The city of Galway is in Galway County, Ireland. If you’ve heard of the pop hit, “Galway Girl”, by English singer Ed Sheeran, this is the place he is singing about! Music and pop culture aside, Galway is a vibrant cultural city known for hosting various art and cultural events. Known as Ireland’s cultural heart, it was ranked as the official UNESCO City of Film in 2014. Besides that recognition, this beautiful city was also the European Capital of Culture in 2020, alongside Rijeka, Croatia. For accommodation, you would never have to wonder about where to stay since it’s buzzing with stunning hotels and vacation rentals. Galway is also just a short drive away from a lot of other scenic wonders in Ireland. If you are here for a vacation and want to drive further away from the city, browse below for the best day trips from Galway, Ireland.
While you have made one of the best hotels with a spa your base in the beautiful Irish city of Galway, you can now explore the neighbouring Westport, which is a planned town in Mayo Town, Ireland, about a 75-minute drive from Galway. This town is known for its high quality of life and it is also a prime tourist destination for many tourists from around the world. We can totally see why! This scenic town is surrounded by beautiful nature and the town itself is full of quaint, beautiful architecture.
You can climb up Ireland’s famous Holy Mountain in Croagh Patrick and enjoy the stunning views of Clew Bay along the way. If you are interested to know more about the heritage of Westport and Ireland in general, Westport House is a must-visit attraction. It was built in the 1730s and features a huge collection of antiques and artefacts that history lovers will be very interested in.
Spiddal is an Irish speaking village and makes for a great day tour from Galway as it is only 22 minutes away. If you are craving some beaches and shore fishing, this is the perfect day trip location for you. Although it is only a short drive from Galway city, the simple, rural vibe of the village still remains. There is also a good selection of restaurants and a traditional Irish bar here, so it is an ideal getaway from the usual hustle and bustle of the city.
Limerick, located in the Munster province of Ireland, is only 80 minutes away from the city of Galway. Lying on the River Shannon and surrounded by the Abbey River, this city has a rich history that dates all the way back to the year 812! So you can imagine the number of medieval buildings and museums here that are filled with historical treasures, antiques, and artefacts.
If you are getting something to take back home, you should give the Milk Market a visit. Known as one of the best farmers markets in Ireland, you can expect more than 50 stalls selling artisan cheese, prime cuts of meat, and freshly baked pastries.
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A 70-minute drive from Galway will bring you to Lahinch, a small town located in County Clare, renowned for their seaside resorts and scenic beaches. The scenic 2-kilometre (1.2-mile) long beach is a great place for different water sports and activities.
Visitors and tourists flock to Lahinch to surf, dive, and sail. The sea also has a diverse amount of marine life and different species of birds – great news for the birdwatchers. Visit the town during the summer and you’ll see everything come alive with lots of activities, music, and fun!
Doolin is an 80-minute drive from Galway city and it is a tiny village located on the western coast of Ireland. It’s often associated with the Cliffs of Moher since it is the closest town to one of the most amazing UNESCO Global Geoparks in the world.
Besides a visit to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, Doolin is also famous for its coast. If you are up for a long 18-kilometre (11.2-mile) trek, you can take the Coastal Walk, which links the village of Doolin and Liscannor. While you are hiking, you can also check out the scenic coast and relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
6. Aran Islands
The Aran Islands are situated a short distance from Galway city, on the western coast of Ireland. They are a group of three islands – the Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer. The most common way to access the islands is via ferry and, if you are in Galway, there is a year-round ferry service that takes only about an hour to reach the furthest island from the mainland.
Once there, you’ll see lots of ruins and holy sacred sites from Ireland’s ancient heritage. It is an interesting place to learn about Ireland’s history and, even better, you’ll get to see some breathtaking sights with your own eyes.
A 70-minute drive from Galway will bring you to Clifden, a small coastal town located in County Galway. There are only approximately only 1,000 people living in this town, so you can imagine the well-kept, beautiful heritage and culture of the area that is sure to blow your mind.
