24 Best Things To Do in Galway, Ireland

24 Best Things To Do in Galway, Ireland

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Visitors looking for fun things to do in Galway City, Ireland won’t be disappointed. The city is packed with Medieval sights, miles of shoreline and a multitude of Irish pubs and restaurants. Fellow travelers can use our complete list of the best things to do in Galway, Ireland to plan their perfect trip!


Things To Do in Ireland: Galway FAQs

Before we get started with our list of Things To Do Galway, we want to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions.


How Many Days in Galway, Ireland?

Deciding how many days to spend in Galway is not an easy task. Boasting an array of exciting activities and nearby attractions, Galway makes a great base for exploring the region.

In our opinion, visitors need 2 days in Galway – at a minimum – in order to truly experience the absolute best of Galway. With our tips, visitors should have no problem creating a 2-Day Itinerary for Galway.

That said, we understand that not everyone will have the same timeframes for their vacation in Ireland. To help fellow travelers make their trip plan, we provide a sample Galway itinerary for 1 to 4 days at the end of the article.


When is the Best Time to Visit Galway, Ireland?

There is no question that the best time of year to visit Galway, Ireland is in the summer when the weather is most likely to be sunny, warm and dry. Exploring Galway City is best when there are blue skies overhead!

However, it pretty much rains in Galway year-round, so travelers should always be prepared for wet weather.


Are There Things To Do in Galway when it Rains?

Yes, of course! There are several fun Galway indoor activities for wet, drizzly days. We feature some of the best indoor attractions on our list.


Are There Free Things To Do in Galway, Ireland?

Absolutely! During our trip, we discovered many things to do for free in Galway. In our opinion, some of the free activities are the best things to do in the city.


Are There Things To Do in Galway Without a Car?

Definitely! We didn’t have a car for our Galway trip – and we had no problem getting around on foot to see the sights and attractions. Additionally, there is a Hop On Hop Off Bus that conveniently stops at the best Galway sights.

A car would be helpful for travelers who want to explore more of the region. However, there are organized day trips that visitors can join – plus useful public transit lines for planning DIY day trips from Galway to places like Doolin and the Aran Islands.


Planning a Trip to Galway, Ireland

Deciding what to do in Galway City, Ireland is just one step in the total trip planning process. You also need to figure out how to get there, where to stay and what to pack – all of which we outline in detail at the end of this post.

If Galway is just one destination on a longer Ireland trip, we share tips for how to spend One Week in Ireland.

Furthermore, visitors traveling to Ireland from abroad can find useful tips in our blog post: How To Plan a European Vacation.

Whether you are planning a quick weekend in Galway or a long trip from overseas, keeping track of the trip details is essential! We recommend using a planner, like our Printable Travel Planner, to stay organized!

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The 24 Best Things To Do in Galway, Ireland

Now that we covered the basics, let’s get to the best Galway attractions and top things to do. Each of the sights are featured on our Map of Galway, Ireland below.

Save, Pin or Bookmark our Galway blog post so that you can use it as you plan your trip to Ireland!


#1 Embark on a Galway City Tour

Must Discover the Latin Quarter in Galway, Ireland

We love exploring cities on foot; it’s one of the best ways to get acquainted with any new destination. And, it just so happens that sightseeing on foot is one of the top Galway City activities, as it is flat, fairly compact and walkable. Travelers can embark on their own adventure to see the top sights using the following attractions on our list of Galway Things To Do.

That said, visitors short on time, might consider joining an organized Galway tour. A local guide leads the way to top Galway sights and attractions, plus they enhance the tour with interesting facts and fascinating stories. Embarking on a walking tour is certainly one of the fun things to do in Galway City. Get the details here!


#2 Relax in Eyre Square, Galway

View from Eyre Square, Galway, Ireland

Eyre Square is the largest square in the city and one of the top things to see in Galway, Ireland. Dating to Medieval times when it served as a marketplace, Eyre Square today marks the heart of Galway – as it’s nestled between the busy transportation hub and the historic Latin Quarter.

