The City of the Tribes is testimony both to Galway’s ancient clan roots and its modern face as a multicultural community. Most visitors to Western Ireland either pass through Galway or make it their base of operations for excursions to natural wonders like Connemara National Park. You’ll find this artsy town is a real charmer, with an engaging historic downtown core around Eyre Square and buzzing nightlife in Salthill. Galway is also a major tourist destination with the amenities to handle any type of traveler. Summer is when Galway peaks with its legendary horse races and refreshingly fine weather.
Things to see
Eyre Square, tucked right in the center of town, is the heart and soul of Galway. Walk in any direction and you’ll find pedestrian shopping arcades, historic neighborhoods, and the sea.
Check out Galway’s ancient maritime defenses at the iconic Spanish Arch. The park next door is perfect for sitting and watching the Corrib River flow into the sea.
Galway is legendary for its thoroughbred horses, which race against each other every summer in a series of world-class events at the Galway Race Course.
Western Ireland is home to some of the region’s star natural attractions, like Connemara National Park and the Cliffs of Moher. Galway is an ideal home base for day drives to these wonders.
Head over to Salthill’s Promenade for a sunny day at the sea. This waterfront pedestrian strip is where the city’s residents go to take in the fresh air, check each other out, and stroll around.
Hotels in Galway
You will have your hands full trying to choose a place to stay in Galway. This city has a little bit of everything, from affordable hotels tucked into the downtown district to quiet resorts just outside of town. Galway is also well-known for its huge amount of traditional bed and breakfasts―a big draw for travelers who want a taste of authentic Irish hospitality.
Although the majority of hotels in Galway fall into the mid-range price category, there are a handful of luxury hotels in the downtown area. The top-end lodging here comes in both international chains and local independent hotels. But with either one you can expect seriously comfortable surroundings, exquisite service, and a solid selection of amenities.
Where to stay
Staying around the centrally-located Eyre Square allows you to walk to just about everywhere in Galway. There are many hotels around the square, from luxury boutiques to cozy little inns.
The waterfront is where many luxury hotels are located. It’s easy to see why, given the area’s tremendous ocean views and convenient proximity to the city center.
Salthill is one of the most exciting districts of Galway. This is the hub of the city’s nightlife and where a lot of new boutique hotels and quaint inns are sprouting up. Downtown is a few minutes away, so a car is useful when staying in Salthill.
How to get to Galway
The closest airport to Galway is in Shannon, about an hour away by car. This is Western Ireland’s main airport, so there is a good range of flights. CityLink buses and rental cars are the main forms of transport from the airport to Galway. Trains run to Galway from Dublin, while Eireann buses reach Galway from most Irish towns in the region.
Walking is the best way to explore Galway, especially the downtown and waterfront areas. Taxis are on hand, but are a little expensive. The public bus system can also be useful for moving between downtown and Salthill.