Galway travel guide

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Introduction to Galway

Home to more than 83.5 thousand people and the magnificent Eyre Square, Spanish Arch, and Galway Cathedral, Galway is an adventure awaiting you. With a unique historical background and an incredible variety of natural and architectural beauty, Galway was recognized as the European Capital of Culture in 2020 and is a highlight in Ireland. This city in Ireland is a travel destination with plenty to offer curious travelers.

Traveling to Galway is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions.

Easily accessible, Galway is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Ireland any time of the year. Explore this culturally-rich city and easily plan your trip to Ireland. For an enriched understanding of the city’s cultural tapestry and local events, you might want to consult the official website of Galway.

History of Galway

Galway, often termed the 'City of Tribes', holds a rich history tracing back to its establishment in the 13th century. This vibrant city was named after the river Gaillimh that runs through it.

Galway was ruled by 14 merchant families, known as the 'Tribes of Galway', from the mid-13th to late-19th century. These families played a significant role in shaping the city's social, political, and architectural landscape.

The city has a vibrant history marked by invasions, trade expansion, and cultural growth. The Spanish Arch, a remnant of a 16th-century bastion, stands as a testament to Galway's prosperous trading relationships during the Middle Ages.

The city was also a hotspot for the Irish language revival in the 19th and 20th centuries, which is still evident today in the prevalence of the Gaelic language and the rich cultural heritage.

Today, Galway's history lives on in its medieval city streets, vibrant cultural scene, and the warm hospitality of its inhabitants, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and cultural enthusiasts alike.

Top services in Galway

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Galway, Ireland. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Galway, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Ireland. Check out the best things to do in Galway by browsing over 245 top-rated tours available to you in the city. Compare the rates and services of the stays and 2 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage.

Experience the best of Galway with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Galway from our free 24/7 customer support. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Galway with this travel guide.

Continue reading this Galway travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the city of Galway!

Best time to visit Galway

The best time to explore Galway is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is warm, and the city is bathed in up to 18 hours of daylight. These months offer the most favorable weather conditions, with average temperatures ranging from 15°C to 20°C, providing an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Visiting in July aligns with the Galway International Arts Festival, a two-week extravaganza of culture and creativity, and the famous Galway Races, a thrilling horse racing event. However, these events draw large crowds, so early booking is essential. Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October) are also good times to visit for those who prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. During these seasons, you can enjoy the city's beauty with its blooming daffodils or autumnal hues. Regardless of the season, Galway's vibrant energy and rich culture make it a year-round destination.

Weather in Galway

Galway, located on Ireland's west coast, is renowned for its mild and humid climate. The temperature is fairly consistent, with the average high in summer (June to August) around 20°C (68°F) and in winter (December to February) around 8°C (46°F). Rain is a common feature in Galway, with precipitation occurring throughout the year, but autumn and winter tend to be the wettest seasons.

The influence of the Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate, preventing extreme temperatures, but also leading to high humidity and frequent changes in weather conditions. It's not uncommon to experience sun, rain, and clouds all in a single day. Winters can be windy, particularly in coastal areas, and while snow is rare, it's not unheard of. When planning a trip to Galway, it's advisable to pack layers and prepare for unpredictable weather. Despite the varying conditions, the climate in Galway contributes to its lush landscapes and scenic beauty, making it a destination worth visiting in any season.

Local tip for visiting Galway

One insider tip for exploring Galway, a vibrant city on Ireland's west coast, is to visit during the Galway International Arts Festival. Lesser-known compared to Dublin's festivals, this event offers a more authentic Irish experience. It is one of Europe's most creative arts festivals, combing visual arts, music, theatre, and comedy. While the festival is popular among locals, it's often overlooked by tourists. During this time, Galway becomes a hub of artistic creativity and cultural heritage. Be sure to book your accommodation in advance, as the city becomes quite busy during this period. Also, don't miss the opportunity to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in the Irish culture. This insider tip can help you experience Galway in a unique light, enriching your travel journey.

Learn more about Ireland

With destinations such as Galway, a trip to Ireland needs no further explanation. Spanning over 69,797 square kilometers, Ireland is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Ireland has something to enchant every traveler.

In Galway alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as Eyre Square, Spanish Arch, and Galway Cathedral. Thus, a trip to Ireland becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Ireland offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered.

There's so much to explore and uncover in Ireland. Click or tap the link below to discover more about Ireland and its offers.

What to see in Galway

photo of view of ,Galway Ireland.

Expect an exhilarating journey through Galway, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Galway offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Galway travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the city so special.

Top attractions in Galway

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Galway is more than just a wonderful city in Ireland. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Ireland's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Galway is the unforgettable Eyre Square. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the city, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Galway.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Galway, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Galway, including the fascinating Eyre Square, Spanish Arch, Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, and Great Escape Rooms.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the city map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Galway.

Things to do in Galway

Photo of old castel on Galway . Ireland.

You've explored Galway's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Galway. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Galway, or learning more about the city's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the city below.

Most popular experiences in Galway

A visit to Galway gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the city is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Historical Tours, Guided Day Trips, Full-day Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Galway, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant city. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Galway. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Galway offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Galway

In Galway, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 20 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Activities.

Activities offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Galway. For example, the fantastic Galway City on Foot with Seán: Stories, History, Local Tips, Chat and More. .

Galway also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. This experience costs around 3 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Galway adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the city. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Galway right below.


All Experiences in Galway

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Search for things to do in Galway

Discover the best things to do in Galway. Choose from 245 fantastic tours and activities available in the city.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Galway. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Galway.

