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Things to do in Galway

Things to do in  Galway

Welcome to Galway

From the open wilderness of the Aran Islands to the hustle and bustle of Galway itself, County Galway offers plenty of opportunity for adventure. Using Galway City as a base, travelers can enjoy guided tours to top natural attractions including the Cliffs of Moher, Inishbofin island, and Killary fjord, where the rolling green hills and rugged coastline of the Emerald Isle awaits. Take the Wild Atlantic Way route on a tour along the western coast of Ireland to fishing villages such as Roundstone, paddle over the waves on a pre-planned sea-kayaking adventure, or travel by horseback as you follow a guide into the rugged wilderness of the Connemara National Park. If time is on your side, take a four- or seven-day cycling trip deep into the countryside, where life ticks by at a relaxing pace and rural Ireland reveals its beauty. Within Galway City itself, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to places of interest such as Claddagh, Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, the Salthill promenade, and the Spanish Arch; and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Spin through the streets on a guided bike trip, or let your taste buds lead the way and discover the flavors the locals love on a food tour.

Top 15 attractions in Galway

#1
The Burren

The Burren

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Covering an area of more than 115 square miles (300 square kilometers), the Burren is a vast, otherworldly expanse of scarred and fissured limestone rock, naturally sculpted through acidic erosion. Though it may look barren from afar, this rocky plateau is anything but lifeless. In spring and summer, wildflowers and rare plants thrive here.More
#2
Galway Bay

Galway Bay

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Flowing in from the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland’s west coast, Galway Bay laps the shores of some of the country’s most picturesque stretches of coastline. With the three windswept Aran Islands at its periphery, the bay meets land at the artsy city of Galway and numerous fishing villages, coastal cliffs, and beaches.More
#3
Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

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Sitting on an outcrop jutting into Galway Bay, the 16th-century Dunguaire Castle appears like a fairy-tale vision to drivers traversing the coastal road, prompting many to pull over and reach for a camera. The site housed prominent local clans for centuries before famous Irish surgeon, poet, and playwright Oliver St. John Gogarty bought it in 1924. He then turned it into a hangout for Ireland’s literary elite, including Lady Gregory, W.B. Yeats, Seán O'Casey, and George Bernard Shaw. Today, most travelers admire the castle from afar, though some do venture inside.More
#4
Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

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Standing along the edge of Kylemore Lake, the neo-Gothic Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden is every inch a storybook castle. Built in 1868, the abbey’s construction employed grateful locals still reeling from the Irish Potato Famine. Today, the resident Benedictine nuns welcome the public into parts of the abbey and the grounds.More
#5
Sky Road

Sky Road

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Even though it’s only seven miles long, Clifden’s Sky Road feels like a journey through all of Connemara and time. When driving this winding, rural road, views look down on the town of Clifden and its two iconic spires—which is a view you’re sure to see on any postcard of Western Ireland or Connemara. Behind the town are the 12 Bens hills, standing brown, rugged, and proud, and as the drive loops around away from town, views stretch out to the offshore islands and the open Atlantic Sea. Aside from the sweeping landscape views, ancient castles and historic mansions are around every bend in the road. At the 19th century Clifden Castle—built in a Gothic style—visitors can walk the dirt road that leads right up to the castle. Another stroll is up Memorial Hill and offers famous view of Clifden, and by turning uphill at the fork in the road, the drive climbs past the old Coast Guard station to 500 feet above sea level. There is a small parking lot near the road’s summit, where whitewashed cottages appear as flecks on the misty, wave battered coast. The Sky Road has often been called one of Ireland’s most scenic drives, and seeing as it’s just a short loop from Clifden, is an Irish road trip that any Connemara visitor with a car can enjoy.More
#6
Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

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Dunguaire Castle’s Medieval Banquet offers an evening of music and storytelling along with traditional food and wine. Once the home of noble medieval lords, the 500-year-old castle sits on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay. Today, the picturesque fortress’s medieval-themed banquet hall is the place to go for a fun night of revelry.More
#7
Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

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One of Ireland’s most-photographed ancient sites, the Poulnabrone Dolmen—comprising a long slab of rock placed horizontally on top of several upright slabs—has stood on this lonely limestone plateau for 5,000 years. It marks the site of a mass grave containing the remains of ancient people buried here between 3800 and 3200 BC.More
#8
The Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch

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A Galway landmark on the banks of the River Corrib, the Spanish Arch is the remains of a late 16th century bastion designed to protect the city. Located in the heart of Galway, the Spanish Arch is a short walk from other city landmarks including the Claddagh and the Galway City Museum.More
#9
Lough Corrib

Lough Corrib

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Stretching for 69 square miles, Lough Corrib is a lake in the west of Ireland that straddles County Galway and County Mayo. It is a famous place for fishing, especially for its wild brown trout and salmon. The lake has inspired many writers and artists over centuries, including Oscar Wilde’s father—the historian William Wilde—who wrote a book about Lough Corrib.More
#10
Galway Cathedral

Galway Cathedral

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Constructed in the 1960s, Galway Cathedral is among the youngest cathedrals in Ireland and one of Europe’s youngest stone cathedrals. While it’s a relatively modern build, the cathedral borrows elements from architectural eras past, with Renaissance, Romanesque, and Gothic detailing combined with Irish artwork and adornments.More
#11
Cong

Cong

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The village of Cong, located on the border of County Galway and County Mayo, in western Ireland, is known for its thatched-roof cottages and its connection to John Wayne’s Oscar-winning film The Quiet Man. The ruins of Cong Abbey, which date back to the 13th century, are a popular sight and a lovely spot for a stroll.More
#12
Galway City Museum

Galway City Museum

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This museum focuses on the history of Galway, with exhibitions covering everything from the traditional Galway hooker boat to local literary figures. Among the items in the collection are prehistoric stone ax-heads, a medieval cannonball, and an execution warrant for Myles Joyce, a local who was wrongfully hanged for murder in 1882.More
#13
Roundstone Harbor

Roundstone Harbor

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The Twelve Bens range rises on the horizon while fishing boats bob in the water at the picturesque Roundstone Harbour. Behind the harbor is Roundstone village, a colorful cluster of houses, craft shops, and galleries, as well as pubs, cafes, and restaurants specializing in seafood hauled in fresh from the Atlantic.More
#14
Salthill

Salthill

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Sandy beaches and a windswept coastline draw travelers to Salthill, one of Ireland’s popular seaside resorts located on the cusp of Galway Bay. A two-kilometer seafront promenade with panoramic views is home to bars, restaurants, and hotels. The summer months draw locals and international travelers alike for swimming, sunbathing, boating, and snorkeling.More
#15
Ross Errilly Friary (Ross Abbey)

Ross Errilly Friary (Ross Abbey)

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Set among green pastures, this 15th-century stone complex—once the home of Franciscan friars—now lies in ruins, peaceful and eerily empty, with tombstones dotted throughout the site. Inside, visitors can explore the roofless remains, including the church, cloister, kitchen area, and living quarters.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

Top activities in Galway

From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
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From Galway: Guided tour of Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.
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Shore Excursion: Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, and The Burren Tour from Galway
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Private Cliffs of Moher Day Tour
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Private Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

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per group
Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Wild Atlantic Way day tour from Galway city
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From Galway: Guided tour of Connemara with 3 hour stop at Connemara National Pk.
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Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher & Cliff Cruise tour from Galway. Guided. Full day
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Galway City Walking Tour

