Once upon a time, Galway was a small fishing village cast in a corner of Ireland known to few but the Irishmen who called it home. Today, your flight to Galway will land you in one of the fastest growing cities in Ireland, home to nearly 72,000 people.
If there’s one thing that Galway does well, it’s welcoming newcomers. While the rain might get you down, don’t retreat to your Galway hotel – instead, step inside one of the infamous pubs and enter a world of underground Irish culture, infused with a pint of Guinness. The fun, charming, and quaint Galway neighborhoods are laden with friendly individuals, hundred-year-old pubs, and the kind of old-world architecture that makes you forget about skyscrapers and relish the nature of a place dating back hundreds of years.
The city is affected by warm waters on the Gulf Stream, as well as the Atlantic’s southwest winds, causing mild conditions but opposing summer and winter seasons. Summer is warm and humid, with less rainfall than the rest of the year. Cheap flights to Galway are commonly found between November and February when snow, rain, and freezing temperatures blanket the city. If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to pack boots, an umbrella, and warm clothing.
Best Time to Fly to Galway
Flights to Galway are packed with tourists in the summer. The winter months bring rain, sleet and snow, but if you’re willing to brave the weather you can find cheap flights to Galway in the winter.
Summer days mean less rain, more sunshine, and temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. Pack your sunglasses, but also be prepared with a sweater or sweatshirt, as the night air can get chilly. If you book Galway flights in July, take advantage of the Art Festival, where musicians and artists showcase their finest work, and street vendors push Guinness and oysters like they’re going out of style.
The cold winter months bring low temperatures in the 30’s and can be wet and unpleasant, but it’s a great time to find deals on accommodations and cheap flights to Galway. Book a flight to Galway in February and take in the city-wide jazz festival – music fills the streets, and the community comes together in celebration of rhythm (or sometimes, lack thereof).
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Getting around Galway
Galway doesn’t have the most modern transportation system, but it’s not without its charms. You can find buses, cabs and bikes everywhere. You can hail a cab from the street, but despite the colorful local cabbies, the ride might not be worth the price. You could spend 10 euro and only get two miles. Buses can be rare and unreliable, but you can find them at the central station and throughout town. Schedules and routes vary, making it difficult to track the routes when traffic is busy. Travel outside Galway is another story. Greyhound buses travel to Dublin, Cork and Killarney on schedule with reasonable rates. Renting a car is a great way to get around the nearby countryside, but it may take some time to get used to driving on the left-hand side of the road.
Galway Travel Information
Nightlife: If you're looking for fancy cuisine and five-star spas, you're in the wrong place. Galway is a meat-and-potatoes city. It doesn't flaunt riches or luxury - instead, Galway hands you a Guinness and asks you to sing along in one of its famous spirited pubs. You’ll most likely be greeted by friendly Irish natives, open to conversation and adamant for you to enjoy yourself. There’s a place for everyone, whether you’re interested in a student crowd, a more mature gathering, a jamming band, or an assembly of tourists – you’ll find it under one of the many pub’s roofs.
Eyre Square and Shop Street: Brimming with pedestrians, and lined with shops and pubs, the Eyre Square and Shop Street is a fitting first destination straight from your Galway flight. Cars can’t cross through most of it, so you’re free to roam from place to place without worry. If you stumble upon a pathway, take it – it will most likely lead you to beautiful greenery dotted with old, artful sculptures, and secluded nooks of Galway’s finest hidden spots. Lawns are officially called Kennedy Park (from when John F. Kennedy visited in 1963) but don’t bother asking the natives for it – they’ll refer to it simply as Eyre Square. If you’re finding it on your own, just head toward the Hotel Meyrick.
Salthill: If your flight to Galway has you itching to get outside, the Salthill is the answer to your prayers. Walk, run, or bike along what locals refer to as the “Salthill Prom.” A mere two miles from the liveliness of Shop Street and settled along the water, the Salthill Prom is the perfect place to go by yourself for a peaceful early-morning walk, or with friends as the evening encroaches. When warmer temperatures radiate the shoreline, small beaches beckon travelers booking flights to Galway to strip down and get their feet wet. Especially between the months of May and September, the Prom fills with onlookers enjoying the traditional Irish music and dance that reverberates throughout the intimate outdoor space. In the evenings, sounds of nearby pubs will entice you to have a pint with the locals and end your perfect Galway day with the perfect Galway drink.
Aran Islands: If you’re looking to expand your Galway travel once you’ve experienced the city, taking a day trip to the Aran Islands is the perfect opportunity to see a different side of the area. Less than a two-hour journey by bus and ferry brings you to the small island with little to do but relax and experience the culture and beauty of Ireland. Quaint bed and breakfasts, pubs, and bike rentals scatter the area, but your top priority will be catching the views. Awe-inspiring horizons and choppy seascapes overtake the senses, and the gorgeous cliffs and archaeological remains just add to the sheer magnificence of the land’s simplicity. While an astoundingly small amount of Irish folk actually call the Aran Islands home, even the tourists will point you in the right direction if you’re looking for places to drink, sight-see, or pick up an authentic Irish-knit sweater. Ancient stone walls surround the three islands (supposedly to keep sheep and ponies in), but you won’t need walls to keep you in place – one day on the Aran Islands, and you’ll be longing for more time.