Galway is surrounded by beautiful countryside which is easy to visit during even a short trip.
If you’re staying two days or more you’ll have plenty of time to see the city and explore the Cliffs of Moher. I’d recommend making a couple of stops along the way which I’ll explain in this post.
I took a day tour with Galway Tour Company for €30 but if you have a car it’s easy do at your own pace too. Here’s how your day could look:
9.30am – grab coffee in Galway
I believe every day should begin with caffeine. My favourite coffee shop in Galway is Jungle Cafe set in an indoor garden. It’s just a one-minute walk from Galway Coach Station where tours depart.
10.30am – stop at Dunguaire Castle
A 30-minute drive from Galway sits Ireland’s most photographed castle. Dunguaire has a fairytale feel and is set on the pretty Galway Bay so I added to the statistic by snapping a load of pictures.
11am – drive through the Burren
This national park is a scenic area with loads of weird, wonderful cliff formations and woodland. You’ll even see ‘fairy rings’ which are objects naturally in a circle (trees, rocks and mushrooms all count). When the locals deem them a fairy ring it’s taken very seriously: you mustn’t enter inside one for fear of a curse, and you should only walk around one in a clockwise direction.
When in Ireland!
11.30am – see Poulnabrone Tomb
From Dunguaire Castle, it’s a 40-minute drive through the Burren to Poulnabrone. This ancient structure is a tomb estimated to have been built 5,000 years ago. To put that in perspective for you, that makes it older than Egypt’s pyramids!
12pm – pass through Lisdoonvarna
This small town has an interesting claim to fame. It’s home to Europe’s largest matchmaking festival which takes place every August. Even if you pass through the village outside of this time you’ll see the multicoloured Matchmaker Bar where it all began.
12.30pm – stop in Doolin
This little village is adorable. If you know me you’ll understand that this colourful cottage was my highlight but you might be more than excited by the famous Doolin Chocolate Shop.
Doolin is also a ferry launching point for visiting the Aran Islands from March to October.
1pm – lunch in a country pub
We stopped at Gus O’Connor’s in Doolin and filled up on hearty beef and Guinness stew. Am I Irish yet?
2.30pm – arrive at the Cliffs of Moher
Finally – the highlight of my day!
At the bottom of the cliffs keep an eye out at for the cave where Harry and Dumbledore destroyed a Horcrux in the sixth Harry Potter film.
If you’re lucky you might even catch sight of a puffin. But if not, this whole area is totally stunning and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed. The sun set towards the end of our visit so we got to see the cliffs in all types of light – see the sequence below.
Don’t forget to check out O’Brien’s Castle on the cliff edge.
4pm – head back to Galway
Set off at 4 and you’ll be back in Galway for 5.30pm. Loads of time for dinner and experiencing the Irish drinking culture!
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Check out my other Ireland posts:
- The backpacker’s guide to Galway
- The 48-hour Dublin guide
- 20 photos to inspire you to visit beautiful, colourful Ireland
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See you next time for more adventures,