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Best Day Trips from Galway

The Claddagh Galway on Galway Bay in Galway, Ireland.

Home to the beautiful Salthill Promenade, vibrant Latin Quarter and visually outstanding Eyre Square, Galway is a fun city that gives you attractions and interesting sites to explore. The many cultural and historical museums in the city, as well as the atmospheric Kirwan’s Lane, attract tourists and locals alike. But when you are done exploring the city and might be longing for a getaway, Galway is a great hub for day trips! Have a browse through our recommendations for the best day tours from Galway! 

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Day trip from Galway to Connemara National Park

The Connemara area is a geologically unique region, famous for its many megalithic tombs, some of which can be up to 4000 years old! In the past, much of the land was used for agriculture and its owners kept changing. In the second half of the 20th century, the area became state-owned, and The Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.

The Connemara National Park is a geologically unique place, as the landscape bares signs of the last ice-age that formed many of the park’s features. The park is also home to diverse wild- and birdlife.

Visitors of the Connemara National Park do not only go there for the sights but a broad spectrum of activities and events offered in the park. Wild camping is allowed in designated areas, so if you want to extend your Connemara day trip from Galway, you may consider bringing a tent and spending the night in a beautiful wilderness!

The park also has a vivid events’ calendar, so make sure to check the website before your visit. Visitors’ Centre and the park’s Tea Room are open between March and November, but the park grounds are open all year and there is no admission fee. 

To visit Connemara National Park, you can take the bus no. 923 or 419 from Galway Coach station and go to Veldons. The journey will take almost 2 hours and 10 minutes. You will save one hour of travel time if you go by car, but if you feel uneasy about doing the trip on your own, you can consider booking a day tour from Galway to Connemara with an agency.

Day trip from Galway to Connemara National Park

Beautiful view of Connemara National Park, famous for bogs and heaths, watched over by its cone-shaped mountain, Diamond Hill, County Galway, Ireland

Day trip from Galway to Aran Islands

Have you heard of the three pebbled islets in the mouth of Galway Bay called Aran Islands? They’re famous for their ancient sites, like the prehistoric fort of Dún Aonghasa, situated atop of a high cliff on Inishmore (the largest of the three islands). The stone fort is overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and gives the visitors breathtaking views of the island and the choppy waves. To reach the fort of Dún Aonghasa, most people choose to cycle from the pier! Jump on the bike to add some activity to your Galway to Aran Islands day trip!

If you are rather looking for a serene spot, less frequented by tourists, we recommend you take the boat to Inisheer (also called Inis Oirr by the locals). With a population of roughly 250 people, it is the smallest of the islands and offers you a tranquil, authentic escape from the modern world. With its hilly landscape and clear views of the cliffs of Moher, it is a great place to reconnect with nature.

This small isle is also a great place for walks! The island is only 3 km by 3 km wide, so it is easily covered on foot, and you will for sure enjoy the sights of the local lighthouse, and make sure you stop by the local arts centre, Aras Eanias to experience traditional music and maybe try some of the local art courses and workshops!

Passenger ferries operate between the mainland (Rossaveel, a village located 23 kilometres from Galway city, name of which translates to ”the peninsula a of the whale or sea monster”) and Aran Islands and, as far as the weather permits, ferries go all year round. During peak season there are inter-island ferries, but it is not an option for most of the year.

Note that if you want to see all three islands, you might have to take a ferry back to Rossaveel and then do another trip to reach the other islands. The Rossaveel Ferry terminal can be reached with a direct coach connection from Galway. Bus 424 departs from the Spanish Arch in Galway, and the journey to Rossaveel takes roughly one hour. 

Day trip from Galway to Aran Islands

Rocks with ocean in background in Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland

Day trip from Galway to Kylemore Abbey

Another jewel in the Irish Connemara area is the Kylemore Abbey, raised in 1920 in the fields of Kylemore Castle. It was erected for Benedictine Nuns who fled Belgium after the First World War, and nowadays the nuns are working on developing educational services and retreats. 

The site is often referred to as “Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden” because the estate includes large gardens that have been open to the public since the 1970s and tempt tourists and locals with countless opportunities for serene nature walks. Before visiting the site, we recommend you take a look at vivid events’ and creative studio calendar. Kylemore Abbey  offers workshops like pottery classes, soap making workshops and cooking courses. 

A single adult ticket is 13,4 € (approx. 15 USD), but you can also look into buying a family ticket that allows 2 adults and up to 6 children (up to 18 years of age) come in together for 36,1 € (roughly 40 USD). Tickets can be booked online in advance. 

You will reach Kylemore Abbey by coaches operated by Bus Éireann (456 and 419). Going from Galway, expect an interchange in Clifden, which will make the travelling time go up to 3 hours 20 minutes. It is a long journey, and hence many tourists choose to book a private tour from Galway to Kylemore Abbey. 

Day trip from Galway to Kylemore Abbey

The tranquil wonder of Kylelmore Abbey, in western Ireland

Day trip from Galway to Killary Fjord

How about a boat trip where you learn about the unique Irish landscape in between two counties (Galway and Mayo) and enjoy the picturesque views of Killary Fjord? If that sounds interesting to you, you should have a look into Galway boat tours.

The cruises depart from Leenane, a small village where you can start your day trip with a short stroll around the atmospheric little town or with a visit to one of the local cafés. Leenane is situated approx. 60 kilometres from Galway, and you can get there by bus no. 419 that departs from Galway Newcastle Road. The journey to Leenane takes 1 hour 15 minutes. 

