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Belfast’s long history has taken in linen, rope-making and a huge ship-building industry (and not just the Titanic). So it’s no surprise that this is a busy, thriving city with an incredibly rich history attracts not just tourists, but business visitors too.
Not content to rest on its laurels, Belfast has been busy redeveloping itself to face the challenges of the 21st century, polishing its Four Quarters and developing new tourist attractions.
If you’re flying into Belfast International Airport, you’re just a short drive from the city and we aim to get you out on the road as quickly as possible so you can make the most of your time here. You can also pay online if you choose, to make your getaway even quicker.
As Northern Ireland is a part of Great Britain, the driving rules and regulations are largely the same as in the rest of the UK, with the same signage and speed limits. One thing to be aware of - if your trip is going to take you south of the border into Ireland - is that speed signs and limits in that country are in km/h.
Belfast International Airport is to the north-west of Belfast, just 18 miles from the city. To reach the centre, head north-east on the A57 before joining the M2 at junction 5 and then driving south-east.
If Belfast isn’t your destination, you may wish to head south on the A26 from the airport, a road that passes not too far from the east side of Lough Neagh and links up with the M1 for the west. Many visitors head north on the same A26, which leads to Ballymena.
Stay on the A26, then take the A44 to reach Ballycastle on the wonderful Causeway Coast. Here you can play 18 holes of golf in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ or learn about the history of the Glens. Then follow the coastal road west to the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, Portrush Nature Reserve and beyond. It’s a drive made for frequent camera stops, with wide-open beaches and plunging cliffs.
From Portrush you can steer south on the Coleraine Road and then Atlantic Road to Coleraine itself, or plunge on west to the Magilligan Point Nature Reserve. The extensive dunes are perfect for birdwatchers and walkers.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
With a history that stretches all the way back to the Bronze Age, Belfast packs in both heritage sites and new attractions as the city redevelops itself. The Titanic Museum stands proud, the food scene only gets better and better, and the political murals that adorn the walls give a fascinating glimpse of Belfast’s past.
If you do head out of Belfast for the charms of the Causeway Coast, Dunluce Castle is a perfect place to stop. In dramatic surroundings, it’s a ruined fortress that dates back to 1513, when it was built by the MacQuillan family. It fell to the MacDonnell clan in a period of upheaval and war, and is a place of legend and myth.
One story goes that the kitchen once fell into the sea, another that a ship from the Spanish Armada was wrecked here. Accessible by a bridge from the mainland, it’s a curious place to visit, and a glimpse of Northern Ireland’s long past.
A drive or stroll to Queen’s University Belfast is a fine way to spend a day. The prestigious University dates back to the early 19th century and boasts many breath-taking buildings, such as The Lanyon from 1849, The Lynn, The Great Hall and more.
It’s also close to the Botanic Gardens and Palm House. These were first opened in 1828, although the public weren’t granted access until 1895. The Palm House – built by Richard Turner, who also built the one at Kew Gardens – was finished in 1840.
It’s an elegant, colourful and wonderfully landscaped place to while away time at, encompassing a tropical ravine, bowling green and extensive gardens.
The Ulster Museum is housed in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens, and covers art, zoology, history, archaeology and more in its 8000 square metres of displays. Following a recent renovation, the Museum features exhibits from the Spanish Armada, dinosaur bones, First World War photographs and looks back at the history of Belfast.
A permanently popular exhibit is the Museum’s mummy, Takabuti, part of a large Egyptian collection. Takabuti, who may have been buried circa 660 BC, was first unveiled to the Belfast public in 1835.
While you could enjoy a wallet-busting, high-end gastronomic tour of Belfast, the award-winning St. George’s Market should be on your itinerary.
Built at the close of the 19th century, it’s a great place to stock up on local food, take in the atmosphere and the performances or check out the Saturday craft market for gifts. With handmade items to sample and purchase, it’s a great taste of the real Belfast.
Car hire at Belfast International Airport is perfect if you’re looking to see all that this effervescent city has to offer, and opens up the surrounding roads and famous countryside to you as well.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.