This blog started with the simple idea to go on vacation locally in Ireland for a week. So we decided to travel one week in Galway. While you can definitely tour more destination in Ireland in a week, our plan was to just spend all 7 days in Galway.
My plan is to offer you the itinerary we sought after but also provide more information on the destination. Hopefully this article will you some inspiration to plan 7 day holiday in Galway your way. After compiling all my Galway travel research, I discovered invaluable insights on how to make the most of a week in Galway, ensuring an unforgettable experience.
When planning your week in Galway, consider the diverse range of accommodation options available. From quaint Bed & Breakfasts to luxurious hotels, Galway caters to every preference. Keep an eye out for special Galway hotel deals that can make your stay both enjoyable and cost-effective.
A bit about Galway
Well, Galway is this cool place on the west coast of Ireland that has a lot of fun stuff to see and do. People call it the Cultural Heart of Ireland because it’s got a great mix of old and new stuff—ancient buildings, lively street music, and a whole lot of art everywhere you look.
Right in the city, there’s this old area called the Latin Quarter where you can feel like you’ve stepped back in time while enjoying some modern tunes from street musicians. And guess what? In 2020, Galway was named the European Capital of Culture which is a big deal—it means it’s a place full of interesting and creative stuff!
So, here’s the idea: spending a whole week (6 nights and 7 days) just hanging out in Galway. Imagine watching the sun dip below the horizon at Galway Bay, listening to live music on the streets, and checking out cool places like the Spanish Arch.
Delve into Galway’s rich history at the Galway City Museum, where the city’s past unfolds. The Latin Quarter, with its vibrant streets, cozy cafes, and artisan boutiques, offers a cultural feast that shouldn’t be missed.
Honestly, every day is a chance for a new adventure. Take a calm walk along the Salthill Promenade, share a laugh and a pint in a cozy pub, or take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher which are absolutely stunning. The goal isn’t just to see the sights but to really feel what Galway is all about. It’s the perfect blend of chilling out, exploring cool places, and getting a taste of Ireland’s charm.
This place has a unique vibe that makes you want to stay a little longer and explore a little more. So, if you’re in for some fun, relaxation, and a dash of adventure, Galway is the place to be! Who knows? You might find yourself loving the Irish charm and the friendly faces around. Plus, there’s a lot of picture-perfect spots to make your Instagram pop!
Galway in a 7 days Itinerary
So below is the itinerary we created, if I have to be honest, I’d say we mixed it up depending on each day and how we felt.
NOTE: IT CAN RAIN ANY TIME AND ANY DAY IN IRELAND. So create your itinerary be open for changes.
Our One Week in Galway simple travel itinerary:
Day 1: Getting to Know Galway
- Morning: Started the day with a leisure and lazy breakfast at McCormack’s Cafe
- Afternoon: Took a leisurely stroll around the Latin Quarter and checked out the cool street art.
- Evening: Walk by the River Corrib followed by a tasty dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Exploring a Bit of Learning
- Morning: Headed to the University grounds to see what’s around.
- Afternoon: Garbbed a relaxed lunch, then visit Eyre Square and the cool #WhatLiftsYou Mural.
- Evening: Kept it relaxed to window shopping and dinner.
Day 3: Drive and Adventure to Connemara
- All day: Set off for a day trip to Connemara and see some amazing sights.
Day 4: Drive and Breathtaking Cliffs of Moher
- All day: Take a journey to the Cliffs of Moher and soak in the stunning views. For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Connemara National Park is a must. Its rugged beauty epitomizes Ireland’s natural charm. Additionally, the Aran Islands, just off the coast, are a haven of traditional Irish culture and unspoiled landscapes.
Day 5: Long Walk and Chill Vibes
- Morning: Explore The Long Walk area.
- Afternoon: Chill at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop.
- Evening: Grab dinner at a popular pub and experience Galway’s fun nightlife.
Day 6: A Touch of Old Galway
- Morning: Breakfast at a traditional cafe.
- Afternoon: Enjoy some afternoon tea at Cupan Tae and relax.
- Evening: Check out more of Galway’s nightlife or have a quiet evening at a local café.
