Galway on the west coast of Ireland is definitely one of our favorite cities and the one that we recommend including on every Ireland itinerary.
While Dublin has the charm of the capital city, Galway stands out as being unique, quirky and a breath of fresh air.
Its thriving arts scene, great museums and well known international festivals makes its selection as the European Capital of Culture 2020 no big surprise. This city attracts visitors from all over the world for its famous Galway Races, the Galway International Arts Festival (both in July) and the International Oyster Festival (September).
One of our favorite activities to do in Galway city is saunter the streets (like Shop Street or Quay Street) and watch the performances of the buskers (street musicians) and the antics of street art performers. There is some great talent there and it gives the city a very special vibe.
The colorful streets of the Latin Quarter are an absolute pleasure to explore. Be warned, it will be difficult to resist taking a closer look at the beautiful items on sale in the boutiques, as well as sampling the delicious food from the many fine restaurants. The lively traditional Irish music sessions in the city’s many pubs will also draw you in.
Try to make time to visit the Galway City Museum and learn more about the history and culture of this area of Ireland. As a region with strong Irish speaking regions (known as Gaeltachts), this is a great opportunity to learn more about Irish culture and history.
Galway Cathedral and Galway University are also impressive sights and worth a stop on your wander through the city.
In summer, buzzing crowds relax beside the River Corrib at Spanish Arch and in Eyre Square, watching the world go by. Walk to the Salthill Promenade for an evening stroll and enjoy some fresh sea air and the fabulous views of Galway Bay. You can even go for a swim if you can brave the cold!
Galway is a great base if you want to pack in a day trip or two to nearby locations in County Galway or County Clare for example. Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey, the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren are all easily reached as day trips from Galway City Centre. It is also ideal if you want to explore more of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal driving route.
Ireland Destination Guides
Find our guides for each destination in Ireland by clicking on the images below.