Galway for under £100 a night! How to visit one of Ireland’s most charming cities on the cheap
- Galway is a small, historic and walkable city nestled on the west coast
- Nest Boutique Hostel is a savvy choice for accommodation – doubles from £72
- McDonagh’s has been serving its famous fish and chips for more than a century
While many visitors to Ireland make a beeline for the buzz and bustle of Dublin or Belfast, Galway offers a calmer but no less enriching slice of Irish life, particularly for lovers of music, sea air and scenery.
Nestled in its bay on the west coast, the streets of this small, historic and walkable city are alive with musicians, visitors and people enjoying its countless pubs.
The streets of this small, historic and walkable city are alive with musicians, visitors and people enjoying its countless pubs
Where to stay
Built into a Sixties office building, this hotel has an interior you would expect to find in Manhattan, with a wood-panelled reception and rooms that, while compact, are tastefully decorated. It’s also connected to a pizzeria, a gym and a hairdresser. Doubles from £85, thelanegalway.ie.
The Nest Boutique Hostel
Don’t be fooled by the word hostel: this residence in the seaside Salthill area is a world away from sweaty backpackers. All rooms are en suite and have a stylish Scandinavian feel. With an inclusive breakfast, it’s a savvy choice. Doubles from £72; thenestaccommodation.com.
The choice for people who want scale at a budget price. It’s a bus ride to the centre, but offers the feel of a pricier hotel, with a restaurant and bar playing live Irish music. Ask for a room on the right-hand side for beautiful views across Galway Bay. Doubles from £115; flanneryshotelgalway.com.
Where to eat
McDonagh’s has been serving its famous fish and chips (£9 to £13) for more than a century. Split down the middle — fish and chip bar to the left, seafood restaurant to the right — you won’t be disappointed by either side, mcdonaghs.net.
This pub is a one-stop shop for a good night out in Galway. There’s beer, obviously, regular trad sessions (where more than a dozen musicians often gather) and in the beer garden is Crust Bucket: a bus serving delicious pizzas (£9 to £11), crustbucket.ie.
Fresh catch: Try seafood and Guinness in Galway Bay
If you’ve got only £10 in your pocket, there are few better places to spend it than this pan-Asian restaurant. That’s the most you can spend on any main course dish here, from pad Thai to tikka masala, papa-rich-woodquay.business.site.
What to see and do
Hear traditional music
Music is everywhere in Galway and The Crane Bar (thecranebar.com) in the city’s West End is something of a cathedral to Irish music, from individual acts to open sessions.
Take a walking tour
Tribes Tours of Galway (tribestoursgalway.com) does an excellent 90-minute route and you pay what you think is fair.
Galway City Museum
A morning spent visiting this free museum will teach you much of what you need to know about Galway and Ireland (galwaycitymuseum.ie).
This 80-year-old institution is part shop, part cultural experience. While selling Aran knitwear, owners Anne and Ger O’Maille will happily provide local tips (omaille.com).
Ryanair London to Shannon return flights cost from £15 (ryanair.com). Find out more at ireland.com.