‘Underrated’ Irish city named as one of Europe’s coolest spots

A city once plagued by conflict, this historic Irish city is becoming a vibrant hub of culture, tourism, and progression. 

One 'underrated' Irish city has been named one of the coolest destinations in Europe.

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting European city break that won’t have you battling the crowds of tourists, we might have just the place for you.

Renowned international travel publication Condé Nast Traveller has ranked one ‘underrated’ Irish city among Europe’s coolest spots. 

With history and culture in abundance, a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, and friendly local hospitality, this Irish city needs to be on your 2024 bucket list. 

Transforming into a vibrant modern city – leaving the past behind

Check out this 'underrated' Irish city that has been named one of Europe's coolest destinations.
Credit: Ireland’s Content Pool / Tourism Northern Ireland

Believe it or not, Belfast is the ‘underrated’ Irish city that has been named as one of Europe’s coolest spots by experts at Condé Nast Traveller.

Revealing the fabric of the city, they wrote, “Belfast: city of riveters, inventors, linen mill girls, boxers, pamphleteers, revolutionaries, Lambeg drummers, uilleann pipers, mission hall preachers, and moustachioed burghers with fob watches.

“Now you are more likely to find cocktail creators, urban farmers, NGO officials, tech specialists, muralists, political tour guides, ravers, and Irish-language teachers.” 

‘Underrated’ Irish city – an up-and-coming tourist destination

Belfast City Hall, one of the most historic buildings in the Irish capital.
Credit: Flickr/ David Stanley

With so much to offer and prices that sit below neighbouring capitals Dublin and London, Belfast is becoming an attractive option for those looking for an enlightening and entertaining city break.

Giving a bit of history, Condé Nast writers reveal how “Belfast boomed spectacularly in the 19th century”. This was thanks to industries such as linen, printing, shipbuilding, and distilling.

Author Holly Farrier reveals that she has visited the capital of Northern Ireland several times. First in 1982, at which time, she describes the city as a “monochrome scene”.

She writes of that time: “The centre was caged and checkpointed. Shops were bombsites, and pods of soldiers moved along the Falls Road with rifles.”

Returning to a changed city – one of Europe’s coolest spots

Belfast is the 'underrated' Irish city that has been named one of Europe's coolest spots.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Things have changed significantly in the city – and across Northern Ireland – since 1982, as residents will know. 

Farrier writes of her return to Belfast in 2022, “I’ve been to Belfast many times, but always fleetingly. I came back for the [Good Friday] Agreement’s 25th anniversary.”

She reveals, “It surprised me. Many presuppositions were upended. I hadn’t expected the abundance of music, the sumptuousness and originality of the hotels, the cross-community meetings of minds.”

Farrier compares the relaxed vibrancy of the Cathedral Quarter to London’s Shoreditch, Edinburgh’s West End, and Dublin’s Temple Bar. She writes, “Metre by metre, the city is reclaiming itself from dereliction.”

So, if you’re wondering where to book your next flight, why not check out Belfast? After all, it’s the perfect time to visit this underrated Irish city. Nothing better than checking out one of Europe’s coolest spots before everyone catches on!

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend