Belfast City Sightseeing runs the most comprehensive open-top tour through Belfast. The Belfast City Tour covers the City Hall, University Quarter, Shipyard, Titanic Quarter, Stormont, Shankill Road, peace line, and Falls Road, and goes past the Grand Opera House on Great Victoria Street. You can hop off and hop on as you please. The entire route, without stops, takes about an hour and a half. The company's Titanic Explorer (www.titanicexplorer.com) bus, scheduled to run through 2013, embarks on a two-hour hop-off, hop-on excursion that takes in Titanic's Dock and Pump House, stops at the Titanic Belfast Visitor Centre, and includes a 45-minute walking tour of the Titanic shipyard. The bus will pick you up from your hotel.
Belfast Ghost Walk tours leave from City Hall's front gates to reveal some of Belfast darkest secrets and most haunted sites.
Belfast Pub Tours, walks that sample a dozen or so of the city's historic pubs, leave from the Crown Dining Room (above the Crown Liquor Saloon).
Belfast Splash Tours, the favorite of many kids, are sightseeing "Duck" boat excursions that take in Titanic Quarter and other notable city landmarks before splashing into the River Lagan. Tours leave five times daily from Victoria Square shopping mall on Chichester Street.
Belfast Welcome Centre is the starting point for two worthy 90-minute walking tours. On the Blackstaff Way tour (6; Saturday at 11 am), you'll learn how Belfast developed between three rivers—the Blackstaff, the Farset, and the Lagan. You'll also take in the Boyne Bridge, Belfast's oldest bridge, and discover the significance of the Mystery Stone from Belfast Castle. The Historic Belfast tour (6; Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 pm) focuses on the city's origins and its Victorian architecture.
Black taxi tours are another way to experience Belfast's history. Belfast City Black Taxi Tours conducts 75-minute tours in a London-style black taxi, visiting both Loyalist and Nationalist sights. Official Black Taxi Tours and the popular TaxiTrax Tours provide similar itineraries. For all companies, the Loyalist tours leave from North Street or Bridge Street and prices can vary depending on pick-up point; the Nationalist tours pick you up at your hotel.
Allen's Tours (Belfast. www.allenstours.co.uk.)
Belfast City Sightseeing (City Tour departs from Castle Place (opposite McDonald's), Belfast. www.belfastcitysightseeing.com. City Tour £12.50, valid 48 hrs on a hop-on, hop-off basis; Titanic Explorer £10 (£28 for 2 adults and 2 children). City Tour Mar.–Sept., daily 10–4 every 15 mins; Oct.–Feb., daily every 30 mins.)
Belfast Ghost Walk (Departs from City Hall front gates, Donegall Sq., Central District, Belfast, BT1 5GS. www.ghostwalkbelfast.com. £8. Mar.–Oct., Wed., Fri., and Sun. at 7.30 pm.)
Belfast Pub Tours (Depart from the Crown Rooms, 46 Great Victoria St., Golden Mile, Belfast, BT2 7BA. www.belfastpubtours.com. £6. Tours May–Oct., Thurs. 7 pm, Sat. 4 pm; check in advance.)
Belfast Welcome Centre. 47 Donegall Pl., Central District, Belfast. 028/9024-6609. www.gotobelfast.com.
McComb's Coach Travel (22 Donegall Rd., Central District, Belfast, BT3 9JP. www.minicoachni.co.uk/tours.cfm.)
Bespoke Tours (Central District, Belfast. 079/1229–0935. www.bespoke-tours.com.)
Richard Hayward's Belfast (Depart from outside the Crown Bar, 46 Great Victoria St., Golden Mile, Belfast, BT2 7BA. 077/6237–9303. £7. Tours Mar.–Oct., Sat. at 2, Thurs. at 7 pm; check in advance by phone.)
Belfast City Black Taxi Tours (Belfast, Co. Antrim. www.belfastcityblacktaxitours.com. £25 for 1–2 passengers, £30 for 3, and £35 for 4.)
The Official Black Taxi Tours (Belfast. www.belfasttours.com. £30 1–2 passengers, £12 per add'l person.)
TaxiTrax Tours (Belfast. www.taxitrax.com. £30 1–3 passengers, £10 per add'l person.)
Parliament Buildings Tour (Upper Newtownards Rd., Stormont, East Belfast, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT4 3XX. 028/9052–1802. www.niassembly.gov.uk. Tours last one hour, at 10am and 3pm.)