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The Northern Irish capital is fairly compact, with almost all of its hotels found in Belfast city centre. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a wide range of choice when it comes to places to stay in the city.
With everything from cheap and cheerful hostels to funky townhouse-set boutiques and the familiar chains present in the city centre, it’s rather the opposite in fact.
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On the streets surrounding Belfast City Hall and Great Victoria Street train station stand several of Belfast’s four and five-star grand dames, including the Europa Hotel. Arguably Belfast’s most well known hotel, the Europa earned its fame in a manner most other hotels would probably rather avoid. Having been damaged more than 30 times by IRA bombs between 1970 and 1994, it became known as ‘Europe’s most bombed hotel’.
Staying in this area puts some of Belfast’s prime landmarks, including the ornate Victorian Grand Opera House, and the Crown Liquor Saloon (under the remit of the National Trust), within easy reach. However, these luxurious Belfast hotels come at a price.
If you are looking for somewhere cheaper, Belfast city centre also has a selection of chain hotels, which offer the same great location but with prices that are much less eye watering.
Just north of the city centre lies what many claim to be Belfast’s coolest neighbourhood: the Cathedral Quarter. Once a warehouse and trade district, this cobbled web of city streets is now crammed with cosy cafés, craft beer bars, cool restaurants and independent boutiques, and is probably Belfast’s number one nightlife destination.
Some guidebooks still call it ‘up-and-coming’, but the truth is it has already up and came, and it would be hard to find anywhere trendier to lay your head!
If you’re keen to snag cheap hotels in Belfast, there are a few tried-and-tested money-saving tricks you can play around with when planning your trip. Look out for special midweek and off-season packages, which are often offered at hugely reduced rates. Or, if you are brave enough to risk leaving things to the day before you go, try for a fantastic last-minute deal (but not during busy periods such as summer weekends or Christmas).
For the cheapest Belfast accommodation, meanwhile, look to the city’s hostels. A cluster of backpacker-oriented options can be found around Queen's University Belfast, south of the city centre. Stay here and you will be just a couple of steps from the fascinating Ulster Museum and the flower-filled Botanic Gardens, with the city centre just a 11-minute drive or 30-minute stroll away.