Galway Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Galway, Ireland? Look no further than our comprehensive travel guide that covers everything from must-visit attractions to local customs and culture.

Introduction to Galway

Nestled in the heart of West Ireland lies the charming and vibrant city of Galway. Known for its lively arts and music scene, picturesque scenery, and friendly locals, Galway is a must-visit destination for any traveler exploring Ireland. With this comprehensive travel guide, you’ll discover all the best places to visit, eat, and stay, as well as important tips for getting the most out of your Galway experience.

List of Places to Visit in Galway

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

No visit to Galway is complete without a trip to the Galway City Museum, which houses a range of exhibits focused on the city’s rich history and culture. Other must-visit museums include the James Mitchell Museum of Geology, which showcases the natural history of the region, and the Nora Barnacle House Museum, which celebrates the life and work of James Joyce’s wife.

Galway also boasts a number of important historical attractions, including the Spanish Arch, a 16th-century stone arch built to protect the city’s quays, and the medieval St. Nicholas’ Church, which dates back to the 14th century.

Natural Attractions of Galway: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Galway is famed for its scenic countryside and stunning coastline, which offers a range of outdoor activities and breathtaking views. Must-visit natural attractions include the Cliffs of Moher, a breathtaking series of rock formations that stretch for over eight kilometers along the Atlantic coast, and the picturesque Aran Islands, which offer a glimpse into traditional Irish life.

Outdoor Adventures

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Galway offers a range of opportunities, from hiking and biking along the Wild Atlantic Way to fishing and kayaking in the nearby lakes and rivers. The rugged terrain of Connemara National Park is perfect for hiking, while the nearby beaches of Salthill and Silverstrand are ideal for sunbathing and swimming.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Galway

Galway is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with a range of hiking and biking routes that offer spectacular views and challenging terrain. Some of the most popular routes include the Western Greenway, a 42-kilometer trail that runs from Westport in County Mayo to Achill Island in County Galway, and the Twelve Bens, a stunning mountain range that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Best Things to Do in Galway: Activities and Tours

Galway offers a wide range of activities and tours to suit all interests and budgets. Foodies will love the Galway Food Tour, which takes you on a culinary journey through the city’s best restaurants and markets, while history buffs can explore the city’s medieval past with a guided walking tour.

Another popular tour is the Connemara Day Trip, which takes you through the rugged countryside of Connemara National Park and includes stops at the Kylemore Abbey and the picturesque village of Cong.

Week-Long Itinerary for Galway

To get the most out of your Galway experience, we recommend spending at least a week exploring the city and its surroundings.

Day Activities
Day 1 Explore Galway City, including the Spanish Arch, St. Nicholas’ Church, and Galway City Museum
Day 2 Take a day trip to the picturesque Aran Islands
Day 3 Discover the rugged countryside of Connemara National Park
Day 4 Go on a food tour of Galway City
Day 5 Discover the history and culture of the Cliffs of Moher
Day 6 Hike or bike the Twelve Bens mountain range
Day 7 Relax on the beaches of Salthill and Silverstrand

Food and Drink Scene of Galway

Must-Try Dishes

Galway offers a range of delicious and hearty dishes that celebrate the flavors of West Ireland. Some must-try dishes include:

  • Irish stew
  • Seafood chowder
  • Boxty (a type of potato pancake)
  • Coddle (a hearty stew of sausages, bacon, and potatoes)

Local Beverages

Galway also boasts a lively pub scene, with plenty of local brews and spirits to sample. Popular local beverages include Guinness, Smithwick’s Irish Ale, and Irish whiskey.

Where to Stay in Galway: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Galway offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and tastes. Those on a budget can opt for one of the city’s many hostels, while those seeking luxury can choose from a range of high-end hotels and guesthouses.

Some of the most popular areas to stay in Galway include the city center, Salthill, and the picturesque nearby village of Barna.

What to Buy in Galway: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Galway offers a range of unique souvenirs and local products that make great gifts and keepsakes. Some popular items include:

  • Claddagh rings
  • Aran wool sweaters
  • Connemara marble jewelry
  • Irish whiskey

Local Culture and Customs of Galway

Galway’s locals are known for their warm hospitality and love of music, dance, and literature. Visitors are encouraged to attend one of the city’s many cultural events and festivals, such as the Galway International Arts Festival or the Galway Oyster Festival.

Best Time to Visit Galway

The best time to visit Galway is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the city is bustling with tourists. However, spring and fall can also be great times to visit, with fewer crowds and better deals on accommodation.

Do’s and Don’ts of Galway


  • Do try local dishes and beverages, including seafood chowder and Irish whiskey.
  • Do attend a traditional Irish music session in a local pub.
  • Do bring warm clothing, as the weather can be unpredictable even in the summer months.


  • Don’t litter or damage the environment - Galway is known for its stunning scenery, and it’s important to keep it clean and pristine.
  • Don’t walk alone in isolated areas at night - safety should always be a top priority.

Safety and Health

Safety in Galway

Galway is a safe and welcoming city, but visitors should still exercise caution and common sense. Pickpocketing and petty theft can occur in crowded areas, so it’s important to keep an eye on your belongings. It’s also best to avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night.

Health in Galway

Galway’s healthcare system is of a high standard, but visitors should ensure they have adequate travel insurance before arriving. It’s also a good idea to bring any necessary medications and find out about any necessary vaccinations before traveling.

Getting to Galway: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Galway

The nearest airport to Galway is Shannon Airport, which is approximately 55 miles away. From Shannon, visitors can take a bus or hire a car to reach Galway.

Bus Stations Near Galway

Galway is well-served by bus services, with frequent connections to Dublin, Cork, and other major Irish cities. The main bus station is located in the city center, just a short walk from the city’s major attractions.

Other Options

For those traveling from within Ireland, train services are also available, with regular connections to major cities across the country.

How to Get Around in Galway

The best way to get around Galway is on foot or by bike, as the city center is compact and easy to navigate. However, for those venturing further afield, car hire and bus services are also available.

Where to Go Next from Galway: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Galway is the perfect base for exploring the scenic West of Ireland, with a range of nearby destinations and excursions to choose from. Some popular options include:

  • The historic city of Limerick
  • The rugged and beautiful Connemara National Park
  • The charming town of Westport, located on the picturesque Clew Bay


Galway is a vibrant and welcoming city that offers a range of activities, attractions, and cultural experiences. With this comprehensive travel guide, you’ll be able to plan the perfect Galway itinerary, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a cultural journey through Ireland’s past.