The square is also called the John F Kennedy Memorial Park, honoring the US President and the speech he gave from the park during his Galway visit in 1963.

The square is dotted with monuments – including a bust of JFK, the Quincentennial Fountain resembling a Galway Hooker Boat, the flags of the 14 Tribes of Galway (who were the town’s most powerful merchants), The Browne Doorway (which offers little information, but was the entry to the Browne Family house, one of the Tribes of Galway) and a statue of Irish author, Padraic O Conaire.


#3 Explore the Galway Docks

The Galway Docks – or the Port of Galway – highlights the importance of the city’s maritime past…and present. Since its inception in the 12th century, Galway has relied on the sea for protection and trade.

The small harbor houses both fishing boats and recreational vessels. Exploring the docks and stopping by the Galway Bay Seafoods Dockside Deli for fresh fish are some of the fun activities in Galway.


#4 Take The Long Walk

Take The Long Walk, Galway, Ireland

A bit of a misnomer, The Long Walk is actually a very short and pleasant stroll along the riverside where the River Corrib flows into Galway Bay. The short street – just 400 meters long – is lined with colorful houses.

The 5-minute walk is well worth adding to your Galway sightseeing itinerary. However, the view of The Long Walk from the opposite riverbank should not be missed either!


#5 Spot a Galway Hooker Fishing Boat

Hooker Fishing Boat floating in the river in Galway, Ireland

The traditional Galway Hooker Fishing Boats are one of the interesting attractions in Galway. The boats are often anchored at the mouth of the Corrib River, but you can get an up-close look at one in the museum that is next on our list of Galway, Ireland things to do.

The sailboats were designed to withstand strong winds and turbulent seas – and feature three sails (one from the main mast and two from the bow). Traditionally, the boats are black with rust-colored sails.


#6 Go to the Galway City Museum

Hooker Boat at Galway City Museum, Ireland

Ranking as one of the top Galway City tourist attractions, the Galway Museum is a fantastic place to visit and learn about the history of the region. Exhibits detail the history of Galway through an array of interesting artifacts – including the first Claddagh ring, a Hooker Boat and products from the Aran Islands (like a traditional Aran Sweater).

We found the Irish Revolution exhibit to be particularly intriguing and kids will likely enjoy the Sea Science section (complete with a small submarine).

As a bonus, there is no entry fee to the museum, making it one of the best free things to do in Galway City!


#7 Walk Under the Spanish Arch

Must Walk Under the Spanish Arch when in Galway, Ireland

An extension of the 12th century fortifications, the Spanish Arch was built in 1584 as an extra measure of protection from Martin’s Tower to the riverbank. Although the arch was nearly destroyed in a tsunami that resulted from the Lisbon 1755 earthquake, the resilient arch still stands.

Today, the Spanish Arch is a top landmark and walking through the old stone arch is one of the must-do Galway activities.

Fun Fact: The stronghold got its name from the Spanish ships that would dock at the arch when they sailed into town to trade and sell their goods – like wine and spices.


#8 Discover the Latin Quarter

Street Performers in the Latin Quarter, Galway, Ireland

The Latin Quarter is one of the oldest parts of the city and getting lost in the maze of Medieval streets is one of the top things to do in Galway, Ireland.

The pedestrian-only, curving cobblestone streets are lined with boutique shops, local restaurants and many, many traditional Irish pubs.

The district stretches from The Long Walk and Spanish Arch north to O’Brien’s Bridge and east to Buttermilk Lane. The best streets to discover in the Latin District are the lively Quay Street, the quaint Kirwan’s Lane and Druid Lane.

One of the best activities to do in Galway is to simply walk along the streets, listen to the buskers and revel in the enthusiastic atmosphere.


#9 Get a Glimpse of Medieval Ruins at Hall of the Red Earl

A fascinating archeological site, the Hall of the Red Earl was only discovered in 1997 during renovation works on the Custom House.

