Discover the Magic of Galway – 15 Must-Do Activities for an Unforgettable Trip 

Visit Galway, Ireland and enter a historic and vibrant city with winding stone streets, colourful architecture, and welcoming locals. While you could spend many days exploring the diverse array of activities in this beautiful city, here we will share 12 of the many wonders that must be experienced when travelling to Ireland. This enchanting City offers many thrilling activities to choose from during your visit to the Wild Atlantic Way.

Aerial view of Galway and the corrib river.
Aerial view of Galway and the corrib river.

You can delve into the history of the Spanish Arch, savour a stroll in one of the city’s stunning parks, embark on a boat ride along the captivating Galway Bay, or immerse yourself in the bustling energy of the local markets. Just walking through the Latin Quarter, in the city’s heart, having a coffee and taking in the ambience, music, and people is a joy to behold. Whatever adventure you choose, your time here will be an unforgettable experience.  

1) Stroll through the colourful streets of Galway’s Latin Quarter. 

Get lost in the lively streets of the city’s cultural heart, The Latin Quarter! The bright and colourful buildings, shops, and restaurants that line the cobblestone alleys will lift your spirits as you explore the ancient history of this vibrant city.

The Latin Quarter in Galway City
Discover the Magic of Galway - 15 Must-Do Activities for an Unforgettable Trip  27

Enjoy a fresh coffee outside one of the many cafes while admiring the rustic stone buildings, or shop at any unique boutiques featuring handmade knickknacks. Whether looking for a bite to eat, a photo opportunity, or a good conversation, a stroll through Galway’s Latin Quarter is the perfect way to enjoy this fantastic city! Not far from the Latin Quarter, you will find Eyre Square. This modern plaza is a lovely way to relax and watch the world go by. 

2) Explore Galway City Museum

A 'Hooker' in the Galway Museum
A ‘Hooker’ in the Galway Museum

You’ll want to ensure the City Museum is at the top of your itinerary when in town! With its breathtaking array of artefacts, photographs and interactive displays, the museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture that has made this city unique. From prehistoric times to modern-day life, you’ll be transported back as you wander through its halls. Take in the rich heritage as you discover everything it offers- an unforgettable experience!

3) Shop at the Galway Market 

Kylemore Farmhouse Cheeses
Kylemore Farmhouse Cheeses

Come and experience something truly unique at Galway Market! Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the outdoor market while indulging in the local flavours. Engage with spirited vendors as they negotiate prices and exhibit their handmade crafts.  

Don’t miss out on discovering some hidden gems among the stalls. Galway Market is brimming with vibrant culture every Saturday and Sunday. Plan your visit today! 

4) Walk along Salthill Promenade 

Visit Galway, and you will be in for a treat. Salthill Promenade is the perfect spot to enjoy the stunning beauty of Galway Bay while soaking up the sunshine. Whether taking a stroll among lush green parkland or indulging in a delicious snack at one of the local cafes and restaurants, there’s something for everyone on this enchanting seaside promenade.

Salthill Promenade
Salthill Promenade

5) Visit the Galway Cathedral 

Galway Cathedral
Galway Cathedral

Visit the Galway Cathedral and be awestruck by its neo-renaissance architecture. With colourful stained-glass windows and beautiful carvings, the cathedral will stand tall – like a beacon of faith – enriching your visit to Galway. Built in the 1960s with impeccable attention to detail, home to beautiful stained-glass windows and intricate carvings, the Galway Cathedral is a timeless piece of beauty that has won the hearts of many over time – and continues to do so today!  

Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture every moment as you explore this remarkable building. 

6) Take a Trip to the Aran Islands 

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands found off the coast of Galway. The islands offer a glimpse into traditional Irish life, with stunning landscapes and ancient ruins. Visitors can take a ferry from Galway to the islands and spend the day exploring.  

Visit Galway and embark on a journey to the mystical Aran Islands. Take a ferry ride through the peaceful inlet of Inis Mór, the largest of the islands, and explore its landscapes of ancient ruins, lush greenery and striking limestone cliffs. Rent a bike, visit charming villages, chat with friendly locals and soak up the unique tranquillity that can only be found here.

Dun Aengus Fort on Inish More, Aran Islands
Dun Aengus Fort on Inish More, Aran Islands

Immerse yourself in Irish history at Dun Aengus, an ancient fort built by prehistoric settlers that stands atop sheer cliffs, standing as a testament to man’s resilience throughout time. The Aran Islands have something for everyone – serenity for those seeking peace, adventure for thrill seekers, intellectual stimulation for history buffs or just an idyllic escape from everyday life.  

7) Visit Galway to experience a food paradise!  

A tour of the city’s restaurants and eateries is the best way to get acquainted with the local cuisine. Visit pubs, cafes, seafood stalls, and more to sample delicious dishes like hearty stews and more unusual offerings like dried seaweed.

Delicious Sea Food
Delicious Sea Food

Galway has a thriving food scene, with plenty of local restaurants serving delicious traditional Irish dishes. Taking a food tour is a great way to sample the best of what the city has to offer. Visitors can try everything from fresh seafood to hearty stews and learn about the city’s culinary history. But most importantly, eat to your heart’s content and have a unique culinary adventure in Galway! 

8) Experience Traditional Irish Music in Galway 

Visit Galway and get your feet tapping to the rhythm of traditional Irish music. The city is known for its vibrant and passionate conventional music scene, with bands performing in pubs around town and festivals devoted to this musical style.

