Looking for the best area to stay in Belfast? Well you’re in the right place. In this Belfast neighbourhood guide we’ll explain the layout of the city and give you some awesome accommodation recommendations.
There’s also essential info on how to stay safe in Belfast and helpful details on how to easily get around the city. Plus we’ll let you know what tourist attractions are nearby in each ‘best Belfast neighbourhood to stay in’ so you can really make the most out of your visit.
Best Area To Stay in Belfast
With The Troubles era behind it, Belfast has it’s sights firmly set on the future and is grabbing tourism opportunities with both hands. Over recent years an exceptional foodie and varied nightlife scene has developed across the city. There’s also loads of briliant museums and galleries.
Lots of investment has gone into some of the previously run down, lesser attractive areas. In particular the harbour area has been completely transformed in one of Europe’s largest urban waterfront regeneration projects and now attracts over 3.6 million visitors per year.
With the aim of promoting specific aspects of Belfast’s history and culture, the tourism board has also set about highlighting distinctive cultural zones. Of which there are currently nine in total. In this blog post we’ll be covering the most popular ones when it comes to the best area to stay in Belfast.
Where To Stay in Belfast
Best For: Restaurants, Arts & Shopping
Once the headquarters of Ireland’s global linen industry, innovation has always been crucial to this central area of Belfast. And what were once huge industrial factories and warehouses in the Linen Quarter have now been transformed into a dynamic hospitality scene.
Otherwise known as the Gateway to Belfast, this part of the city is buzzing with trendy cafes and restaurants, local shops, exciting arts facilities and top hotels. Over summer there’s even street ambassadors knocking about to provide a warm presence and signpost tourists.
Linen Quarter Tourist Attractions:
- Belfast City Hall
- The Crown Liquor Saloon
- The Golden Mile
- Grand Opera House
Recommended Apartment | The Flint
These 4 star apartment style suites come with a king size bed, seating area, private bathroom and fully equipped kitchenette with a fridge and dishwasher. There’s a 24 hour front desk, secure parking nearby and laundry facilities. Reviews consistently say how lovely staff are.
Recommended Hotel | Europa Hotel
This 4 star hotel is situated on Belfast’s Golden Mile, right beside the Grand Opera House and opposite the Crown Bar. Rooms are spacious with elegant decor, seriously comfy beds and gorgeous city views. There’s secure parking nearby and the option of a delicious breakfast.
Best For: Cultural Venues & Vibrant Nightlife
Known as the beating heart of Belfast, the Cathedral Quarter is a cultural and nightlife hotspot. It’s a full on maze of cobblestoned streets jam packed an abundance of bars, cafes, restaurants, galleries and museums.
In this part of the city you’ll find everything from fine dining to comfortable cafes and theatre houses to dance studios. There’s loads of beautiful historic buildings, but also a modern edge with colourful street art providing a nod to it’s artistic side.
Cathedral Quarter Tourist Attractions:
Recommended Hotel | The Merchant Hotel
This gorgeous 5 star hotel is a grade I listed building and dates back to 1860. It’s vibe is old world grandeur meets first class service. There’s spacious bathrooms with free standing baths and a vast breakfast menu. The real luxury though is the rooftop spa and hot tub.
Recommended Apartment | City Centre Penthouse
When it comes to where to stay in Belfast, this simple and central apartment has everything you need to enjoy a comfortable stay. There’s two double bedrooms, a fully equipped kicthen complete with a washing machine and paid parking a short walk away.
Best For: Entertainment & Harbour Views
Located by the city docks, as mentioned a recent large-scale waterfront regeneration here has sculptured an exciting and upcoming new zone. There’s hotels, entertainment venues and museums. Plus two big film studios, Belfast Harbour Studios and Titanic Studios.
Accommodation in the Titanic Quarter has stunning views out over the waterfront. The Odyssey Complex houses a cinema and bowling alley. Plus the SSE Arena, which is the home of elite ice hockey team The Belfast Giants, is a regular host for international shows and tours.
Titanic Quarter Tourist Attractions:
Recommended Hotel | Titanic Hotel Belfast
Highlights of this Belfast hotel are it’s modern art deco theme, gorgeous bathrooms and views over the harbour. They do a beaut of an Irish brekkie – with room service if you’re feeling lazy. With family rooms and even a babysitting service available it’s also perfect for families.
