How to Spend One Day in Galway, Ireland (2023)

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One day in Galway is an ideal way to spend time in Ireland. We visited Galway while studying abroad in Dublin, and love the city. We know you will too!

Welcome to Galway, a captivating city on Ireland‘s west coast that holds a magnetic allure, drawing travelers from near and far. There are countless reasons why one should visit Galway, but perhaps the most compelling is its vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.

This city is alive with creativity, music, and an unbeatable spirit that permeates its cobblestone streets. Galway offers a delightful blend of traditional Irish charm and contemporary allure.

If you find yourself with only one day to soak up the essence of this captivating destination, fear not – it’s still possible to experience the best of what the city has to offer, even with just one day in Galway.

In this travel guide, we have curated the perfect Galway one day itinerary. It covers the best places to eat, the perfect ways to discover the city’s history, and plenty of opportunities to soak up the local culture. Read on to discover just how you should spend your day in this charming city. 

One Day in Galway Itinerary

Grab Breakfast at Finnegans Restaurant, or Ard Bia 

A white plate with a full English breakfast on it.

If you’ve only got one day in Galway, it’s going to be pretty action-packed!

You’ll need to fuel yourself up with a tasty breakfast, and a full Irish breakfast (or a ‘fry’ as the locals affectionately call it) is the best way to do just that. Head to Finnegans Restaurant and fill your boots with a heart plate of quality Irish meat, perfectly fried eggs, and all the classic trimmings like beans, hash browns, and grilled vegetables.

This is one of the highest-rated breakfast spots in Galway, and dining here is the perfect way to kick off your Galway one day itinerary authentically. 

A full Irish breakfast might not be to everyone’s taste, but fear not – there’s no shortage of incredible breakfast spots in Galway. Ard Bia at Nimmos is another great choice, serving up tasty breakfast dishes in a delightful and quirky setting.

Whether you choose the locally caught smoked salmon or the homemade granola and yogurt, you can be sure that the quality of each dish is incredibly fresh. Their small menu changes regularly to ensure that only the best and most in-season produce is used. 

Both restaurants are located in the city center, so they are a great starting point for your Galway one day trip. 

Go Inside the Galway Cathedral 

A large cathedral with a bridge leading towards it.

The Galway Cathedral (officially known as the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas) stands tall as one of the city’s iconic landmarks. Its incredible architecture makes a visit well worthwhile – the Cathedral’s towering spires and intricate Gothic-style design are a sight to behold.

As you enter the cathedral, your eyes are immediately drawn to the mesmerizing stained glass windows that adorn the vast interior. These masterpieces of art depict captivating biblical scenes and saints, each panel bursting with vivid colors that dance with the sunlight.

As light shines through the domed roof, a heavenly kaleidoscope is created, casting a serene glow over the entire space. The atmosphere inside the Cathedral is chillingly peaceful, whether you’re religious or not. Galway Cathedral is one of the best places to visit in Galway in one day, and it shouldn’t be missed.

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    Learn at the Galway City Museum 

    The Galway City Museum stands as a gateway to the city’s captivating past and offers the chance to go on an immersive journey through Galway’s history, art, and heritage. From prehistoric times to modern-day, the museum showcases the diverse facets of Galway’s heritage through its vast treasure trove of artifacts on display. 

    Wander through the halls and explore the captivating displays that bring Galway’s story to life. Discover the remnants of medieval walls, delve into the city’s maritime heritage, and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of Celtic artifacts.

    The exhibits offer a captivating blend of archaeological finds, historical documents, and interactive displays, providing a multi-sensory experience for curious minds of all ages.

    Beyond its historical offerings, the museum also celebrates Galway’s vibrant artistic heritage. One of the highlights is the photo gallery exhibition, which showcases photographs from the 1950s through to the modern day.

    It’s fascinating to see how much the city has changed over time – keep an eye out and see if you can spot any familiar streets!

    Eat Lunch at The Quay Street Kitchen 

    A large pile of mussels.

    You can’t go too wrong in choosing a lunch spot in Galway – the city is an absolute foodie’s heaven, and there is no shortage of incredible restaurants and cafes. The Quay Street Kitchen is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike – and for good reason.

    Located on Quay Street, at the heart of the bustling Latin Quarter, The Quay Street Kitchen offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, making it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. With its rustic charm and friendly staff, this eatery embodies the essence of Galway’s lively and bustling culinary scene.

    The menu at The Quay Street Kitchen boasts a range of mouthwatering options, and naturally, with Galways seaside location, there’s plenty of freshly caught seafood served. Trying the Irish mussels here is a must-do!

    If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other amazing options to enjoy, with a mixture of Irish and European dishes on the menu. Each dish is crafted using locally sourced ingredients, showcasing the best of Galway’s culinary offerings.

    Explore the Latin Quarter  

    Small brick street with colorful buildings on either side.

    Wandering the cobblestoned streets of the vibrant and captivating Latin Quarter is the perfect afternoon activity during your one day in Galway. This vibrant district is right in the heart of the city and is bursting with colorful streets and a thriving cultural scene.

    The narrow, winding streets are adorned with charming storefronts and traditional pubs, and no matter what time you visit, you’ll enjoy a lively atmosphere. 

    The Latin Quarter is a hub for artists, musicians, and street performers, and as you explore the area, the air will be filled with the charming melodies of buskers. This is also one of Galway’s best spots for a bit of shopping – you’ll find a diverse array of boutique shops showcasing local crafts, handmade jewelry, and unique fashion finds.

    From traditional Irish tweed to contemporary designs, the Latin Quarter offers an eclectic shopping experience, perfect for those seeking distinctive souvenirs or fashionable treasures. 

    This captivating neighborhood is also home to some of Galway’s most iconic landmarks, including the iconic Spanish Arch and the centuries-old St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. These historic sites are a testament to Galway’s rich heritage and offer additional options of places to explore. 

    Stroll Along Salthill Promenade 

    It would be a shame to visit Galway and not experience some of the area’s incredible natural beauty. Luckily, you don’t have to head too far out of the city to do just that.

    Located just a short distance from Galway’s city center, Salthill Promenade is the perfect coastal retreat to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, offering a refreshing ocean breeze and picturesque vistas. 

    Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and listen to the sound of the wild Atlantic Ocean as the waves crash against the shore. The promenade provides panoramic views of Galway Bay, and admiring them while breathing in the salty sea air is incredibly invigorating. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of the iconic Aran Islands on the horizon.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, you could brave a thrilling dip in the Atlantic waters at Blackrock diving tower, an iconic landmark perched at the end of the promenade. Otherwise, the Promenade is the perfect place to relax and unwind – find a spot on one of the pathways benches or grassy areas and enjoy the view. Either way, it’s a beautiful spot to explore. 

    Visit the Cliffs of Moher 

    View overlooking large cliffs right on the edge of the water.

    The city of Galway is a charming destination itself, but the surrounding areas offer a compelling reason to venture out – even if you only have one day in Galway.

    The famous Cliffs of Moher are only an hour and 20 minutes drive away, and if you’re interested in seeing them – you could easily fit this into your Galway one day itinerary. 

    Located on Ireland’s rugged west coast, these majestic cliffs stand tall, offering sweeping views of the vast Atlantic Ocean and dramatic coastal landscapes. Leaving Galway City behind, the journey to the Cliffs of Moher takes you through picturesque countryside and charming villages, setting the stage for the grandeur that lies ahead.

    View of a path leading along the edge of a cliffside.

    As you arrive at this natural wonder, the cliffs emerge in all their splendor, soaring vertically to heights that seem to touch the sky. The sheer magnitude of the cliffs is incredibly humbling, and the booming sound of waves crashing against the rocks below is mesmerizing.

    Visiting the Cliffs of Moher is a fantastic experience and one that can very easily be done even if you only have one day to spend in Galway. 

    Book a day trip to Cliffs of Moher from Galway here!