Dating to the 13th century, the original structure served as a municipal building, where they collected taxes, held court and hosted events. Although the outline of the building is all that remains, archaeologists found more than 11,000 artifacts at the site. 

Portions of the unearthed Medieval ruins are now visible for interested visitors who want to get a glimpse. There is no admission fee – it’s another one of the free things to do in Galway!


#10 Learn about the Legend of the Claddagh Ring

Legend of the Claddagh Ring, Galway, Ireland

The Irish Claddagh ring – which features a heart held by hands and topped with a crown – is one of the most iconic symbols of Galway. Based on popular legend, the ring was first made by a goldsmith who lived in Claddagh, a small fishing village just across the River Corrib outside the Galway city walls.

Of course, there is a lot more to the story than that – and visitors can learn all about it at the Legend of the Claddagh Ring Museum. The romantic story is detailed in a short movie and visitors can also watch jewelers craft the rings.

We think popping into the museum is one of the fun things to do in Galway when it’s raining.


#11 Shop on Shop Street, Galway

Long serving as Galway’s main shopping thoroughfare, Shop Street retains its original purpose as a retail mecca. The street hosts major retail outlets and souvenir stores, most of which are housed in historic brick buildings.

Shopping on Shop Street has always been – and still is – one of the favorite activities in Galway City.


#12 Look Up at Lynch’s Castle

Exterior view of Lynch’s Castle, Galway, Ireland

Located on Shop Street, the 16th century Lynch Castle is not to be missed. The four-story building, featuring embellished windows and an ornamental family coat of arms, is one of the best-preserved Medieval houses in Galway.

Built by the prominent Lynch Family – one of the original Tribes of Galway – the castle is Spanish in character (as many structures were at the time it was built). Several generations of the Lynch Family lived in the dwelling.

The Galway castle is currently being used to house the AIB Bank. Visitors can look up at the Lynch Castle from the outside…or step inside the bank lobby (during normal bank hours) for free to learn more about the history and architecture. It’s one of the unique Galway, Ireland things to do!


#13 Lynch Memorial Window

One of the eerie Galway, Ireland attractions is the Lynch Memorial Window. According to a dark legend, the window marks the site of a harrowing hanging.

As the tale goes, in 1493, James Lynch Fitz Stephen – the Galway mayor at the time – had a son who was convicted of murder, a crime which was punishable by death. The mayor took it upon himself to dole out the punishment and he hanged his own son from the window.

Many believe that this is where the word ‘lynching’ originates.

Although both the story and the etymology likely contain more myth than fact, the folklore is captivating enough to have kept the window and the house façade (even though the rest of the home was demolished in the mid-1800s). 


#14 Visit St. Nicholas Medieval Parish Church

Exterior of St. Nicholas Medieval Parish Church, Galway, Ireland

The Saint Nicholas’ Collegiate Church ranks as one of the best historic things to see Galway, Ireland. The Anglican church, which sits in the heart of the Latin Quarter, dates to the early 14th century.

The church interior is adorned with memorials and the graveyard has headstones that date to the 13th century. However, the church is possibly most well-known as the place Christopher Columbus prayed in 1477 during his Galway visit.

Visitors should keep in mind that the church is only open limited hours and there is a small fee to enter.


#15 Wander the River Corrib Riverside Path

View from Corrib Riverside Path, Galway, Ireland

The riverside is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Galway. There is ample nature along the water and the River Corrib Walk, which follows the river north from Wolf Tone Bridge to the Salmon Weir Bridge, is a highlight of Galway City sightseeing.

Departing from the historic tangle of cobblestone streets, the riverside path follows the curve of the Corrib River, where water quickly flows downstream. The swift current makes the river one of fastest flowing rivers in Europe.

The tranquil and serene walk is the best way to get from the historic center to the Cathedral, which is next on our list of Things To Do in Galway, Ireland.


#16 Step Inside the Galway Cathedral

Interior of the Galway Cathedral, Ireland

Of the several Catholic churches in Galway, Ireland, the massive Galway Cathedral is, by far, the most impressive. Officially called the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, the church is practically brand new.

