15 Best Walks In Galway (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks In Galway (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Galway has some of the most beautiful walks in the world and it’s no wonder why so many people flock to the area to take them in.
From the stunning Wild Atlantic Way to the historic Menlo Castle, there are plenty of options for those looking for a great walk.
Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll or a more intense hike, these 15 best walks in Galway offer something for everyone.
From the breathtaking Connemara National Park to the challenging Burren Way Loop, you’ll be able to find the perfect walk to suit your needs.
So, grab your walking boots and get ready to explore the best of Galway’s natural beauty – there’s no better way to experience the Wild Atlantic Way!

The Wild Atlantic Way

Halfway on The Wild Atlantic Way
Photo by N Chadwick

The Wild Atlantic Way is a stunning coastal route, stretching from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south. It offers visitors breathtaking views of the wild Irish coastline.

Along this route, you’ll find some of the best walks in Galway. From the majestic Cliffs of Moher to the picturesque Connemara National Park, the Wild Atlantic Way is a great way to explore the beauty of Galway.

The most popular hikes in Galway are the Diamond Hill Walk and the Burren Way. Both are challenging but rewarding hikes that will take you through a variety of terrain. From rolling hills and lush forests to rugged coastlines and rocky cliffs.

You’ll also have the opportunity to spot some of Galway’s wildlife, including rare birds and wild goats. And if you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of easy walks along the Wild Atlantic Way that will give you a great sense of the landscape.

The Great Western Greenway

The Great Western Greenway
Photo by Robert Ashby

Exploring the Great Western Greenway is a unique experience, offering spectacular views and a chance to appreciate nature.

Stretching 42km from Achill Island to Westport, the Greenway takes you along the route of the old Westport to Achill railway line.

You’ll find yourself walking through beautiful landscapes of rolling hills, as well as quaint villages and towns.

This walk is perfect for all ages, as it’s flat and easy to navigate. You can even rent a bike if you prefer to cycle.

The Great Western Greenway is full of amazing sights, making it an ideal location for a day trip or a weekend away.

There are plenty of places to stop along the way, including pubs, cafes, and restaurants to recharge.

For the more adventurous, why not take a detour to the magnificent Clew Bay?

The views are breathtaking, and there are plenty of activities such as kayaking, fishing, and windsurfing to choose from.

No matter what you choose to do, the Great Western Greenway promises to be an unforgettable experience.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park Visitor Centre
Photo by Rober Ashby

Connemara National Park is an awe-inspiring destination, with its rugged and wild landscape that provides a sense of connection to nature. Located on the west coast of Ireland, this national park is filled with hiking trails, mountains, lakes, and bogs that can be explored.

The views from the top of Diamond Hill are breathtaking, with its panoramic view of the Twelve Bens mountain range, the Killary Harbour, and the boglands. The trails that wind around the park are varied, offering something for everyone. From leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, the park has it all.

Birdwatchers will be delighted as they explore the park, spotting rare bird species that call the area their home. Despite its beauty, Connemara National Park is a difficult terrain to traverse, so it’s wise to bring a map and plan ahead for the trip.

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With its stunning views and diverse landscapes, Connemara National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the best of the Irish outdoors.

Connemara Loop

Meandering through the stunning Connemara landscape, the Connemara Loop offers a unique and beautiful walking experience.

With its stunning views of Killary Harbour and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s no wonder this loop is one of the most popular hikes in the region.

The walk takes around four to five hours, and is best suited for those with some experience of walking in the mountains.

The terrain is challenging, with various inclines, and it can be wet underfoot.

Along the way, you will pass through Glencullin Forest Reserve, and you can take in the stunning views of the Twelve Bens mountain range.

Along the way, you’ll see a variety of wildlife, including the famous Connemara ponies, and you’ll also find lakes and rivers, stone walls, and heather-clad hills.

The loop is a great way to immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Connemara and take in the stunning views of the area.

Aran Islands Walk

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Aran Islands on a walk around the island chain.

From the Cliffs of Moher to the beaches of Inishmore, the Aran Islands have something for everyone.

This walk is for the adventurer, the nature lover, and the historian alike.

