I often get questions here from readers both young and old asking for advice on the best things to do in Galway with family.
It’s generally from parents with either teenagers or adult children. If you’re one of them, then this guide is for you.
That being said, we’ve packed in a load of fun things to do in Galway, so you can easily do this road trip solo or with your boyfriend/girlfriend/whoever and enjoy it just as much.
Squeezing the best things to do in Galway with family or friends into 2 days
Day 1 Stop 1 – Galway City for Breakfast
// Aim to arrive here for 10. I’ve yet to visit when there hasn’t been a queue. //
You’ll get the best breakfast in Galway in a gorgeous little spot called ‘Dela’.
On the plate above is their black pudding, sausage meat and smoked bacon burger which was UNREAL on the two mornings that I had it.
Get in. Get fed. And grab a fat cup of coffee to go.
Day 1 Stop 2 – A quick ramble around the city
// Aim to leave Dela for 11:20. We’ve a busy day ahead. //
We’re going to be leaving Galway City shortly, so take a stroll from Dela with your piping hot coffee around the city for half an hour.
If your visit has taken you to Galway at the weekend, you’ll be enjoying the sights and sounds of the city on a buzzy Saturday morning.
Take your time and soak it all up.
Day 1 Stop 3 – The Quiet Man Bridge
// Galway city to the Quiet Man Bridge – 45-minute drive (arrive at 12:35) //
This one is for everyone that’s watched the movie ‘The Quiet Man’ starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
The Bridge is located around 5 miles past Oughterard, on the N59 heading west.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, this is a real piece of what I’d call ‘old world Ireland’ that’s worth checking out.
You’ll regularly see the Quiet Man Bridge popping up in guides on the best things to do in Galway with family as it’s the type of place that sparks a bit of nostalgia and a tale or two.
Day 1 Stop 4 – Slow down and take in Connemara
// The Quiet Man Bridge to Clifden – allow an hour with stops, but take longer if needed (arrive in Clifden at around 13:35) //
Ok, so this isn’t really a stop.
After leaving the Quiet Man Bridge, you’ll be driving along the N59 road towards Clifden.
The mountainous, ever-changing landscape that you’ll pass over the course of this stretch of road is simply superb.
Drop the windows (hopefully the rain isn’t hopping down), dial up the radio and just cruise and take it all in.
We’re in no rush. Just soak up the magic of Connemara.
Day 1 Stop 5 – The magnificent Sky road in Clifden
// Clifden village to the Sky Road viewing point – 10-minute drive (arrive at the viewing point for 13:45 – allow plenty of time to stop… it’s amazing) //
One of the best things to do in County Galway with family, friends or solo (in my opinion) is to grab a cup of coffee to go from one of the cafes in Clifden and drive along the Sky Road at your leisure.
Drop into Walshe’s cafe in Clifden village, grab a cup to go (and a pastry, if you fancy) and hop back into the car.
On a cool winters afternoon, there’s just nothing like it in the world.
The Sky Road is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Connemara region. It’s a circular route around 11km long that takes you out west from Clifden.
The scenery you’ll be treated to as you spin along the Sky Road will etch itself upon your mind.
There are few places in Ireland that can go toe-to-toe with the raw beauty and vast range of scenery that those who drive along the Sky Road experience.
As you travel away from Clifden, the Sky Road splits into a lower and an upper road. The lower road will give you a close-up gander of the landscape, while the upper offers views out over the entire area.
You can park your car at the highest point of the road and step out and soak of the glorious scene that lays in front of you.
Day 1 Stop 6 – Diamond Hill (for those of you after some non-touristy things to do in Galway)
// Sky Road viewing point to Diamond Hill – 30-minute drive (arrive for 15:00) //
Our fourth stop of the day offers the perfect opportunity to escape the car and stretch your legs.
Something I’ve heard said on many occasions (mainly by my Dad) is that to truly appreciate the beauty of Connemara, you need to see it from above – enter Diamond Hill.
Hit play and check out the view ?
There are two walks to choose from;
The Lower Diamond Hill walk
This trail measures around 3 km and has modest climbs along the route.
You’ll enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding Connemara countryside, coastline and islands over the course of the 60 – 90 minutes that it takes to complete.
The lower Diamond Hill trail isn’t hugely challenging, which makes it one of the best things to do in Galway with family if you fancy diving into the outdoors and getting out into the fresh air.
The Upper Diamond Hill trail
This is a continuation of the Lower Diamond Hill walk which takes you up to the summit of Diamond Hill. For those that fancy giving this a shot, the entire circuit of the Lower and Upper trails measures around 7km and should take between 2.5 – 3 hours.
According to my Dad who has done this walk several times over the past few years, climbing to the top of Diamond Hill is one of the best things to do in County Galway for anyone in search of scenery that will literally knock the breath out of you.
At the summit, you’ll be treated to panoramic views across all of Connemara. Expect to see the Twelve Bens mountain range, Tully Mountain and Mweelrea to the North.
Day 1 Stop 7 – More spinning around Connemara National Park
// Allow yourself 1.5 to 3 hours (depending on which route you take along with fitness level) to climb Diamond Hill. That’ll take you up to evening time on our first day. //
One of my favourite parts of any road trip is wandering.
It involves, quite literally, just setting off and driving wherever your gut and the scenery that surrounds you takes you.
Connemara is a pretty safe place to do this.
You tend to end up surrounded by an almost other-worldly mountainous landscape regardless of which way you point the car.
Allow yourself an hour and a half to drive around and take everything in.
