Found on Irelands West coast, the vibrant Galway City is a big hit with both domestic and foreign tourists. The city’s rich history, quirky character and abundance of things to do is what draws everyone in. Traditional Irish pubs, live Irish folk music, and 18th-century architecture are just some of the things that await you in this incredible city. Plus, there are many great day trips from Galway.
Galway City is located along the famous Wild Atlantic Way; a 2,500km tourism trail that runs along the west coast of Ireland. This route includes some of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions including some popular UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s also part of some popular Ireland road trips like this 7 days in Ireland itinerary!
Although there are plenty of things to see in Galway, it is also a great base for day trips. From Galway, you can explore so many great spots.
In this post, we will share with you some of the best day trips to take away from Galway! These are the places you don’t want to miss!
Things to do in Galway
Before we start with the best day trips from Galway, we will quickly go through the best things to do in the city.
Popular things to do in Galway include drinking a Guinness in one of the traditional pubs, and visiting Eyre Square. Eyre Square is the main hub in Galway, which is full of pubs and places to eat.
In terms of food, we would recommend Tuco’s Taqueria! Although it’s not traditional it sure is tasty.
Walking to the harbour, Spanish Arch, Quay Street, Galway Cathedral and Lynch’s Castle are just some of the other things to do in Galway. As you walk through the colourful streets you will also get to see locals playing traditional music, which is a great experience!
Now onto the best day trips from Galway!
The Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are found in the bay of Galway and are a must-visit. There are three islands in total; Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer. The islands are well known for their ancient sites, making them a great day trip from Galway!
You can’t see all three islands in one day, because there is so much to see and the ferries aren’t frequent enough to go between the islands in a day. We chose the largest of the islands to explore, which is Inishmore. Out of the three islands, Inishmore has the most things to see and offers an amazing experience.
The island doesn’t permit cars to drive around the island unless of course, you are a local or on a private tour. Therefore you will need to find alternative modes of transport. You can go around the island by foot, horse & carriage or by bicycle.
We chose bicycles and rented them for €20 for the day (€10 of which is a deposit you get back). The island has plenty of flat, coastal paths that make cycling pretty easy and enjoyable.
Things to see on Inishmore
Inishmore is a beautiful island full of lush countryside, and a stunning coastline. One of the things you must do is visit the famous resident seal colony! It is such a cool experience, and even better if you have binoculars or a telescope.
Another place to visit on Inishmore is Kilmurvery Beach. This beach is beautiful, and the sort you might expect to see in Spain or Greece! It is the perfect place to relax and eat a picnic.
Dun Aonghasa in our opinion, is the most impressive site on the island. It is a prehistoric fort, which sits atop a 100m high sea cliff. The views are incredible, and there is a small centre where you can learn about the history of Dun Aonghasa.
Dún Dúchathair, The Seven Churches, The wormhole, Dún Eochla and Clochan na Carraige are just some of the other sites you can visit on the island. You will get a map of Inishmore, once you book your ferry ticket.
How to get to Inishmore
You can book tickets at the ferry terminal, located in Rossaveal which is a 1-hour journey by car from Galway. Return tickets with Aran Island Ferries tend to cost €30 for adults and €15 for children.
If you are travelling in the summer, it is best to book in advance. The ferries can get booked up pretty quickly during peak times.
Roundstone & Clifden
Just an hour and a half away from Galway, you will find the charming towns of Clifden and Roundstone. We have put these two together, as they are only a short trip away from each other and can be visited the same day.
Roundstone is a sleepy village, with plenty of things to see. The village has a variety of interesting traditional music shops selling handmade Irish instruments called the Bodhran.
Make sure you visit the Roundstone Musical Instruments & Crafts shop. There are lots of great handmade souvenirs to buy, and there is even a little cafe where you can grab yourself a piece of cake.
After exploring the village and the harbour, head to Dogs Bay afterwards. Dogs Bay is a stunning white sand beach, that you would expect to find in the Mediterranean, not the West coast of Ireland.
Clifden is a popular coastal town known as ‘The Capital of Connemara’ with many tourists travelling here to see the scenic views and interesting shops.
The town of Clifden is only a 25-minute drive from Roundstone and is a lot busier. The town is full of colour with traditional old buildings painted bright colours, quirky shops to explore and plenty of pubs!
Whilst visiting Clifden, we highly recommend that you visit Walsh’s Bakery & Coffee Shop. It first opened in 1953 and is the only bakery in Connemara. The food is delicious and if you sit in, you will be greeted with a picturesque view of the Owenglin River and the lush countryside. Make sure you get some cakes and scones to takeaway too!
Just outside of the main town, you will find Clifden Castle and Clifden Eco Beach. The Sky Road is also found in Clifden which is known as one of the most beautiful areas in the region of Connemara.
If you plan your visit to Clifden you might even be able to catch a glimpse of the oldest community arts festival in Ireland. At this festival, many artistic cultures are on show through literary readings, musical performances and visual pieces.
