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Where to Stay in Belfast

Illuminated Belfast City Hall at night, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Often when travellers plan a stay in Belfast, it’s either as part of an epic Irish road trip or it’s a convenient place to stop over when crossing the Atlantic. Most people that plan a city break in Belfast are from elsewhere in the UK. Very few travellers know much about the Northern Irish capital before visiting, the neighbourhoods, or where to stay in Belfast.

It’s not an overly large city. There are around 640,000 residents (compared to Dublin’s 1.25 million) and most landmarks are within walking distance of each other. There is no metro or light rail/tram service, so buses, bikes, and taxis are the prime methods of transportation. No matter where you find lodging in Belfast, you’ll have no problems finding Belfast’s street art, museums, nightlife, and everything else it has to offer.

But there are more preferable places to stay in Belfast depending on your style of travel. This guide will list the best place to stay in Belfast, Northern Ireland for first-time visitors or those on a budget. It will also explore the best Belfast neighbourhoods, the best area to stay in Belfast if you’re travelling as a couple, with kids, or with a car.

We will cover off all types of Belfast accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Belfast hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Belfast, the best Belfast hotels, best places in Belfast to visit, the best places to stay in Belfast, hotels near Belfast attractions, Belfast neighborhood guide and many more.

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Belfast City Centre – Where to Stay in Belfast for First Timers

Belfast city centre is located on the west bank of the River Lagan in the very heart of the city. In Central Belfast, you’ll find landmarks like Belfast City Hall and St George’s Market as well as all the high street shops. There are lots of performance venues like Waterfront Hall, Ulster Hall, and the Grand Opera House in this neighbourhood. If you have tickets to a show, this is probably the best location to stay in Belfast!

And the city centre is also where to stay in Belfast for first-timers and where to stay in Belfast with kids. There are tons of hotels, hostels, and apartments available in this area catering to various travel styles and budgets. Because of its central location and pedestrianised streets, you won’t have to spend too long on buses or taxis with your kids. Plus, it’s easier to walk with your little ones or push prams/strollers on roads where there is no traffic.

Travelodge and Premier Inn Belfast are two budget chain hotel options that you can find all over Belfast, including the city centre. They are what people from this part of the world would call, “cheap and cheerful.” Europa Hotel Belfast is an institution in this city if you’d prefer to stay in a luxurious yet cosy 4-star hotel.

Where to Stay in Belfast city centre

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in
 Belfast city centre
Vagabonds
Lagan Backpackers

Budget Hotels in
 Belfast city centre
The Flint
Travelodge Belfast Central
Jurys Inn Belfast

Mid range Hotels in
 Belfast city centre
Ten Square
Maldron Hotel Belfast City
Europa Hotel
Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre, an IHG Hotel

Family Friendly Hotels in
 Belfast city centre
Clayton Hotel Belfast
Hampton by Hilton Belfast City Centre
Bullitt Hotel
Malmaison Belfast

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Belfast city centre
Grand Central Hotel
The Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast
The Merchant Hotel
Hilton Belfast

Belfast - City view of Belfast, capital city of Northern Ireland. Old streets with people.

Cathedral Quarter – Where to Stay in Belfast for Culture

Nextdoor to Belfast city centre is the Cathedral Quarter. It’s just north of Central Belfast on the west side of the River Lagan. It’s named after St Anne’s Cathedral which sits in the centre of this district surrounded by narrow cobbled lanes. Some of Belfast’s best and most historic attractions are in this neighbourhood including the Crumlin Road Gaol, the Albert Clock, and Clifton House. 

But the Cathedral Quarter is mostly known for being the cool, hip neighbourhood. As you wander down those cobbled streets, you’ll spot young people moving in and out of craft beer pubs and cocktail bars. You’ll likely see pride flags hanging from the windows of this inclusive, tolerant district. And there are lots of art galleries like The MAC as well as independent stores.

