The picturesque harbour city in the West of Ireland belongs to the most popular destinations among tourists from abroad but also for Irish people. Somehow, the city has managed to never lose its charm and character despite all the tourists swarming the place, especially in Summer. I would suggest be one of them and find out about things to do in Galway.
What’s on in Galway | Galway Attractions | Galway Restaurants | Galway Accommodation
What’s on in Galway
Galway Events in 2019:
Galway Theatre Festival: May 03-11
Galway Film Fleadh: July 09-14
Galway Fringe Festival: July 15-28
Galway Arts Festival: July 15-28
Galway Races: July 29 – Aug 04
Galway Oyster Festival Sep 27-29
Galway Jazz Festival Oct 04-06
Galway is festival capital, that’s for sure. The year is filled with loads of brilliant events that you can attend, so definitely pick one of the events for your Galway stay. But make sure to book accommodation in advance, because spaces fill up quickly and the price for the hotels is constantly rising. If you do get the change to visit Galway during one of the festivals, though, you won’t regret it. The city has this amazing atmosphere that will make you wonder, why you haven’t done this before. The festivals are all about the arts, so will have a great choice of music, film and art.
Another major event that is coming up is of course Galway 2020! Next year Galway will be European Capital of Culture, so the city has planned loads to make this a highlight for the history of the place. Even though it’s a bit far ahead you can be sure to look forward to amazing events throughout next year.
There is so much to see and do in Galway, so you have to make your pick, depending on how much time you have. Galway is also an ideal starting point for day tours to explore the county. Here are some tips from me:
Katie’s Claddagh Cottage 7 Arts Centre
Last time I visited Galway and pottered along towards Salthill I came by this cottage coincidentally. Suddenly it’s just sitting there with its shy beauty and invites you in to its cozy interiors. Situated in The Claddagh, Katie’s Cottage is a well preserved thatched roofed house dating back to the 1930s. Inside you will find the life of 100 years ago. Not only that, in the back part of the cottage you will find a design and arts studio. The place is reliving The Claddagh’s traditions and arts and gives you the chance to indulge in it, too. Of course, this would be the perfect place to purchase one of the famous Claddagh rings, because this is where it actually originates from.
Galway Arts Centre
No Galway visit would be complete without visiting Galway Arts Centre. The city lives for art and you can feel it everywhere. Located in Dominic Street, the huge gallery hosts national as well as international art. Admission is free! It’s main purpose is, however, to encourage art in any form. So why not take one of the many classes in art, photography or writing, to discover something new about yourself. Galway is THE place to do that.
If you are lucky enough to visit Galway for a longer time I would highly recommend to see what the area has to offer. Take a trip to one of the most iconic sights that Ireland has to offer. The stunning Kylemore Abbey in Connemara dates back to the 1860s and is open for visitors. What is equally impressive are the Victorian Walled Gardens. They are beautifully kept and just a short stroll from the abbey. Visit the herb gardens and glass houses and simply enjoy the beauty of nature that it provides. Especially in Spring Kylemore Abbey is a wonderful spot.
Cliffs of Moher & Doolin and Aran islands
From Galway it’s only a 90-minute car ride to visit the iconic Cliffs of Moher. If you want to park your car in the car park you will have to pay €6, which includes entrance to the visitor centre. If you park a bit further away and walk up you do not have to pay, unless you want to see what the visitor centre has to offer. Anyway, you have to have seen the Cliffs at least once in your life, but there is so much more that you can do. Travel down to Doolin, where you can take a ferry boat that will bring you to the Aran Islands. An incredible and gorgeous adventure, no matter which Inis you go for.
A beautiful way of exploring Galway City is by taking a nice stroll along River Corrib. Alongside the lush riverside you will find Galway Cathedral, and make your way from bridge to bridge. Once you have reached Wolfe of Tone Bridge you will be rewarded with a beautiful view across the Claddagh. You will finally end up by the sea from where you can easily stroll into the Latin Quarter.
This area builds the hearts of Galway and is home to numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. The world famous Kirwan’s Lane and Shop Street are great ways of exploring the city and buying some souvenirs. Leading up to Eyre Square you will find Shop Street filled with talented buskers and it’s difficult to make it through the pedestrianised street without stopping every 2 minutes to listen to great trad or emotional singers/songwriters. At night, you will find the Latin Quarter to have so much to offer, to eat and drink…
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Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | Pubs
When you visit Galway you can already look forward to an exquisite dining experience. The city is famous for amazing sea food and even has a couple of festivals that only evolve around oysters and mussles. Yum…
I love a good breakfast and if you are also the type of person that can linger for hours in a cafe that offers amazing food and coffee then I’ve got some tips for your start of the day here: Dela Restaurant on top of it all. It offers a delicious eggs Benedict in a cozy atmosphere. They grow their own produce on their farm in Moycullen and you can taste the freshness with every bite. Another great choice is Ard Bia at Nimmo’s located right at the Spanish Arch. It will give you an authentic culinary experience and it’s a great spot for starting out the day, as you are in the very heart of Galway
So, where can you have the best lunch in Galway? Ard Bia is also a great choice for lunch but I would also recommend you Kai. The place is focused on breakfast and lunch/brunches and will serve you fantastic sea food as well as mouth watering cakes as a desert. I love the quirky atmosphere in here, it’s unpretentious with a rustic style. If you fancy a quick lunch snack then definitely visit The Dough Bros. They serve delicious pizza, probably the best you can get in Galway. The place is also not very pricey, so ideal for boosting your energy levels.
Try those oysters please! A great place to have dinner in Galway is certainly The Quay Street Kitchen. Among all the Galway restaurants, their sea food variety is incredible but they also have a great menu for vegetarians. Fancy something different? Then visit Cava Bodega. It will spoil you with lovely tapas, great wine and tasty paella. Located very centrally you will be in the right area to go for drinks after…
One of the most famous pubs Galway is of course Róisín Dubh. This bar/venue offers live music with amazing acts but is also great for an after-dinner drink. Another iconic Galway pub is The Front Door, which spreads across 2 floors – also very central. A more touristy place but with great live trad music is Tig Choili, there you can experience some great sessions.
Hotels in Galway
I love about Galway that it is very affordable. Even the high class hotels in Galway are still nowhere near as expensive as in Dublin. The Eyre Square Hotel, for example, located right in the city is a great choice. Right opposite you will find the Meyrick Hotel which is a very established house. If you have some cash to spare and are into luxury and spa, then pick the g hotel. It’s located a tiny bit outside the centre but it’s a destination on it’s own, a proper 5* retreat. IF you are ok with satying a bit further outside the centre I can also recommend Salthill Hotel. It boasts with amazing views across the Atlantic and is perfect for people who fancy the quieter areas. there are loads of amazing hotels in Galway, just make your pick.
Galway Apartments & Airbnbs
When you visit Galway, especially when you travel as a group, grabing an Airbnb in Galway is a fantastic choice. The city isn’t very dear anyway but you can safe even more money by booking your private accommodation in Galway. There are some class apartments that will have you right at the city centre to feel home away from home. Check out these Airbnbs in Galway.