Belfast is a lively but small city, so walking is pretty much the easiest (and cheapest) way to get around town. Because I’m lucky enough to be staying pretty much in the center of the city while studying at Ulster University, I can get most places I need to go on foot. But, of course, there are those days when walking is less than desirable (rainy days anyone?) or when where you need to go just isn’t in walking distance. So how do you get there?
Translink is the leading bus service in Belfast and offers 3 lines that go throughout Northern Ireland:
- Metrobus travels through the main roads of Belfast and generally remains within the city and its surrounding areas.
- Ulsterbus travels throughout Northern Ireland.
- Goldline is a coach service that travels between main towns and cities in Northern Ireland as well as across the border to Dublin.
Travelers should download the Translink app to find the nearest bus station and route information. You can also call (+44) 028 0966 6630 or visit their website.
If you plan on using the bus system frequently, I recommend visiting the Europa Bus center (located across from City Hall) to purchase a SmartCard. These cards allow you to purchase unlimited daily, weekly, or monthly bus passes. The fare will be cheaper and it’s way more convenient to just tap your card than having to carry around and count out cash (FYI, the buses do NOT take credit or debit cards. I learned this the hard way.)
Trains are probably my favorite mode of travel. They are quick, efficient, and usually on time. Although you might have to walk a bit more to get to the train station since they aren’t as frequent as the bus stops, the fare is cheaper.
There are 2 train services in Northern Ireland.
- NI Railways operates stations throughout Northern Ireland.
- Enterprise runs between Belfast and Dublin.
Both of these services are operated by Translink, so you can use the app to find stations and route information, as well as fares and purchase tickets.
By cars I mean cabs/taxis. Honestly, I’ve only used them as a last resort because they can get really expensive really fast. So far, I’ve been able to get anywhere I need to go with a bus or train and a 5 min walk. Why then would you use a cab? Well, the buses and trains stop running at around 11 pm. If you’re having a late night, a cab might be your way home. I’ve used ValueCabs, which I like because I can use the app to book a taxi ahead of time. Of course, using Uber or Lyft is also pretty popular as well.
I hope this information makes it easier to get around town to see all the wonderful things Belfast and Northern Ireland have to offer!
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