Designed in the Renaissance style, the stone church – compete with a towering dome – was constructed from 1958 until 1965 and sits on the site of the old city jail. It now reigns as one of the most recognizable landmarks in Galway.

There is no entry fee to go inside the church, so it is another one of the things to do in Galway for free (although they do appreciate donations).


#17 Experience Galway’s Westend

Vibrant and hip, Galway’s Westend is a hub of culture and entertainment. Hanging out in the Westend in the evening is one of the fun activities in Galway.

Only steps from the historic core – just across the Corrib River – the Westend is home to independent shops and locally-owned restaurants and bars. Many of the old buildings are colorfully decorated in modern street art and there is definitely a bohemian vibe felt throughout the district.

Visitors can go to the Galway Westend to shop, eat, drink and explore…and they will do it alongside the local crowd.


#18 Listen to Live Music at Monroe’s Tavern

Good times at Monroe’s Tavern, Galway, Ireland

A mainstay on the Galway music scene, Monroe’s Tavern has been featuring nightly live musical acts since it opened in the Westend in 1964. Without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Galway City, even today, is to sip a pint while listening to a live performance.

The spacious-yet-cozy bar, which features a stage (but was hosting a Trad Session in one of the booths during our visit), is a popular hangout for locals and warmly welcomes visitors.

The Monroe’s Live Music Venue – separate from the bar – hosts local and international musicians for ticketed performances, as well. 


#19 Stroll the Salthill Promenade along Galway Bay

Stretching 2 miles from Claddagh Quay to the Blackrock Diving Board, the Salthill Promenade follows the Galway Bay shoreline, offering stunning vistas of the sea and the Burren. Strolling, jogging or biking the path is one of the top things to do in Galway, Ireland – for locals and visitors, alike!

Along the route, there are benches and parks, along with other seaside attractions that we highlight next.


#20 Make the Walk to Mutton Island

View of Mutton Island, Galway, Ireland

Mutton Island sits in Galway Bay just 1 mile from the coastline – and visitors can walk to it using the convenient paved causeway. Walking to an island is certainly one of the more unusual things to do in Galway City, Ireland. The causeway offers exceptional views of the bay, coast and city.

While the Mutton Island Walk is one of the Galway Bay attractions, the island itself is off limits due to the fact that it houses the city’s sewage plant.


#21 Try to Catch Crabs at Grattan Beach

Grattan Beach is one of the sandy beaches in Galway City and is easy to get to using the Salthill Prom. The beach is particularly nice for walking, sunbathing, birdwatching and exploring.

In fact, one of the fun things to do in Galway City for kids is exploring the beach terrain at low tide. Crabs particularly like hiding under the exposed rocks.

Other beaches in Galway, Ireland are the Salthill Beaches (several pebbly beaches), Silverstrand Beach (a Blue Flag beach) and Ballyloughane Beach (another fun crabbing beach).


#22 Have Fun at the Salthill Attractions

Developed as a seaside resort in the mid-1800s, Salthill has long attracted visitors with an array of entertainment. The district is rife with restaurants, bars and hotels – plus there are casinos, an amusement park, a waterpark and a golf course, too.

In the evenings, one of the best things to do in Salthill, Galway is to parade up and down the main thoroughfare, Upper Salthill Road, which is lined with great pubs and eateries. The Oslo Bar (a Galway Bay Brewery outpost) and O’Connor’s Famous Pub are the two top picks for a fun night out.


#23 Watch the Fish at the National Aquarium of Ireland

Families looking for Salthill Galway things to do should not miss the Galway Atlantaquaria Aquarium. As the National Aquarium of Ireland, it features marine life native to Ireland, as well as an abundance of popular fish found around the world.

The frenzied feeding sessions and interactive touch pools are what make the aquarium one of the fun things to do in Galway, Ireland with family. However, visitors of all ages can enjoy an afternoon at Galway Atlantaquaria!


