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Black Taxi tours in Belfast

I am interested in a black taxi tour in Belfast but am hoping for some insight from other travelers on some questions.

  1. Is the content of the tour centered around the Troubles? Is it a pre-set itinerary or can one ask the taxi to go see other sites in the area?

  2. Is the commentary "unbiased" or rather, does it present both sides of the story related to the Troubles?

  3. I have see ads from tour companies that say they are the "REAL" black taxi tour. How can I be sure I'm getting the "real" one? haha.

  4. Do the tours leave from and return to the same location? Do I need to book in advance??

  5. Where is a safe place to park a car if I have luggage hidden in the trunk since we won't be staying overnight?

Posted by
38 posts

Dear C.M.

Several years ago my husband and I did a Black Cab tour in Belfast. The driver was recommended and booked by our hotel. He picked us up there and brought us back. The fee was arranged in advance and the guide/driver was in charge of the itinerary which was centered around the Troubles. The commentary was completely unbiased, in fact, I couldn't tell you which of the neighborhoods had been his as a child. He encouraged us to walk around the area and to ask him questions. It was chilling to see the sites we had grown up seeing overwhelmed by violent confrontations on television. But it was not depressing; on the contrary, it was hopeful.
I encourage you to do a Black Cab tour. My husband and I agreed that it was one of the most remarkable travel experiences we have had over many years of travel.

Posted by
96 posts

I had some of the same questions before we went to NI. I narrowed it down to two companies, and I ended up choosing this one. The driver was driving a silver minivan (so not a black taxi if you care about that) and he met us at the train station. When booking, I specified where we wanted to be picked up. He asked us where we wanted to be dropped off, which for us was the Titanic Museum. That was no problem. He did tell us which part of Belfast he grew up in, but he presented both sides in a very respectful way. The tour was primarily centered around the Troubles which was what we were looking for. I am sure that if we had other questions or wanted to see something else that was in close proximity, we could have asked him to. All in all, he did a nice job, but the tour seemed a little "canned" to me, if that makes sense. Like it was something he has done every day for years and we were just another guest. He was personable and friendly, but didn't really do anything to make our 2 hours with him special. I didn't get that feeling like I sometimes feel with other tour guides who I think were amazing. The cost was $50 for two passengers, which he confirmed in an email when we booked, but which was higher than stated on the website. I would recommend booking in advance if you want a specific day and time.

Posted by
2211 posts

Take a look at this thread:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/ireland/black-taxi-tour-belfast-murals-peace-wall-etc-recommended-company

  1. Yes, though Norman does offer other tours/services.

  2. Very much unbiased, in my experience.

  3. I think so, certainly, it is "a" real one.

  4. No-we met our driver at the train station and had him drop us at City Hall for the highly recommended free tour there. Yes, I would book in advance.

  5. Can't answer that but someone can...highly rec train from Dublin for the day if that works for you, it's a breeze.

I will say that we did have a great experience, and I think that is in part due to having read up a bit on The Troubles beforehand. A good guide that sees you know something about the subject at hand will be drawn out a bit by that, imho, making for a better tour.

Posted by
660 posts

We didn't know how to find a Black Cab tour so we went to the Visitor's Center which is conveniently located downtown across from City Hall on the walking streets (late Sept 2019). The Visitor's Center lined us up with a Black Cab tour within the hour. Some guy came in and got us, took us a couple of blocks to another guy who took us on the tour. Kinda weird but it worked out great. Price was standard. The guy was an awesome guide. Obviously a professional and he was known by other guides that made the same stops that we did throughout the Troubles areas. He made us guess whether he was Protestant or Catholic. We guessed wrong. He was a fun guy and easy to talk with. Gave us tons of information. So...try the Visitor's Center. Can't advise you on the safe parking. We parked in a garage near the Visitor's Center. Felt safe enough but I suppose you can't even trust a garage in small town America any more than Belfast.