Day 7: Goodbye Galway
- Morning and Afternoon: Have a relaxed breakfast and do some last-minute souvenir shopping. Then took one last stroll through the city, soaking it all in and Good bye.
While a week in Galway is ideal for a comprehensive experience, the city’s compact layout makes it easy to explore. Most attractions are within walking distance, but renting a car can be convenient for discovering the picturesque countryside and coastal areas.
With this comprehensive Galway travel itinerary, I hope you can achieve a lazy or laidback but rich experience of Galway in seven days.
Personal tips to remember for your Galway Trip.
- It can rain any time so check the weather.
- Galway is a compact city and easily navigable on foot. For longer distances, consider using public transportation or hiring a bicycle.
- Hire a car if you plan to travel all of Galway and day trips, it’s easy and might even be cheaper if you are a 3 or 4 travelling together.
- City centre is expensive but it’s where you will feel on a holiday.
- Galway’s arts scene is vibrant and diverse. Attend a performance at the world-renowned Druid Theatre or enjoy traditional Irish music in the city’s pubs.
- Keep an eye out for street performances and festivals, which are a regular feature in Galway.
- Budgeting for your trip is crucial. On average, a daily budget of €150 to €200 can cover stay, local travel, meals, entrance fees for sightseeing’s, attractions and activities. (this also depends on your lifestyle and preferences too)
While we followed this Itinerary “One Week in Galway” it would not be right for you to simply follow our travel plan. We hope our blog and journey will help you build your own. And as mentioned before, below is everything we researched for before travelling. did we cover all that we planned, the short answer is No!
Also, let me say this again, Galway in 7 days was our personal choice. I get asked this a lot, do you really need 7 days to see and visit Galway. My answer is simple it’s personal preference. You could travel to Galway on holiday and visit all attractions and tourist landmarks in Galway is 3 days or perhaps even 2 days. A lot of travellers and tourist visiting Ireland do chose to visit Galway even as a day trip from Dublin or Cork. Bus tour operators like Wild Rover Tours and Paddy Wagon Tours are the most sought after bus tours by tourists for day tours to Galway from Dublin or Cork, their services are really good honestly.
Dubliners often chose Galway for weekends or long weekend trips and self driving to Galway does suit, if you are in for the Road Trips when you travel to Ireland.
Galway Tourist Map
Thanks to Galway Tourism
The top 7 things one shouldn’t miss when in Galway:
- Spanish Arch: An iconic historical structure built in 1584, where visitors can relax and enjoy the view of the river, especially during sunny days.
- Walking Tour: Joining a walking tour can be a great way to learn about the history of Galway and Ireland, with guides sharing interesting anecdotes, myths, and legends.
- Galway Cathedral: A remarkable renaissance-style, Roman Catholic cathedral known for its stunning interior which includes mosaics, stained glass, and marble flooring.
- Latin Quarter: A vibrant area filled with shops, restaurants, and pubs, offering a lively atmosphere and a true sense of the city’s culture and heritage.
- Quay Street Kitchen: A cozy restaurant known for its fresh Irish mussels, lamb shank, and other delightful dishes, providing a taste of Galway’s culinary scene.
- Salthill Promenade: An invigorating walk along the Salthill Promenade is a must to experience the beautiful views of Galway Bay, and maybe even take a daring jump off the Blackrock diving board.
- Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher: Although not in Galway city itself, a day trip to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher is highly recommended, showcasing Ireland’s natural beauty and offering a serene escape from the city hustle.
Here are some of the top places to eat in Galway.
These restaurants offer a variety of cuisines and dining experiences, from fine dining to casual eateries, ensuring that every food enthusiast finds something to their liking while in Galway.
- Aniar Restaurant & Boutique Cookery School: A well-regarded restaurant known for its high-quality cuisine.
- Ard Bia at Nimmos: Another favorite among locals and visitors, appreciated for its culinary delights.
- The Dough Bros: Known for its delicious flavors, it’s a must-visit place for food enthusiasts.
- Kai: A mainstay in the modern Galway dining scene since 2011, focusing on wild and organic produce with a range of vegetarian-friendly options.
- Hooked: Known for being the best place to get fresh fish in Galway, with a cozy and approachable atmosphere.
