What to do in Galway this summer?

29 June 2023

All roads lead West this summer, and we've got you covered with top tips to make the most out of visiting Galway!

There’s no place like Galway in the summertime. Situated halfway up the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is just a stone's throw from some of Ireland’s most breathtaking landscapes and is the perfect place to stop, shop, explore, and immerse yourself in the best of Irish culture.

What is there to do in Galway this summer? We're glad you asked.

What To Do:

Galway is a hive of activity. Whether you’re a foodie looking to sample innovative Irish and international cuisine, a social butterfly looking to meet new people and dance the night away, a cultural enthusiast keen to learn about Ireland’s rich history of music, literature, art and theatre, or an adventure seeker looking to reach new heights and take in rugged scenery, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Here’s some of our suggestions for unmissable experiences in Galway.

Galway Food Tours
Galway Food Tours

For the Foodie:

Did you know Galway has it's own Food Walking Tour? A great way to eat and see the city at the same time.

Here's GIAF's list of food recommendations for anyone visiting Galway:

If you’re looking for food on the go we highly recommend visiting the St. Nicholas Market (open on weekends) or McCambridge’s for one of their signature sandwiches.

Galway's West End by Chaosheng Zhang
Galway's West End by Chaosheng Zhang

For the Social Butterfly:

It’s no secret that Ireland is known for its vibrant pub culture. Every corner of Galway has iconic establishments, here’s our favourite spots:

In Galway’s West End, we recommend Taylor’s Bar and, for late night fun, the Róisín Dubh and Monroe’s.

Off Shop Street and the Latin Quarter, we recommend Garavan’s, The Bunch of Grapes, Tigh Neachtain and Tigh Chóilí.

In Woodquay, we recommend McGinn’s Hophouse and Hugh’s Bar.

Off Eyre Square, we recommend the Hyde Bar and An Púcán.

For the Culturally Curious:

Galway is home to many charming shops. For books, Kenny’s Bookshop and Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop are a must. We recommend stopping by to take in that lovely new book smell and to get a sampling of Irish literature, both classic and contemporary.

The mediaeval city itself has artefacts and landmarks peppered throughout the city, so we recommend signing up for a walking tour to hear all about these hidden gems. Galway City Museum, conveniently located just next to the Spanish Arch, is a free museum that offers an interactive look at the City of Tribes throughout the centuries, with unique artefacts on display, such as the oldest-known Claddagh Ring.

Our pubs are not just for social butterflies! They are also a hub for traditional Irish music sessions, which should not be missed. Tigh Choili, Monroe’s, An Púcán, and Garavan’s are just a few places to experience Irish music.

Connemara, County Galway by Chaosheng Zhang
Connemara, County Galway by Chaosheng Zhang

For the Adventure Seeker:

Just West of Galway City, along the Wild Atlantic Way, is Connemara, a beautiful region of lakes, mountains, rugged coastlines, white sand beaches, and unique island communities. You will find fantastic walks and hikes in Connemara National Park, kayaking and scuba diving along the coast and picturesque country roads filled with sheep.

For more information on things to do along the Wild Atlantic Way visit discoverireland.ie.

Galway is a very walkable city, so whether you’re arriving by bus, train, or car, there will be plenty to see and do all within walking distance of the train and bus stations as well as car parks. If you’re looking to visit Connemara, our travel partner Citylink has daily routes there.

Get more tips through our Visit Galway page.

Image courtesy of The Dean, Galway
Image courtesy of The Dean, Galway

Where To Stay:

The Dean, Galway, who support GIAF’s Festival Gallery, have put together a special Galway AF Package in celebration of their partnership with Galway International Arts Festival. Head to thedean.ie to learn more!

We also have a comprehensive list of places to stay in Galway on our website, which you can view here.

Heineken Big Top from above by Emilija Jefremova
Heineken Big Top from above by Emilija Jefremova

When To Visit

July, of course! Not only does the Galway International Arts Festival take place this year from 17-30 July in Galway City, but we are in good company with the Galway Film Fleadh taking place the week before us and the Galway Races taking place the week after us.

Plan your Festival experience here.