Cyclists racing from Titanic Belfast

In May 2014, Northern Ireland went ‘pink’ with enthusiasm when the prestigious Giro d’Italia cycle race started in Belfast. 

The two-wheeled extravaganza saw riders tackle challenging courses of steep slopes and tricky gradients, navigating Northern Ireland’s beautiful landscape, quaint villages and rugged coastline.

Since then enthusiastic cyclists have come to test their ability along the same spectacular cycling route – here’s how you can too.

Stage 1: Titanic Belfast – Stormont - Belfast City Hall

(13.5 miles/21.7 km)

Mainly on-road this route is not for the faint hearted and consists of long straight roads with occasional sharp turns. Partially off road, alternatives can be found by using the Comber Greenway, an off-road cycling route which will take you through a tranquil green corridor in East Belfast to Parliament Building at Stormont. 

The Giro D’Italia Grande Partenza began with a team trial on this route through East Belfast – but a quiet off-road cycle route is nearby via the Comber Greenway if you don’t want to battle through traffic. 

Start at Titanic Belfast, the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction 2016, in the heart of the Titanic Quarter, where the famous ship was constructed. For more maritime history, Battle of Jutland survivor HMS Caroline and SS Nomadic are also based here. 

Cycle under the shadow of the two iconic shipyard cranes, Samson and Goliath, and cycle up the Newtownards Road - home to some of Northern Ireland’s murals – and on to the suburb of Ballyhackamore.

Take the uphill mile-long Prince of Wales Avenue leading to the iconic Parliament Buildings, commonly known as Stormont and home to the Northern Ireland Assembly. This intriguing building is set in parkland with sweeping views of the city.

Leaving the grandeur of Stormont behind, cycle back towards the city centre and cross the Queens Bridge and Thanksgiving Statue (or Beacon of Hope). Nearby are the Waterfront Hall, Victoria Square shopping centre and the bustling St George’s Market, which sells an array of local food and crafts each weekend.

Cycle onto the Ormeau Road in South Belfast, one of the oldest and most significant thoroughfares in the city.  Here you will find a variety of bars and restaurants and one of the largest parks in Belfast, Ormeau Park.

Cycle onto Stranmillis Embankment towards the Queen’s Quarter, a student hub centered around the stunning Queen’s University, beautiful Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum, Lyric Theatre, and an abundance of cafes and restaurants.

Ride down Great Victoria Street towards Belfast City Hall to the journey’s end, right in the city centre. City Hall was built in 1906 and its grounds, a popular spot lunch hour spot for workers on sunny days, include a Titanic Memorial Garden, which commemorates those who died in the ship’s sinking.

Map for the first stage of the Giro D'Italia route: