I’ve blogged before about the Republic of Ireland several times, but we’ve never talked about Northern Ireland. With cheap flights and ferry crossings available, it’s easy to get to and offers some great attractions for everyone.

Often overlooked by it’s neighbours from the South, Belfast was recently voted the third favourite city in the UK in the 2008 Guardian/Observer travel awards. My colleague Alison, who is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, assures me that the city has undergone a massive transformation over the last few years and Belfast is now an exciting and vibrant place to visit.

Some of the personal recommendations she gave me were:

  • Victoria Square – This is Belfast’s newest shopping destination, complete with a House of Fraser department store. It has panoramic views across the city and the river Lagan.
  • Gaelic sports – Casement Park is one of the most popular venues.
  • Waterfront Hall – Northern Ireland’s premier conference and concert centre.

If that’s not enough to keep you busy, you’ve also got the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Belfast Zoo, Stormont and Belfast Hills to visit.

Outside of Belfast, there are many other great things to see including the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle and the Walled City of Derry. If you’re driving, the Causeway Coastal Route takes in many of the major attractions, as well as providing some stunning scenery, dramatic coastline and remarkable views.

If you need to hire a car, Avis has four locations in Northern Ireland; Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport, Belfast Downtown and Derry Airport.

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