Europa Hotel – Belfast, Northern Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Europa Hotel

It was once nicknamed "the most bombed hotel in Europe." 

The Europa today is a four-star hotel that’s played host to presidents and celebrities, but its history has not always been so grand. In fact many are surprised it is still standing.

The hotel opened in July, 1971, in the midst of the “Troubles,” a 30-year violent territorial conflict over whether Northern Ireland would remain under British rule, or leave the United Kingdom and join a united Ireland.

During this time, the Europa Hotel was the primary accommodation for journalists reporting on the turmoil, and its ill fate soon gained it nicknames such as the “Hardboard Hotel,” and “The most bombed hotel in Europe.” 

Between 1970 and 1994 the hotel was bombed no less than 28 to 33 times (reports vary), including once before it was even open to the public. On one occasion a bomb was simply bought to reception with “IRA” (Provisional Irish Republican Army) scrawled on it, on another the damage was so bad residents could look through a hole in the wall and see the stage of the Grand Opera House next door.

Despite all the attacks, the hotel has only actually closed its doors to the public twice, and no one died in any of the bombings. It is currently a central, modern, and safe place to stay in Belfast (famous for being the town where the RMS Titanic was built), featuring a piano bar and Grand Ballroom.