It’s definitely not the best location to stay in Belfast if you value a quiet night’s sleep. But it’s perfect if you’re a young couple who don’t want to be far from their accommodation after a big night out. Bullitt Hotel is a quirky, boutique hotel that encapsulates the exact vibe of the Cathedral Quarter. There’s also a Premier Inn Belfast in this neighbourhood if you need a budget option, and The Merchant Hotel is perfect if you want to splash out on 5-star opulence.

Where to Stay in Cathedral Quarter

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in
 Cathedral Quarter
Vagabonds
Lagan Backpackers

Budget Hotels in
 Cathedral Quarter
LWR Ormeau Cafe & Rooms
Brackenberry
Hotel Etap Belfast

Mid range Hotels in
 Cathedral Quarter
Ramada by Wyndham Belfast City Centre
Bullitt Hotel
Dream Apartments – Obel Tower
Malmaison Belfast

Family Friendly Hotels in
 Cathedral Quarter
AC Hotel Belfast
Apple Apartments Belfast
Jurys Inn Belfast
Maldron Hotel Belfast City

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Cathedral Quarter
Grand Central Hotel
Hilton Belfast
The Merchant Hotel

BELFAST, UK - Albert Memorial Clock (aka Albert Clock) tower

University/Queen’s Quarter – Where to Stay in Belfast on a Budget

Just south of Belfast city centre is Queen’s Quarter, also known as the University Quarter. Belfast has three main universities but Queen’s University is the biggest and most prestigious. Unsurprisingly, this area has a lot of bars and activities that cater for penniless students and lots of low-cost accommodation options. If you want to know where to stay in Belfast on a budget, it’s here!

There aren’t too many attractions here except the beautiful Botanic Gardens and the stunning architecture of the university buildings. There are tons of cheap eats like Maggie May’s Belfast Cafe and Press 29 Coffee House, but few museums. Luckily, the city centre is a short 20-minute walk away. 

There are lots of hostels in this district to help you keep your travel costs down. Lagan Backpackers, Vagabonds Belfast, and Botanical Backpackers Belfast are all great options. If you’re staying in Belfast during the summer, check out the Queen’s University Student Accommodation website. They often rent out student dorms to backpackers at very low, long-term prices.

Where to Stay in Queen’s Quarter

Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in
 Queen’s Quarter
Lagan Backpackers
Vagabonds

Budget Hotels in
 Queen’s Quarter
LWR Ormeau Cafe & Rooms
Greenmount B&B
Brackenberry
The 1852 Hotel

Mid range Hotels in
 Queen’s Quarter
House Belfast
Big Yellow Door In Queens Quarter
Dream Apartment St Thomas Hall
Clayton Hotel Belfast

Family Friendly Hotels in
 Queen’s Quarter
The Malone Hotel
Dream Apartment St Thomas Hall
Maldron Hotel Belfast City
Tara Lodge

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Queen’s Quarter
The Regency
The Harrison

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - Queens University. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as Queen's College, Belfast.

Titanic Quarter – Where to Stay in Belfast With a Car

As mentioned at the beginning, many travellers who are staying in Belfast are road-tripping around Northern Ireland. After all, if you’re visiting the country from far afield then you have to hit up the Giant’s Causeway and the top Game of Thrones filming locations too! So if you are travelling to Belfast with your car, either a rental or your own if you’re travelling by ferry from Great Britain, you should stay in the Titanic Quarter.

The Titanic Quarter doesn’t have as many bars or restaurants as other neighbourhoods in Belfast, In fact, this is where the old docks and harbour are so you are more likely to stumble across warehouses and business estates. But there are plenty of parking lots and garages in this area and it’s next door to the M3 motorway, the A2, and other major roads. Its location on the east bank of the River Lagan in the northern part of the city means you can stay well clear of city centre traffic.

And even though it’s a quieter neighbourhood, this is where the Titanic Belfast museum is! The HMS Caroline and SS Nomadic, two other maritime museums on boats, are in this neighbourhood as well as the W5 science museum. George Best Belfast City Airport is only a few minutes away too (though most travellers arrive and depart at the International Airport).

One of the best places to stay in Belfast in this quarter is the Titanic Hotel Belfast which dates back to the 1880s. If you’re looking for a more budget option, there’s a (yes, you guessed it!) Premier Inn in this neighbourhood too.