Galway City Walking Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Galway

star-5
Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher Experience
Amberlee_V, Jul 2022
From Galway: Guided tour of Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.
I would recommend this to anyone looking to see the sights outside Galway.
star-5
Such a great experience!
Michelle_P, Jul 2022
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
This experience was an easy and fun way to see the Cliffs and other beautiful things in the area.
star-5
Much to be seen in 1 single day!
Franziska_H, Jun 2022
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
A fantastic way to see and learn a lot when you don't have so much time.
star-5
Best Tour near Galway
LisaMaria_K, Jun 2022
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
We enjoed it very much and we recommend it to everyone who wants to see the beautifulst places near Galway.
star-5
This was a phenomenal...
Celeste_Y, Aug 2022
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
This trip was 11 out of 10 and the perfect way to see the Cliffs if your in Galway for only a few days and don’t rent a car.
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You won't regret it
Ron_O, Jul 2022
Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher Day Cruise sailing from Galway City Docks
We were going on the hike to the Cliffs the next day, so it was neat to see them that way.
star-5
Perfectly planned highlights
Helen_F, Jun 2022
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
This trip was the perfect amount of time to see some highlights and get back to Galway with plenty of time for dinner.
star-5
Wonderful!
Federica_M, Jun 2022
From Galway: Guided tour of Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.
At the end he even recommended what to do in/around Galway if we were staying longer.
star-5
A must see tour from Galway!
Kirk_S, Jun 2022
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
The boat ride to see the Cliffs of Moher was great and we had plenty of time to hike them as well.
star-5
Don’t miss this!!! Breathtaking views and lovely experience
Zoe_C, Oct 2021
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Cong and the Kylemore Abbey
It’s perfect for solo travel or groups, you really get to see the country side.
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Day Trip
Marissa_C, Jan 2020
Connemara Day Trip Including Leenane Village and Kylemore Abbey from Galway
My friend and I were staying in Galway for two days, and we knew we wanted to go to see Kylemore Abbey.
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I prefer to drive and tour in our car...
Iain B, Oct 2013
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Cong and the Kylemore Abbey
I prefer to drive and tour in our car, however, this was definitely the best way to see Connemara from Galway.
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We combined this with the Aron...
Kevin Q, Jun 2017
Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Wild Atlantic Way day tour from Galway city
The advantage of combining with the island tour is that you get to see the cliffs from the boat prior to being driven up to the top.
star-5
We love Gary
Katherine_D, Apr 2022
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
Thought we were only stopping at the cliffs and castle but we stopped at a few other attractions that were cool as well.
star-5
Lovely trip and great...
Sarah_P, Dec 2021
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
A great way to spend a winter's day in Galway.
star-5
Fun day out!
Eleanor_L, Nov 2021
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
A perfect trip, we were even fortunate enough to see the sunset over Galway Bay.
star-5
Excellent adventure on the Irish coast
themighty0ne, Sep 2019
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
We then took the ferry down the coast to see the Cliffs of Moher by sea before returning to Doolin to board the coach and walk along the cliffs.
star-5
Well spent day
Noreen L, Jul 2018
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
This was a stress free way to see several sites in the West of Ireland.
star-4
We booked this day tour in order to...
Roger G, Oct 2017
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Cong and the Kylemore Abbey
We had two hours there, and in that time we had to see the lovely Abbey gardens and head gardener's cottage, which involved waiting for a shuttle to and from, tour the Abbey house itself, visit the great gift shop, and oh yes, eat lunch.
star-5
I was picked up in Galway and had an...
Brent Lee, Aug 2017
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
There was sufficient time at each stop to see all its beauty.
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People Also Ask

What is Galway famous for?

Galway is famous as the gateway to the natural beauty of the west of Ireland. Galway City is home to a pedestrian-friendly center with shopping, galleries, and historic sites, while County Galway is the gateway to popular destinations including the Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands.

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What is there to do in Galway?

Galway is a university town with a bustling arts scene, vibrant pub culture, and quality museums. The city is best explored on foot, including local landmarks Eyre Square, the Latin Quarter, and the Spanish Arch. Venture to the Westend to discover live music venues, charming pubs, and interesting shops.

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Is Galway worth visiting?

Yes. Galway is worth visiting. This university town is famous for live music, fresh seafood, historic sites, and a welcoming atmosphere. Check out Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, and Galway Arts Centre on a visit. The city is also a gateway to the coast, including the Cliffs of Moher.

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What is so special about Galway?

It's easy to explore compact Galway on foot. The city center is a network of pedestrianized streets lined with restaurants, pubs, live music venues, and shops. It's a popular nightlife destination and is a gateway to the natural beauty of the west of Ireland including the Cliffs of Moher.

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What can teenagers do in Galway?

Galway offers plenty for teenagers to explore, including vintage clothing stores, live music venues, and art galleries. Teens can tour the city by bike, join a food tour, or people watch in Eyre Square. The city is also a gateway for coastal outdoor adventure including kayaking and surfing.

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What is there to do in Galway when it's raining?

Galway offers several landmarks for indoor entertainment if it’s raining. Visit the Galway Arts Centre, Galway City Museum, or Galway Cathedral. Browse the stores along Shop Street, sample fresh seafood at a local restaurant, or check out one of the city’s famous bookstores such as Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop.

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