- Neo: A place where you can enjoy Japanese, Asian, and Thai cuisine.
- The Charcoal Grill Eyre Square: Offers a mix of fast food, barbecue, and European dishes with Turkish and Middle Eastern flavors.
- Murphy’s Ice Cream: Known for its Irish ice cream, a sweet treat spot in Galway.
- Woozza Wood Fired Pizza: A place for Italian, Pizza, and European cuisine lovers.
- BóTOWN: Offering American, Barbecue, Grill, Irish, and Bar cuisines.
Our main picks for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Galway is known for its culinary scene, and whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are numerous places you can explore.
- McCormack’s Cafe at 4 William St W, Galway, H91 N920, Ireland, is highly recommended for breakfast. They offer a variety of traditional breakfast options and fresh baked goods.
- Cupan Tae at 8 Quay Ln, Galway, H91 K859, Ireland, is another lovely place for breakfast. They have an extensive tea menu and serve a variety of breakfast items.
- Delight at 10 Upper Abbeygate St, Galway, H91 WV63, Ireland, is known for its healthy and hearty breakfasts, including vegan and gluten-free options.
- Ard Bia at Nimmos offers a cozy atmosphere with a variety of lunch options. It’s a popular spot known for its flavorful dishes.
- The Dough Bros is hailed for its amazing pizzas which could make for a great lunch.
- Kai Restaurant is another favored spot for lunch with a menu that’s crafted from locally sourced ingredients.
- Dela, Loam, and Kai Restaurant are some of the top picks for dinner. They offer a variety of cuisines and have garnered positive reviews for their food and ambiance.
- West Restaurant, La Collina Restaurant, and Alma Restaurant are also among the top dinner restaurants in Galway according to Tripadvisor, with West Restaurant being praised for a great romantic dinner experience.
- O’Grady’s on the Pier is known for top-quality seafood dishes, Zappi’s Restaurant for delightful Italian cooking, and Handsome Burger for some of the most famous burgers in Ireland.
Top places to drink in Galway.
Each of these places has its unique ambiance and offerings, catering to a variety of preferences whether you’re into traditional Irish music, looking for a lively atmosphere, or a quiet place to enjoy a pint.
- An Púcán:
A popular pub located a short stroll from Eyre Square on Forster St, known for its vibrant atmosphere especially on weekend nights. It is also mentioned for its strong tradition of Irish traditional and folk music.
2. O’Connell’s Bar:
Situated on Eyre Square, it’s cherished for its historical charm and large beer garden, making it a choice spot for both locals and tourists. It’s also appreciated for having one of the best beer gardens in Galway.
3. The Front Door:
Known for its classic Irish pub ambiance and a vast selection of drinks, making it one of the livelier spots for cocktails in Galway. Additionally, it’s noted for a brilliant selection of whiskeys.
4. Tigh Neachtain:
A well-loved spot by both locals and tourists, located in the heart of downtown Galway City, near Quay Street, often hosting live music act.
5. The Quays:
Known as the best place to experience some real Irish culture in Galway.
6. Tig Cóilí:
Renowned for its daily live Irish traditional music sessions2.
Top venues in Galway known for their music and dancing atmosphere.
These venues offer a blend of musical experiences, dancing opportunities, and a lively atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for live music, a dance club, or a traditional Irish musical experience, Galway has a diverse nightlife scene to explore.
- Electric Garden: Known for adding a twist to Galway nightlife.
- Halo: A place where you can throw on your dancing shoes.
- Taaffes Bar: Good for catching a game and enjoying some music.
- Coyotes Late Bar and Club: Galway’s American theme bar.
- An Púcán: A musical treat for Irish traditional music lovers.
- Monroe’s Live: Hosting over 250 events annually.
- DNA: Described as a premium late-night venue.
- Tigh Neachtain: Ideal for a cultural night out.
- Tig Choili: Known as the home of traditional music in Galway.
- Roisin Dubh: An iconic live music venue.
- The Quays Bar and Restaurant: Mentioned among the favorites for nightlife in Galway.
- The King’s Head Bistro: Another well-regarded venue for nightlife.
