Dublin vs. Belfast

Dublin and Belfast are great destinations if you're taking a trip to Ireland. Let wanderlust lead you into these cities' amazing attractions. Because these two sides of Ireland are worth seeing.
Dublin vs. Belfast

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You are planning a European trip and these two city names caught your attention. Dublin and Belfast are the capital cities of the Republic of Ireland and the Kingdom of Northern Ireland. One city is in a sovereign country while the other belongs to the UK.

For centuries, The entirety of Ireland was ruled by the British monarchy. There were political and religious conflicts within the island that led to the separation. In the 1900s, Ireland got their independence while Northern Ireland retained its status as a kingdom.

Since the separation, Dublin has evolved into a multicultural city while keeping its Irish identity intact. Belfast held on to the old Irish and British ways with little foreign influence. The two cities are miles apart and they’re separated by the Irish Border.

Their shared ancestry, culture, and history are still undeniable. But they’re not exact copies of each other because there are plenty of things that make each city special. Both of them can give tourists a wonderful time so visit Dublin and Belfast if you get the chance.


The city of Dublin is on the east coast of Ireland and it’s just a few minutes away from the Irish Sea. As the Republic’s capital, it never fails to give visitors fun and memorable trips. There are beautiful structures to gawk at while wandering around.

Tasty and interesting dishes can be found here because Dublin is Ireland’s cosmopolitan city. It is Ireland’s melting pot, so the multicultural elements make a vacation pleasant and unforgettable. If you want to experience Ireland with some international twist, Dublin is the city for you.

The perfect mix of Irish and foreign influences is both surprising and impressive. Dubliners know how to stay true to their Irish roots while being open enough to other cultures. The city is like a one-stop shop for visitors who are looking for variety.

Let Dublin give you a taste of the finest things in Ireland. While you’re in the city, you can also check out imported stuff from other parts of the globe. So take a tour and enjoy your free time in Ireland’s most colorful city.

What Makes Dublin Unique

Grafton Street Shops

Grafton Street has been Dublin’s main shopping district since the Victorian period. Saint Stephen’s Green and Trinity College are on both ends of this lively street. Take a walk and shop for goods that you can bring home to your loved ones.

In terms of variety, the shops along Grafton Street have a lot of nice things to offer. Like a kid in a candy shop, you’re going to feel the same kind of excitement and wonder while exploring. The distinct look of the buildings is so inviting, and there’s something for everyone.

Shop for cool items, eat delicious food, and go for a drink after an exciting day of shopping. When your body’s aching for some rest, you can get a room in The Westbury and Shelbourne Hotel. Some of the most notable establishments are The Pig’s Ear, Bagots Hotton, and Powerscourt Townhouse Centre.

From cheap finds to high-end products, there’s always a nice item for you to buy. Grafton Street is filled with different shops, hotels, pubs, and restaurants. The dishes can range from traditional to fusion, so there’s so much to choose from. A 5-minute walk to George Street will also take you to an arcade center.

Come over and dive into one of Dublin’s liveliest commercial spots. The busy yet positive atmosphere will surely make you smile. Take some happy snapshots while you’re shopping or hanging out with the wonderful people of Dublin.

Saint Stephen’s Green

After dining and shopping in Grafton Street, you can take a nice break in Saint Stephen’s Green. It’s a 22-acre (8.9-hectare) park conveniently located near Grafton and you just have to walk for 3 to 5 minutes to get there. The park is like a sanctuary in the middle of Dublin’s busiest areas.

It’s a perfect place for tourists to slow things down and enjoy the calming effect of the trees, grass, flowerbeds, fountain, and duck pond. The relaxing scenery makes this place a perfect spot for picnics as well. Bring a book with you, listen to chill music, or do some soul-searching if you’re going to the park alone.

This spot in Dublin was a witness to several bloody battles during the 1916 Uprising. Thankfully, Saint Stephen’s Green has remained a peaceful place since then. There’s a children’s playground inside so the kids can also have fun while the grown-ups are taking a breather.

The park gives a comfortable space for tourists who want to escape the hustle and bustle for a while. Come and visit Saint Stephen’s Green for some relaxing time especially when the weather is great. This lush park makes reconnecting with nature possible while you’re in Ireland’s capital city.

