If you’re considering your options for your next family staycation in Ireland the search stops here. Recently, my family explored Galway city and county and, I promise, you’ll be just as mesmerised.
Situated in the West of Ireland, Galway is a treasure trove for the senses and a tonic for the soul. During your stay, enjoy the charm of Galway city, explore the vastness wilderness of Connemara, and fuel your adventures with fresh oysters and food trucks.
In this guide, I’m going to share my top tips for your next family getaway to Galway. Firstly, I’ve covered where to stay. Then, I’ve provided inspiration on what to do during your stay. Importantly, there’s also lots of advice on where to eat.
Lastly, there’s bonus tips for traveling around Galway while Covid-19 restrictions are still in place.
Galway Family Staycation Travel Guide:
Where to Stay in Galway:
Firstly, choosing the right hotel is a big part of holiday planning. For our trip to Galway we opted for The Connacht Hotel. Located 10 minutes from the city centre and one minute from The G hotel, on the Dublin Road, it was the perfect base to explore Galway city and county. As well as reasonable rates, you can take advantage of a swimming pool, kid’s club, and lounging areas and a coffee dock in the lobby.
What to Do in Galway:
Connemara Day Trip
Connemara is national treasure and somewhere every person in Ireland and beyond should experience. Connemara National Park covers some 2,000 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, and heaths. Drive for hours simply admiring the landscape, stop at the Visitor Centre, or plan a hike. The Park is open year round and there are no fees for entry to the grounds, trails or viewing the exhibition.
Food Trucks are a great way to enjoy some of the fantastic, innovative food Ireland has to offer in a safe and accessible way. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a proliferation of food and coffee trucks, but Connemara’s Misunderstood Heron was ahead of the trend popping up in 2017. The restaurant on wheels is now a destination along the Wild Atlantic Way and well worth a detour.
Kylemore Abbey & Kylemore Lough
While exploring Connemara, another food truck worth seeking out is Dooncastle Oysters, on the shores of Kylemore Lough. The whole family enjoyed a sensational seafood platter with chips, all while soaking up with the majestic views. Simply put, Dooncastle oysters are some of the best oysters you can eat.
One tip, we made the mistake of driving to Dooncastle Oyster farm, instead of their truck. If you’re planning a trip make sure to search for ‘Kylemore Lough’ in Google maps. It’s located right beside Kylemore House. Look out for the black sign to guide you.
While you’re at Kylemore Lough, take a walk along the waterfront, or try a boat tour, or even paragliding. However, be sure to book in advance.
After that, from Kylemore Lough it’s a short trip to the nearby Kylemore Abbey. Home to a Benedictine order of Nuns for the past 100 years, Kylemore Abbey welcomes visitors to explore the Victorian castle and magnificent 1,000-acre estate.
Galway city itself is bustling, full of friendly faces and lively music, thanks to the city’s famous buskers. The iconic Shop Street is home to restaurants, independent stores, and Brown Thomas – if you fancy a spot of shopping.
Salthill, Bearna and Spideal
A short trip from Galway city is Salthill. The much loved coastal resort boasts a 3km long promenade and numerous sandy beaches. Take a walk along the prom and soak up the views, overlooking Galway Bay.
However, you’ll likely be most familiar Salthill because of the Blackrock Diving Tower. The Salthill landmark is easily one of the most photographed locations in all of Galway. Try it yourself, if you’re brave, but if you’d rather not, it’s just as entertaining to watch.
Not far from Salthill, and Galway city itself, are the beautiful coastal villages of Bearna and Spideal. Both are worth a trip for their beautiful, family friendly beaches alone.
Where to Eat in Galway City:
In recent years Galway has established itself as a culinary destination. The city’s coastal location means there are some seriously good seafood restaurants. My top pick is Galway Oyster House. Along with sublimely fresh oysters, there’s always plenty of fish options too.
In between Salthill and Bearna, you’ll find Padraicins Seafood Bar – a surprising gastronomic find on our trip. Here we enjoyed a seafood lunch here that’s up with the best I’ve ever had. Dining outdoors, the Wild Altantic Way wall itself came in handy as a dining table as we overlooked the Atlantic.
When it comes to sweets and desserts Galway has just as many delights to offer. Head to Alainn, at the Blackrock Diving Tower, Salthill, and try the Acai bowl with one of their delicious coffees.
For ice-cream look no further than the legendary Murphy’s Ice-cream, in the Latin Quarter of Galway city. Famous for quirky flavour combos using the best Irish ingredients.
During your stay, keep your travels fuelled with pastries and coffees on the go from Gourmet Tart, with numerous locations dotted around Galway city.
Finally, for a touch of decadence, Truffle Galway, is a french chocolate shop serving handmade artisan chocolates. Sensational with coffee.
Tips for Travelling in Galway During Covid-19:
To finish, if visiting Galway while Covid-19 restrictions are still in place, be mindful that queues are longer and everything takes more time. As a result, patience is required! However, this can be mitigated with meal planning in advance to avoid long queues and last minute food ordering when everyone in the entire family is hangry. We booked most meals at least a day in advance. When booking isn’t an option ring ahead regardless to get an idea of busy times.
Let us know in the comments if you have plans to visit Galway, and if you have any tips. Looking for more staycation inspiration? Check out our travel guide to Cork here.