- Liquid (in nearby Salthill): Known for its dance scene, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.
- The Attic @ Liquid: Especially known for its gay nights on Fridays and Saturdays.
5 walking tours in Galway
Each of these tours offers a unique perspective of Galway, whether it’s a historical insight, a food experience, or a modern-day exploration.
- The Lost City of Galway Tour: This tour takes you off the beaten track on Galway’s cobbled streets, ideal for exploring the city without following the usual tourist trails.
- Small-Group Morning Walking Tour of Galway: A 1.5-hour tour with a small group size that covers Eyre Square, Lynch’s Castle, and more.
- The Legendary Walking Tour of Galway: A historical tour was priced from $17.22 per adult.
- Galway City Walking Tour: Part of several tours offered including the Horrible History Tour, Ghost Tour, The Claddagh Experience, and the Ed Sheeran Galway Girl Tour.
- Galway City: Guided 1.5-Hour Walking Tour: Experience Galway from a historical, cultural, and modern point of view starting at the historical Eyre Square area.
List of top souvenirs to buy in Galway
Galway is a hub of unique Irish crafts, traditional music, and a vibrant arts scene. Each of these souvenirs carries with it a piece of Galway’s rich cultural heritage and will surely provide a lasting memory of your delightful Irish adventure.
- Claddagh Ring:
The Claddagh Ring is a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. It’s a beautiful and meaningful souvenir to bring back from Galway, the home of the original Claddagh Ring.
2. Aran Sweaters:
These iconic Irish sweaters are renowned for their quality, warmth, and distinctive patterns. They make for a cozy and practical souvenir.
3. Galway Crystal:
Ireland is famous for its crystal, and Galway Crystal is some of the finest. Pick up a beautiful piece of glassware or jewelry as a sparkling reminder of your trip.
4. Irish Linen:
Known for its high quality, Irish linen products like tablecloths, napkins, or handkerchiefs make for elegant souvenirs.
5. Tin Whistle:
Embrace the musical culture of Galway with a traditional Irish tin whistle.
This traditional Irish frame drum is a fun souvenir for music enthusiasts.
7. Irish Pottery and Ceramics:
Beautifully crafted, Irish pottery and ceramics are unique and functional souvenirs.
8. Irish Tweed Items:
Items like hats, caps, or scarves made from traditional Irish tweed are stylish and distinctive.
9. Locally Made Jewelry:
Besides the Claddagh ring, you can find other beautifully crafted jewelry items made by local artisans.
10. Irish Whiskey:
Bringing back a bottle of local Irish whiskey is a great way to remember your trip. Galway has some fine distilleries where you can purchase a bottle directly.
11. Irish Tea:
Irish tea is a comforting and warm souvenir to bring home for yourself or as gifts.
12. Local Art and Crafts:
Galway has a thriving arts scene. Picking up some local artwork or crafts is a wonderful way to remember your time in Galway.
Scenic driving routes in and around Galway
These routes exhibit a mix of the serene countryside, rugged coastlines, and historical landmarks, portraying Galway and its surroundings in a beautiful light. Each of these routes has its unique charm, offering different perspectives of Galway’s picturesque landscapes and cultural richness.
- Connemara Scenic Route:
This route offers a captivating blend of bogs, valleys, and lakes with a backdrop of the dramatic Twelve Pins (Na Beanna Beola) and Maumturk Mountains. The serene roads lead you from one quaint village to another, unveiling the rustic charm of Connemara.
Distance: 48.3 km; Duration: Approximately 55 minutes.
2. Sky Road Scenic Route (Near Clifden in Connemara):
A 20 km scenic loop near Clifden, offering staggering views as the peninsula extends into the Atlantic, framed by the 12 Bens Mountain Range. It’s also a segment of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Highlights: Inagh Valley scenic drive.
3. Galway to Cliffs of Moher Scenic Drive:
This drive takes you through Galway City and onto the iconic Cliffs of Moher, with a pitstop in the port village of Kinvara known for its fresh seafood.
4. Wild Atlantic Way (Galway Section):
Spanning 300 km, this segment of the Wild Atlantic Way starts from Kinvarra village to Leenaun village near the Mayo border, taking you through vibrant Galway City, Salthill Promenade, and offering a ferry ride to remote islands.