#24 Cruise the River to Lough Corrib

Flowing only 3.5 miles (6km) from Lough Corrib to Galway Bay, the River Corrib ranks as one of the shortest rivers in Europe (and, as we previously mentioned, it’s also one of the swiftest!). Visitors who want to spend an afternoon on the river can hop aboard a scenic river cruise on the Corrib Princess boat.

The 1.5-hour cruises, which are one of the best Galway City things to do, depart from Steamers Quay and travel upstream toward Lake Corrib. The boat passes by interesting riverside attractions, like the crumbling Terryland Castle and the ivy-covered Menlo Castle.

In addition to providing on-board commentary of the river and region, the boat also has a full bar, where they make an award-winning Irish Coffee!

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Best Restaurants in Galway, Ireland

We have highlighted top things to see and do, but now we want to feature a few of the best places to eat in Galway, Ireland. The Galway restaurants that we recommend are mostly casual places, but we list a few fine dining establishments, as well.

That said, travelers who want to get a taste of the best food in Galway should consider joining the highly touted Galway Food Tour, which includes the best bites in the city! As this popular tour tends to fill quickly, it’s best to book it in advance



In business since 1902, McDonagh’s is an inexpensive family-run fish and chips restaurant located on Quay Street. The Cod and Fries is the best seller, but they are known for their fresh-daily oysters, too.



One of our favorite cheap places to eat in Galway, Boojum is an Irish-based Mexican fast-food chain. The build-your-own burrito shop is quick, convenient and tasty!


The Dough Bros

The award-winning Dough Bros (ranked in the Top 50 Best Pizzerias in Europe) cranks out delicious wood-fired pizzas. The Hey Pesto is a crowd pleaser. Just plan on waiting, as it’s a busy spot!


Harry’s at Water Lane for Burgers

In search of gourmet burgers and cocktails, we made our way to Harry’s at Water Lane…and the modern gastropub lived up to its reputation. The Irish Burger was on point!


Le Petit Delice Limited

Ranking as one of our favorite cafes in Galway City Centre, Le Petit Delice has delicious cakes, croissants, scones and coffees!


Where To Eat in Galway: More Tips

  • Michelin Star Restaurant in Galway: Anair Restaurant featuring a delectable tasting menu.
  • Best Local Food Galway Restaurant: Dela offering a farm-to-table experience.
  • Best Steak in Galway: Ard Bia at Nimmo’s – order the Morgan’s Ribeye.
  • Best Seafood in Galway: Hooked serving fresh and fried favorites.
  • Best Pub Food in Galway: The Skeff Bar, both for the ambiance and classic Irish dishes.


Best Bars in Galway, Ireland

No question about it, one of the fun things to do in Galway at night (or in the afternoon, for that matter!) is to imbibe at one of the classic pubs and bars in Galway City. We already mentioned Monroe’s Tavern as one of the best pubs in Galway, Ireland, but we have a few more suggestions.


Tigh Choili

One of the fun pubs in Galway, Tigh Choili is known for their craic! With regular traditional Irish music sessions, no televisions and a lively crowd, Tigh Choili is a fabulous place to go for a pint of Guinness day and night!


Tigh Neachtain

We think Tigh Neachtain is a Galway must-see pub. Classic and cozy with snugs and outdoor space, Tigh Neachtain is full of character and charm. In addition to the wide range of beer on tap, they also offer an incredible whiskey selection and good food, too!


The Dew Drop Inn

The Dew Drop Inn is one of the many Galway Bay Brewery bars in Ireland – and it’s right in the city center. The tap list features Galway Bay craft beers, plus offerings from other breweries around Ireland and Europe – and they play some great music to boot!


Thirteen on the Green

A typical Irish pub with high ceilings, a wooden bar and nightly live music, Thirteen on the Green is a good place to relax with a pint and make new friends!


O’Connell’s Bar Galway

One of the boisterous and fun places to go in Galway, O’Connell’s Bar is much bigger than it appears and even features a spacious beer garden in the back. The bar recently became famous and recognizable from the Ed Sheeran ‘Galway Girl’ music video.


