The capital and largest city in Northern Ireland, the city takes its name from the Gaelic Béal Feirste, meaning mouth, estuary of the Farset. Surrounded to the north west by a chain of hills, the place inspired Gulliver’s Travels by the writer Jonathan Swift; it is said that the hills reminded him of the outline of a sleeping giant guarding the city. The largest shipbuilder, Harland and Wolff, built the famous ship the Titanic here and put Belfast on the world map of the 20th century as the most important shipyard in the world. Then make an obligatory visit to the Town Hall, the botanical gardens and the magnificent pubs, some of them very old and listed buildings. It is easy to make friends here and to chat with the approachable locals.
Not to be missed:
• The Titanic Quarter, with the majestic building that stands right where the Titanic was built.
• The botanical gardens, a lush green marvel.
• The Belfast Town Hall, with its magnificent Baroque exterior.