For this episode of Rick Steves Over Brunch, Chris Mitchell (travelingmitch) and I chat about the Rick Steves’ Europe episode “Belfast and the Best of Northern Ireland.” We’ll talk about how amazing a full Irish breakfast is, discuss the changes Belfast has undergone in the fifteen years since this episode was shot, and marvel at Rick’s solid jacket choices. Rick Steves’ Northern Ireland and Belfast tips are second to none, but we dig in and focus on how times have changed since the episode came out.
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Stephanie’s Belfast and Northern Ireland Travel Tips
Don’t Skip the History
Belfast is a city with a complicated history! Don’t skip learning about the history, whether it’s on a Black Cab tour, a walking tour, or even the main double-decker bus tour.
Take a Road Trip on the Antrim Coast
See the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Giant’s Causeway, but also stop to see Dunluce Castle, the Dark Hedges from the Game of Thrones, and many other sites along the way. Give yourself enough time to stop and take pictures, because you’ll never know how often you’ll see something beautiful until you get there.
Stay in a Historic Castle or Country Home instead of a Megachain
Some of my fondest memories in Ireland and Northern Ireland have been at historic country homes, roadside bed and breakfasts, and castle hotels. In the episode, I mentioned staying at Ardtara, a gorgeous country home in Northern Ireland where my room had its own fireplace. It was stunning and so cozy! I also mentioned working with Ireland’s Blue Book, which is a fabulous collection of historic castles and homes you can stay in while in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Belfast isn’t a Hidden Gem anymore, but it’s less Touristy than Dublin
If you’re looking to escape crowds of tourists, Belfast is easier to blend into the crowd than Dublin. Tourists seek out Belfast more purposefully, so you’ll find smaller crowds and more seasoned travelers there.