Recommended Apartment | Belfast Marina Barge
This unusual accomodation is high up on the where to stay in Belfast list. Moored in Belfast Harbour Marina, yes this is an actual boat. There’s two fully independent berths, each with its own entrance, facilities and outdoor patio. They sleep 4, pets are allowed and there’s parking.
Best For: Younger Crowd & Multiculturalism
Named so after the resident Queen’s University, naturally this option for the best area to stay in Belfast has a younger crowd. There’s lots of cool coffee shops, music and comedy venues, plus some gorgeous Botanical Gardens. Don’t miss the Tropical Ravine and Palm House.
The Golden Mile stretches from the Linen Quarter, just at the side of Belfast Ciy Hall, to the Queen’s Quarter. So you can easily have a wander down even if not staying here. There’s also lots of designer shops on neighbouring Lisburn Road if that’s something you enjoy.
Queen’s Quarter Tourist Attractions:
Recommended Hotel | The Harrison Chambers of Distinction
This Belfast hotel simply oozes elegance. If you’re looking to treat yourself this it it. There’s a variety of room sizes, each with unique decor, beautiful furniture and huge windows. There’s also free private parking and an exceptional breakfast available on request.
Recommended Apartment | Yellow Hive Boutique Stay
Compact but comfortable, this ground floor apartment has everything you need when it comes to where to stay in Belfast. There’s two double bedrooms and a modern kitchen with washing machine. There’s also the bonus of a small outdoor area plus free public parking nearby.
Best For: Irish Culture & Something Different
This is a relatively new Belfast Quarter as far as tourism in the city is concerned, however it’s rapidly gaining popularity due to it’s authentic Irish feel. The Gaeltecht Quarter (which means Irish speaking) is the area to the west of the city centre surrounding Falls Road.
Wandering round the streets here you will indeed hear the Irish language being spoken. Despite tourists being welcomed into this area of Belfast to celebrate and experience Irish music and culture, political sensitivity is still a must and the area isn’t as busy at night.
Gaeltacht Quarter Tourist Attractions:
- Cultúrlann Culture & Arts Centre
- Bobby Sands Mural
- Divis Summit Trail
- Clonard Monastery
Recommended Apartment | Broadway Belfast
This modest but modern apartment is great for a Belfast getaway with family or friends. It has three bedrooms and sleeps 6, there’s a fully equipped kitchen with washing machine and an outside terrace area. Pets are allowed. And there’s free on street parking right outside.
Recommended Apartment | The Cozy Homestay
Ideal for a larger group, this newly renovated house has four bedrooms over three floors and sleeps 8. There’s a spacious living area with bothcomfortable seating a dining table. Pets are allowed, theres’s an enclosed garden, a washing machine and free on street parking.
Is Belfast Safe?
When it comes to crime, Belfast is genuinally one of the the safest capital cities in the world. You would have to be extremely unlucky to experience anything untoward as a tourist here. Low level petty crime is really very uncommon when compared to the rest of the UK.
In terms of any political unrest between Nationalist Catholic and Loyalist Protestant groups, instances are very few and far between. Over the summer there are sometimes clashes during the politcal parades that happen so they are best given a wide berth if visiting then.
Certain aspects of the city, such as the high security defences around police stations and intimidating gated peace walls can still look quite scary to a first time visitor. But these days they are very much a hang over from the past.
Nevertheless political sensitivity is a must. Don’t bring up local politics or religion unless you know it safe to do so. And it’s best to avoid wandering too far off the main roads of the still divided communities along Falls Road and Shankhill Road areas after dark.
It’s a good idea to avoid wearing anything that would align with either side of The Troubles conflict too. So things that obviously promotes Britishness, Scottishness or Irishness. And also merchandise from the (Catholic) Celtic and (Protestant) Rangers local football clubs.
How To Get Around Belfast
It’s a compact city, so when it comes to the best area to stay in Belfast, you’re really not very far from each of them. Aswell as being very safe, it’s also a very walkable city so you can just explore everywhere on foot.
If you do prefer there is however an excellent local bus service, or you can jump on the hop-on-hop-off tourist bus. Of course there are also taxis and Uber. In terms of gettng from the airports, both have dedicated express bus services running.
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Yorkshire born & bred, Sarah is a professional blogger who loves to travel. Pushing her boundaries with new adventures is her jam, so you likely won’t find her in one place for too long. Also a serious Marmite addict.