Little Dublin Museum

The Little Dublin Museum is a place where you can learn more about this awesome city’s yesteryears. Situated in Saint Stephen’s Green, you can easily visit this one after relaxing in the park. It was opened back in 2011 using an 18th-century Georgian building.

Even though it’s inside an old structure, the museum is more focused on 20th-century displays. It makes sense because Ireland’s Republic only started in the 1900s. The collection is made up of 5,000 artifacts that show Dublin’s hundred-year history.

From everyday items like bikes, old tin boxes, and telephones, historically significant items are also on display. A rare copy of the Anglo-Irish treaty signed by Eamon De Valera is under the museum’s care. As the pride and premier rock and roll band of Dublin, there’s a room that chronicles the successful career of U2.

The majority of the exhibits are made possible by the locals. They have donated a lot of neat vintage items to add more life and detail to the museum. You can freely roam the first floor but a guided tour is needed to explore the next floors.

If you want to take a peek at Dublin’s not-so-distant past, stop by and have fun inside this little museum. The exhibits might give you a nostalgic rush even if you’ve come from a different place. Little Dublin Museum is open to visitors from 10 in the morning to 5 pm.

James Joyce Centre

Are you a bookworm? Well, here’s some amazing news for you. Even if you haven’t read his books yet, you are probably familiar with the name of this literary genius. James Joyce. He was a novelist who wrote Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake, and the collection inspired by his city, Dubliners.

Opened in 1996, the James Joyce Centre is a place where Dublin promotes the life and works of Joyce. The influential son of Dublin has written countless books and short stories that remain relevant to this day. The center offers guided tours that give more info about the legendary writer.

Its walls are decorated with artworks that pay tribute to the author’s legacy. The other items on display have played very important roles in the development of his ideas. So if you want to learn how his famous books were made, you’ve come to the right city.

Activities include workshops, readings, and performances that add a modern twist to his works. Hardcore James Joyce fans and casual visitors are all welcome to come in and enjoy all things Joycean. The staff members are very friendly and accommodating so you won’t feel lost or left out.

The James Joyce Centre opens at 10:30 am and closes at 3:30 pm so make sure to drop by if you have the time. It’s located at 35 North Great George’s Street. Just 20 minutes away from Grafton. You can also show appreciation and support by donating to keep the Joycean legacy alive.


Belfast is the largest city in Northern Ireland and it’s the country’s capital. It’s smaller than the city of Dublin but Belfast should still be on your list. Despite its size, Belfast has turned into Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist destination.

Northern Ireland’s kingdom and the Republic of Ireland parted ways after the Anglo-Irish war. Though the two share the same island, they’re different countries. Belfast is where you can experience the combination of Irish and British traditions.

The wide sidewalks make Belfast a very walkable city for tourists who like to roam around. You’ll find landmarks that contributed to its development and history. Party animals are in for a treat because one of the best reasons to visit Belfast is its nightlife.

Even if it’s a traditional place in many ways, nights in Belfast are worth checking out. The party-loving tourists will have a great time because of the city’s vibrant nightlife. Belfast is great for day trips because it’s smaller than other major cities like London and Dublin.

Take a trip to the northern part of Ireland, and there’d be a lot of cool stuff waiting for you. Discover its stunning beauty and make friends with the people there. The expenses are cheaper, too, so that’s a plus as you don’t have to splurge for a nice vacation.

What Makes Belfast Unique

Botanic Gardens

Looking for a place where you can have a relaxing walk while being surrounded by colorful plants? A gorgeous garden in the city of Belfast is going to take care of you. The Botanic Gardens is a 28-acre (11.3-hectare) public garden on Stranmillis Road.

It started as a private garden in 1828 and became public in 1895. Tourists, workers, and students visit these gardens to hang out and relieve their stress. There are seven entrances, and the Ulster Museum’s location is on the main entrance.

The calming effect that the plants give makes this place good for studying, meditation, and picnics. Belfast’s Botanic Gardens have hosted musical events as well. Music acts like Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, and The White Stripes have performed their numbers here.

The museum, glasshouses, and flowery plants on display are surely worth checking out. Witness the dream-like beauty of this big public garden in Belfast for some calming moments. Some benches allow visitors to rest after a long walk.

