Aran Islands Travel Guide

Plan the ultimate trip to Aran Islands, Ireland with this comprehensive travel guide featuring must-see attractions, hiking routes, food scene, accommodations, safety tips, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

Introduction to Aran Islands

Nestled off the coast of County Galway in West Ireland lies the stunning Aran Islands. Composed of three main islands - Inishmore (Árainn), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin), and Inisheer (Inis Oírr) - this remote and rugged destination offers an authentic glimpse into traditional Irish culture and way of life. Surrounded by the wild Atlantic Ocean, Aran Islands boasts unique landscapes, ancient historical sites, and a vibrant Gaelic community. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best things to do, places to stay, and the food and drink scene that Aran Island has to offer.

List of Places to Visit in Aran Islands

If you’re planning a trip to Aran Islands, here are some of the must-visit destinations that you shouldn’t miss:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Dún Aonghasa Fort
  • Teampall Chiaráin (St. Ciarán’s Church)
  • Cliffs of Aran
  • Aran Heritage Centre
  • Arkin’s Castle
  • Kilmurvey Beach
  • The Wormhole
  • The Black Fort

Natural Attractions of Aran Islands: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • The Burren
  • Inisheer Beach
  • Seal Colony
  • Puffin Colony
  • Killeany Bay
  • Inishmaan Sea Cliffs
  • Inishmore Lighthouse

Hiking/Biking Routes of Aran Islands

Aran Islands is a walker’s paradise. From rugged hill walks to gentle strolls on the beaches, there is a hiking or biking route for every level. Here are some of the popular routes:

  • Dún Aonghasa Walk
  • Inishmaan Loop Walk
  • The Burren Way
  • The Cill Éinne Walk
  • The Inisheer Half Island Walk

Best Things to Do in Aran Islands: Activities and Tours

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Dún Aonghasa
  • Go on a pony trek across the island
  • Visit the Aran Island Knitwear factory
  • Attend the Aran Islands Summer School
  • Take a sea safari of the coast of Inishmore
  • Indulge in surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing
  • Enjoy traditional music sessions in the local pubs

Week-Long Itinerary for Aran Islands

Day 1-2: Explore the culturally significant attractions and historical sites of the island.

Day 3: Go on a hike in the morning and attend a traditional music session in the evening.

Day 4: Take a boat trip to Cliffs of Moher and the nearby islands.

Day 5: Visit the local seaside villages and enjoy fresh seafood.

Day 6: Sign up for a water-based activity like kayaking or windsurfing.

Day 7: Relax on the beach and enjoy the stunning sunset.

Food and Drink Scene of Aran Islands

Must-Try Dishes

  • Aran Islands lamb
  • Fresh seafood dishes
  • Oysters
  • Irish stew
  • Boxty - Irish potato pancakes

Local Beverages

  • Guinness
  • Smithwick’s
  • Galway Hooker beer
  • Irish whiskey

Where to Stay in Aran Islands: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Aran Islands Hotel
  • Aran Islands Campsite
  • Kilronan Hostel
  • Pier House Guesthouse
  • The Outback Motel

What to Buy in Aran Islands: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Aran Island Knitwear
  • Handcrafted Claddagh rings
  • Irish honey from the Burren
  • Pots of Irish turf

Local Culture and Customs of Aran Islands

Aran Islands has a proud and vibrant Gaelic culture that is still alive today. Visitors are encouraged to learn about the traditions of the islands and to respect local customs and ways of life.

Best Time to Visit Aran Islands

The best time to visit Aran Islands is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is mild and the days are longer. However, visitors can still enjoy the island’s scenic beauty throughout the year.

Do’s and Don’ts of Aran Islands


  • Try the traditional fish and chips at McDonagh’s.
  • Respect local customs and speak Gaelic phrases to locals.
  • Enjoy the scenic beauty of the islands.
  • Attend traditional music sessions in the local pubs.


  • Wear inappropriate clothing when visiting religious sites.
  • Disturb wildlife or trespass on private land.
  • Take souvenirs from archaeological sites.
  • Cause unnecessary noise pollution on the island.

Safety and Health

Safety in Aran Islands

Aran Islands is a safe place to visit; however, visitors are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and to take precautions against theft and pickpocketing. Always stay on the marked trails when hiking, and be careful when exploring the coastlines or swimming in the sea.

Health in Aran Islands

Medical services on the island are limited. Visitors should ensure that they have adequate medical insurance and a good supply of any necessary medication with them.

Getting to Aran Islands: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Aran Islands

The nearest airports to Aran Islands are:

  • Shannon Airport - 56 miles away
  • Ireland West Airport Knock - 96 miles away
  • Dublin Airport - 148 miles away

Bus Stations Near Aran Islands

The closest bus stations to Aran Islands are:

  • Galway Bus Station - 50-minute drive from Ros a’ Mhíl Ferry Port

Other Options

Visitors can take a ferry from one of the several ports in Ireland to reach the island. Ferries run year-round and several times a day.

How to Get Around in Aran Islands

Walking is the most popular way to get around the island. However, visitors who are less mobile can hire a local taxi or rent bikes to explore the island at their own pace.

Where to Go Next from Aran Islands: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Cliffs of Moher
  • The Burren
  • Connemara National Park
  • Galway City


Aran Island is a unique and charming destination that offers visitors a chance to experience traditional Irish culture and way of life. With stunning scenery, historical sites, and a diverse range of activities and attractions, it’s no wonder that Aran Islands is becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or both, Aran Islands is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Ireland.