Highlights: Dunguaire Castle, Galway City, Salthill Promenade.
5. Galway to Clifden to Galway Connemara Loop Route:
This route encompasses a loop from Galway to Clifden and back, with the Sky Road in Clifden as a notable highlight. It offers an unspoiled vantage point overlooking Clifden Bay.
Distance: 7.5 miles (12 km) for the Sky Road segment.
Beaches you might want to visit when in Galway
Each of these beaches offers a unique experience, whether you’re looking to explore the natural beauty, enjoy water activities, or simply relax by the water.
- Salthill Beaches:
These are some of Galway’s most iconic stretches of sand, perfect for swimming and exploring. The close proximity to Galway city makes them easily accessible for visitors.
2. Silverstrand Beach:
Known as a haven for families, this beach is ideal for a relaxing day by the water. Its sheltered location makes it a safe swimming spot, especially for children.
3. An Trá Mhór (Inverin Beach):
If you’re seeking a serene escape, An Trá Mhór offers a peaceful environment to relax and enjoy the natural scenery.
4. Dog’s Bay / Gurteen Bay Beaches:
These neighboring beaches are considered among the most beautiful in County Galway, with Dog’s Bay featuring a unique limestone beach. They’re situated near the picturesque village of Roundstone in Connemara, making them an excellent choice for those looking to explore the rugged beauty of the region.
5. Trá an Dóilín (Coral Beach):
Known for its fine coral rather than sand, Trá an Dóilín is a unique beach experience in Galway. The clear waters and interesting undersea flora make it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
6. Glassilaun Beach:
This beach is known for its clear waters and white sand, making it a picturesque location for relaxation and water activities.
7. Lettergesh Beach:
Another beautiful beach with clear waters and a serene environment for relaxation.
8. Mannin Bay:
Known for its scenic beauty and calm waters, ideal for a quiet day at the beach.
Top castles to visit in Galway:
Each of these historic structures offers a unique glimpse into Ireland’s rich history, along with beautiful surroundings that provide excellent photo opportunities. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply enjoying the picturesque Irish landscape, these castles have something to offer.
- Dunguaire Castle:
Location: Near Kinvara in County Galway.
Highlights: Known for its picturesque setting on the shores of Galway Bay. It’s one of the most photographed castles in Ireland, and hosts medieval banquets in the evenings where visitors can enjoy a festive meal with traditional Irish music and storytelling.
2. Aughnanure Castle:
Location: In Oughterard, on the banks of Lough Corrib.
Highlights: A well-preserved example of an Irish tower house with features like a double bawn, bastions, and a dry harbour. The castle’s grounds also offer beautiful views of the surrounding area.
3. Menlo Castle:
Location: Close to Galway City.
Highlights: A picturesque, ivy-covered ruin on the banks of the River Corrib, providing a serene and photogenic spot for visitors.
4. Athenry Castle:
Location: In the town of Athenry.
Highlights: Restored Medieval castle providing a glimpse into Ireland’s history with an informative audio-visual presentation available for visitors.
5. Clifden Castle:
Location: Near Clifden, overlooking Clifden Bay.
Highlights: Gothic Revival Castle surrounded by beautiful landscape, offering a peaceful and scenic spot for a leisurely stroll.
6. Kylemore Abbey:
Location: Overlooking Lough Pollaacapull, near Letterfrack in north Connemara.
Highlights: Though not a castle, it’s a magnificent abbey with stunning gardens and a picturesque setting amidst mountains and lakes, making it a must-visit site in Galway.
7. Ardgillan Castle:
Location: In Balbriggan.
Highlights: Set amidst Ardgillan Demesne, the castle offers a fantastic view of the Mourne Mountains, the coastline, and Dublin City, along with beautiful rose gardens and a playground for children.
Top whiskey tasting tours you might consider when visiting Galway:
These tours provide a fascinating way to explore Galway’s whiskey heritage while enjoying the city’s charm and hospitality.
- Galway Whiskey Tour:
- This is not just a pub tour but a private group experience ideal for large gatherings. It delves into the cultural connection between Ireland and Irish whiskey while offering whiskey tasting sessions. Participants get to sample three different Irish whiskeys in a traditional Irish Pub privately booked for the group.