Traditional Music in Taaffes Bar
Traditional Music in Taaffes Bar

Joining a live session is the perfect way to experience the unique energy of Irish traditional music – you’ll be surrounded by some of Ireland’s most acclaimed musicians. Visit Galway for an authentic taste of Ireland: loud, lively, and original!  

9) Experience the magic. Visit the Spanish Arch!

Visit Galway to experience its historical beauty – the Spanish Arch! Step back in time and explore this beautiful 16th-century structure, which was an essential fortification during the era. Stroll across it, marvelling at the ancient stone while capturing a gorgeous view of the river Corrib in your pocket.

Spanish Arch in Galway City
The Spanish Arch in Galway

Don’t forget to take some incredible photos! Visit the Spanish Arch and make an unforgettable memory in Galway. 

10) Admire the views from atop St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church

Saint Nicholas Collegiate Church Galway City
Saint Nicholas Collegiate Church Galway City

On a sunny day in Galway, one of the most memorable experiences can be had atop one of the city’s oldest buildings – St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church. The majestic spire towers over the bustling streets below, offering unrivalled views of the cityscape and its beautiful sandy bay. From there, admire the vibrant homes stretching along both sides of the river Corrib and spot locals lounging beside ancient walls that tell stories of days long past.  

With such an incredible view, it is no wonder St. Nicholas’ has become such a beloved landmark and must-visit destination for tourists visiting Galway. 

11) When in Galway, Visit the Nearby Cliffs of Moher (in County Clare)  

Experience the unforgettable beauty of The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Take a calming walk or thrilling hike along the trails, or sign up for a guided tour. The cliffs tower over 700 feet into the sky, offering breathtaking views of both landscapes. Don’t miss out on this magical escape situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Galway.

Cliff's of Moher in County Clare just south of Galway City
Cliff’s of Moher in County Clare

12) Sip on a pint of Guinness at a traditional Irish pub. 

Immerse yourself in history and culture with a pint of Guinness at one of Galway’s traditional Irish pubs. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-time traveller, you won’t want to miss this quintessential experience. Meet the locals, sample some of Ireland’s iconic dishes, and relax to the soothing sounds of live music.  

Galway’s nightlife is renowned, and there’s no better way to experience it than by enjoying a pint of Guinness at a lively Irish pub. You can also play darts, engage in conversation, or soak up the authentic Irish atmosphere.  

Don’t leave Galway without experiencing this classic pub tradition. 

Just Visit Galway; It’s a no-brainer! 

There’s so much to do in Galway, from wandering the streets of the Latin Quarter to immersing yourself in the Galway City Museum, appreciating the breathtaking views from St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, and walking along the River Corrib. Make your way through bustling markets where you can purchase unique souvenirs and then sit down at an Irish pub for a pint of Guinness.  

Experiencing Ireland will leave you with incredible memories and a deep understanding of the vibrant culture that makes this city unique. So don’t delay; explore the charm and beauty of Galway! 

What are the other activities and attractions in Galway besides the 15 mentioned in the article? 

I recommend checking out some of Galway’s beautiful beaches, like Salthill Beach and Silver Strand. The city is also known for its vibrant live music scene, so be sure to catch a traditional Irish music session in one of the many pubs.  

Additionally, you can explore the historic Galway Cathedral and stroll through the charming streets of the Latin Quarter. There are also plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking in Connemara National Park or taking a boat tour of the Aran Islands. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about Galway, Ireland?

Galway, Ireland, is known for its vibrant atmosphere, rich culture, and welcoming locals. It perfectly blends ancient charm and modern allure with its lively music scene, picturesque landscapes, and historic streets.

Who are the 14 tribes of Galway?

The “City of the Tribes” refers to the influential merchant families who dominated Galway’s political and commercial life during the medieval period. Some of these tribes include the Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, French, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, Skerritt, and French families.

When was Galway established? 

Galway was officially established as a city in the late 15th century, although its history dates back much further.

What is the history of Galway, Ireland?

This historical city has a rich history that includes Viking settlements, Norman invasions, and a period of significant trade and prosperity during the medieval era. It has witnessed various historical events and developments, shaping it into the vibrant city it is today.
The town holds significant historical importance due to its strategic location as a trading port, its role in the medieval wool trade, and its connections to various historical events in Ireland’s history. It has preserved its historical charm through its architecture and cultural heritage.

When is the best time to visit Galway?

If you’re planning to visit Ireland, make sure to stop by this amazing city on the west coast! The best time to go is between May and September when the city comes alive with festivals and events.
Don’t miss out on exploring the stunning coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. Whether you’re into music, art, or just soaking up the lively atmosphere, this is the place to be.  

What does Galway mean in Irish?

The Irish name for Galway is “Gaillimh,” which is derived from the Irish word “gallaibh” meaning “stony” or “place of the foreigner.”

Was Galway a Viking city?

Yes, Galway has Viking origins. Vikings initially settled it in the 9th century, and their influence can still be seen in some aspects of the city’s culture and history.

How would you describe Galway, Ireland?

Traditional Irish Music in Irish Pub in Galway City

Galway is a vibrant and charming city that combines a rich cultural heritage with a lively and welcoming atmosphere. It offers a mix of historical landmarks, picturesque landscapes, and a bustling city centre filled with shops, cafes, and traditional Irish pubs.