comScore
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Aran Islands 2 picture in Galway
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Aran Islands 2 picture in Galway

Details

  • Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
5.0
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The beautiful and romantic Aran Islands, composed of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, sit off the coast of Galway County and are an immensely popular daytrip for visitors. Along with their medieval forts, Celtic churches and dramatic cliffs, the islands offer a glimpse into Ireland's history and culture, as this is a place where locals still speak Irish (and English). There are a variety of activities on the islands, from hiking to cycling to swimming. Probably one of the most famous attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dún Aonghasa, set on a dramatic cliff edge on Inishmore. It is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. Originally constructed around 1100 B.C., it was re-fortified around A.D. 700 to 800. Admission is 2 euros (about $2.50) for adults and 5.50 euros ($6.50) for a family.

Visitors call Dún Aonghasa "stunning" and "spectacular," but warn that the rocks are slippery and there's no fence, so it is good idea to wear proper footwear.

Inishmore is the easiest island to reach from Galway and is typically the most popular with visitors. Aran Island Ferries runs daily service to Inishmore and Inishmaan. Boats leave from Rossaveal, which is less than 25 miles west of Galway City. The company runs a connecting shuttle bus (for an additional fee) from Queen's Street in Galway Center to the ferry port. The round-trip crossing costs 25 euros (about $30) for adults and 13 euros (around $15) for children. The shuttle bus costs 9 euros (about $13) for adults and 6 euros (approximately $7) for children, round-trip.

The ferry trip takes about 40 minutes. There are usually three crossings a day, at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. from April to September; and two a day from October to March at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you want to island hop, Doolin Ferries offers daily trips between the islands from mid-March through the end of October. One-way tickets cost 10 euros (around $12) for adults and 7.50 euros (about $9) for children. The company also offers a variety of full-day packages from Galway to the Aran Islands and other attractions.

Most visitors disembark from the ferries at Kilronan, Inishmore's main town where there are plenty of taxis waiting for passengers. The Aran Island Tourist Information Office, located near the harbor, is a great place to start a visit and get advice. For visitors who want to stay longer than a day, there are several small inns and bed-and-breakfasts, as well as "glamping" or upscale camping, options. For more planning tips and resources, visit the Aran Islands tourism site

Powered by Viator

More Best Things to Do in Galway

Wild Atlantic Way picture in Galway
Sightseeing, Tours Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Cliffs of Moher picture in Galway
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Tours Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Connemara National Park picture in Galway
Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Galway City Museum picture in Galway
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Salthill Promenade picture in Galway
Recreation, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church picture in Galway
Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Galway Market picture in Galway
Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Spanish Arch picture in Galway
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Galway Cathedral picture in Galway
Churches/Religious Sites Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
|

#1 Wild Atlantic Way This western coastal route, which begins in the north of Donegal and runs 1,500 miles through nine counties ending in the south of Cork, is a breathtakingly scenic experience ... Read more » Christian McLeod / Failte Ireland

#2 Aran Islands The beautiful and romantic Aran Islands, composed of Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer, sit off the coast of Galway County and are an immensely popular daytrip for visitors. Along with their ... Read more » Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

#3 Cliffs of Moher One of Ireland's most iconic sights sits about 50 miles southwest of Galway, and according to travelers, can't be missed. Visitors describe the breathtaking scenery of the Cliffs ... Read more » pawel.gaul / Getty Images

#4 Connemara National Park Located a little more than 50 miles northwest of Galway, the more than 7,000-acre Connemara National Park offers stunning views of bogs, heaths and moors, as well as great ... Read more » mikroman6 / Getty Images

Fáilte Ireland

#6 Salthill Promenade Salthill is a village of Galway located along the Atlantic Ocean. It boasts a 2-mile-long promenade, which is a popular place to take a stroll. Below the walkway is a ... Read more » Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

#7 St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church Completed sometime in the early 14th century, the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland in continuous use. Among its historical artifacts are a ... Read more » Parminder Gill/One Word Entertainment Creative / Getty Images

#8 Galway Market The popular Galway Market, which has operated for centuries, is not only the place to pick up all sorts of fruits, vegetables and flowers, but also crafts, jewelry, clothing and ... Read more » Kelvin Gillmor / Tourism Ireland

#9 Spanish Arch The landmark 16th-century Spanish Arch is a popular photo op for every visitor to Galway. The arch is assumed to be part of the medieval city walls, which were built ... Read more » Stephen Power / Tourism Ireland

#10 Galway Cathedral A newcomer as far as stone cathedrals in Europe go, the Galway Cathedral was completed in 1965. The architecture is modern and instead of the typical altars and stained-glass windows, there ... Read more » Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

Wild Atlantic Way picture in Galway
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Cliffs of Moher picture in Galway
Connemara National Park picture in Galway
Galway City Museum picture in Galway
Salthill Promenade picture in Galway
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church picture in Galway
Galway Market picture in Galway
Spanish Arch picture in Galway
Galway Cathedral picture in Galway
Wild Atlantic Way picture in Galway
Aran Islands picture in Galway
Cliffs of Moher picture in Galway
Connemara National Park picture in Galway
Galway City Museum picture in Galway
Salthill Promenade picture in Galway
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church picture in Galway
Galway Market picture in Galway
Spanish Arch picture in Galway
Galway Cathedral picture in Galway

This granite boulder sculpture – called Deirbhile's Twist – was created as part of the Tír Sáile Sculpture Trail in North Mayo, Ireland's largest public arts project. It's just one sight on the Wild Atlantic Way. Christian McLeod / Failte Ireland

A stunning view of the cliffs from the ancient Dún Aonghasa fort on Inishmore, part of the Aran Islands. Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

One of Ireland's most iconic sights, the Cliffs of Moher, which at their highest stand 702 feet above the ocean, are not to be missed. pawel.gaul / Getty Images

Scenic views are at every turn in Connemara National Park. mikroman6 / Getty Images

The free Galway City Museum details the area's history.  Fáilte Ireland

Walking along the Salthill Promenade is popular with both local and visitors. Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

Visitors are routinely impressed with the beautiful interior of St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. Parminder Gill/One Word Entertainment Creative / Getty Images

Oysters are just one of the tempting foods at the popular Galway Market. Kelvin Gillmor / Tourism Ireland

The 16th-century Spanish Arch offers a glimpse of the city's medieval past and is a popular photo op for Galway visitors. Stephen Power / Tourism Ireland

You'll find the Galway Cathedral along the Corrib River. Michelle McMahon / Getty Images

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Galway »

Explore More of Galway

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo