Republic of Ireland

6 Best Things to Do in Galway, Ireland


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Galway is one of the largest cities in the Republic of Ireland and comes with plenty of traditional and cultural Irish experiences. The city is located on the west of Ireland with a coastline with the North Atlantic Sea. This makes it within easy reach of some of the country’s most famous and popular natural attractions. If you’re planning a visit then let us share some of the top and unmissable things to see and do during your visit. These activities are perfect if you’re visiting Galway for a long weekend or have several days in the city.

Here are some of the best Galway things to do.


1. Discover Galway city on a walking, bus, or train tour

A great way to discover Galway is through a guided tour. You can find self-guided options online, as well as walking tours, sightseeing bus tours and even small train tours. Through these guided tours you can learn about the history, culture, and traditions of the city, as well as see many of the top sights and attractions along the way.

You’ll get to see Galway attractions such as the Claddagh, Eyre Square, and the Galway Cathedral, all while being led by an experienced guide who can provide insight and interesting anecdotes.

With a guide leading the way, you’ll be able to discover hidden gems and secret spots that you might not have found on your own. These offer the perfect introduction to the city and will help you to see and learn about some of the unmissable spots in Galway during your visit.

Whether you prefer a walking tour, a bus tour, or even a train tour, there are plenty of options available to suit your needs. Be sure to start your trip with a sightseeing tour so as to see many of the top things to see in Galway. Below are a few options that you may like.

2. Check out the whiskey trail

Galway is a fantastic city for going out and there are a large number of pubs throughout the city. The pubs are some of the best places to visit in Galway and you can easily walk between them and discover the cosiness and charm of each. if you like you’re whiskey then consider visiting a few (or all of them) and try some of the Irish whiskeys. One of our favourite Irish whiskeys was Bushmills although there are others such as Tullamore Dew, Jameson, Paddys, Power and countless more.

The Galway Whiskey Trail is not just about whiskey, though. It’s also a chance to explore the city and discover its many hidden gems. The trail takes you through some of the city’s oldest and most historic pubs, where you can soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the company of friendly locals. You’ll also have the opportunity to try some of the cuisine that Ireland has to offer.

The pubs that are part of the whisky trail have a stone crest on the outside to indicate this. You can find out more about which pubs are included via galwaywhiskytrail.ie website.

Crest for the Galway whiskey trail
Galway Whiskey Trail – Image by team

3. Enjoy the pubs and live music

A top highlight and fun thing to do in Galway is to experience the music scene. This is something the city is renowned for, particularly the traditional Irish music that is played in its many pubs. The city is home to some of the most talented musicians in the country, and visitors can be sure to find live music playing in many of the local pubs almost every night of the week. The lively atmosphere and the sounds of the fiddle, accordion, and bodhrán being played in perfect harmony are sure to get anyone’s toes tapping.

A good place to start, especially on your first night in the city is along Quay Street, and our favourite pub is also called The Quays Bar, and another we liked was The Kings Head. However, you’ll find countless pubs around this area where you can enjoy some good Irish music.

You also don’t need to be an expert on Irish music to enjoy it. The energy and passion of the performers, combined with the warmth and conviviality of the pub setting, make for an unforgettable experience. So, whether you’re looking for a lively night out or a cosy evening with friends, visit Galway’s pubs for a taste of the real Ireland.

4. Head to the Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are some of the most famous cliffs in the world and may leave you in awe of their sheer beauty and breathtaking views. These majestic cliffs are located on the western coast of Ireland and offer visitors a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. The Cliffs of Moher are the most visited natural attraction in Ireland, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Standing at 702 feet (214 meters) above sea level, the cliffs offer a stunning vantage point to take in the rugged beauty of the Irish coastline. There is a path that runs alongside the cliff and you could spend quite a few hours walking alongside and admiring the views. There is also a stone barrier to prevent any unfortunate tumbles and this can help settle any wobbly knees.

The cliffs are a couple of hours south of Galway and accessible by driving as well as through the many day tours available which can come with additional commentary to help you learn more about the cliffs as well as nearby attractions such as Burren. The cliffs are a must-visit and are one of the best outdoor activities available from Galway.

 

5. Go on a trip to Aran Islands

Just off the coast and approx a 45-minute ferry ride from Rossaveel Harbor you’ll come to the Aran Islands. These islands were used for some of the filming of the movie “The Banshees of Inisherin” and offer a beautiful experience to see the more rural side of the country. The islands consist of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer with the first being the largest and the third one is the smallest. You can visit all three islands but would probably need several days for this.

If you only have one day then head to the largest island Inishmore and grab yourself a bike from the hire shop. You can then use this to cycle around the island and see some of the attractions on offer such as Kilmurvey Beach, the Dún Aonghasa fort (which offers incredible views), and the very unique wormhole (Poll na bPéist), which is a little challenging to get to but certainly worth it, plus various other spots. You’ll be able to pick up a map on your visit from the bike store or ferry so as to find the best spots and remember to take the green bike route which will be easier than the rest although it is still a bit of a challenge.

To book the ferry and also a transfer bus from Galway City you can do this at various outlets for the ferries in the city. Here is one of them that we used. If you’re driving then you could park up in the port and buy your ticket in advance here. Visiting these islands is a top Galway outdoor activity and makes for a fantastic day out.

Cycling on the Aran Islands in Ireland
Landscapes in the Aran Island – Image by team
Views from Dun Aonghasa fort
Views of cliffs at the Aran Islands – Image by team

6. Walk to Mutton Island and Salthill

A nice thing to do whilst in Galway and more so if the weather is nice is to walk from the main downtown part of the city along the outside of the Claddagh Quay, The South Park, on towards Mutton Island and then along the waterfront towards Salthill. Whilst doing so you can enjoy the sound of the waves and views out towards the ocean.

Nearby is also O’Connor’s Famous Pub (it was used in an Ed Sheeran video) and this is a cool place to relax after your long walk. It is incredibly homely, has a great selection of drinks and you may even get to enjoy live music in the evening.

Causeway leading to Mutton Island
Mutton Island – Image by team

Summary

Galway offers wonderful experiences for those looking to relax and enjoy the culture and music, or those looking for nature and adventure. Be sure to check out some of our suggestions of unmissable things to do in Galway city during your visit which will create memories that will last a lifetime.


Top tours and activities for Galway

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Author

Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of TravelAndDestinations.com. He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website.

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