There are plenty of gorgeous places to visit in Northern Ireland but you need to visit the places that don’t get much press or favourable press. Easily the most famous place in Northern Ireland is Belfast. There hasn’t been a decade gone by where it’s not in the news.
The city of Belfast has evolved from its rough past and has been transformed into a vibrant city with a lot of soul and character. It is the ideal city for the budget backpacker, as it is cheaper than London or Dublin but has plenty of interesting things to see and do.
The city has a thriving and edgy vibe, lots of cheap accommodation and lots of young travellers. The nightlife in Belfast is exciting and much less pretentious and expensive than the city cities such as London.
If you are visiting Belfast on a small travel budget, you won’t find a shortage of things to do. The city is just the right size so that it is easy to walk around between the major sites on foot. The best time to visit the city is during the summer, when people will be sitting in the outdoor patios of the bars and festivals will be in full swing.
Here are a few of the budget options for activities to enjoy when you are visiting Belfast:
See the Famous Belfast Murals
You don’t have to pay admission to see some of the most interesting artwork in Belfast, as it can be seen on the side of buildings and houses all over the city. The famous political murals of Belfast were painted during The Troubles and are powerful visual statements of the ideologies of either side involved in the conflict. Be sure to take a pamphlet or a book around with you so that you understand the cultural and political context of each mural.
Listen to Irish Folk Music in a Pub
In almost any pub in Belfast you will have the opportunity to hear some excellent live music for merely the cost of a pint. Many pubs will host free sessions featuring local bands. It’s a great opportunity to hear some authentic Irish music and really enjoy the lively atmosphere of the city’s nightlife. Don’t be afraid to get up and dance!
Take a Free Tour of City Hall
Located in the centre of the city in Donegal Square, the city hall of Belfast is one of the most interesting architectural specimens in the city. There are free tours offered which will tell you all about the history of the oak council chamber, the grand staircase and the ornate domed roof. This is a great way to learn a bit more about the history of the city.
Talk to the Animals at Belfast Zoo
According to Steve Masters of the GetAwayChief, for only 10 euros you can spend the afternoon hanging out with all sorts of furry, scaly and feathered creatures at the Belfast Zoo. There are over 130 different species here at this 55-acre zoo, including flamingos, zebras and monkeys. The zoo is an important sanctuary for endangered species and they run breeding programs for rare animals.
Go On a Sweet Shop Tour
Have you got a sweet tooth? Then you will love Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory. This old Belfast building looks exactly like it did in 1953 and the handcrafted sweets made here are simply delicious. For only 5 euros you can take a tour of the candy factory and see how the tasty treats are handcrafted from 100-year-old recipes. Be sure to take some treats home for your friends and family!
These are just a few of the cheap things that you can do while visiting the city of Belfast. You don’t need a big travel budget to enjoy this great city, just a sense of adventure!
With so many cheap places to stay in Belfast and a wide range of affordable things to do, Belfast is an ideal city for the budget backpacker.