Many people choose to go interrailing in the hot summer months. There are many pros to traveling this time of the year, but there are also quite a few cons. For example, hotels prices can be double the price of winter, cities are packed with tourists, and the intense heat can be a bit overwhelming. Interrailing in winter is just as good if not better than going in summer, especially in Ireland.
BELFAST – The first stop is located in Northern Ireland, note this is part of the United Kingdom. Belfast has arguably the best Christmas market on the entire island of Ireland. Once you step through the gates, you will immediately feel the Christmas spirit as the crisp winter air mixes with the sweet smell of mulled wine drifting out from cozy wooden huts. Once the sun starts to go down, the magnificent City Hall is lit up. Now you can really indulge in the Christmas atmosphere.
Since Belfasts average December temperature is just 5°, you will need to find somewhere to warm your bones on its chilly days. A great place to do this is at St. Georges Market, an indoor market with a huge range of foods, gifts, and souviners. Just a 5 minute walk away you can find Victoria shopping center. Here you can climb up to The Dome and see Belfast from above. No trip to Belfast would be complete without learning about the history of the Titanic at the Titanic Belfast Museum.
DUBLIN – Head down south crossing the border from one capital to another. Now that you’re in the Republic of Ireland you can switch to using Euros. Dublin has many Christmas markets dotted throughout the city and county. Two great markets that are centrally located can be found at St. Stephens Green and Dublin Castle. Expect to find an upbeat atmosphere with glowing lights, decorations, and live Christmas music at both of these great locations.
There are numerous things to do in Dublin. Those who are on a budget will be glad to know that most of the top attractions here can be viewed for free! Some of the top free attractions include Phoenix park, which is Europe’s largest park, the Natural History Museum, and the National Gallery. Before exploring the historical pathways of Trinity College you can immerse in the Irish Christmas spirit along Grafton Street for a spot of shopping.
Dublin Train Stations: (From Belfast) https://www.irishrail.ie/station/dublin-connolly (To Galway) https://www.irishrail.ie/en-ie/station/dublin-heuston
Dublin Christmas market: (Dublin castle) https://www.dublincastle.ie/christmas-at-the-castle-2019/
GALWAY – One of Ireland’s most sought-after tourist destinations in on the opposite side of the island but still only a 2 and a half hour train journey. Galway’s charming Christmas market takes place in Eyre Square in the center of Galway. With its abundance of sparkling lights and over 50 wooden chalets, It is a great Christmas experience for people of all ages.
After wandering through the historic streets of the city center you can move on to see Galway’s must-see attractions. Keep an eye out for the massive green dome of the Galway Cathedral that can be seen from afar and admire the architecture and its amazing interior. Make your way towards the Galway City Museum where you can learn all about the history of the local area. Just a stone’s throw away you can find the Spanish Arch, the remains of the old city wall.
Galway Train Station: https://www.irishrail.ie/en-ie/station/galway-ceannt
Galway Christmas Market: https://www.galwaytourism.ie/event/galway-christmas-market/
CORK – Time to finish your adventure with a bang! After taking a 4-hour train journey south you will find yourself standing in Irelands second-largest city. Once you leave the train station you’re immediately drawn to the city alight. The glowing bridges will guide you to the main streets that are crammed with decorations hanging from building to building. On Mac Curtain Street, you can find Corks Glow festival that’s filled with bright lights, unique stalls, and a 32 ft tall Ferris wheel!
Food lovers can seek out paradise at the famous English Market. Here you can wander the mazelike paths experiencing the best of Corks food sense. After spending some time there, it’s now time to explore the Huguenot Quarter. Start by warming yourself up with a world-class hot chocolate at Cork’s Coffee Roasters. While walking the picture-perfect historic alleyways sipping on your hot beverage, you can duck in and out of small local shops looking for unique Christmas gifts. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, you can pay a visit to the Crawford Art Gallery for free.
For more information on Interrailing in Ireland you can click on the link down below.
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