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Galway, Ireland’s Best Activities and Experiences (2024)

Galway is a charming city on Ireland’s west coast that is a treasure trove of cultural experiences and outdoor adventures. Galway is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture. We’ve found our visits are never short of delightful discoveries. We’ll take you through Galway, Ireland’s best activities and experiences, including food tours, and cultural nuggets to help you plan your adventure!

view of buildings of Galway City, from the water. Galway, Ireland. Galway experiences
Galway City

You’ll have a wonderfull time whether wandering through the busy streets with colorful shop fronts, visiting art galleries and quaint cafes, or joining in the camaraderie at traditional pubs where live music is a staple. We’ve also discovered a couple gems where you’ll be taught some of the most popular Irish dances!

Coast of Galway, Ireland at dusk with rocks and see in the horizon
Galway Coast at Dusk

Galway’s rugged coastline offers a myriad of stunning views and a chance to enjoy the salty sea air on a walk along the Salthill Promenade. If you’re seeking tranquility, you’ll find solace in the serene landscapes of Connemara, just a short drive from the city center. With each activity and experience, you’ll be immersed in the heart of Irish culture and will fall in love with the warmth of its people!

Exploring Galway’s Rich History and Culture

Galway is full of historical marvels and vibrant musical and artistic traditions. We’ve discovered incredible food tours with truly unique gastronomic experiences, and taken amazing excursions through the breathtaking scenery of Ireland’s West coast. Galway, Ireland is a favorite. We’ll take you to Galway’s best activities and experiences – your ultimate guide to fun!

Park in Galway, Ireland with trees budding and the river running through the scenery with white birds in the grass. Galway Activities

Historical Landmarks and Tours

Our journey through Galway includes visits to storied landmarks like Dunguaire Castle, with tales from the 16th century. A guided historical tour will bring you face-to-face with the city’s past, threading through medieval streets to Eyre Square’s bustling heart. While you can venture out on your own, the tours are both full of history and entertaining.

Exterior photo of the Ireland's President's house. White vehicles outside and a person walking. Galway Activities.
Presidential House

Travel Tip: We love guided tours for ease of getting around and having a local guide who knows the history and stories of the region. It can be a time saver to rent a car for the longer excursions as you are in control of your time, the amount of stops you make and the length of time at each location. If you’re considering renting a car, you can check rates and availability for rentals here.

Musical and Artistic Expressions

There’s something magical about Irish music and dance and we’ve found it’s best experienced at Trad on the Prom. This show celebrates the finest music, dance, and song in Irish tradition. You’ll find artistic expressions unfold in galleries and impromptu street performances, painting a vivid picture of Galway’s cultural patchwork and history.

Indise Irish bar in Galway City, Ireland. The Kings Head printed on a banner. Galway experiences.

Culinary Delights and Food Experiences

Like most travelers, we love indulging in the taste and history of local cusines. Galway offers several food tours and we have not found one we didn’t enjoy! From freshly-caught seafood from the wild Atlantic to the traditional comfort of Irish soda bread baked at local bakeries, you’ll find a delighful culinary experience for everyone in your group.

Galway Market

Travel tip: If you’re looking for a culinary adventure on your own time, be sure to visit the Galway Market. You’ll be tempted with all sorts of artisanal cheeses, organic produce and local foods. They also have vendors selling locally made crafts…and wool socks that are great to have due to the rainy weather!

Natural Wonders and Day Trip Activities

When visiting Galway you’ll get ample time to immerse yourself in nature’s natural wonders, such as the Cliffs of Moher—a majestic natural spectacle and Aillwee Cave, a subterranean beauty! You’ll find adventure through Hiking across the Connemara landscape or make waves with Kayaking in Galway Bay.

We recommend taking at least one day for a whole day excursion. Galway Day Trips are incredible and include locations like Kylemore Abbey and the Cliffs of Moher. The day trips also give the best options for explorations on both land and water.

Galway, Ireland rocky coast and sea with homes in the background. Galway Activities.

Galway Coast

  • Best Day Trips
  • Connemara Day Trip (7.5 hours. Includes Leenane Village and Kylemore Abbey) or the Guided Tour of Connemara (includes three hours at Connemara National Park. 9 hours total.)
  • Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour (Plan for 8.5 hours. A couple of many things you’ll see on this tour include the Dunguaire Castle, Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb and the Ballyalban Fairy Fort)
  • Cliffs of Moher Day Trip (8.5 hours. Travel through Doolin and Kinvara. See the Dunguaire Castle along with time to walk the Cliffs of Moher)

Savoring the Great Outdoors

Galway offers a treasure trove of natural landscapes that allows vistors and locals to immerse themselves in the great outdoors. Whether you choose to glide along the waterways or trek through scenic trails, there’s an adventure waiting!

Water-Based Activities

Angling and Fly Fishing: Galway offers some of the most scenic and fruitful angling spots in Ireland. You can cast your lines in the clear waters of Lough Corrib, renowned for its trout and salmon populations. For fly fishing aficionados, the River Corrib and its tributaries provide a perfect setting to hone your skills.

Fishing and sailing boats tied up in a harbor in Galway, Ireland. Galway angling.

Traveler’s Tip: You can fish in Galway on your own but the species you can fish for is very limited without a state license. Check here for details. The fishing/angling trips are the best way to ensure fishing guidelines and regulations are followed so everyone has a great time!

If you like water, love adventure and fishing isn’t your thing, we’ve added a few fun water experiences in Galway for you to consider. Weather permitting, of course!

Adventure and Outdoor Activities

Walking Tours: If you and everyone in your group is able, we recommend exploring Galway’s historical and natural beauty on foot. Guided walking tours are done by local tour guides and give insight and tell stories you’d never hear elsewhere. There are several exceptional guided walking tours that bring Galway’s rich history to life with every step.

City streets of Galway, Ireland with people walking around the shops and stores
Streets of Galway

Hiking Experiences

Hiking Trails: The allure of hiking in Galway lies in the diversity of its trails. From the rugged Twelve Bens in Connemara to the gentler slopes of Diamond Hill, there is a trail for all levels of experience. We recommend having enough time in your stay to take advantage of at least one day of hiking. You’ll experience panoramic views you would not find anywhere else that capture the total essence of Ireland’s wild west.

Beautiful river running between homes set up on each side

  • Recommended Hiking Trails:
    • Twelve Bens (Located in Connemara National Park. Great trails if you’re looking for easy hiking and climbing. 4-6 hours.)
    • Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park (Located in Connemara National Park. Moderately challenging trails. 4.4 miles)
    • Maumturk Mountains (Located in An Uillinn, County Galway. This is a challenging trail. 7.9 miles)

Fun & Unusual Activities

Our summary of Galway’s best activities and experiences would not be complete without throwing in some unusal finds we think you’d enjoy adding to your itinerary.


From its rich history and culture to being known as the festival capital of Ireland, Galway not only gives warm welcome to visitors but offers so much to do. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff or someone who enjoys a city full of music and dancing, you will find incredible experiences to take part in and make memories of a lifetime on your visit to Galway. “Go n-éirí an bóthar leat”!