How to get from Belfast to Dublin or how to get from Dublin to Belfast? Although these cities lie in two completely different countries, they are not too far from each other.
There are several public and private transport options available to get to Belfast from Dublin, Ireland, due to the economic and geographical importance of the two cities. The distance between the cities is 169 kilometres, so choosing a fast and comfortable travel option can sometimes be tough, especially for first-time travellers. Taking the wrong bus or train can have you end up on the other end of the island causing you to wast lots and lots of time.
In this post I will present you with a few great ways to get from Dublin to Belfast or the other way around.
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Dublin to Belfast by bus
Bus is one of the cheapest ways to travel from Dublin to Belfast and currently, four Bus transport businesses operate intercity bus travel services between the cities. These include Dublin Coach, Expressway, Translink, and Bus Eireann. All operators follow a standard route through the M1 expressway and start in front of the Custom House Quay in Dublin city and take travellers to the Glengall Street in Belfast. Buses depart on an hourly or two-hourly basis depending on the operator and start leaving for Belfast as early as 5.30 in the morning, so even if someone misses their intended bus, they can easily catch the next one. The last bus leaves at around 8 PM, which is the reason bus travels are more reliable and flexible.
Tickets can be bought online or at their respective offices in Dublin. Prices start from 10 Euros for one-way travel, and the cross-border journey usually takes around 1h 50m.
Belfast to Dublin by train and back
The next best option for travelling to the capital city of Northern Ireland is by train. Two railway operators service the Dublin-Belfast route in Dublin, the Irish Rail, and Translink UK. Both operate a railroad from Connolly station platform 7 in Dublin city to Lanyon Place Railway station platform 1 in Belfast City Centre. Irish Rail services this route every four hours while Translink UK covers the route five times a day. The first train to Belfast leaves at around 7.35 AM and the last of the day departs at 8:45 PM.
View from the window is another advantage to train travel over bus travel. Buses take the M1 Expressway to Belfast which does not guarantee the scenic views of lush green fields that Ireland and the UK are famous for. Trains, however, travel through spectacular plains and hilly areas which makes the two-hour journey delightful. Since the trains stop at Drogheda, Dundalk, Newry, and Portadown railway stations to drop passengers on the way to Belfast, the usual travel time by trains is 2 hours 9 minutes which is a bit longer than taking the bus.
Irish Rail one-way tickets for adults cost around 38 Euros from Connolly to Lanyon Place while Translink tickets start at 17.99 Euros for economy class. Still, upgrades are available at some extra charge.
Dublin to Belfast by car
While both bus and train transports seem to be hassle-free, sometimes travellers require a personal vehicle to travel with their families or if they need to stop for work or pleasure along the way to Belfast or because they like to drive. For complete freedom, hiring a rental car from Dublin City is the right option for many people.
At the moment, only three car rental services offer cars for cross-border journeys, namely, Avis, Europcar, and Sixt. Taking the M1 motorway, car drivers have the opportunity to stop and visit several interesting sights along the way to Belfast, including the Cliffs of Moher, Newry, Warrenpoint, Mount Stewart, Monasterboice Newcastle, and Galway. While most of these places will require a detour from the motorway, it is definitely worth the hassle. Kids especially will enjoy the rich countryside and mountain views from the town of Warrenpoint and Carlingford.
If driven non-stop, self-driving will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Belfast. Charges usually start at 200 Euros but vary depending on the make of vehicle and chosen rental service. One-way intercity trip charges from all three businesses include a one-way car rental fee with tax, which is a lot higher if you plan to leave the car at Belfast. The rental service features unlimited mileage, breakdown assistance, and accidental insurance and theft waiver. Drivers are advised to take extra cash with them for tolls along the motorway. Add-ons, such as a second driver permit, baby car seats, GPS navigators, and premium insurance can all be added to the package at additional charges.
Belfast to Dublin by Private transfer
Another way to get from Dublin to Belfast and back is by private transfer. Private transfers are, overall, cheaper than taking the taxi but more expensive than booking a bus transfer. With a private transfer, a private car company will pick you up form your preferred location and drop you off in Belfast or Dublin depending on where you came from. The cars are often new and very comfortable.
Dublin to Belfast by bus transfer
For a lot of travellers, it is easy to get a transfer shuttle for Belfast right at the Dublin airport then going all the way to Dublin Center for buying bus tickets. Currently, there are two options available, the Aircoach or Translink Goldline Express buses, both of which offer hourly rides from Dublin Airport to Belfast throughout the day.
For Aircoach airport connections, the prices start at 17 Euros for one-way trips and 9 Euros for children over the age of 12. Similarly, Translink Express tickets cost 15 Euros for adults and 9 Euros for accompanying children. The station for both buses lies on the right side of Terminal 1 of the airport. While coaches might not be the most comfortable travel options for most passengers compared to private vehicles, it certainly is inexpensive and reliable for many.
Belfast to Dublin by Taxi
Although taxi services are widely available across the island of Ireland, most drivers avoid taking long rides, such as the cross border trip to Belfast from Dublin and they have their reasons. The journey is not beneficial to the drivers since finding customers on the way back to Dublin is a tough nut to crack. The trip takes an estimated 1 hour 30 minutes to complete but can take longer depending on the traffic and weather conditions.
Taxi fares start at around 250 Euros for the trip and go all the way up to 300 Euros. Tickets are a little pricier than taking a rental because drivers usually do not find returning passengers for Dublin and no driver wants to take the 150 km ride back to the city without getting paid. Nevertheless, the comfort of travelling in a private vehicle is unmatched compared to all other means of transport and therefore, worth the price. Most taxi companies, such as Kiwitaxi, Xpert Taxis, and Ballsbridge Taxis, even allow you to choose the vehicle that you deem comfortable.
Lieze Neven is a globetrotting travel writer and expat currently based in Nepal. With a passion for exploration, she has lived in Dubai, the UK, and Belgium, alongside her international teacher husband. Her parents live in France and she tries to visit Paris at least once a year. Together, they travel the world looking for the best hotels, experiences and food locations have to offer!