- Micil Distillery Tour:
- Micil offers pre-booked tours and tastings where you can get an up-close and personal insight into their distillery. They produce a variety of products including whiskey, gin, poitín, and cream liqueur. The tour location is at 226 Upper Salthill, Galway.
- Food and Cycling Tour by Galway Food Tours:
- This unique tour combines whiskey tasting with a cycling tour around Galway. It’s an informational fun afternoon tasting ‘uisce beatha’ (the water of life in Irish, referring to whiskey) guided by a whiskey expert. The tour ventures into some of Galway’s oldest bars to discover some of the best in Irish Whiskey.
- Irish Whiskey Tour of Galway 2023:
- Kick off with a visit to the An Púcán bar and sample drams of Irish whiskey such as Red Brest 12 Year. The tour includes visits to three bars and delves into the history of Irish whiskey in friendly pub settings. You have an option to choose from an afternoon or evening tour, with the latter including food. This small-group tour accommodates a maximum of 15 participants for a more personal experience.
- Galway Whiskey Experience:
- The Galway Whiskey Experience takes you to Galway’s best whiskey bars, teaching you how to discern between single malt, single grain, and pot still Irish whiskey. Along the way, you will hear tales of ancient monks, backyard stills, and modern alchemists.
List of some major annual events that attract tourist to Galway:
Galway hosts a variety of events annually, attracting both local and international visitors. These events offer a glimpse into the cultural, historical, and contemporary aspects of Galway, making the city a vibrant and interesting place to visit. Each event has its unique charm and provides a different experience of what Galway has to offer.
- Galway Christmas Market: This event transforms Eyre Square into a winter wonderland, offering visitors a chance to enjoy festive shopping, food, and entertainment.
- Cúirt International Festival of Literature: This festival celebrates literature and provides a platform for both established and emerging authors to showcase their work.
- Galway Early Music Festival: This event takes you back in time with performances of medieval, renaissance, and baroque music.
- Trad on the Prom: A show featuring traditional Irish music, song, and dance.
- The Galway Sessions: This event celebrates Irish folk music in a fun and lively environment.
- Galway Film Fleadh (July 11-July 16, 2023): An annual international film festival held every July since 1989, showcasing a variety of films and providing a platform for filmmakers to submit their work.
- Galway International Arts Festival: A major event featuring a wide array of art forms including visual arts, opera, theatre, street performances, dance, literature, comedy, and music.
- The Galway Races: A renowned horse racing festival that gathers a large crowd, offering an exciting mix of races and social events.
- Galway International Oyster Festival: Celebrates Galway’s rich seafood tradition, particularly its oysters, through tastings, shucking competitions, and a lively parade.
- Baboró International Arts Festival for Children: An event designed to inspire creativity and a love for the arts among children.
- Galway Comedy Festival: Provides a platform for both local and international comedians to entertain the audience with their humor.
- Galway History Festival: Covers all aspects of Galway’s rich history through a series of talks, lectures, and exhibitions over the festival weekend, held at venues like the Galway City Museum and the Aula Maxima at NUI.
Top-rated 4 and 5-star hotels in Galway:
These hotels are recognized for their high-quality services and comfortable accommodations, making them a great choice for travelers looking for luxury and comfort during their stay in Galway.
- Glenlo Abbey Hotel:
Location: On the outskirts of Galway City, at the gateway to Connemara.
Features: Golf club, spacious setting near Lough Corrib.
2. The G Hotel & Spa:
Location: Galway City.
Features: 101 bedrooms, spa facilities.
- Salthill Hotel:
Location: 1.69 mi from city center.
2. Clayton Hotel Galway:
Location: Ballybrit, 2.94 mi from city center.
3. Claregalway Hotel:
Location: Claregalway, 6.65 mi from city center.
4. Leonardo Hotel Galway (Formerly Jurys Inn Galway City Centre):
Location: City Centre.
The Featured videos and images for this post are taken from Galway Tourism website. For more information about Galway please visit the official Galway Tourism website or follow their Instagram account.