Beyond Galway – 5 Must-See Day Trips from Galway

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Galway is beautifully positioned as a base for day trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey and anywhere in the West of Ireland. If you’re already planning an Irish trip, Galway is a great place to stay, not only for its traditional music, delicious seafood and nightlife, but as a hub to explore some of Ireland’s fabulous natural scenery and historic sites. This guide brings together the 5 bestselling and most popular day trips from Galway ranked by number of bookings on Get Your Guide, a widely-respected travel platform.

Use the shortlist to jump to the booking page, or scroll on for more insider tips.

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The main reasons you should book a day trip from Galway

There’s three ways to visit the sites that I mention on this page: day trips, self-organised trips and longer organised tours of Ireland. Each type of trip offers some pros and cons. Day Trips have some compelling pros: it removes the stress of hiring a car and navigating unfamiliar roads and parking, particularly if you’re not used to driving on the left. You get to enjoy your day out with no responsibilities!

Most of us have a tight schedule and ideal budget when we’re organising travel. So the main reason to book a day trip from Galway is that these tours are time-efficient. The tour has been curated to see the best of the sights within a limited timeframe, helpful if you want to maximise your time at the Cliffs of Moher, in the Aran Islands, Cong, Kylemore Abbey or the Burren. Plus if you have a real-life tour guide, you get access to their knowledge and see hidden gems you’d miss when travelling on your own.

No. 1 – From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & Burren Guided Tour

If you’ve been reading my Wild Atlantic Way travel guides, you’ll know that I’ve loved the Cliffs of Moher since I was a child. This tour is #1 for a reason: it includes photo stops and breaks, gorgeous scenery of the Burren, 2 hours at the Cliffs of Moher and endless vistas of Galway and County Clare.

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Air-conditioned bus from Galway

Visit – Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Dunguaire Castle

Includes admission to Cliffs of Moher Experience (2 hours)

Numerous photo stops

Tour guide (live commentary)

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Insider Tips

  • This day trip is very highly rated, so it’s worth booking this one well in advance.
  • Duration: 8 hours. Pack comfortable layers (see my Packing List for Ireland), and take snacks and bottled water. No lunch is provided, but you’ll stop at Hotel Doolin where you can fill up.
  • Take advantage of the Visitor Centre at the Cliffs of Moher – it’s really good.
  • This tour picks up in a central location in Galway at Kinlay Hostel.

No. 2 – From Galway: Aran Islands Day Trip & Cliffs of Moher Cruise

This is a very well-priced 10.5 hour trip from Galway that incorporates the Cliffs of Moher from above and below, as well as the stunning Inis Oirr (Inisheer Island), the smallest of the Aran Islands. This tour includes entry to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre and time to explore the beaches, castles, lighthouses, pubs (!) and country roads of Inisheer.

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Luxury coach from Galway

Visit Inis Oirr, Cliffs of Moher

Return Ferry Tickets to Inis Oirr in the Aran Islands

Entry to the Cliffs of Moher

Tour guide (live commentary)

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Insider Tips

  • This tour is longer than most at 10.5 hours. Pack comfortable clothes (see my Packing List), and take snacks and bottled water. No lunch is provided, but you’ll be able to find delicious food on the island. Or bring your own sandwiches and snacks.
  • There is quite a lot of walking, depending on how you want to spend your time on the Aran Islands. I’d recommend you pack layers and wear light waterproof hiking shoes (more in my Packing List for Ireland).
  • You can book additional tours and excursions on Inis Oirr (e.g., bike rental from here).
  • This tour picks up in a central location in Galway at Kinlay Hostel.

No. 3 – From Galway: Connemara and Cong Full-Day Tour

If you’ve already seen the Cliffs of Moher, this 9 hour tour opens up a different perspective on County Galway, by exploring the hidden gems of Connemara, Galway’s National Park: the village of Cong (featured in the 1950s classic The Quiet Man) and the charming Kylemore Abbey (which has some gorgeous Victorian Walled Gardens).

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Air-conditioned coach from Galway

Visit – Cong Abbey & Village, Lough Nafooey, Kylemore Abbey

Stroll through Cong Village (scene of the movie, The Quiet Man)

Plenty of time at Kylemore for tours

Driver/guide

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Insider Tips

  • This tour is 8 hours, which is long but more manageable than some! Plus it’s an easier day where you get to set the pace of your exploration of Cong and Kylemore Abbey. Prepare for a comfortable day by browsing my Packing List for Ireland.
  • Entry to Kylemore Abbey is not included in the tour price, but it’s quite reasonable.
  • No lunch is provided, but you’ll be able to get something in the places you visit.
  • This tour picks up at Kinlay Hostel in Galway.

No. 4 – From Galway: Full-Day Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour

This trip is similar to the #1 Tour on the list, featuring the Cliffs of Moher, but the itinerary is slightly different and is provided by a different local tour company (also highly rated). On this trip expect start with a visit to Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara, to spend 1.5 hours at the Cliffs of Moher, drive through the Burren, visit the Gleninsheen Wedge Tomb and the 5,800 year old Poulnabrone Dolmen.

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Comfortable bus from Galway

Visit – Cliffs of Moher, Dunguaire Castle, Burren

Includes access to the Cliffs of Moher (1.5 hours)

Stops at historic monuments

Driver/guide (live commentary)

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Insider Tips

  • Pick-up for this tour is at Kinlay Hostel in Galway. There are no individual hotel pick-ups.
  • This is an 8.5 hour trip. Pack comfortable clothes (see my Packing List), and take snacks and bottled water. No lunch is provided, but you’ll be able to get something in the places you visit.
  • This tour will suit people interested in seeing some ancient buildings and monuments, plus gorgeous scenery in the Burren, as well as the Cliffs of Moher.

No. 5 – From Galway: Connemara & Kylemore Abbey Full-Day Guided Tour

This is a very reasonably priced day trip (7.5 hours) out of Galway that incorporates some of the unspoiled sites of Connemara in County Galway. The tour includes stops in Leenane Village and at Killary Harbour (a beautiful fjord perfect for photographs). Entrance to Kylemore Abbey is included in this particular tour.

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Air-conditioned bus from Galway

Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Leenane

Kylemore Abbey tickets are included.

Driver / guide

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Insider Tips

  • This trip takes 7.5 hours and includes some very pretty stops for photographs but it may not be possible to get snacks at every location. As there’s some walking on this trip, I’d recommend packing comfortable clothes (see my Packing List), and take snacks and bottled water.
  • There are regular guided tours at Kylemore Abbey which are included with your entrance fee. You’ll make the most of your trip if you get on one of those. Ask at the entrance booth for details.
  • This tour picks up at the Hyde Hotel in Galway. It does not include individual hotel pick-ups.

Summary

I hope the shortlist of 5 Day Trips from Galway inspires you to go ahead and book a day trip as part of your Galway itinerary. Have no doubt, these locations in County Galway and County Clare are some of the most popular in Ireland for a reason: they showcase our natural beauty and stunning landscapes on a trip that packs in more than most of us want to organise for ourselves! I know from personal experience that the great thing about a day trip is that you don’t have to organise anything else once you’ve booked it! Let me know what you book, using the comment box at the bottom of the page!

Credits: The featured cover image was taken by Patrick Hughes and features the neo-gothic Church at Kylemore Abbey.

I'm Patrick, your Irish guide to the skies and beyond. With 58 countries visited, my journeys have taken me from busy economy to fabulous first-class.

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