The entrance is free, and that makes the beautiful gardens more accessible to everyone. A good time doesn’t always have to be expensive, so take advantage of the free entrance. Take a stroll or sit around in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens if you’re aching for a soothing break after a busy day.

Titanic Belfast

Belfast has a rich maritime history and the Titanic Belfast can attest to that. This popular site in the city was opened in 2012. The city used to be an absolute powerhouse in the industry of shipbuilding.

The Titanic was built in the same spot where the star-shaped building is currently standing. The ship and many of its passengers met a tragic end. But the stories told by some of the survivors captured the world’s imagination.

Different forms of media have made references to one of the biggest maritime disasters in history. The exhibits include the surviving pieces of the Titanic and the items that it carried. You can find artifacts like brochures, menus, and letters.

There’s a replica of the ship that gives you a clearer view of what the Titanic looked like. Another ship that was built in Belfast is the SS Nomadic, which you can board for an added fee. Nine interactive shows allow the visitors to learn more about Belfast’s ship industry.

The Titanic Belfast Hotel is just a few meters away, and it follows an early 20th-century theme. Choose a package tour to get access to the Ocean Exploration Center. If you’re a fan of the James Cameron movie or ships in general, this is a great destination.

History enthusiasts and casual visitors will learn a lot from this site. The opening and closing hours may change depending on the month of your visit. Online bookings are available. Check their official site for additional information about their schedule.

Awesome Nightlife

One of the best things to experience while you are in Belfast is its nightlife. The abundance of bars, pubs, and clubs has made the city a popular destination for partygoers. Grab a drink and have a fun chat with the locals and other tourists.

The dance floor is open if you’re confident enough to bust a move and celebrate. Despite Belfast’s reputation of being a traditional city, its nightlife is something else. Even if you don’t drink, the positive energy will intoxicate you.

Go ahead and witness Northern Ireland’s cheerful side by joining some of these parties. Dance to the rhythm of loud and upbeat music that you can’t help but make yourself and everyone around smile. Extroverts and introverts can all have fun since there’s going to be an enjoyable place for everyone.

If you want to just enjoy a drink with relaxing music, there are establishments for that demographic. But if you like to drink while chatting and dancing with people, you can also visit the best clubs in the city. Nightlife in Belfast is still extraordinary even for nondrinkers because the food and music are fantastic.

Raise a glass of juice or water if liquid courage is not your thing. You are still welcome to chill or mingle with the city’s fun-loving people. Bar-hopping is a neat idea, too, because it lets you taste the different flavors of the Belfast night scene.

Some of the best spots in Belfast are Harp Bar, Kelly’s Cellars, Perch Rooftop Bar, and The Tipsy Bird. Those are only a few of them because there’s a lot to discover. From simple to quirky names, all establishments will surely make your Belfast vacation a memorable one.

Saint George’s Market

Located on May Street, Saint George’s Market is the last Victorian-style market in Northern Ireland. What makes this market special is the presence of pop-up shops. This setup helps the small businesses of Belfast’s local entrepreneurs.

The market was originally opened in the 1890s, and it was smaller than its current size. The place was once used as an emergency mortuary due to the horrific effects of World War II. Decades later, Saint George’s Market was renovated and flourished as a place for trade and tourism.

You can buy food, clothes, accessories and so many other stuff in this awesome market. Aside from shopping, the market is also a regular venue for musicians and dance events. Concerts and competitions can add more entertainment to a tourist’s shopping experience.

If you want to support Belfast’s local businesses, take a walk around Saint George’s Market and buy some good products. The shop owners are cheerful and they’d love to have you as one of their customers, so drop by if you can.

It’s open from Friday to Sunday. What a perfect spot for some weekend shopping.

Dublin or Belfast – Which Is Better?

To experience Ireland in a short time without spending a fortune, Belfast is an ideal choice. But if you want a longer vacation with a multicultural twist, Dublin’s the city for you. It’s almost a tie because they’re great destinations and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

Your time, budget, and preferences are factors that will determine which vacation spot suits you. Dublin is a larger city compared to Belfast. There’s more to explore and learn in Dublin due to its size and the diverse elements in it.

