Galway’s capacity for outdoor fun knows few limits. With something for everyone, young or old, whatever your capabilities, and options all year round, it should come as no big surprise that outdoor enthusiasts from around the world flock to this part of Ireland every year.
So be sure to check out this jam-packed list of fun outdoor things to do in Galway before you start planning your itinerary. We’ve got ideas to suit all tastes, whether you’re a bit of a thrillseeker or looking for a laidback family-friendly day out in Galway.
Hopefully, you’ll have plenty of time on your trip to explore these and much more.
Outdoor Activities in Galway For Year-Round Fun
Galway might be just one of the wildest places in Ireland, making it a great destination if you’re looking for an active holiday in Ireland.
Why not give a few of these a go:
Swimming, kayaking and surfing your way along the Galway coast.
If water sports happen to be your thing, then you’re in for a treat. Galway’s stunning, rugged coastline offers swimming, surfing, kitesurfing, stand up paddle boarding, cave and sunset kayaking… just about any water sport you can think of, Gurteen Beach and Dog’s Bay have it! So long as you can handle the chill of the Atlantic Ocean, that is.
If you’re more of an adventure seeker, you can even try some more extreme water sports, including gorge walking and coasteering in Cleggan, located 15 km from the picturesque fishing village of Clifden.
If the very idea of all this fills you with dread, then you can always try a scenic boat tour to Killary, where Ireland’s only fjord (or inlet) is located, to soak up some seriously majestic views of the west coast of Ireland.
Hiking, walking and generally ambling through Connemara National Park.
Despite the weather, these are perhaps one of the most popular outdoor activities in Galway. And for good reason, because there’s plenty of gorgeous terrain to cover, especially in Connemara, possibly the most beautiful national park in all of Ireland.
If you’re a die-hard climber, you can even indulge in a spot of rock climbing in Roundstone, a little village nestled in the heart of Connemara.
Okay, so we’re not all adrenaline seekers here. A simple stomp up one of Connemara’s Diamond Hill Trails and Tully Mountain, or through Knockma Forest Park is what many people head to Galway for. All you’ll need are some sturdy shoes. Ideally hiking boots, but if you forgot to pack yours there’s no need to fret, Galway city has plenty of outdoor sports stores. You’ll also need a map and some determination.
Oh, and don’t forget the snacks.
Island hopping and nature watching on the Aran Islands.
If you fancy experiencing Ireland through the ages, it’s just a quick ferry trip from Galway Bay to the three Aran Islands: Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer. There are frequent sailings during the summer and the islands are small enough to explore by bike, which you can easily rent on the spot.
You can try your hand at a whole range of outdoor pursuits while you’re on your island jaunt. A hike to the Wormhole, a naturally carved swimming hole in the cliffs, and Dun Aengus, an ancient stone fort overlooking the coastline, are both well worth the trip alone. Kilmurvey Beach is also safe for swimmers of all ages and abilities and a great spot for fishing, seal watching and more.
Essential outdoor activities in Galway for kids of all ages.
Home to farm animals, nature trails and an outdoor playground, Loughwell Farm Park is located just 18 km from Galway city and a great bet for some seriously memorable farm fun. Feed Peppa, the Vietnmaese pot-bellied pig, snuggle with rabbits and take a Shetland pony ride around the grounds. Loughwell is the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon in Galway.
Another great afternoon outdoors activity in Galway is the Burren Nature Sanctuary in Kinvara. Boasting both a playground and a kilometre-long nature trail, the whole family can play, stroll and get up-close and personal with the sanctuary’s resident llamas. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and tire the kids out before heading back to the hotel.
If you’re looking for some more high-energy outdoor activities for older kids, then look no further than Eile Mental Activity Park. There’s no shortage of games to get their hearts racing, including paintball and lasertag, archery and orienteering.
Of course, if you’re really looking to rev up the fun factor, you can take the whole clan to Pallas Karting, an outdoor go-karting track in Loughrea just a few miles outside of Galway city. Buckle up for a white-knuckled race to the finish line!
And hey, if your teenagers are still looking for an exhilarating outdoor challenge (oh, youth), Killary High Ropes, a treetop, high ropes, forest adventure park, is a great way to put their bravery to the test.
Whether you’re after stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, epic hikes, idyllic islands or an active break, Galway has it all. One thing is for sure – you won’t regret booking your next holiday here!
When to go: The perfect time to get outdoors in Galway is… all the time! No matter the season, Galway’s mountains, wilderness areas, national parks, scenic walkways, coast and rivers have something to offer those looking for unparalleled scenic beauty and a little adventure.
Where to stay: If you’re looking for something central, we recommend this Galway city hotel. And with large refurbished family rooms, an outdoor playground, crafty kids club and leisure centre with a swimming pool, this Galway family hotel is another popular option.