 2 hours. Black Taxi tours of Belfast are also a good option for those who would prefer to travel at their own leisure and for whom travel costs aren’t much of an issue.