Northern Ireland’s capital city is a coastal gem; it’s friendly and small, with enough bars and menus to fill an entire week – and your money will go a long way. Previously named one of the UK’s cheapest cities, Belfast is a perfect budget holiday on its own, and just one hour from the Giant’s Causeway and one hour from Dublin, in the south of Ireland. Most hotels and lodges will fall into the budget price range; therefore, you can skip the hostel for a quality overnight stay.
The Bullitt Hotel gives you all the perks of an expensive indie boutique hotel for a fraction of the price. Their philosophy is simple and cheap, but it doesn’t skimp on the essentials. Every room, whether you book the less expensive Dinky room or the spacious Roomy option, has a king-size bed, clothes rail, rain shower and stylish Scandinavian décor. The best bit – they don’t let any visitor leave on an empty stomach and provide every guest with a free breakfast goodie bag, which has a granola pot, orange juice and fruit, to set you up for a day of exploring.
Bullitt Hotel, 40a Church Ln, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9590 0600
The grandeur of the Europa Hotel comes with a surprising price tag when you consider the amenities. It offers rooms decorated with a classic chic design, a restaurant featuring a decadent dinner menu, and a spa resort. Be sure to reserve time for afternoon tea at the Causerie Restaurant or a glass of wine in the beautiful lobby, which lights up Great Victoria Street every evening in dazzling style. You can steal a room at this hotel for under £100 (US$123) a night, but the service and surroundings will feel first class, and you’ll be situated in the centre of the city – too good to be true in most European cities.
Europa Hotel, Great Victoria St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9027 1066
Tara Lodge is a great budget hotel, both for its spacious rooms and extended tour packages. If you want a taste of the Game of Thrones experience, book the Ice and Fire Tour, which includes a Deluxe room and a discounted award-winning tour of Northern Ireland’s famous ‘Thrones filming locations. Additional tours include the pamper package, a must for those who have been on the road for a long time and need to refuel with a spa treatment and quiet night indoors.
Tara Lodge, 36 Cromwell Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9059 0900
Hikers and nature lovers will love the proximity of Cave Hill and Lansdowne Hotel, which sits at the base of the hill, allowing easy access to walking tours and a first look at the sun rising over Belfast docks in the early morning (if you are an early riser). Discreetly placed in the outer suburbs of the city, the actual hotel is away from all the hustle and bustle of the central city so that you can unplug and enjoy the view from the peak of Cave Hill, from the North Coast to the Mourne Mountains.
Lansdowne Hotel, 697 Antrim Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, + 44 28 9077 2999
The Crescent Townhouse Hotel
The Crescent Townhouse is the perfect harmony of location and price, situated in the cultural hub of Botanic Avenue, an area filled with endless cafés, restaurants, the stunning Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum. This converted townhouse has a traditional Victorian interior in every room, an original library feature to take in some downtime in the evening, and offers three-star service for under £70 (US$86) per night.
The classic B&B gets an upgrade at Botanic Rest, which caters to groups, families, self-catering travellers and solo explorers alike – and children can stay for free. This cosy inn is next to fantastic music venues and bars, making it a great budget stay for lively travellers who want a taste of Northern Irish culture for the best price. You’ll get a free Irish breakfast during your stay, helping you to set off on your Northern Ireland adventure.
Botanic Rest, 7–13 Cromwell Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9032 4820