Like Phoenix out of the ashes, Belfast has after the civil war rattled. Northern Ireland’s metropolis is alive and kicking – and as a tourist destination still an insider tip!
Culloden Estate & Spa Hotel. Once upon a time, this Holywood (not Hollywood!) Hills property was Episcopal Palace, today it has 105 modern country-style rooms overlooking the Bay of Belfast. The atmosphere already enjoyed Tom Jones, Bono and the English national football team. Not to be missed: Afternoon tea in the armchairs of the “Crozier Lounge” by the log fire. Double / F from 268 Euro (Bangor Road, Tel. 00 44/28/90 42 10 66, www.hastingshotels.com ).
Europe Hotel. Four-star hotel in the heart of the city, which was the most bombed hotel in Europe in history – more than 30 times it was during the “Troubles” target of explosives attacks, because there lived journalists who reported on the riots. The Clintons stayed during the peace talks in the “Europe”, their suite is to rent as a “Clinton suite”. DZ / F from 117 Euro (Great Victoria Street, Tel. 00 44/28/90 27 10 66, www.hastingshotels.com/europabelfast ).
Jurys Inn. Straightforward but comfortable hotel in the city. The 190 spacious rooms can accommodate four families. Cozy bar and restaurant in the house. DZ / F from 109 Euro (Great Victoria Street, Tel. 00 44/28/90 53 35 00, www.jurysinn.com ).
Ox. Unusual interior – 40 chairs discarded from a church with prayer book holders, bare wooden tables, candlelight – and probably the most creative cuisine of the city guarantee in the “ox” for unforgettable evenings. The proprietors – chef Stephen Toman from Belfast and sommelier Alain Kerloc’h from Brittany – became friends when they worked in Paris. Toman’s seasonal creations made from the finest local produce are affordable: the three-course lunch menu costs 32 euros, the six-course tasting menu on evening 70 (1 Oxford Street, tel. 00 44/28/90 31 41 21, www.oxbelfast. com ).
Saphyre. In a desecrated church, young gastronomic star Jonathan Boyd uses the fresh ingredients of Northern Ireland’s culinary wonders – from the superfood salad for around 11 euros at lunch to the five-course meal with scallops, halibut and duck (46 euros) in the evening (135 Lisburn Road, tel. 00 44/28/90 68 86 06, www.saphyrerestaurant.com ).
The Barking Dog. Relaxed atmosphere and delicious tapas, juicy burgers, homemade pasta and creative salads within walking distance to university and botanical garden. The eclectic decor makes the rooms look like a tasteful townhouse with plenty of visitors. Sundays plays a guitarist. Three-course menu from 32 Euro (33-35 Malone Road, Tel. 00 44/28/90 66 18 85, www.barkingdogbelfast.com ).
The Duke of York. Quaint pub in the trendy district of Cathedral Quarter. The walls are paved with pictures and mirrors, the (honestly acquired) decor comes from the city’s famous hotels and buildings (7-11 Commercial Court, www.dukeofyorkbelfast.com ).
Titanic Belfast. Belfast’s former yard area became the Titanic Quarter. Because here the ship was built, which was considered the triumph of man over nature and sank on his maiden voyage. The sight of the drydock – the largest ever built – from which it slid into the water in 1911 still makes goose bumps ( www.titanicsdock.com ). The stories of the passengers and people involved in the construction tells the magnificent Titanic Belfast Museum. Ticket about 22 euros (1 Olympic Way, Queens Road, www.titanicbelfast.com ).
Ulster Museum. The largest museum in Northern Ireland is full of exciting stories – for example about the Spanish Armada. Two dozen of the ships heading for England in 1588 sank off the Northern Irish coast. Remains of one of them, the “Girona”, and gold jewelery from their cargo can be seen here as well as modern art and an interesting documentation of the “Troubles”. Admission free (Botanic Gardens).
Botanical Garden. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, it is a vibrant green area in Northern Ireland, making it a worthwhile walk through the Victorian gardens. If it starts to rain, as is often the case here, the beautiful glass palm house offers shelter and magnificent flora.
Atelier Design. Beautiful for the home from local crafts to fine designer lamps to antiques, all with British flair (7, Wellington Place, www.atelier-design.co.uk ).
St. George’s Market. Since 1604 there is market at this place. The grandiose hall is 120 years old; There are fish and groceries on Fridays, freshly prepared treats on Saturdays, crafts and plants, Sundays antiques, snacks and live music (12-20 East Bridge Street).
Couture. Handmade chocolate and chocolates made from fair trade ingredients (7 Chicester Street, www.cocouture.co.uk ).
The Friend at Hand. Irish whiskey (600 varieties) is the friend who supports you in this shop – almost a museum. The bottles rest in brass-clad showcases, owner Willie Jack, once a caterer for the Queen at their Northern Irish headquarters Hillsborough Castle, likes to advise (35-43 Hill Street).
So much time has to be
… for a trip to West Belfast , where murals and the “peace lines” between Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods testify to the worst troubles, the “Troubles”.
… to see one of the high-class productions at the Lyric Theater ( www.lyrictheatre.co.uk ).
… to stroll over the Riverside Walk on the River Lagan and find that the supposedly ugly duckling Belfast is becoming more and more of a swan.
Would you like to read more about the topic and talk to other women about Belfast? Then check out the BRIGITTE community’s “Travel Forum”!