More and more people are getting back out there and traveling the world, and sometimes, that makes the world seem shrinking.

But, in reality, that’s not the case at all.

There are still many lesser-known destinations to discover and one coastal city in Europe is already prepping for a big summer, according to the Connacht Tribune.

In fact, sometimes undiscovered gems offer the best experiences as travelers can gain an authentic sense of the place without all the shiny new things overshadowing what makes it truly special.

Travelers are making plans to take the road less traveled to the beautiful Irish city of Galway this summer.

Teeming with timeless streets, beautiful landscapes, and historic sites, this side of Ireland is gaining steam as a major destination for both domestic and international tourists, including Americans.

Galway – A Gateway To Some Of Ireland’s Most Stunning Sites

vibrant street filled with tourists in galway

If you’ve dreamt of taking a trip to Ireland, you have probably pictured yourself sipping a pint of Guinness in an old-time pub, bearing witness to stunning nature and breathtaking castles, and trying to perfect your Irish accent.

But who says you have to go to Dublin, Cork, or Shannon to have these experiences?

Galway is only home to approximately 90,000 residents, but even as a relatively smaller city, it’s well worth a visit even to use as a gateway to explore more of Ireland’s west coast.

Galway itself is a mix of small-town feels and bustling streets that can make it seem bigger when the crowds take over.

river corrib flowing through galway ireland

This port city is lined with timeless streets, especially in the Eyre Square dating back to the 18th century, where you can expect delightful cafes, sounds of traditional Irish folk music and the classic pubs you’ve envisioned.

Galway is perfect for exploring on foot both in the city center and outside the city limits, and it has an array of hiking options through this region’s beautiful landscapes.

But Galway is a very fun, charming destination split by the River Corrib connecting to the Atlantic Ocean making for some amazing views, which should provide even more inspiration to explore beyond the city.

The Great Outdoors

Connemara National Park scenic views

There are many wondrous places to immerse yourself in the great outdoors within about an hour’s time from Galway proper.

Do yourself a favor and add a drive to the storybook towns of Cong and Clonbur, each 5 minutes from the other.

Taking to the winding roads through some of Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery is a must and you are sure to run into the region’s many historic castles along the way, and some you can stay in on Airbnb!

A couple of the most popular day trips are to Connemara National Park, which has ample hiking trails, such as Diamond Hill and the Cliffs of Moher, for stellar seaside views.

ashford castle in cong ireland

With tourism numbers expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, travelers are looking forward to taking in Ireland’s gorgeous nature, as summer is one of the best seasons to do so.

“In terms of visitor trends in 2024, we’re seeing a continued demand for outdoor activities such as on-water activities, cycling and walking trails. Visitors are also increasingly looking at the sustainability credentials of attractions and activities.”

Fáilte Ireland spokesperson, Ann Marie Duffin

Best Beaches Near Galway

A coastal city would be pretty disappointing without some nice beaches to visit, right?

Travelers should pack their swimwear as Galway is indeed an incredible beach getaway.

sheep grazing at silverstrand beach near galway

A quick drive down the coast to Silverstrand Beach will allow you to spend time on one of the most pristine beaches in the world.

This beach has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag certifying it as one of the cleanest and sustainable in the world.

Silverstrand is not alone, however, as Loughrea Lake also boasts a ‘Blue Flag’ and is swimmable.

Others may enjoy more beaches, such as Aillebrack Beach, Dog’s Bay, and Lettergesh Beach, to name a few.

inishmore seaside cliffs

For the adventurous, a ferry ride to the incredible island of Inishmore (also known as Inis Mor) is your best bet.

Home to a natural pool known as ‘The Wormhole’, stunning cliffside views, scenic beaches, and delightful Bed & Breakfasts, it doesn’t get any more blissful than this.

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