Belfast’s smaller size is an advantage because it’s easier to explore. The city’s walkable/bikeable distances make a couple of days sufficient enough to enjoy its best attractions. If you’re making plans for a weekend vacation, a short visit to Belfast is preferable.

When it comes to nightlife, the two cities are pretty close, though Belfast is better on a few occasions.

Transport, food, and accommodation are usually cheaper in Belfast. Belfast beats Dublin when it comes to affordability and accessibility. Those factors don’t make Dublin a bad destination or anything. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Dublin, please give it a shot because the city is just as wonderful.

A week-long vacation allows you to decompress and enjoy what Dublin has to offer. Belfast is a slightly better choice if you want to see Ireland’s best stuff on a tight budget and schedule. Tourists always consider the length of their vacation and expenses so Belfast gets the win.


Belfast or Dublin for a Weekend?

Belfast is a smaller city than Dublin and that makes Belfast a better option for the weekend. If you want to get a fuller Dublin experience, a weekend might be too short for that. Day or weekend trips are still possible but they’re easier to accomplish in Belfast.

Belfast vs. Dublin Nightlife

Nightlife in Belfast and Dublin are both fun, and it’s kind of hard to pick just one. Since Dublin is a bigger city, there are more options for clubs and bars. But in terms of convenience and accessibility, Belfast gets a score.

Convenience has an edge when you’re on a very short vacation. The two are equally fun destinations with a few differences. It’s really up to your schedule and preference as both cities offer lively spots for partygoers.

Partying in Dublin is a great idea if you and your friends want more options. But one cannot dismiss Belfast because its nightlife can match or, at times, surpass Dublin’s. Both cities can promise you an awesome party experience.

Dublin to Belfast Distance

The city of Dublin is just 108.4 miles (168.6 km) away from Belfast. From Dublin, you have to head up north to reach the other capital city. The two are neighbors on one big island and they’re only separated by the Irish Border.

Is Dublin Bigger Than Belfast?

Dublin is a slightly bigger and more populated city than Belfast. Dublin’s land area is 45.5 square miles (117.8 km²) and Belfast covers 44.4 square miles (115 km²) of land. 1,256,000 million people are living in Dublin while Belfast is populated by 639,000 people.

How to Get From Dublin to Belfast

Both cities are only separated by more than a hundred miles, and they’re on a big island. The most common ways to travel from Dublin to Belfast are by car, bus, and train. Dublin and Belfast are only a couple of hours away from each other, and you’d have to pass through the Irish Border.

Dublin to Belfast Flights

There are 5 daily flights from Dublin to Belfast. But some airlines aren’t offering direct flight options as their routes include one or more stops. Though Dublin’s a bigger city, there’s only one airport there while Belfast has two.

Train From Dublin to Belfast

There are direct train trips that can take you from Dublin to Belfast. From Dublin Connolly Station, the train ride will take you to Belfast’s Lanyon Place Station. The stations are connected by the Belfast-Dublin line.

The said line enables passenger trains to pass through the Irish Border, a border that separates Ireland and Northern Ireland. There are 8 daily train trips and the average travel time is 2 hours and 15 minutes.

In 2020, a proposal was made for a high-speed rail between Belfast, Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. But as of now, the proposed upgrade is still being studied. The project could cost 15 Billion USD.

Is There a Direct Train From Dublin to Belfast?

There’s a direct train that can take you from Dublin to Belfast. The first train departs at 7:35 am and the last trip for the evening departs at 8:50 pm. The average fare cost is 40 USD.

Distance From Dublin to Belfast by Train

Dublin and Belfast train stations are 106.4 miles (171.3 km) apart. The railway that connects the two cities is the Belfast-Dublin line. This track enables passengers to take direct train trips from Dublin to Belfast and vice versa.

How Long Is the Train Journey From Belfast to Dublin?

A train trip from Belfast to Dublin is about 2 hours and 15 minutes long. Trains can run up to 90 miles per hour (144 kph) but they run at lower speeds to keep the passengers safe. The track’s condition is also considered before the train’s departure.

Is the Train Ride From Dublin to Belfast Scenic?