The sightseeing cruises are usually 90 minutes long with a guided introduction and commentaries on the passing landscape. Try booking your boat trip online before your arrival, as booking in advance gives you a discount. Adult ticket price is 21 € (around 23,5 USD), and children up to 10 years can join the cruise free of charge. You can only join a cruise between April and October, and there are several daily sailings (max. 4 per day during peak season; June – August). 

Day trip from Galway to Killary Fjord

Killary Harbour is a fjord located in the west of Ireland, in northern Connemara

Day trip from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher

The word “Moher” comes from Gaelic and means “ruined fort”. Iit refers to an old fortress that once stood on Hag’s Head at the Irish sea cliffs. Cliffs of Moher are situated along the Wild Atlantic Way on the incredible Irish West coast and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. The views are astonishing and it is a haven for wildlife. Cliffs of Moher tour is a perfect opportunity to get away from the urban bustle; it is a place where you can reconnect with nature in its purest form.

On your Moher day tour, you will also get the chance to learn more about the history of Ireland! The site played a role during the Spanish Armada in 1588, but you will also hear more about Cornelius O’Brien, who was a local landowner and ordered the raising of several of the remarkable buildings around Cliffs of Moher, like O’Brien’s Tower (near the highest point of the cliffs), the bridge over the Inagh River and St. Brigid’s National School.

Even though the cliffs are a natural site and they can be admired from afar from various viewing points, there is an admission fee to the public areas around the Moher Cliffs. Tickets can be purchased online or on arrival (you’ll get a discount when booking in advance), and the fee differs depending on whether you choose to visit on- or off-peak. A single-entry adult ticket is 4 € (around 4,5 USD) off-peak and 8 € (approx. 9 USD) with a full ticket fare. 

Cliffs of Moher tour from Galway can be booked through tourist agencies, but you can also easily reach the site using public transportation. From Galway Bus station, you can take a direct public bus no. 350, operated by Bus Eireann. The bus route will take you along the scenic Wild Atlantic Way, but if you want an even closer experience of the Wild Atlantic, you can drive or take public transport to County Clare from where you can jump on a bike, and cycle directly to the Cliffs of Moher!

To reach County Clare, take bus no. 51 that departs from Eyre Square in Galway; the journey will take 1 hour 15 minutes, and the max. the fare will be 15 €, which is around 16,6 USD). Do consider jumping on the bike; the bicycle route along the Wild Atlantic Way has made it into the top 10 best cycling routes in the world, so it’s an attraction in itself and a good way to add some activity to your Moher day tour!

Day trip from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher

Beautiful Scenic Aerial drone view of Ireland Cliffs Of Moher in County Clare. Sunset over the Cliffs of Moher. Epic Irish rural countryside landscape along the wild atlantic way

Day trip from Galway to Cong Village

Another recommended getaway is a Cong Galway day tour! Visit the idyllic village of Cong, known from the Oscar-winning movie “The Quiet Man”. The most popular sites in the little town include the Ashford Castle that covers an area of 350 acres. It used to serve as an estate of the Guinness Family, but is now turned into a 5-star hotel (one of Ireland’s finest), and has hosted celebrities like Brad Pitt and Grace Kelly (Princess Grace of Monaco)!

Cong is also the cradle of Celtic art and a great spot for fun kayaking trips along the Cong River. Fans of “The Quiet Man” will be thrilled to know that there is a museum dedicated to the movie, and the ticket fare is 5 €, approx. 5,5 USD. While in Cong, make sure to visit Cong Abbey, the admission is free, and the ruins are open daily, from dawn to dusk!

Galway and Cong are only 43 kilometres apart, but there are no direct connections to public transport. You can take bus no. 456 or 435 to head ford where you interchange to bus no. 422. This journey will take you almost 2 hours, which is why booking a tour with hotel pick-up from Galway might be a better and more comfortable option.

Day trip from Galway to Cong Village

An aerial view of Cong Abbey in the village of Cong, straddling the County Galway and County Mayo borders in Ireland.

Day trip from Galway to Dunguaire Castle 

Looking for a short Galway tour? We highly recommend a trip to Dunguaire Castle. Set on the edge of Galway Bay, the castle is often said to be the most photographed castle in Ireland. Built in the 16th century, the castle used to serve as a residence for local clans, but in the 20th century (when it was bought by Oliver St. John Gogarty, a famous Irish surgeon, and poet), it turned into a meeting spot for the Irish creative elite. 

Both views of the castle and from the castle are breathtaking. Visitors can climb the 22-meter high tower for scenic views over Galway Bay during the daytime, but the castle also has an interesting night program. Tourists can participate in specially curated medieval banquettes with Celtic music and storytelling.

The castle is located only a half an hour drive from Galway, and whereas parking spots are available by the castle and it is possible to arrange a visit on your own, many tourists choose to book a guided tour from Galway; the tour would include hotel pick-up and drop off and for those interested in the medieval banquets, the tour agencies will help arrange that as well!

Day trip from Galway to Dunguaire Castle 

GALWAY, IRELAND - Dunguaire Castle on the bank of ocean bay during sunset. Kinvara, Co. Galway, Ireland

Best Day Trips from Galway

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Best Day Trips from Galway

Best Day Trips from Galway

Best Day Trips from Galway

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!