An Pucan

A great spot for food, watching sports or listening to live music, An Pucan is a gastropub, offering a modern Irish bar experience.


More Galway Things To Do

We have highlighted our top picks for things to do and places to eat, but there are a few more Galway tourist attractions that we should mention.


Galway Festivals

Galway is nicknamed the Festival Capital of Ireland, as the city hosts more than 120 festivals every year. Music, film and art festivals are held throughout the summer season and in the wintertime, the Galway Christmas Market takes over Eyre Square. (Read more about the Best European Christmas Markets!)


Irish Breadmaking Class

One of the unique things to do in Galway is to learn one of the best Irish crafts: Breadmaking. Join a baker in their personal kitchen and learn how to make Irish Soda Bread and tasty scones. Find out more!


Nora Barnacle’s House

Nora Barnacle was the wife of the great Irish writer, James Joyce. Although they met in Dublin, she was born in Galway. Her tiny family home sits on Bowling Green between the River Corrib and St. Nicholas’ Church. The house is open to visitors as a museum, but plan ahead as the hours are limited (Fri-Sun, 10am-4pm during our recent visit).


University of Galway Campus

The National University of Galway – located north of the Cathedral along the riverside – is one of the top attractions in Galway, Ireland. The beautiful campus features incredible architecture, with an eclectic mix of historic and modern buildings.


Things To Do Near Galway, Ireland

Travelers visiting Galway, Ireland will likely want to explore more than just the city center. Galway is well-situated to some of top attractions on the west coast of Ireland.


Aran Islands

View from the ferry to Aran Island from Doolin, Ireland

The Aran Islands – three small islands that sit at the mouth of Galway Bay – are one of the top regional attractions. Travelers can take one of the boat trips from Galway to Aran Islands on their own DIY day trip. We detail our Day Trip to the Aran Islands for travelers who enjoy discovering places on their own.

There is one boat from Galway to the Aran Islands that departs from the Galway City Docks (only during summertime) and year-round ferries that depart from nearby Rossaveal.

Alternatively, visitors can join one of the Aran Island tours from Galway City (that includes other sights, like the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin, which is next on the list!). Learn more here!


Cliffs of Moher, Doolin and The Burren on the Wild Atlantic Way

Top Tips for the Cliffs of Moher Walking Trail Doolin, Clare, Ireland

Exploring part of the Wild Atlantic Way – which extends 1,553 miles (2,500km) along Ireland’s west coast – is one of the best things to do around Galway. The route travels south from Galway into County Clare, featuring some of Ireland’s most iconic landscapes and picture-perfect towns.

From Galway, visitors first come to The Burren, a rocky and otherworldly landscape along the sea. The next highlight is the quaint town of Doolin, which has a handful of cozy pubs and epic scenery. The final stop on a day trip from Galway is the magnificent Cliffs of Moher, which stand more than 700 feet above the sea.

Visitors can plan their own trip to the sights using the Route 350 Bus or their own car. Joining an organized full day trip from Galway that features all the sights – like this one! – is another great way to discover the area.


Bus Tours from Galway to Connemara National Park

Discover the Irish countryside and Connemara NP on a full day tour from Galway. During the ride, tour participants are regaled with Irish stories and tales. Once at Connemara Park, travelers have free time to explore the hiking trails. Find out more!


Galway Day Trip to Kylemore Abbey

Set off on a full day trip to Connemara to experience the historic sites, small villages and stunning Kylemore Abbey. During the journey, the tour guide shares captivating stories about the towns and sights. Get the details!


Castles in Galway, Ireland

Seeking out the ancient castles is one of the fun things to do in County Galway – especially if you have a rental car. In fact, more than 200 castles still stand in the county, dotting the picturesque landscapes. The most spectacular castle in Galway, Ireland is Portumna Castle, but the Athenry Castle and Dunguaire Castle are impressive as well and are much closer to Galway City.


Galway, Ireland Map

Use this link to Google Maps for our online, interactive Map of Galway, Ireland Things To Do.

Galway, Ireland Map of Things To Do by JetSettingFools.com


Galway Itineraries for 1 to 4 Days

We outlined the activities that we think are a must-do in Galway, Ireland…and now we are going to wrap them into a succinct Galway Itinerary!


1 Day in Galway, Ireland

Travelers may be hard-pressed deciding what to do in Galway for a day. That said, with just a day in Galway, we recommend seeing the first 18 items that we detailed in our list of Galway Things To Do.

Travelers spending a full 24 hours in Galway may even be able to squeeze in a few more sights prior to departure.


2 Days in Galway, Ireland

Visitors lucky enough to be spending 48 hours in Galway will have plenty of time to see all of the attractions on our Must-See Galway list.

On the first day, follow our advice for Galway in One Day. Then, on the second day of a 2 Day Galway Itinerary, complete activities numbered 19 to 24.


3 Days in Galway

Seeing Galway in 3 days is ideal. In addition to seeing the sights in Galway City Centre, visitors can explore part of the region, too. We recommend planning an Aran Islands day trip for Day 3. Because of the limited time, we recommend joining the full day tour that also includes visiting the Cliffs of Moher.


4 Days in Galway

Planning a Galway Itinerary for 4 days allows for even more regional discovery. On Day 4 take off on another Galway day excursion – either to Connemara National Park or Kylemore Abbey. Alternatively, stay in Galway and partake in a truly Irish experience – like learning to make Irish bread or joining the Food Tour.


Travel Tips for your Galway Trip

Galway Girl Ireland Street Art

Now that you know what to do in Galway, Ireland, we have a few more tips that will help you plan your trip.


Getting To Galway

Galway, Ireland can be reached by car, bus or train. There are no direct flights to Galway, but we have a few tips for travelers arriving by plane to other airports in Ireland.


Fly To Galway

There is no commercial airport in Galway, but travelers can use the Shannon Airport (SNN), Dublin Airport (DUB) or the West Ireland Airport Knock (NOC) to get to Galway. Visitors looking for cheap flights to Galway, Ireland should use our Top Tips for Finding Cheap Plane Tickets.


Shannon Airport

Travelers who prefer to fly will find that the airport closest to Galway, Ireland is the Shannon Airport. There are direct buses to Galway from Shannon Airport. Travel time is about an hour and 50 minutes.

Private transfer is available to get from the airport to the city as well.


Dublin Airport

The biggest airport near Galway, Ireland is actually the Dublin Airport. Many companies operate a direct bus to Galway from Dublin Airport and the journey takes about 2.5 hours.

Also spending time in Dublin? Use our Dublin Itinerary to plan your trip!


West Ireland Airport

The Ireland West Airport is located in County Mayo and is primarily served by Ryanair. Most routes are from the UK, with a few seasonal flights from Spain, Italy and Portugal. Bus 64 connects the Knock Airport to Galway in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.


Train or Bus to Galway

Traveling to Galway by bus or train is very convenient for most travelers. The train station and local bus station in Galway are centrally located, sitting right next to Eyre Square. The Coach Bus Station Galway City is just one block north of the train station, and serves long-distance routes.

Irish Rail operates trains from Limerick and Dublin to Galway City. Note, however, that there is not a direct Belfast to Galway Train. Visitors traveling to Galway from Belfast via train need to transfer in Dublin.

Bus Eireann provides coach service from most major cities to Galway. The buses to Galway are comfortable, affordable and efficient.


Car Rental Galway, Ireland

While we found the Galway buses and regional trains to be effective, fairly inexpensive and easy to use, we would have been able to discover more of the area with our own car rental in Galway, Ireland.

That said, we are not comfortable being behind the wheel in foreign countries – especially in Ireland, where they drive on the left!

Fellow travelers confident enough to drive in Ireland can rent a car on arrival at the airport. To find the best deals, use our Tips for Finding Affordable Car Rentals.


Best Places to Stay in Galway, Ireland

During our trip, we were looking for accommodation in Galway City Centre that was close to attractions and near the transit hub. Personally, we think it is the best area to stay in Galway. There are quite a few options for centrally located lodging, but finding affordable accommodations in Galway, Ireland was a little more difficult than we anticipated.

In order to book the best hotels in Galway City Centre at the best prices, we recommend booking your stay as far in advance as possible. The best places to stay in Galway City get booked early on.

We share more tips for booking cheap hotels in Galway, Ireland in our article, Top Tips for Cheap Hotels.


Hotel Accommodation: Galway, Ireland

We are featuring a few of the top-rated Galway hotels based on our own experience and customer reviews.


Skeffington Arms Hotel

Rated as one of the best hotels in Galway, Ireland, Skeffington Arms Hotel offers guests modern and bright rooms that overlook Eyre Square. The staff gets high marks for friendliness and the rooms have air conditioning. Check rates and availability!


Park House Hotel

One of the classic, elegant and boutique hotels in Galway, Park House has a fantastic location near the bus and train stations and is just a block from Eyre Square. Plus, they serve an amazing breakfast! Check availabiltiy here!


Rooms at Thirteen on the Green

We stayed at the affordable Rooms at Thirteen on the Green. The staff were helpful and the simple room featured a big, comfortable bed. Located above a bar on Eyre Square (and near may others), there was noise at night, but that was to be expected. Check rates!


Galway Hostels

Galway City Hostel is one of the best hostels in Galway. Ideally located by the train station and Eyre Square, Galway City Hostel offers clean rooms and a welcoming space for travelers to meet new people. Book a bed!


Bed and Breakfasts in Galway, Ireland

There are not many centrally located B&Bs in Galway, but the Ash Grove House B and B Galway, Ireland – which is near the Cathedral – gets rave reviews. Check rates for your stay!


Airbnb Galway, Ireland

From basic rooms to stylish abodes, there are many Airbnb apartments in Galway. Before booking an Airbnb in Galway (or anywhere!), we recommend reading our Tips for Airbnb Guests


What To Pack for Your Trip to Galway County, Ireland

Our final travel tips for your trip to Galway are what to pack in your suitcase! We are sharing a few specific things you will want to bring for your trip, but you can find all of our packing advice and lists on our Packing Tips blog page. You can also get our FREE Packing Checklist here!


Comfortable Shoes for Sightseeing in Galway City

Our Galway, Ireland To Do list features sights spread from one end of the city to the other. While the area is relatively flat, you will still need a good pair of travel shoes for your trip. I like to wear casual and versatile sneakers, but Kris is most comfortable sightseeing in his Merrell Trail Shoes


Real Travel Camera

The City of Galway and the surrounding villages and landscapes are stunningly beautiful! We recommend upgrading to a real camera for your trip.

For our travels, we use a DSLR Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. It’s a great DSLR camera for budget travelers because it is well priced, takes quality photos and comes with a ton of accessories.


Ireland Weather Gear

As we mentioned earlier, the weather in Galway can be rainy or sunny or windy…or all three in the span of an hour! Packing clothing that can be layered is best. It’s also a good idea to pack a lightweight rain jacket and a travel umbrella. Additionally, make sure to bring sunscreen for the days when the sun shines bright!


Day Bag

With long days of sightseeing, it is essential to carry a day pack that can hold everything you will need for your travel adventures. We like to use small backpacks, where we can stow everything from our raincoats to our camera to our keys. Read more in our blog post, What Makes a Great Travel Day Bag?


Europe Trip Insurance

As diligent as travelers might be about planning their trip, things can go wrong…and this is when travel insurance can help. Whether it’s a delayed flight, cancelled plans, lost luggage or illness abroad, travel insurance might help you recoup costs incurred. Find more about the affordable rates and robust coverage with a company like World Nomads.


We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Galway, Ireland? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!


Start planning your trip to Ireland! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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The 24 Best Things To Do in Galway, Ireland by JetSettingFools.com