Ireland is known for its breathtaking scenery. The scenic train rides from Dublin to Belfast make the trips relaxing and memorable. A two-and-a-half-hour ride feels quicker because of the great visuals on both sides of the train track.

Dublin to Belfast Train Price

The regular train ticket for a Dublin to Belfast trip costs 40 USD. Other ticket options are pricier because of additional services like meals and wi-fi connection. Since Dublin to Belfast rides let passengers see Ireland’s amazing sceneries, a regular ticket is good enough.

Can I Drive From Dublin to Belfast?

You can drive from Dublin to Belfast in just two hours. Driving is a convenient traveling option because of the primary highway that connects the two cities. There are no active border posts or checkpoints between the two cities.

Dublin to Belfast Motorway

Dublin and Belfast are connected by a major road called the M1 Motorway (Mótarbhealach M1). M1 is a primary highway on the east side of the island. This Motorway allows motorists to have a fast and convenient drive from Dublin to Belfast.

Belfast to Dublin Scenic Route

The drive from Dublin to Belfast is not as scenic as a train ride. But if you’re willing to make a stopover or detour, there are nice places to see in between. The cities of Howth and Newcastle are worth visiting because they’re also along the harbor.

Both cities’ eastside borders will let you witness some jaw-dropping seascape. The ancient passage tomb of Newgrange is also a sight to behold. A straight drive to the north is not as scenic, so you need to take alternative routes for a scenic journey.

Dublin to Belfast Drive Time

Driving from Dublin to Belfast is only 2 hours long. Your drive can be shorter or longer depending on the weather and amount of vehicles on the road.

The speed limit for motorways is 60 to 70 miles per hour (96 to 112 kph).

How Much Is a Taxi From Dublin to Belfast?

The rate for a taxi ride from Dublin to Belfast is USD 1.14 per kilometer (USD 1.83 per mile).

Fuel prices and traffic conditions can cause some fluctuations, but the average taxi fare for a Dublin to Belfast trip is 263 to 295 USD.

Day Trip to Belfast From Dublin

Belfast is an ideal place for day trips rather than Dublin. But visiting both cities in a day is still doable because of their proximity. That is if you’re willing to narrow your trip down to a few easy-to-access tourist attractions.

Day Trip to Dublin From Belfast by Train

You can have a day trip from Belfast to Dublin by train since they’re only 2 hours away from each other. Train rides are fast and enjoyable because of the scenery you’ll see along the way. A train ride allows you to relax, and you don’t have to worry about driving a vehicle.

Boarding a train helps if you don’t want to get stuck in traffic as roads can be congested at times. There are a total of 7 train trips from Belfast to Dublin every day. A direct track is connecting the two cities.

Dublin Airport to Belfast

From Dublin Airport, you can go to Belfast by bus, car, or by train. Buses and private or rental vehicles can cross the border without hassle. If you want to reach Belfast by train, Connolly Station is 20 minutes away from Dublin airport.

You can also board another plane to Belfast if that’s what you prefer, but the two cities are not so far from each other, and flights include a couple of stops. You can go from Dublin to Belfast by plane but traveling by land is a better way to cover the distance between them.

Dublin Airport to Belfast by Train

To board a train to Belfast, you need to go from Dublin Airport to Connolly Station. From Connolly, the train ride will take you to Lanyon Place Station in Belfast. A Dublin to Belfast train trip is made possible by the Belfast-Dublin line and the journey’s 2 hours long.

Bus From Belfast to Dublin Airport

There are daily bus trips from Belfast to Dublin Airport. Buses depart every hour from Glengall Street in Belfast and arrive at the Airport in 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours. The earliest trip departs at 1:30 am and the last bus for the day departs at 10:30 pm.

Is There a Direct Bus From Belfast to Dublin Airport?

The bus terminals in or near Glengall Street, Belfast, offer direct bus rides to Dublin Airport. Buses operate and depart hourly except for a few hours in the middle of the night. Buses are expected to arrive at the Dublin Airport 2 hours after departure. Passengers can take bus rides from 1:30 am to 10:30 pm.

How Much Is a Bus From Dublin Airport to Belfast?

The bus fare from Dublin Airport to Belfast can range from 9.48 USD to 26.34 USD depending on a passenger’s age and ticket type. Adult passengers will need 17.91 USD for a single bus trip and 26.34 USD for a round trip. For children, a one-way trip ticket costs 9.48 USD while a round trip costs 14.75 USD.