If you visit Clifden on a Friday, you are in for a treat! Market Day is held every Friday without fail and it is where farmers showcase their freshest produce and craftsmen bring their uniquely curated goods to sell. You can get some fresh bread and jam to take home for a breakfast treat the following day.
Connemara is located in County Galway, and the distance from Galway to Connemara is not much. You’ll reach this small cultural town with just a 15-minute drive. Here, you’ll experience authentic Irish culture. If you are planning on a relaxing, scenic trip, we strongly advise you to take the longer drive via the Connemara Loop, where you’ll pass some of the most pristine, beautiful sights in the area.
Explore Irish culture further by visiting Kylemore Abbey, a monastery that was built in the 1920s. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its high-walled Victorian Garden and the quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
Duration: 8 hours
The Cliffs of Moher are a range of sea cliffs that are situated in the Burren region of County Clare, about a 1.5-hour drive from Galway city. The cliffs are majestic creations by Mother Nature and run about 8 kilometres (5 miles) long and stand at 214 metres (702.1 feet) at their highest point.
Recognised by UNESCO and one of the most visited destinations in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are definitely a great spot to appreciate the beautiful wonder of nature. The cliffs are also connected to Burren Nature Park, which features a magnificent karst landscape of limestone, sandstone, and siltstones.
Duration: 8 hours 15 minutes
10. The Burren
The Burren offers a unique and mesmerizing experience for travelers. This UNESCO Global Geopark is a vast limestone plateau renowned for its otherworldly beauty and rich biodiversity.
Explore the rugged terrain of The Burren, characterized by its vast expanses of exposed limestone, rocky outcrops, and peculiar karst formations. Marvel at the intricate patterns of the Burren’s limestone pavements, adorned with delicate wildflowers and rare plants that thrive in this seemingly barren landscape. Delve into ancient history as you discover megalithic tombs, ring forts, and medieval ruins scattered across the region. Visit the iconic Poulnabrone Dolmen, a prehistoric portal tomb that is a testament to Ireland’s ancient past.
Enniscrone is a charming coastal town that offers a delightful escape for travelers seeking relaxation and natural beauty. With its stunning sandy beach, invigorating seawater, and warm hospitality, Enniscrone is a coastal haven.
Bask in the beauty of Enniscrone’s Blue Flag beach, where you can stroll along the golden sands, take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean, or try surfing on the rolling waves. The beach is also famous for its therapeutic seaweed baths, known for their rejuvenating properties. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at the renowned Enniscrone Golf Club, with its stunning links course offering panoramic coastline views.
Explore the charming town center, with its quaint shops, traditional pubs, and welcoming cafes. Indulge in fresh seafood delicacies and traditional Irish cuisine while enjoying the friendly atmosphere. For relaxation, visit Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths and Spa, where you can unwind in luxurious surroundings.
Cong is only a 40-minute drive from Galway and the little town is best known as one of the filming locations of the classic movie, “The Quiet Man”. The serene and tranquil environment of this town is also a major reason why tourists love to visit.
Cong is a town surrounded by a network of small streams and its most famous landmark is Ashford Castle – an example of medieval architecture built in 1228, now transformed into a majestic luxury hotel. Marvel at the ancient ruins and architecture of the Royal Augustinian Abbey of Cong and travel back to the 12th century.
Duration: 8 to 9 hours
As we’ve mentioned in this article, the various villages, towns, and cities around Galway are full of surprises. If you are a resident in Galway, you are lucky! An enjoyable day trip to the must-visit destinations around Galway is just a short drive away. With such a large variety of places to visit and so many activities to participate in, there is definitely something for everyone.
Frequently asked questions about day trips from Galway
1. Which destinations near Galway offer scenic hikes for travellers?
If you are enthusiastic about hiking and would like to explore some of the scenic hiking trails during some of your day tours from Galway, you can keep Doolin in your itinerary of sightseeing and hiking.
2. Which beaches can one easily reach from Galway?
If you love the sun, sand, and sea and would like to spend quality time by the water, you will find some of the beautiful beaches that you can explore during your day trips from Galway in Spiddal, Lahinch, and Enniscrone.
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