One of the best things to do in Galway with family, friends or solo is to take those random little roads that lead to God knows where – it’s on these little whims that you end up (sometimes…) at the hidden gems you never even knew existed.
Connemara is a great place to get lost.
When you’ve finished exploring, head to Clifden village.
Day 1 Stop 8 – Clifden for the evening
Your base for the second night is the bustling little town of Clifden.
Here’s everything you need to know ?
Where to stay in Clifden
OK, first things first – let’s grab a bed for the night.
Where you stay is going to be based on the budget that you’re working with.
For this trip, I’m going to recommend Foyles Hotel as it’s extremely central, the reviews are exceptional and a bed for the night and a full Irish in the morning will set you back around €99.
Where to eat
For a bite to eat, nip into Guys Bar & Snug for fish and chips (or whatever you fancy, obviously).
It’s a short stroll from your hotel and the reviews speak for themselves.
Where to drink
If you’re travelling with kids below the age of 18, you’ll need to skip this part.
If you fancy a pint and a bit of live music, we’re going to polish the day off in Lowry’s Bar.
At this stage, you’ll have driven and walked a fair amount, so you should be wrecked.
Kick-back, listen to the music and soak up some chill time.
Day 2 – An Abbey, a Fjord and one of the best drives in Ireland
Treat yourself to a bit of a lie-in on #Day3.
Set the alarm for 9 and get up and get a bit of food and coffee into you.
We’ve another cracking day ahead so look to get on the road by 10.
Day 2 Stop 1 – Kylemore Abbey
// Clifden to Kylemore Abbey – 25-minute drive (arrive for 10:25) //
Kylemore Abbey is a Benedictine monastery that was founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle, in Connemara.
The whole place looks like something plucked straight from a fairytale.
When I visited here last, I literally just walked along the edge of the lake and took it all in from afar.
You can do the tour if you like, but the view from the other side of the water is amazing.
Day 2 Stop 2 – The gorgeous little (and I mean little) village of Leenaun
// Kylemore Abbey to Leenaun – 20-minute drive (spend 40 minutes – longer if you do the tour – at Kylemore Abbey and get to Leenaun for 11:40) //
Leenaun is hands-down one of my favourite little villages in Ireland.
It’s small, has a buzzy atmosphere from all of the tourists and locals milling about the place and the views out over the Killary Fjord are nothing short of sensational.
Any time I’m here I nip into the little café that’s attached to the gift shop right across from the big parking area (you literally can’t miss it).
I can vouch for the vegetable soup and coffee both being class.
It’s not long since you’ve eaten, but if you’re feeling a little tender after the few drinks from the night before, grab a coffee by the window and soak up the view.
For those of you that have watched ‘The Field’, you may recognise Gaynors pub in Leenaun as the pub that featured so frequently in the movie.
Day 2 Stop 3 – Listen to the patter of the water at Aasleagh Falls
// Leenaun village to Aasleagh Falls – 5-minute drive (spend 30 minutes in Leenaun – more if you’re eating – and aim to get here for around 12:15) //
There are few sounds that rival the soft ‘plops’ that emit from a waterfall the size of Aasleagh Falls.
You’ll find the waterfall a stone’s throw from Leenane village on the River Erriff, just before the river meets Killary Harbour.
You can park the car at a lay-by close to the falls and there’s a pathway that allows visitors to make the short stroll to the waterfall.
Stretch the legs and gulp down lungfuls of fresh air.
Day 2 Stop 4 – Food and Zip-Lining at the Delphi Resort
// Aasleagh Falls to the Delphi Resort – 12-minute drive (aim to arrive for 12:40) //
OK, so we’re going grab a bite to eat at the Delphi Resort in Connemara first, before heading on to do a bit of zip-lining.
Book in for the 14:00 – 15:30 tour online in advance to avoid disappointment.
If you’re visiting with kids, note that they need to be over 8 years of age and over 1.4m in height.
A serious bit of craic for those of you looking to add something a little bit different to your trip.
Day 2 Stop 5 – The almost otherworldly Leenaun to Louisburgh Drive
Delphi Resort to Louisburgh (Co. Mayo) – 25-minute drive but allow 1 hour minimum for stops (arrive in Lousiburgh for 17:00)
OK, so we’re not necessarily starting from Leenaun, but we’ll be nipping into the Leenaun to Louisburgh drive from Delphi.
This is one of those stretches of road that just completely shocks the system.
I’ve driven this route many times and on every occasion I’ve been taken aback by the sheer lack of people driving along it.
The scenery varies from icy lakes to rugged mountains to open country.
As you make your way along the road, you’ll pass Doo Lough, a long dark freshwater lake on the Murrisk peninsula.
Keep an eye out for a plain stone cross – it stands as a memorial to the Doolough Tragedy which took place in 1849.
The only advice I can give you during this drive is to take your time and stop and stretch your legs as often as possible. This, in my opinion, is hands down the best thing to do in Galway with family, friends or on a solo trip.
Day 2 Stop 6 – Back to Delphi for the evening
// Louisburgh to Delphi – 25-minute drive (arrive around 17:25) //
For convenience, I’m going to recommend that you take the short spin back to the Delphi Resort and spend the night in their 4 star hotel (this isn’t an ad and we’re in no way affiliated).
Chill in your room for a while and then head down to the restaurant and bar if you fancy.
And that’s a wrap – home time
I hope you’ve found this guide useful.
I’ve done my best to fit in as many of the best things to do in Galway with family and friends as possible, without adding IN so much that you’d be stuck on the road for the entire day.
Did you find it useful? Is there anything that you’d add? Let me know in the comments below!