With its rolling hills, rugged coastline, and ancient ruins, there’s no shortage of stunning sights to see.

As you traverse the stunning paths, you’ll get up close and personal with some of the island’s unique wildlife.

You can expect to see some of the wild goats that roam the island, as well as a variety of sea birds, including puffins.

There are also plenty of archaeological sites to explore, including an ancient stone fort and a historic lighthouse.

No matter what your interests, the Aran Islands walk is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Burren Way

Take an immersive journey along the Burren Way, a winding path that reveals the rugged beauty of the Burren landscape.

This is one of the premier walking routes in the area, stretching over 70km of rocky limestone hills and rocky coastal paths. It’s a great way to experience the raw beauty of the region, with stunning views of the sea and the dramatic landscape.

Along the way, you’ll pass through some of the most beautiful parts of the Burren, including the Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and Ballyvaughan. You’ll also get a chance to spot some of the area’s unique wildlife, such as the red deer, hares, and badgers.

The journey is suitable for all levels of walkers, with plenty of options for shorter or longer routes. With its spectacular scenery and rich natural history, the Burren Way is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Galway.

Coole Park

Leaving the Burren behind, I’m heading to Coole Park to explore the beautiful landscape of the park.

Coole Park is an incredible nature reserve located in County Galway, Ireland. It’s a perfect place to take a leisurely walk, marveling at the lush trees, vibrant wildflowers, and wildlife.

The park is home to a variety of birds, butterflies, and other animals. There’s also plenty of historical sites to explore, such as the house once owned by Lady Augusta Gregory, a well-known Irish literary figure.

A walk through the park is a great way to get in touch with nature and explore the area’s unique culture. The park has many trails and pathways, so you can choose the route that best suits your needs.

I recommend taking the Coole Loop, which is a two-hour trail that meanders through the park and offers stunning views of the countryside. The trail is also perfect for a leisurely stroll, as it’s not too difficult and not too long.

No matter which route you take, you’re sure to have a wonderful time in Coole Park.

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The Claddagh

Meander your way through the Claddagh, a traditional Irish fishing village in Galway, and experience a unique way of life.

The Claddagh is the perfect place to take a peaceful and scenic stroll, as the cobblestone streets and wooden buildings provide an atmosphere of serenity.

The Claddagh is home to the iconic Claddagh Ring, and the locals will be more than happy to share the stories and history behind the ring.

The Claddagh also offers gorgeous views of the River Corrib and Galway Bay, making it a great spot to take a break and take in the beauty of the Irish landscape.

The walk is not to be missed, as you get the chance to experience a unique and vibrant culture and learn about the history of the Claddagh.

Lough Corrib

Explore the stunning beauty of Lough Corrib, a lake located in the west of Ireland, and experience a truly magical atmosphere.

Spanning over 30,000 hectares, Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in the Republic of Ireland. It is known for its network of rivers and streams, lush green landscapes, and abundance of wildlife.

A leisurely stroll along the banks of the lake is a great way to take in the breathtaking views. Or, you could even take a boat tour to explore the many islands that the lake is home to. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a birdwatcher, or just looking for a peaceful walk, Lough Corrib has something to offer for everyone.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try a spot of fishing. The lake is known for its plentiful stocks of brown trout, which can be caught using a rod and line. If you’re a beginner, don’t worry – there are plenty of experienced fishermen who can provide tips and advice.

Alternatively, you could take a guided tour of the lake and its surrounding areas – perfect for those who want to learn more about the lake’s unique history and its importance to the local community. Whatever you decide to do, Lough Corrib is the perfect place to escape to and enjoy some peace and tranquility.

The Corrib Way

Journey along the Corrib Way and marvel at the stunning scenery of County Galway! This scenic walking route takes you through the heart of the beautiful Corrib Valley, along the banks of Ireland’s longest river.

As you make your way along the winding paths, take in the breathtaking views of the river and its many winding inlets, as well as the surrounding countryside. The trail offers a variety of terrains to explore, including mountains, forests, and the wild Atlantic shoreline.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, there’s something for everyone along the Corrib Way.

One of the highlights of this walk is the spectacular views from the summit of Knockma Hill, the site of an ancient Iron Age fort. The trail also passes through the picturesque village of Cong, with its quaint stone cottages and medieval ruins.

