County Galway is crammed with impressive coastline, rocky wilderness, quaint villages and small islands. It is also home to impressive mountain ranges, some with summits higher than 2,000 feet and the phenomenal Connemara National Park.
This part of the country is a magical mosaic that has come together to give you a taste of everything Ireland has to offer. In fact, Galway and the surrounding area has been described as Ireland at its wildest. This makes it the perfect place to load up your campervan and hit the road for a breathtaking and ever-changing view of the Irish countryside.
There are plenty of well-maintained main roads and motorways connecting Galway’s tourist hotspots. However, if you want to go off the beaten track, there are also some spectacular alternative routes that will take you through the lesser-seen beauty spots. As a result, these can be some of the quieter and most scenic drives in the county.
Planning your road trip
Planning is always the key to success, and the same applies to your road trip. The first important decision you’ll have to make is choosing the perfect campervan for your trip, ensuring that it ticks all the right boxes. Once you know what you want from your little home on wheels, browse through our selection of great vans and choose the best model for you and your party.
Once your van is booked, you can begin putting an itinerary together. This will ensure you get to see every spot on your Galway bucket list without having to compromise. You can get some inspiration and start planning your route with our list of highlights in the next section.
At this stage, it’s also worth thinking about whether you’re going to leave the main roads and try the aforementioned scenic routes. If you are, it’s wise to plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies in the campervan, as shops and amenities can be few and far between on these roads.
Things to see and do in Galway
One of the most obvious stops in Galway is the incredible city itself, but there are lots of other wonderful places throughout the county that are worth a visit. As we’ve mentioned, there are plenty of beautiful beaches, mountains, towns and idyllic villages you should stop by, but you should definitely think about:
- Driving the Sky Road in Clifden, often described as the most impressive coastal drive in Ireland
- Doing the Diamond Hill hike (this requires you to travel on foot, not by campervan)
- Starting at the picturesque little village of Leenaun and travelling through to Doolough Valley
- Visiting the fairytale-like Kylemore Abbey
- Going beach hopping, from Dog’s Bay to Gurteen Bay, Renvyle Beach to Mannin Bay Blueway.
- Popping into some of the best pubs in the land in Galway City centre
- Stopping by the 16th-century Menlo Castle on the banks of the River Corrib
And this is just a drop in the (Atlantic) ocean when it comes to things to do in Galway. With so much to see and do, it’s important that you plan your trip beforehand, so you don’t miss out.
Using our advice above, be sure to get an exciting itinerary in place to guide you and make the most of your Irish road trip.
Best places to stay
There are so many wonderful places you can stay on your road trip around Galway. You can pitch up in one place and venture out each day, or you could experience more and stop at a different campsite every night. It really depends on your travel style and whether you don’t mind moving about every day.
No matter what you choose, there are loads of great campsites in the area, particularly lots of wonderful spots near the beach. These include:
- Clifden Eco Beach Camping Galway, Clifden
- Connemara Caravan & Camping Park, Gowlaun
- Gurteen Bay Camping, Roundstone
- O’Halloran’s Caravan Park, Salthill
- Kings Caravan & Campsite, Keerhaunmore
- Shanaheever Campsite and Caravan Park, Clifden
That being said, County Galway is one of the top spots for wild camping. Although it is not encouraged, there are plenty of spots in Connemara National Park that are specifically dedicated to overnight stays. What’s more, Dunloughan and Ballyconeely are some of the top places for overnight stays. These locations are ideal if you love the beach or you plan on doing a spot of surfing while you’re there.
But if you choose to spend a night or two in the wilderness, just be sure to leave with no trace and to always be mindful of the wildlife that lives there.