Getting to Belfast by air seems tricky, especially if coming from a country that doesn’t have direct flights to this Northern Ireland capital. However, upon landing at Belfast International Airport, travelers will find that there are various options to reach the city center and start exploring.
Located in the northwestern part of the Belfast metro area, Belfast International Airport (BFS) is one of the two airports in Belfast (the other one is George Best Belfast City Airport or BHD).
Formerly known as Aldergrove Airport, BFS is the largest airport in Northern Ireland and the second busiest airport on the island of Ireland, after Dublin.
Belfast International Airport is operational 24 hours a day and has flights even from low-cost airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet. This airport is easily accessible to flights coming in from the UK and most of Europe. For visitors who wish to explore Northern Ireland and want to start with Belfast, getting started is easy.
There are various ways from Belfast International Airport to the city center. The transfer options include quick yet pricey car hires and taxis, as well as cheaper alternatives such as taking the bus.
Things you'll find in this article
- How To Get From Belfast International Airport to City Center
- How far is the city center from Belfast Airport
- How long does it take to get to the city center from Belfast Airport?
- What is the fastest way to get from Belfast International Airport to the city center?
- What is the least expensive way to get from Belfast Airport to the city center?
- Belfast International Airport to City Center Transport Options
- Other Airport Transfer Related Concerns
How To Get From Belfast International Airport to City Center
Learn more about how to get from BFS to the city center and see which option is best for every traveler’s preference and budget
There is one terminal in Belfast International Airport. The terminal has two floors, with the Arrivals hall and check-in desks situated on the ground floor. The upper floor, meanwhile, is where one can find the Departures hall.
Travelers arriving in Belfast head straight to the ground floor, where there’s easy access to the various transport options that will take them to the city center of Belfast as well as other parts of Northern Ireland.
How far is the city center from Belfast Airport
The distance from Belfast International Airport to the city center is 30 kilometers (19.7 miles).
How long does it take to get to the city center from Belfast Airport?
Travel time from Belfast International Airport to Belfast city center takes around 28 to 35 minutes depending on the traffic.
What is the fastest way to get from Belfast International Airport to the city center?
From Belfast International Airport, the fastest way to get to the city center is by car or bus, at 28 to 30 minutes via the M2 motorway.
What is the least expensive way to get from Belfast Airport to the city center?
The least expensive way to reach the city center of Belfast from the BFS (airport) is by bus, which is at least 4 times cheaper than availing of other services like car hire or taxi.
Belfast International Airport to City Center Transport Options
When planning a trip to Belfast (or any International city), it would help to look into as many options as possible for getting to the city center. At BFS, one can easily travel to and from the airport terminal using both private and public transport.
For each transfer option, do a bit of research and check if it is possible to book in advance. Most transport providers like buses, taxis and car rentals offer discounts to those who book early. It is worth allotting some time for research to sort out all considerations for a hassle-free trip.
At Belfast International Airport, travelers who want to go to the city center have the following options.
1. Airport shuttle
An easy and convenient way to get to the Belfast city center from the airport, travelers will find the Airport Express 300 shuttle stop opposite the terminal exit. This is a recommended transfer option for those who do not have a lot of luggage and want an inexpensive way to get to the Belfast city center.
- Schedule: departs every 15 to 20 minutes on weekdays and weekends
- Travel Time: 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the traffic.
- Route / Stops: Templepatrick, Royal Avenue, and the Belfast Europa Bus center.
- Fare / Ticket: Airport to Belfast – £8(single) £11.50 (return); Airport to Templepatrick – £5.40 (single) and £9.70 (return)
- Where to Buy: Purchase tickets from the tourist information desk in Arrivals or directly from the driver.
2. Taxi service
The official taxi operator for the BFS is the International Airport Taxi Company. This is a faster way to reach Belfast city center from the airport. Travelers will easily find the taxi service outside the terminal building, at the Exit lobby’s taxi rank. For easy reference regarding the list of fares, check the Exit hall of the terminal building.
- Schedule: Available at the BFS (airport) twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
- Travel Time: more or less 30 minutes from the airport to the city center, a bit longer if going to an address in the Belfast metropolitan area.
- Route / Stops: Belfast International Airport to anywhere in the Belfast metropolitan area and the city center
- Fare / Ticket: £ 36from BFS to city centre
- Where to Buy: Book at the tourist information desk (Arrivals) or pay directly to the driver.
3. Private Transfer
This is the best transfer option for those who do not like public transport and taxis, have a lot of luggage, or traveling with a child or pet. Travelers get to hire a car and driver that will wait for them at the airport to take them directly to their hotel or anywhere within Belfast. Vehicle sizes range from small cars that can comfortably accommodate a solo traveler or a couple to coaches that can hold a group of nine.
- Schedule: Available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
- Travel Time: 28 to 39 minutes from BFS to Belfast City center
- Route / Stops: Belfast International Airport to anywhere in the city center or Belfast Metropolitan area.
- Fare / Ticket: usually around £40
- Where to Buy: Book online (in websites such as Joyride or Hoppa before the day of departure.
4. Car Rental
Travelers who want to drive instead and explore Belfast on their own can rent a car either online or right at the airport upon arrival. Several car rental companies are located in the Arrivals Hall, and travelers get to choose from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar Hertz, National, and local providers.
Car rental starts at £22 per day.
Where to Book: Rentalcars.
Other Airport Transfer Related Concerns
Late night or very morning arrivals. Travelers who arrive late at night or the wee hours of the morning should not worry about getting to the city center. Airport shuttle, taxis, and private transfers operate all day and night, so there’s always a transfer option available.
Layovers. Those in long layovers may also allot time to visit Belfast city center. The airport is just around 30 minutes away from the city’s famous attractions like the Titanic Quarter, Belfast Castle, and Botanical Garden. Check the airport shuttle schedules or pay extra for a taxi to make the most of a Belfast stopover.
Money. Foreign travelers should exchange money and also withdraw some cash at the ATMs in the airport to pay for tickets and fares if they didn’t book in advance. BFS has two International Currency Exchange (ICE) bureaus at the airport, one in the Landside Departures and another in the International Baggage halls.
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Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. But despite living in several countries, my love for Ireland remains the same. A country that had been a part of my life since I was 14 because of my love for Irish music and bands. Ireland Travel Guides was born because of this passion and hopefully, in some little ways, this website will be able to help you on your next trip to Ireland.