Belfast city might be renowned for being home to top tourist attractions such as the Titanic Museum, the Ulster Museum and Belfast Castle, but if you step out of the city centre somewhat, you’ll be treated to a plethora of awesome hikes near Belfast.
If you’re heading to Belfast with the guys or gals and you’re planning an epic adventure weekend then look no further! We’ve compiled a list of our favourite mountain hikes to inspire you to head to the great outdoors and immerse yourself in nothing but beautiful nature for hours on end!
1. Giant’s Ring Trail
If you’re looking to ease into your hiking weekend in Belfast with a relatively easy walk then you’ll be delighted to know that the Giant’s Ring Trail offers a relaxing walk with surroundings to rival even the most epic landscapes.
The Giant’s Ring Trail at Minnowburn takes you on a stunning route along the river upstream to the henge monument of Giant’s Ring. The prehistoric monument is over 200m in diameter and it’s thought to date all the way back to around 2700 BC, during the Neolithic period, making it an incredibly cool and mysterious part of Belfast’s enigmatic past!
With this hiking trail near Belfast you’ll start at Minnowburn car park which is just a half an hour’s drive from Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport. The circular walk only takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, making it a great nature trail in Belfast on a sunny afternoon.
This route is even dog-friendly which means you’ll get to see plenty of adorable pooches along the way; it’s always a happy day when you see a friendly pup! The Lagan riverside path is pretty easy to navigate and it’s mostly even and steady the whole time, so you shouldn’t struggle on this path too much, even if it’s been raining.
Minnowburn Car Park,
2. Cregagh Glen and Lisnabreeny
The start of this walk is located just over 30-minutes from our Maldron Hotel at Belfast International Airport and it’s a hiking trail in Belfast that takes you on a journey across the beautiful glen into the Castlereagh Hills.
Once you arrive at the top, you’ll be blessed with superb views over Belfast city, so be sure to pack your camera gear to snap some epic shots.
If you’re staying at Maldron Belfast International Airport hotel during the spring or early summer and you embark on a hike to Cregagh Glen, keep an eye out for the myriad bluebells and wood anemone that punctuate the lush grass and trees.
This walk is more linear than circular, so you will follow the same trail back as the one you took on your way up to the top. The route is approximately 1.5 miles each way and the length of time that it will take you to complete depends on how many times you want to pause to admire the views!
Alongside gorgeous flora throughout your walk, you’ll also discover a waterfall and plenty of farmland birds and animals as you weave your way through the forest paths. Unlike the Giant’s Ring Trail, this hiking trail in Belfast is slightly more strenuous as it requires plenty of uphill walking and numerous unsurfaced paths; sensible shoes are a must on this hike!
3. Divis Ridge Trail
Regardless of when you’ve got your trip to Belfast planned for, whether it’s during the spring when the world appears to be waking up from hibernation, or during the autumn months when the colour purple dominates these lands, hiking the Divis Ridge Trail is always a good idea.
This 4.2-mile circular trail will take you approximately 3 hours to complete and is less than a 20-minute drive from our hotel base at Belfast International Airport.
You’ll begin the trail at Divis Coffee Barn and head towards the summit of Black Mountain. Once there, spend plenty of time strolling around aimlessly taking in the 180° views of Belfast city and beyond. If you’re looking to embark on the hike on a clear day you’ll be able to see for miles from the summit so grab your camera and be sure to snap a group selfie at one of the most epic (and free) viewpoints in Belfast!
As you’ll be traversing up the mountain it’s safe to say that this hike isn’t the easiest so a decent level of fitness is required to tackle it successfully. However, if you’re adventuring with friends then you can take your time and enjoy the views without having to worry about rushing to complete it.
Divis and the Black Mountain,
4. Cave Hill Trail
Situated within Cave Hill Country Park, less than half an hour away from Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport, this magnificent hike is a 4.5-mile loop route that’s renowned for its awesome views of Belfast Castle and McArts Fort.
Cave Hill itself sits at an impressive 370m high at its peak so you can be sure to enjoy plenty of wonderful views from the top. The hill is also home to medieval forts, a limestone quarry and raths, as well as gorgeous flora, depending on the time of year.
It’s a relatively steep climb at some points of the hike so be prepared with strong, sturdy shoes or hiking boots and bring plenty of water with you to keep you and your friends hydrated during the excursion.
The route to Belfast Castle offers spectacular views over the city and you’re sure to have a lot of fun pointing out some of Belfast’s famous landmarks with your mates. This part of the route is also much easier and gentler, so you could just walk to the castle and back again if you don’t fancy tackling the entire circular route around Cave Hill.
The views at sunset from Cave Hill are arguably the most enjoyable, but be sure to give yourselves plenty of time to get back to the car park in time for a cosy night in your hotel room!
Cave Hill Country Park,
5. Comber Greenway
This linear route spans a total of 7 miles and will take you approximately two and a half hours to walk. Alternatively, Comber Greenway is renowned for being an awesome cycling route so if you’d prefer to pedal rather than hike, this could be a great option for you and your family.
The Comber Greenway hiking trail takes you all the way from Comber along an old railway track right into the heart of East Belfast, with beautiful scenery to enjoy along the way.
It’s also known as a bit of a haven for wildlife so keep your eyes peeled for birds chirping in the trees and squirrels scurrying in the shrubbery.
Along the way, as well as providing you with ample opportunity to immerse yourself in beautiful nature, you’ll also be treated to views of the Belfast Hills, Stormont, Scrabo Tower and the Harland & Wolff cranes.
The Comber Greenway trail is relatively easy and stable, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble navigating the path, even if you’re not prepared with fancy hiking boots! It’s also mostly flat for the majority of the walk, making it the perfect nature trail in Belfast for people of all ages.
The start of the trail is a 40-minute drive from our hotel, so it’s not the closest hike in Belfast on this list, but we promise it’s more than worth the extra bit of driving to take in such gorgeous views and scenery!
It’s clear to see by now just how many awesome scenic walks there are in Belfast, but if you’re not a huge fan of walking, but you still love to experience the great outdoors, check out some other things to do and see in Belfast instead.
Your Base For the Best Hikes in Belfast
Whether you’re coming from abroad or from elsewhere in Ireland, our Belfast International Airport hotel is the perfect place to base yourself while in Belfast as it provides you with a convenient location for getting in and around the city so you can experience some of the best Belfast hikes.
Only a 2-minute walk from Belfast International Airport terminal entrance and a short 20-minute taxi journey from Belfast city centre, we’ll serve as the perfect pit stop to rest up after your hike before heading into the city. So why wait? Book one of our hotel rooms in Belfast today.