Belfast International Airport (BFS) is the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland after Dublin Airport. It sits 15 miles north-west from the city centre of Belfast and is sometimes referred to as Aldergrove Airport - its name before 1983’s rebranding.
The airport sits just off the A57 and you can drive into the centre of Belfast within 45 minutes by following the A52.
At Northern Ireland’s biggest airport, you’ll be able to compare car hire across some of the most recognisable names in the car rental industry. With eight suppliers to choose from, Belfast International Airport’s car hire firm offer a wide spectrum of vehicle types, ranging from compact city cars via standard family hatchbacks to huge SUVs and people carriers.
After leaving the baggage collection at Belfast International Airport, car rental desks for some of the companies in the car hire industry can be found within the terminal. Some operate a free shuttle bus, while others run a personal meet and greet service to transfer you and your suitcases to your hire vehicle.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
The centre of Belfast may be a mere 30-minute drive away but even closer is Lisburn - the third largest city in Northern Ireland. Continue heading east through the centre for another ten minutes and you’ll arrive in the large seaside town of Bangor. However, venturing north from Belfast Airport for half an hour will bring you to Ballymena, where you’ll find some truly unique hotels to recharge your batteries.
Just west of the airport is Lough Neagh with its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty. Here, you’ll be able to hire a boat and head out onto the largest freshwater lake in the UK and Ireland. However, if you’d prefer to stay on solid ground, there’s Lurgan Park - Ireland’s second largest public park - to explore.
Just under two hours south of Belfast Airport is the Irish capital of Dublin. It may be a small capital but it somehow manages to pack a lot in and there’s something here for everyone.
A trip to the city’s Guinness Storehouse and Brewery Tour is essential for anyone with a taste for the iconic black ale. Those keen to experience some real Irish pubs can’t go wrong in most of the establishments south of the River Liffey between Grattan Bridge and O’Connell Bridge. If it’s a bit of history you thirst for, then a tour round Kilmainham Gaol and Glasnevin Cemetery Museum will teach you a lot about the legendary city.
Belfast has so much to offer foodies, from Michelin Star restaurants to good old fish and chips. Being so close to the coast means that you’ll find some fantastic seafood on offer too. The Cathedral Quarter is blessed with many great pubs and promises a great night out. A trip to Ireland demands at least one pint of Guinness, even for those usually opposed to the black stuff. Many pubs will be happy to help you fulfil your obligation.
The ill-fated RMS Titanic was built in Belfast and to acknowledge its involvement, the city is home to the Titanic Belfast exhibition which tells the ship’s story over the course of nine interpretive and interactive galleries.
You could also take a guided tour around a Victorian prison at Crumlin Road Gaol. Closed in 1996, the prison was the setting for the execution of 17 men over its 150-year history. Passionate tour guides will explain just what prison life was like through the ages and reveal the jail’s dark secrets.
A couple of ships are based in Belfast, namely HMS Caroline and SS Nomadic. A tour around either of these vessels make the ideal accompaniment to the Titanic exhibition. Fans of Game of Thrones may be interested to head onto one of the tours that take in many of the settings from the hit TV show. Finally, Cave Hill Country Park promises a refreshing dose of natural beauty too.
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