    Have Dinner at Anair 

    As day turns into night, there’s one area to head to that stands above the rest – Galway’s West End. This vibrant neighborhood comes alive after dark, and its streets are filled with vibrant energy. You’ll find a vast range of options for dinner here, from swanky fine-dining restaurants to humble gastropubs. 

    For something special, you could try the tasting menu at Aniar, Galways’ Michelin-starred restaurant. The concept behind the venue is to tell the story of Ireland through food; each flavor represented in the menu is inspired by the West of Ireland’s landscape.

    The aim of each dish is to showcase the story and history of every element within it and every hand that has played a part in bringing each plate to the table. They incorporate an abundance of wild, locally sourced ingredients like seaweeds, wild herbs, and wild games – dining at Anair is about as fresh and authentic as it gets.

    Each dish is as visually stunning as it is delicious, with the menu expertly combining each ingredient to create harmonious and thought-provoking flavor profiles. 

    Experience the Famous Irish Pub Culture

    Group of people standing around a bar laughing.

    As the sun sets over the charming city of Galway, a vibrant world awakens within the walls of its traditional Irish pubs. Stepping into these iconic establishments offers an unmissable chance to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Irish pub culture, where live music, captivating stories, and warm hospitality create an unforgettable evening experience.

    Venture into one of Galway’s legendary pubs, such as Tigh Neachtain or The Crane Bar. You’ll be welcomed into a cozy embrace of worn wooden furniture, dimly lit interiors, and the comforting scent of hops and whiskey. The lively hum of conversation and the clinking of glasses will instantly transport you into the heart of Irish conviviality.

    These pubs are the perfect place to try a pint of Guinness or explore the vast selection of local craft beers and traditional Irish whiskeys. Engage in friendly banter with the locals and fellow travelers as conversations flow freely, and bonds are effortlessly forged over shared tales and laughter.

    Live music is a big part of Galway’s pub scene – traditional Irish tunes fill the air, with the lilting melodies of fiddles, tin whistles, and soulful voices creating an unbeatable atmosphere. Galway’s pubs are the perfect place to spend your evening and round off your Galway one day trip. 

    Best Time to Visit Galway

    Springtime is an ideal time to visit Galway as prices are usually lower than peak season, making accommodations more affordable and allowing travelers to save money while still having an unforgettable experience.

    Galway in the springtime is a sight to behold! The air is crisp yet mild, and the greens of nature contrast beautifully with the blues of the sea. The weather makes it perfect for outdoor adventuring; think romantic picnics by Galway Bay or hikes through lush hillsides.

    Plus, I might be just a little biased, as my first trip to Galway was in the spring.

    Where to Stay in Galway

    There are quite a few great places to stay in Galway! Here are our recommendations.

    The Nest Boutique Hostel has continental breakfast, affordable rates, and is within walking distance from Salthill.

    Book your stay at The Nest Boutique Hostel!

    Kinlay House Eyre Square Hostel is in a great location and has even been voted as “Top Choice” by Lonely Planet. There’s also complimentary breakfast and wifi.

    Book your stay at Kinlay House Eyre Square Hostel!

    Stay in the heart of Galway at Park House Hotel, featuring a luxury-style stay with modern amenities near both Eyre Square and the train station.

    Book your stay at Park House Hotel here!

    Getting Around Galway

    Galway is a beautiful city to explore, and its size makes it ideal for getting around on foot or by bicycle.

    However, the best way to experience the city’s unique sights, such as Galway Bay and Claddagh Quay, is to rent a car. Travelers can easily find rental cars at any airport in Ireland or through online rental services.

    By renting a car, you’ll have the freedom to explore Galway’s stunning beaches, lively pubs, and charming neighborhoods at your own pace.

    Book your Galway car rental here!

    Final Thoughts: Galway in One Day

    So, there you have it – the perfect one day Galway itinerary. Spending one day in Galway will undoubtedly leave you with a profound appreciation for this captivating city.

    You’ll fall in love with the beauty woven into every street, the warmth of its people, and the fascinating depth of its history and culture. Just be warned – it’ll be hard to leave!

    Watch our Galway & Cliffs of Moher vlog, which is our day trip with Finn Mccools Tours!

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