Along the way, you’ll also get to experience the abundant wildlife that inhabits the area, such as wild swans, otters, and badgers. The Corrib Way is a fantastic way to experience the best of outdoor life in Galway, and it promises to be a memorable journey.

The Salthill Promenade

Stroll along the Salthill Promenade and take in the magnificent views of Galway Bay! This two-mile long walk along the Atlantic Ocean is a great way to soak in the beauty of Galway.

As you wander, you can admire the stunning views of the bay, the city’s iconic Claddagh, and the rolling hills of Connemara in the distance. On your journey, you might even spot some of the local wildlife, such as seals, dolphins, and seabirds.

The promenade also offers plenty of benches where you can take a break and enjoy the scenery. Additionally, it’s a great spot for a romantic evening stroll, with plenty of restaurants and pubs nearby to enjoy a snack or a drink.

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Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll or an active hike, Salthill Promenade is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll in the fresh sea air.

Menlo Castle

Perched atop a hill overlooking Galway Bay, Menlo Castle is a stunning reminder of a long-standing link between the city and the sea. Built in the early 17th century by the Bodkin family, Menlo Castle served as a trading post for Galway merchants, allowing them to transport goods to and from the city.

The castle also provided a stronghold against invading forces and was a key structure in the city’s defenses.

Today, Menlo Castle provides a picturesque walk along Galway Bay. With views of the city skyline and the Aran Islands, it’s a great place to spend a few hours exploring the history of the area and the local culture.

A visit to Menlo Castle is a must for any traveler looking to explore the best walks in Galway.

The Sky Road

Take a breathtaking journey along the Sky Road for unforgettable views of Galway Bay and the city skyline.

This scenic journey begins in the village of Clifden, located on the coast of Connemara, and follows a winding road through the rugged landscape of the area.

The Sky Road offers spectacular views of the coastline and the Twelve Bens mountain range, as well as islands such as Inishboffin, Inishturk, and Inishark.

As you progress, the path ascends and descends, offering a stunning view of the sea and the Clifden estuary.

Along the way, you can stop at the many viewing points, or take a break on one of the beaches.

At the peak of the road, the views of Galway Bay and the city skyline are simply breathtaking.

The Sky Road is a must-see for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful outdoor experience in Galway.

The Kylemore Abbey

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Kylemore Abbey, a 19th-century castle nestled in the picturesque Connemara countryside. Constructed by Mitchell Henry, a wealthy English politician, the castle is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture.

Sitting on the grounds of the castle is an impressive walled garden, complete with rhododendrons, roses, and a lily pond. The grounds also house a church and a Gothic Revival gate lodge.

The Kylemore Abbey experience is complete with a walk through the surrounding woods, with the opportunity to spot some of the local wildlife and foliage. You’ll also get to visit the Abbey’s Victorian Walled Garden, a restored Victorian-style garden with an array of flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees.

The tour then finishes with a visit to the Abbey’s tearoom, a perfect spot to warm up and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee after your walk.

The Burren Way Loop

Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Burren Way Loop, a stunning 4-mile hike offering spectacular views of the Burren region in County Galway.

I was amazed at the incredible rock formations, lush green valleys, and wildflowers that I encountered on this wonderful journey.

The Burren Way Loop is suitable for all levels of hikers, as it’s relatively easy, with plenty of diverse terrain to explore.

The views from the top of the Burren are absolutely stunning, and I was able to take in the beautiful landscape of Galway’s Burren region.

There’s also a great opportunity to spot wildlife along the path, as I encountered several species of birds and even a fox during my hike.

If you’re looking for a fantastic way to experience the beauty of nature in Galway, the Burren Way Loop is definitely the way to go.

Conclusion

I’ve had a great time exploring all the best walks in Galway. From the Wild Atlantic Way to the Burren Way Loop, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of the world.

There’s nothing quite like taking a leisurely stroll through the Irish countryside, soaking up all the sights, sounds, and smells around you.

If you’re looking for a truly unique adventure, you can’t go wrong with these 15 best walks in Galway.

So get out there and enjoy the great outdoors with the best of them!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.