1. Take the Bike Tour
OK, we are biased but taking a bike tour when you first get to any new city (especially Belfast) is the best thing you can do. A local expert with good knowledge of the city and great recommendations shows you the ropes. In the case of Belfast, it is flat and intimate, with lots of hidden alleyways, pubs and parts of the city you couldn’t find any other way. So doing a bike tour on the first day is a no-brainer. Our bike tour sets off from the Titanic Quarter and covers the Titanic Slipways, the Cathedral Quarter, street art and murals, the Peace Wall, the City Hall and St. Georges market among many other points of interest. We often stop for coffee or a quick drink along the way. The Belfast Bike Tour is the best way to get outside and see what the city has to offer.
2. St. Georges Market
St. George’s market is a must when visiting Belfast. The market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am, but get there quickly because it closes at 2pm. The market is lively and atmospheric, with food from around the world and fantastic local artists showing paintings and other artwork. There is fresh food from local butchers, grocers and fishmongers. Some of the favourites of the Belfast Bike Tours include Lagan Ribs and the Seafood Chowder. Trying some of the local delicacies like an Ulster fry or soda bread should be on your list, too. The market features live music from local bands and is a great way to start the day in Belfast.
3. Traditional Irish Pub and Music
Belfast is unique in that it has some fantastic Victorian and Edwardian architecture coupled with beautiful, traditional Irish pubs. The Irish pub is renowned worldwide for its atmosphere and friendly laid-back approach. Belfast has several traditional Irish pubs dating back as far as 400 years ago. On Belfast Bike Tours we like to take a stop at some of our favourites along the way, soaking up some of the atmosphere and making it a point of note for guests to come back in the evening. Kelly’s Cellar and Whites Tavern are two of our favourites and we consider them both to have some of the finest pints of Guinness anywhere in the city (and we’ve tried pretty much all of them).
4. Visit Belfast’s Famous Peace Wall
Belfast’s city centre is an upbeat, fashionable and atmospheric place and it would be easy to stay in Belfast and not find out about its recent history (the troubles). While Belfast has moved on in recent times its history through the 1970s and the 1980s is incredibly interesting. Most locals don’t want to dwell too much on the negative aspects of Belfast’s history but there is no doubt, that the troubles are incredibly compelling and visiting the Peace Wall and some of the surrounding areas cannot fail to stir emotion in visitors from around the world. On Belfast Bike Tours we make a point of visiting the Peace Wall and giving or guests some of the history which we have all lived through, but we always like to point out that it is one aspect of the great city of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Remembering the past gives us hope for the future.
5. Take in The Green Space and fresh Air
Ireland is known for its rolling hills and green fields. You don’t have to go too far from Belfast to find open green spaces, such as the beautiful botanical gardens in South Belfast or Stormont Gardens in the east. There are also beautiful towpaths which run along the river Lagan. Along these paths you’re able to walk or cycle (a favourite thing to do for Belfast Bike Tours) for up to 20 miles completely free from traffic, venturing into the great Irish countryside. There are plenty of cafes, pubs and sites of historic interest along the way. We recommend stopping in for a quick pint at Bob Stewarts traditional pub or travelling the length of the towpath to reach Hilden Brewery where a nice cold pint will be waiting.