Private Transfer From Dublin Airport to Belfast

There are private transfer vehicles that will take you from Dublin Airport to the city of Belfast. If you want a hassle-free and private alternative to commuting, private transfer services can help you.

Private transfer vehicles are like taxis that operate a little differently from regular taxis. Regular taxis charge their passengers with the use of a taxi meter or fare meter. Private transfer trips are based on bookings/reservations and fixed rates.

Dublin Airport to Belfast by Taxi

There are taxis in and around Dublin Airport. Aside from bus and train trips, a taxi ride can take you to Belfast. The duration of a taxi ride is 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours depending on the traffic flow.

The travel time between Dublin and Belfast for taxis, buses, and trains rides are almost the same. Weather and road conditions are factors that can make your journey fast or slow.

A train trip has an advantage because its route is not affected by traffic.

How Much Is a Taxi From Dublin Airport to Belfast?

A taxi ride from Dublin Airport to Belfast costs 260 USD on average. The fare could be higher or lower depending on fuel prices, weather, and road conditions. Unlike private transfers that operate on fixed rates, taxis charge their passengers on a per-kilometer basis.

Best Way to Get From Dublin Airport to Belfast

The best way to get from Dublin Airport to Belfast is by train and it’s cheaper too. A train ticket will only cost you 40 USD unless you want to avail the extra services. Riding a bus is another cheap alternative, but in terms of convenience, a train trip is better.

Traveling by bus or taxi from Dublin to Belfast may take longer if the roads are congested. On a train ride, you don’t have to worry about the traffic as trains travel on a separate track. But from the airport, you’re going to need a 20-minute taxi ride before boarding a train at Connolly Station.

Dublin to Belfast Airport

From Dublin, you can ride a taxi, bus, or train to get to any of the airports in Belfast. There are 2 airports in Belfast and these are Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport.

Belfast International Airport is open for domestic and international flights. Belfast City Airport is in charge of other UK flights.

Traveling the distance between Dublin and Belfast by plane is not the most practical option. Since the two cities aren’t so far from each other, land transport methods are preferred.

Belfast Airport to Dublin by Bus

There are no bus stations inside the two airports in Belfast. To board a bus, you have to make your way out of the airport and go to Glengall Street. In Glengall, you’ll find buses that directly travel to Dublin.

The Belfast International Airport (BFS) is 24 minutes away from Glengall Street. But if you are coming from Belfast City Airport (BHD), you only need an 8-minute walk to get to Glengall. A short taxi ride might help if you are coming from the international airport.

Belfast Airport to Dublin Airport

To travel from an airport in Belfast to Dublin Airport, the best options are traveling by bus or by train. If you want to go to Dublin Airport by bus, you’d have to ride one on Glengall Street. The other option is by train, and you can get a train ticket to Dublin at the Lanyon Place Station.

Flights between Dublin and Belfast airports aren’t direct flights. A plane ride between the two cities can be tedious, so it’s better to travel by land. Secure a train or bus ticket so you can travel from an airport in Belfast to Dublin’s airport.

Belfast Airport to Dublin Airport by Bus

From Belfast Airport, you must go to Glengall Street to take a bus ride to Dublin Airport. Luckily, the drop-off point for buses that come from Belfast is in Dublin Airport’s car park. The bus will drop you off at the Terminal 1 of Dublin Airport.

Belfast to Dublin Passport Check

Passports and other supporting documents are only checked for plane and ferry trips. Passport inspections aren’t very common in bus, car, and train trips between the two cities. Since there are no active checkpoints at the border, passengers can easily pass through.

Belfast and Dublin are neighboring cities so Irish and Great Britain residents don’t need to present a passport. As a tourist, you should still bring your passport with you just in case the need to present it comes up. A passport and a visa are very important as far as traveling is concerned.

Can I Travel From Belfast to Dublin Without Visa?

Only Ireland and Great Britain citizens can travel between Belfast and Dublin without a visa. With that in mind, you need to carry your passport and visa with you. Despite the Irish Border’s leniency, tourists must have the necessary documents during their trips.