If you’re wondering where to stay in Galway during an upcoming visit and are starting to stress out, then relax.
This guide will make navigating Galway’s many towns, villages, and city a breeze.
As there’s an almost endless number of places to visit in Galway, it’s important to pick the right area to base your self from.
Well, it’ll make exploring that little bit easier (and, potentially, cheaper).
Where to stay in Galway (the best spots in my opinion)
When I visit Galway, I tend to stay in either one of two places:
- Galway City
Why Galway City?
I love Galway City – here’s why:
- It’s always abuzz with tourists and locals milling about
- There are plenty of things to see and do
- Top-notch restaurants and cafes are scattered all over the place
Galway’s also home to some of the best pubs in the country, which makes it a great spot to visit with friends.
Another reason is that it’s a handy spot to base yourself from.
Especially if you’re travelling by train (there’s a station in the city) or by bus (the city is severed well by a number of routes).
If you’re driving, you’ll find many of Galway’s top attractions within handy reach of the city, also.
I live in Dublin, so I tend to jump at any chance to stay away from busy cities and towns.
Clifden is a gorgeous little coastal town at the heart of Connemara and it’s a place that I’d happily live in.
If you’re looking for amazing scenery (the Sky Road is minutes from the town), great restaurants, lively pubs, and a solid base to explore Connemara from, then Clifden is perfect.
The hotels here can be pricey, but there’s plenty of B&Bs that are more on the affordable side.
Best places to stay in Galway, Ireland
If you’re reading this and you’re specifically looking for advice on hotels and hostels, visit one of our guides below:
In the next section, we’re going to help you find the best area to stay in Galway.
12 of the best villages and towns in Galway
Too many people are led to believe that you need to stay in the city to really experience the best of what Galway has to offer.
Below, you’ll get a better sense of the wider county to help you decide where to stay in Galway during your visit.
Here’s where I’ll be taking you through:
- Galway City
- Inis Oirr
- Inis Mór
1 – Barna
If you’re wondering where to stay in Galway that’s near the city but that still has that small-town vibe, Barna is a solid option.
Often referred to as ‘The Gateway to Connemara’, Barna is a lovely little seaside village that’s a handy 8km from Galway City and close to some great beaches.
The town is home to an ample number of great restaurants and pubs and boasts plenty of accommodation options.
2 – Clifden
I fell in love with Clifden on a visit back in 2015.
A group of friends and I were climbing Diamond Hill in Connemara, and we wanted to spend the night nearby.
We arrived in Clifden late in the evening on a wet Saturday, tired, hungry, and looking forward to a well-earned pint.
We had our bellies filled in Off the Square and then spent the night drinking and listening to live music in Lowry’s pub.
3 – Galway City
Galway City needs no introduction.
If you want to stay at the heart of the action, then stay here.
The city is home to an almost endless number of restaurants, pubs, shops and things to do.
It’s also in the city that the Christmas markets take place. Check out our guide to Galway at Christmas for more info.
4, 5, 6 & 7 – Inishbofin, Inis Oirr, Inishmaan, and Inis Mór
If you’re wondering where to stay in Galway that’ll take you away from the tourists and immerse you in tradition and scenery, then an island will be right up your street.
People tend to think of Inishbofin and the Aran Islands (Inis Oirr, Inishmaan, and Inis Mór) as places to visit for a few hours before scuttling back to the mainland.
I’ve been guilty of this myself!
The thing is, if you’re looking to experience old-world Ireland and see some of the most unspoiled scenery that our island has to offer, an island is the perfect destination.
The islands are easily accessible by ferry and each is home to plenty of adventure opportunities.
8 – Kinvara
I’m a big fan of Kinvara.
We stayed here about 10 years ago during a very random trip and I remember the day we spent here fondly.
While Kinvara is a gateway town to the Burren in Clare, it’s also a great spot to explore Galway from.
It’s the county’s only prominent sea village and is located on the southern shores of Galway Bay.
If you’re looking for a town with charm and character by the bucket load, then get yourself here.
9 – Leenane (one of the best places to stay in Galway if you’re looking to experience a small Irish village)
You’ll find the little village of Leenane at the head of Killary harbour, beneath the Maamtrasna and Maamturk mountains.
In a nutshell, Leenane is small, quiet (aside from the summer months when tourist buses flock here during the day) and boasts scenery that’ll make you never want to leave.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Galway that’ll allow you to experience spectacular scenery and traditional pubs, get yourself to Leenane.
10 – Roundstone
I’ve never been to Roundstone, but it’s one of those places that’s been on the list for years at this stage.
This is one of the most picturesque towns in Galway.
You’ll find Roundstone in the west coast of Connemara, where the majestic mountain of Errisbeg provides the backdrop to the town.
It’s also home to O’Dowd’s – a pub that I’ve been promising myself that I’ll nurse a pint or two in for a long time.
Just look at the view in the snap above.
11 – Salthill
Salthill is another perfect location for those of you looking to stay near the city but not quite in it.
Situated on the northern inner shore of Galway Bay, Salthill is a fine base for exploring Galway City, the Aran Islands, the Burren (County Clare), and Connemara.
The Irish translation for Salthill is ‘Bóthar na Trá, which means ‘the road by the sea’.
If you visit, take a stroll along the promenade.
On your walk, you’ll be able to enjoy views out towards the Aran Islands. The chances are you’ll also see people hopping into the icy sea from Blackrock Diving Tower (pictured above).
12 – Spiddal
Spiddal is a gorgeous little seaside village set in Galway’s Gaeltacht.
If you arrive during the summer months you’ll find the place buzzy away with tourists, locals and students visiting to attend Irish language courses.
Visitors to Spiddal can expect idyllic sea views, charming restaurants, and some top-notch traditional.
Wrapping it up: Where to stay in Galway
The biggest factors you need to consider when deciding where to stay are;
- Your budget
- If you decide to stay somewhere to save on accommodation costs, make sure that you factor in transport costs
- What attractions you want to see
- If your visit to Galway is going to revolve around exploring Connemara, for example, stay closeby to cut down on travel time
I’ve said it about 20 times already, but I really do love Galway.
There’s something to do that’ll appeal to every kind of traveller, there are fantastic restaurants and even better pubs, and the public transport and roads are decent for the most part.
Keep in mind, if you’re visiting with a group and you’re looking to keep costs low, Airbnbs in Galway are usually your best bet.
If you’re planning a trip to Galway and need advice, just pop a comment into the comments section below and I’ll help you out within 24 hours.