Belfast Vacations & Travel Tips
When to Go
Belfast's open to visitors any time of year, but April-June and September are best: the weather's hopefully on form, the crowds are down, the days are longer and attractions are open.
Belfast's average temperature year-round is a relatively mild 50°F. Winter rarely sees ice and snow, but the January and February skies are interminably grey, and temperatures are a motley 40-45°F. July and August average 60°F, but at least the summer days are long, with true darkness not falling until 11pm. Perhaps the most defining aspect of Belfast's climate, other than its changeability, is its rainfall: February-June averages 2.3in, and things get wetter still from October to January with 4in. Don't even think about visiting without a raincoat, umbrella and warm clothes.
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To be sure, the Atlantic Gulf Stream keeps Ireland just right with relatively mild winters and cool summers. Another certainty is the rain, Belfast has a decent share of it. True to its people, the weather is not without its own mischievousness with the occasional warm January day or cold July night.
Belfast international airport is Northern Ireland's hub for flights from Eire, Britain, Amsterdam, Brussels and New York; some regional flights from Britain (including Gatwick) arrive at the more convenient George Best Belfast City airport.
Northern Ireland's comprehensive bus system is operated by Ulsterbus, and includes services to Dublin. Belfast is also linked to Dublin by train (taking just over two hours), and to Bangor, Larne and Derry in the North. There are no left-luggage facilities at Belfast's bus and train stations.
Ferries from the Isle of Man and Stranraer (Scotland) dock at Albert Quay, 1.2mi north from the city center; the SeaCat from Stranraer gets you to Belfast in under two hours. Liverpool ferries dock at the Victoria terminal, 3mi north of Belfast. If you're renting a car to drive up to Belfast from the Republic, check that your insurance covers you for the journey to the North; Belfast is a 2.5-hour drive from Dublin.
Belfast's compact center is perfect for getting around on foot. For destinations further afield, the excellent Citybus service covers 60 routes and includes a good system of nightbuses as well as ferry and train-terminal connections.
Regular black taxis have yellow registration plates and can be hailed on the street. Minicabs are cheaper but you have to order one by phone.