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Galway is one of the most popular tourist destinations for getaways and staycations. There are many things to do in Galway with your friends, family, and pets.

From sailing off to the Aran Islands or exploring the historic city attractions, you can keep everyone entertained on your next visit.

With plenty of activities in Galway, you can enjoy historic sites, cosy pubs, and beautiful landscapes.

Plan your Galway escape with these 11 things to do in Galway…

Things to do in Galway County

1. Connemara National Park

Mountains, forests, wildlife and plenty of natural landscapes

connemara national park

With over 2,000 hectares of stunning landscapes, Connemara National Park is one of the best places to visit with your friends and family.

Whether you hike a mountain or discover a magical forest walk, the national park is a great place to visit in Galway.

Here are some highlights to look out for on your visit to Connemara: 

  • Connemara Ponies
  • Picnic Areas
  • The Diamond Hill Trail
  • Kestrels, snipes, mistle thrush and plenty of birds
  • Rabbits, foxes, shrews and bats can be seen at night

The park is open all year, with the visitor centre opening daily between 9:00 – 17:30.

At the visitor centre, head to the café to enjoy a selection of hot drinks, sandwiches, and cakes.

To learn more about Ireland’s National Parks, read our blog, The Best 7 National Parks in Ireland.

2. Aran Islands

Three islands with prehistoric forts and natural pools

heading up to the aran islands

The Aran Islands is a set of three islands, easily accessible from the Rossaveel ferry.

On the islands, find blow holes, seals, prehistoric forts, and jagged cliffs.

Inis Mór is the biggest of the three islands.

And, because you must get a ferry to the island, you can get away from the busier places on the mainland.

Perfect for relaxing on a sheltered beach with only your loved ones for company.

Where does the ferry leave from:
The Pier Ros a Mhil
County Galway
H91 W9K1

3. Kylemore Abbey

Historic Abbey to teach you about the rich history of Connemara and Ireland

kylemore abbey from the river coribb

Along the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, Kylemore Abbey has been home to an order of nuns for the past 100 years.

The Abbey is just over an hour from Galway City and is a fantastic day out with the family.

You can enjoy traditional Irish food, lakeshore walks and Ireland’s largest walled gardens.

And, if you want to teach your children about Ireland’s rich history, there are three history talks per day in the Abbey.

Discover these cottages in Connemara online with Hogans.

4. Cycle the Sky Road

17 Kilometres of stunning cycling in the heart of Galway

sky road views

If you are an avid cyclist, the Sky Road is one of the best activities to do in County Galway.

The route will give you eye-catching views over the Atlantic Ocean. And one of the highlights is the view over Clifden Bay.

The route takes you on the ups and downs of the Irish coastline and offers some of the best opportunities for a photograph in southern Ireland.

Why not rent a bike from the Clifden Bike Shop?

5. The Serpent’s Lair (The Wormhole)

A curious natural phenomenon on Inis Mór

the wormhole inishmore

If you are looking for a secret spot in Galway, The Serpent’s Lair is a curious place to explore.

Around two kilometres south of Dun AonghasaPoll na bPeist is commonly known as The Serpents Lair or the Wormhole.

The rectangular-shaped opening can be mistaken for a man-made pool. However, the Wormhole is a natural phenomenon.

It is an opportunity for spectacular photographs looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.

6. The Cliffs of Moher

Spectacular coastal views down towards County Clare

cliffs of moher

If you want to see dramatic coastal cliffs along the Irish coast, why not head to the Cliffs of Moher?

With safe pathways and rugged coastal cliffs, the Cliffs of Moher has inspired artists and musicians for hundreds of years.

Along the hikes, there are picnic benches to enjoy lunch along the coast. And don’t forget to pack your binoculars to spot over 30,000 pairs of seabirds that nest along the cliffs.

Check out these coastal holiday homes in Ireland for your next visit.

7. Menlo Castle

Unique castle along the River Corrib

menlo castle covered in ivy

Along the River CorribMenlo Castle has become a busy tourist destination.

Here you can see the ivy-covered ruins of a 16th-century castle.

Only 3.5km from Galway City, you can turn a visit to Menlo Castle into a gentle bike ride with your family.

It is not easy to hike to Menlo Castle. It is much safer to cycle or jump in the car.

Once you arrive, look around the outer castle and enjoy a picnic looking over the river.

Check out our Nine favourite castles in Ireland here.

Things to do in Galway City

8. Galway Cathedral

The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven & St Nicholas

galway cathedral

Galway City is home to a fantastic range of things to do with your friends and family.

The Galway cathedral is a unique place to visit and learn about the city history.

But, it doesn’t matter if you are religious or not. The cathedral is a unique building that can be appreciated by all.

The cathedral is accessible for all and has a ramp for wheelchair users and a hearing loop for those using hearing aids.

You can explore the cathedral grounds between 8:30 and 18:30 when mass is not on (visitors are welcome to participate in mass).

Check on the Galway Cathedral website if you want to see the upcoming mass timetables.

9. Salthill Promenade

Take a cool dip, or enjoy a relaxing walk along the 3km promenade

blackrock diving board at salthill promenade

Starting from Galway City centre, the Salthill Promenade is a relaxing walk along the coast.

If you are looking for free things to do in Galway, the Salthill Promenade is perfect for you.

Get the family ready and walk along the promenade finishing at the old Blackrock diving board. But, if you are going to take a dip, read the local guidelines surrounding the diving board.

10. Spanish Arch

Take a look into Galway’s rich history

man walking through the spanish arch in galway city

Along the river CorribThe Spanish Arch dates to medieval times.

It is a historic building that housed soldiers during the 16th century. Nowadays, tourists can look around the Spanish Arch to discover facts about Galway’s trading history.

There is also a Galway City Museum about fifty metres away from the Spanish Arch to learn more.

11. Eyre Square

A central city park surrounded by shopping, restaurants, and a railway station

Why not spend the day shopping in Galway City centre and enjoy a break at Eyre Square?

The area dates to the 1600s and is now a pedestrianised area for everyone to enjoy.

With both William Street and Shop Street leading to Eyre Square, it is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a bite to eat and a refreshing drink.

It is also an important cultural spot for highlighting political and social injustice.

Head over to Eyre Square and see what is happening on your visit.

Are you feeling inspired to visit some of these Galway attractions?

With so many things to do and family-friendly activities in Galway, it is a great place to visit on your next staycation.

Make that visit a little more comfortable with a break in one of these Galway holiday homes.

Book your next staycation online with Hogans Irish Cottages today.