The Cliffs of Moher
When staying in Galway you can’t miss The Cliffs of Moher. Missing these beautiful cliffs will leave you with some serious regrets! The cliffs are truly one of the best day trips from Galway.
The Cliffs of Moher are a UNESCO Global Geopark and are only an hour and a half away from the city of Galway. These sea cliffs run along the Southwest coast of Ireland for approximately 10 miles, and at the highest point, they stand at around 300ft above sea level.
You may have seen these iconic cliffs in Harry Potter which is pretty cool! It is the scene in Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince where Harry and Dumbeldore are trying to find a Horcrux.
Despite being one of Ireland’s major tourist attractions the cliffs only cost €6 to enter. Make sure you give yourself a couple of hours walking along the cliffs to take in the amazing views. It is a great spot to take amazing photos, and one of our favourite spots in Ireland!
Not only do these cliffs offer incredible views, but you also might get to see some pretty special wildlife. Depending on the time you visit, you could see puffins (March to September) and Peregrine Falcons (all year) on the cliffside. If you are lucky, you may even get to see dolphins, basking sharks and sunfish in the waters below!
The visitor centre at the main stretch of the cliffs offers you a detailed insight into how the cliffs have formed over millions of years. They also give in-depth information in regards to how climate change is affecting the cliffs in regards to erosion and the wildlife in the area.
Dunguaire Castle and Kinvarra
Dunguiare Castle and Kinvarra are both lovely day trips from Galway City. Just a 40-minute drive from Galway Kinvarra is a seaport village set in the picturesque Irish landscape. Dunguiare Castle sits just outside the village in the middle of a beautiful lake. On a clear day, you can see an incredible reflection of the castle in the water.
In all honesty, you could probably tie in both of these places on the same day you visit The Cliffs of Moher. If you’re like us though you might want more time to look around. We always like taking our time when seeing new places!
Kinvarra is only a small village with a handful of shops and pubs. The colourful village is a really pleasant place to have a stroll, especially if it’s a beautiful day. Take an hour to two to walk along the port, have a nice walk and grab something to eat.
After spending some time in Kinvarra, head to Dunguaire Castle. Dunguaire Castle is a magnificent 16th-Century tower, which gets its name from ‘Dun the King of Guaire’ who was once the legendary king of Connacht. You can walk around the grounds of the castle and occasionally enter the castle free of charge if there are no private events taking place.
If you are looking for some great walks, then Lettermullen is the place for you! Lettermullen is a small island village, roughly an hours drive away from Galway City. This secluded part of Ireland is stunning so make sure you visit it!
The small coastal village has some amazing scenery so give yourself plenty of time to explore. Incredible white sand beaches, causeways and friendly horses are just some of the experiences you will find in Lettermullen.
Walking to Coral Strand Beach is a must so make sure you pack your swimming gear! On a hot day, the beach here is stunning with crystal clear waters. If you enjoy a longer walk then take a hike to Lettermullen Signal Station. The walk to the Signal Station takes you through rugged terrain with some breathtaking views so make sure you bring sturdy shoes and your camera.
As well as some beautiful beaches, Lettermullen also has some large lakes. If you visit at the right time of year they are a great place to cool off. When looking for somewhere to eat or drink in Letttermullen try The Hooker or Tigh Lee.
Top tips for travelling from Galway City
Here are some top tips for you when travelling around the Wild Atlantic Way from Galway City!
- Early riser: When visiting popular places like The Cliffs of Moher try to get there as early as you can because they can get very busy. If you want to have the sites all to yourself or a little quieter get up nice and early!
- Car required: If you want to truly experience Ireland you need to have a car. Whether you rent one or take your own having a car makes it so much easier to explore. Some places in this post would be difficult to get to without one!
- Take your camera: Probably an obvious one but whatever you don’t forget your camera because Ireland is beautiful.
- Pack food: If your travelling on a budget then consider packing lunch to take with you. We did this when we went to the Aran Islands. Not only did it save us money, but it also gave us more time to explore rather than sitting in a pub waiting for our food.
Exploring Irelands Wild Atlantic Way from Galway is a fun-filled experience. Staying in Galway gives you an amazing opportunity to see some of not only Irelands most incredible attractions but also some of the most well-known places in Europe.
Where to stay
Hopefully, after reading this list you are considering a trip to Galway! If you are, then The Lane – Boutique Residence is a brilliant stay at only £44 a night for a cosy double room with an ensuite bathroom right in the heart of Galway.
Hopefully, this post has given you lots of travel inspiration for visiting Galway and its surrounding area. As you can see there is plenty to do in and around Galway so make sure you give yourself as much time as possible to fit it all in! Plus, there are many lovely day trips from Galway.
Have you ever visited Galway or Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way? If you have we would love to hear all about it below!
Thanks for reading,
Jack & Abbie
This lovely guest post was written by Jack & Abbie from A Couples Calling. All the beautiful photos are also taken by them! Be sure to give them a follow and keep up with their adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.