Galway has been voted the World’s Friendliest City. Here are just 5 reasons why you would love a visit to Galway, Ireland.
Famed for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and friendly locals, there is much to love about Galway, Ireland.
Whether you’re a culture buff, outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a place to relax and recharge, Galway has something to appeal to everyone.
Here are five essential things that will have you falling in love with this Irish hotspot: from the bustling atmosphere of of a pub playing live traditional music to the wild beauty of the Connemara coastline.
So if you’re considering a trip to the Emerald Isle, make sure you take the time to get to know Galway and explore what this charming city and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Top Things to Love About Galway, Ireland
Galway, Ireland has been voted the World’s Friendliest City by Travel & Leisure readers. Having studied abroad at NUIGalway, I can attest to the warmth with which this city invites you.
I love Galway; after my incredible month in the city, it easily became one of my favorite places in the world. So here just a few of the great things about Galway.
1. The River Corrib at the Spanish Arch
When the weather is warm and the sun is shining, it seems like the whole city flocks to the banks of the River Corrib to soak up the rays. Sitting by the river, you can watch the swans on the water, listen to music drifting down from the pubs on Quay Street, and people watch. From there, you can walk through the Spanish Arch, visit the free Galway City Museum, and visit the shops and restaurants on Quay Street.
2. Galway International Arts Festival
At the Galway International Arts Festival, anything is possible. Dragons roam the streets, building’s are covered in street art over night, and giant red balls find different tight places to squish between. The festival has been taking place yearly for almost 40 years. Each summer, this small Irish city gets turned on its head with the best of art in performance, music, visual art, theatre and spectacle.
3. The Promenade at Salthill
The 2km long promenade at Salthill, known lovingly as the Prom, runs along Galway Bay. To your left you can see Galway City, to your right is the Aran Islands, and out in front across the bay is the Burren. When you reach the diving boards at the end of the Prom, local traditions dictates you take a swipe at the “kicking wall” before turning back around or diving into the bay.
4. Trad Music
Music pours from every pub and from every soulful busker on the streets. You can even hear traditional Irish music into the night in the cathedrals. Stop in to The King’s Head for the weekly Trad at the Head or drop by St. Nicholas’s Church for the Tunes in the Church series.
5. Just One Stop of Many on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
The west of Ireland is different kind of wild west. It’s rocky coasts, rolling hills, narrow roads, and sharp curves make for the most amazing scenery. All the best stops on the Wild Atlantic Way are accessible within a day from Galway: Dingle, the Burren, a trip out to the Aran Islands, Connemara, the Cliffs of Moher. You can go out site seeing and still make it back in time for a nightly pub crawl.
Top Galway Tours
With so much to see, Galway can be overwhelming for any first-time traveler. To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour! Check out this list of the top Galway tours to help you make the most of your time in this charming city on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast.
- Galway Food Tour
- Trad on the Prom Ireland’s Best Music, Song & Dance Experience
- Traditional Irish Homemade Baking Scones and Bread
More Things to Do in Galway
Explore all that Galway has to offer! Check out these posts for more Galway itineraries.
- 20+ Incredible Experiences You Can Have in Galway, Ireland
- 10 Breathtaking Day Trips from Galway, Ireland
- Visiting Lynch’s Castle in Galway, Ireland
Ready to visit Galway, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Galway using Booking.com.
- Get a Guide Book: Check out the guide books from Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, or Rick Steves for in depth info about traveling to Ireland.
What do you love about Galway, Ireland? Let me know in the comments!