Where to Stay in Titanic Quarter

Budget Hotels in
 Titanic Quarter
Dream Apartments – Obel Tower
Apple Apartments Belfast

Mid range Hotels in
 Titanic Quarter
AC Hotel Belfast
Malmaison Belfast
Bullitt Hotel

Family Friendly Hotels in
 Titanic Quarter
Cosy Town House
Quarter By The Warren Collection
Castlereagh House
Ten Square

Affordable Luxury Hotels in Titanic Quarter
Titanic Hotel Belfast
The Merchant Hotel
Hilton Belfast

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - Sunset over Titanic Belfast - museum, touristic attraction and monument to Belfast's maritime heritage on the site of the former Harland and Wolff shipyard.

Gaeltacht Quarter – Belfast’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Neighbourhood

Want to dig deep into Northern Irish culture during your stay in Belfast? It wouldn’t suit young families or travellers wanting to explore the city’s top landmarks, but Gaeltacht Quarter is the best neighbourhood where you can live like a local. You’ll find this quarter to the west of Queen’s Quarter on the other side of the A12 road so it’s right on the edge of the city. 

Here, they champion the Irish language so don’t be surprised if you see restaurants and businesses with Irish names. And don’t be surprised when locals laugh at you for mispronouncing the names too! It’s all part of the experience. The Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre and the Irish Republican History museum are both situated here. Plus, the best political street art and murals like the Peace Wall, the Solidarity Wall, and the Bobby Sands mural are all here too.

Because it is a much more residential area, there are few hotels and hostels. The Springfield Bed and Breakfast is one of the only guesthouses in this area. But there are plenty of AirBnBs and other short-term rentals so you can really experience what it’s like to live in Belfast.

Where to Stay in Gaeltacht Quarter

Budget Hotels in
 Gaeltacht Quarter
Springfield Bed and Breakfast

BELFAST NORTHERN IRELAND - Political mural in Belfast Northern Ireland. Falls Road is famous for its political murals.

Belfast Airport – Best Belfast Neighbourhood for Stopovers

Belfast International Airport is a 40-minute drive or bus ride from Central Belfast to the west of the city near Lough Neagh (a lake). If you’re flying in and out of Belfast, you’re more likely to travel through this Belfast airport than you are through the city airport. And if you have an early flight, you might prefer to stay closer to the airport so you don’t have to wake up so early the next day.

Luckily, there are lots of hotels right by Belfast Airport so you can hop on a shuttle bus straight into departures. And they aren’t run-of-the-mill, chain hotels either. Crookedstone House and Ballyrobin Country Lodge are both cosy bed and breakfasts. Once you enter and shut the door, you’ll feel worlds away from a busy international airport and will be able to enjoy a relaxing stay.

Where to Stay in Belfast Airport

Budget Hotels in
 Belfast Airport 
Ballyrobin Country Lodge

Mid range Hotels in
 Belfast Airport 
Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport
Crookedstone House

Family Friendly Hotels in
 Belfast Airport
Glendaloch B&B Belfast Int Airport

Belast, Northern Ireland, The front entrance of George Best Belfast City Airport in a sunny day.

Bonus: Areas of Belfast to Avoid

There are very few neighbourhoods in Belfast that you shouldn’t stay in or visit at all. The Troubles, which was a low-level war that lasted from the 1960s to 1998 in Northern Ireland and particularly Belfast, is well and truly over. Though there are still some simmering tensions between different religious groups and the unionists and loyalists, heated debates are far more common than actual violence.

There are some areas of Belfast to avoid at night, despite being just as safe as any other part of the city during the day. East Belfast and the area around Short Strand, in particular, is traditionally a working-class neighbourhood. It sank into deprivation once the ship-building yards closed so there experience some rare fights and drunken brawls. As with any student neighbourhood, drug use is common in South Belfast near Queen’s Quarter.

If you avoid talking politics, stay on well-lit roads, and use your common sense, then you should feel safe staying in any Belfast neighbourhood.

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Where to Stay in Belfast Where to Stay in Belfast Where to Stay in Belfast

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!