What to eat in Galway

Galway, a charming city on Ireland's west coast, is a culinary treasure trove renowned for its local and international food scenes. From food stalls at the bustling Galway Market to Michelin Star restaurants like Loam, dining in Galway promises a memorable gastronomic journey. The best places to eat in Galway serve traditional Irish dishes infused with modern creativity, such as the famous Galway Bay oysters, Connemara lamb, and soda bread. For a casual yet authentic experience, sample the city's street food; the Galway Food Tours will guide you through the finest. Quay Street, with its diverse range of eateries, is the heart of Galway's dining scene, offering everything from gourmet seafood to artisanal cheese platters. Aniar, another Michelin-starred venue, is worth visiting for its innovative, locally-sourced menu. Remember to pair your meal with a pint of traditional Irish stout for the full experience. With its rich culinary heritage and innovative dining establishments, Galway is indeed a food lover's paradise.

Nightlife in Galway

Galway, Ireland's cultural heart, boasts a vibrant nightlife scene that promises a memorable experience. The city's unique night culture is a blend of traditional Irish music, lively pubs, and late-night clubs. The Latin Quarter is the best area for bars in Galway, teeming with live music venues, traditional Irish pubs, and trendy cocktail bars. The Quays and Tig Coili are must-visit establishments, famous for their traditional Irish music sessions and warm, friendly atmosphere.

For those who enjoy late-night revelry, the West End district is a hub of late-night bars and clubs, such as the Roisin Dubh and Monroe’s. Whichever part of town you choose, the city's nightlife is an essential part of the Galway experience, with a welcoming atmosphere that will make you feel like a local. Remember, most pubs stop serving alcohol at 11:30 pm during the week and 12:30 am on weekends, so plan your night accordingly. Galway's nightlife is a delightful mix of the traditional and the contemporary, offering something for everyone.

Best shopping in Galway

Galway, with its vibrant mix of culture and history, offers a unique shopping experience. The city's distinct fashion, local craftsmanship, and must-buy souvenirs make it the best place to go shopping in Galway. Shop Street, a pedestrianized area in the heart of the city, is home to an array of boutiques, gift shops, and live street performers. Here, you'll find iconic Irish pieces like Claddagh rings and Aran sweaters.

For a taste of local life, visit the Galway Market, open on weekends, where you can buy fresh produce, handmade crafts, and bakery goods. The Eyre Square Shopping Centre, located in the city centre, houses over 70 high-street and independent stores, making it a one-stop-shop for all your needs.

In Galway, shopping is not just about purchases, it's about the experience. The colourful storefronts, the friendly shopkeepers, and the street musicians set the mood for a delightful shopping spree. Remember to carry cash as some smaller stores may not accept cards. Happy shopping in Galway!

Best Free Things to Do in Galway

Travelers to Ireland, take note: the best free things to do in Galway offer a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Start your journey with a visit to the Galway City Museum. This three-story building houses exhibits on local and national history, archeology, and art, giving visitors a glimpse into Galway’s intriguing past. Stroll down to the Spanish Arch, an iconic remnant of Galway's medieval city walls and a popular meeting point for locals. Next, head to Eyre Square, a public park in the city center, rich in history and perfect for picnics. For nature lovers, the Connemara National Park, though a bit outside the city, offers breathtaking views of bogs, heaths, and mountains. Finally, don't miss the Galway Market, operating for centuries, where you can soak up the local atmosphere and maybe even sample some free food samples. Even without spending a penny, Galway presents an array of memorable experiences.

Car rentals in Galway

photo of view of ,Galway Ireland.

To navigate Galway effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 2 car rental companies in Galway, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Galway start at 52 EUR per day or 362 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is a Nissan Micra. If you prefer driving a manual car, you'll find multiple options for rent in Galway, starting at 30 EUR per day or 213 EUR per week. The cheapest manual rental car is a Ford Fiesta.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Galway, Ireland below.

Popular types of cars for rent in Galway

Renting a car in Galway is a popular choice among travelers who want to explore the city at their own pace. A wide variety of popular car rentals are available to choose from in Galway, ensuring you find the best car for your travel plans.

Check out all the options available and book your car rental in Galway for your upcoming adventures in Ireland below. All car rentals come with CDW insurance for added protection throughout your trip.

Search for car rentals in Galway

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful city of Galway. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Galway, Ireland, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Galway

photo of view of ,Galway Ireland.

The city of Galway is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Ireland. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Ireland has it all.

Each destination in Ireland offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Ireland that are as magical as the city of Galway. The most popular travel destinations in Ireland are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Ireland

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Ireland. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Transportation in Galway

Galway, a vibrant city on Ireland's west coast, offers a variety of transportation options for both locals and tourists alike. The city boasts an efficient public transportation system, with regular bus services operated by Bus Éireann and City Direct. These buses connect the city centre with suburbs and nearby towns, making it a convenient choice for travelling.

Taxis are also readily available and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. They offer a quick and easy way to get around, particularly if you're travelling with a group or have a lot of luggage.

For those who prefer to drive, several car rental companies have offices in Galway, providing a range of vehicles to suit different needs. This can be a great option if you're planning to explore the surrounding countryside. Additionally, Galway is a very walkable city and many visitors choose to explore its charming streets on foot.

For a unique local experience, consider a horse-drawn carriage ride. These are particularly popular in the city centre and along the promenade in Salthill, offering a charming and leisurely way to see the city.

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