BELFAST: Belfast & the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has been named the number one region in the world for travellers in 2018.
The region receives the accolade in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 – the highly anticipated collection of the world’s hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the coming year, according to a release.
The bestselling travel yearbook from one of the world’s leading travel authorities highlights the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations that Lonely Planet’s experts recommend for travellers to experience in 2018.
Belfast is described in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 as, “full of hip neighbourhoods that burst with bars, restaurants and venues to suit all tastes. The rustling old docklands are now the vibrant Titanic Quarter, home to fancy apartments and a sensational museum.”
The publication highlights they city’s fascinating history and the experiences which give visitors a chance to connect with its past, including Titanic Belfast, “an unmissable multimedia extravaganza that charts the history of Belfast and creation of the world’s most famous ocean liner” and Belfast City Hall, “a late-Victorian edifice whose grandeur is testament to the city’s enormous wealth at the time.”
1. Unlike anywhere in the world, it’s here in Belfast that Titanic’s soul, story and sorrow are etched not just on the city, but in the history books, too. After all, it’s the city that designed, built and launched the Ship of Dreams. The locals are known to say: “It was fine when she left here”
2. There’s a critically acclaimed culinary scene playing out in Belfast. Try the Michelin-starred Ox and Eipic for fine dining; enjoy a more relaxed vibe at James Street South, Town and The Muddler’s Club, or get your caffeine fix at Established.
3. Embark on an urban adventure with a difference by hopping on a Black Taxi Tour. Unique to Belfast, this tour is run by people that know the place best and takes you into the city’s past with visits to the political murals.
4. Hugging the Atlantic coast from Derry~ Londonderry to Belfast – or vice versa – the Causeway Coastal Route is studded with sandy beaches, fishing villages, gorse-covered valleys and fuchsia-edged clifftop paths.
5. On the Causeway Coast, check out the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, suspended almost 100ft/30m above the sea, it has linked tiny Carrick Island and the County Antrim mainland for around 350 years.
Belfast shares the Lonely Planet Top Region accolade with the Causeway Coast, an unforgettable coastal touring route, “whose timeless beauty and high-grade distractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks – are more popular now than ever.”
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 spotlights the, “magical basalt columns” of the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and challenges travellers to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, which sways 30 meters above the ocean where it has connected a small island to coastal cliffs for 250 years.
Northern Ireland is home to more filming locations for the hit TV series Game of Thrones than anywhere else in the world and the publication highlights Ballintoy – which fans will recognise as the real-life Iron Island port – as a must-see on the Causeway Coast.
Lonely Planet’s writers and experts spend time on the road in almost every destination on the planet and each year they report which destinations are set to take off, offering travellers the best experience available.
The destinations selected for Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel meet specific criteria; it could be that something special is going on in the year ahead or there’s been recent development and a lot of buzz about the place, that it offers travellers new things to see or do, or that the Lonely Planet team of experts thinks it’s been overlooked and underrated and suggests travellers visit before the crowds do.
Northern Ireland’s Belfast & the Causeway Coast takes the number one spot on the list of top regions for 2018, beating off stiff competition from regions including Alaska and the Deep South, USA, the Aeolian Islands, Italy and Bahia in Brazil.
Musafir Namah Bureau