If you have already seen everything Dublin has to offer and you have days to spare, one of the best things to do is to visit Galway.
Although it is a small city, less than 100,000 inhabitants, Galway is the third most populous city in Ireland and a very interesting destination. Thanks to its two universities, the city has a very attractive multicultural atmosphere and it is also surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. This makes it one of the most attractive excursions to do from Dublin.
Galway is located in the east of Ireland just over 200 kilometers from Dublin and both cities are very well connected. The train and the bus are the main means to make this trip, in addition to the car if we have it. Below I share with you all the information about price, journey, advantages and disadvantages of each of the means of transport that connects Dublin and Galway.
1. Travel from Dublin to Galway with an organized tour
Galway is a small city that can be visited in one day. That is why a round-trip tour from Dublin is a good option. This type of tour includes the round trip by bus, which lasts about 3 hours each way. In addition to transportation and an accredited guide, the Galway tour usually includes more stops besides the city itself.
Most often the itinerary also includes a visit to the Cliffs of Moher, a very beautiful natural site near Galway. The price varies depending on the services and stops you hire, but the most common day trip with a visit to Galway and the cliffs ranges between 50 and 75 euros.
The duration of the tour is about 12 hours, 6 of them are in the bus round trip.
- Price: Between 50 and 75 euros.
- Duration and distance: The trip takes 3 hours one way and 3 hours return. In total the tour is 12 hours from the time you leave Dublin to the time you return.
- What is included in the tour: Round trip transportation, accredited guide, visit to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher.
- Recommended if: You want to visit Galway in one day with everything organized.
What to see in Galway on an organized tour
Located 200 kilometers from Dublin, Galway is the third most populous city in the country and one of the most attractive. This coastal city combines a beautiful historic center with beautiful landscapes in its surroundings. It is a perfect destination for a day trip and therefore we will review the main places that are included in the itineraries of organized tours.
All organized tours to Galway usually start at Eyre Square. This is its main square full of life and charm. From there the tour continues along Sho Street. A street full of pubs and street artists who give visitors a very friendly atmosphere. At the end of this street we reach the Latin Quarter. This is the liveliest neighborhood of Galway and combines a colorful and medieval architecture with a wide range of pubs and restaurants.
Apart from these areas, Galway also has some monuments and places that are among the best things to see and that you will visit with the local guide. One of these monuments, and one of the most emblematic, is the Spanish Arch. This stone arch was part of the old harbor wall and is named after the Spanish ships that came to Galway to trade.
Next to this arch is the Galway Museum, the perfect place to learn about the history of the city through all its eras. Another essential point is found following the river and is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and St. Nicholas. This is located on an island surrounded by greenery and stands out for its stone exterior, its dome and its beautiful stained glass windows.
After completing your excursion to Galway you can not miss its surroundings. Very close to the city is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher, which are 75 kilometers from the city and are usually part of the excursions to Galway for its beauty. From the city itself there are daily buses to this point and even directly from Dublin.
2. How to get there by train: The best option
If your idea is to travel to Galway for a day or more, the train is the first option you should consider. It is just as fast as a car trip, since the 209 kilometers that separate Dublin from Galway are covered in about 2 hours and 20.
The great advantage of the train is, in addition to the speed and comfort, the wide range of schedules it offers. There are at least 10 daily trips from 7:00 in the morning until 19:30 when the last train leaves Dublin for Galway.
There are two companies that offer this trip. The first, with a frequency of every 2 hours, is CIE. Irish Rail is the other option although this company only has two trains, one early in the morning and one late in the evening.
As for prices, tickets start from 17 € if we buy them online. At the ticket office on the same day can go up to 25 €.
Dublin trains depart from Heuston station, in the west of the city, near the Guinness factory, and Connolly station. In Galway they arrive at Ceannt station, in the center of the city.
- Price: From €17 to €25.
- Duration and distance: Between 2 hours and 20 and 2 hours and a half.
- Recommended if: You are looking for the best means of transport for comfort and duration.
3. How to get there by bus: The cheapest way
If what you prioritize when going from Dublin to Galway is the price of the ticket then the bus is your best choice. It is a little slower than the train, but it will always be the cheapest option.
The buses in Dublin have the particularity that they depart from the center of the capital and also from the airport. The routes and companies that operate are the same both at the airport and from the center of Dublin and depart with a frequency of 1 hour. However, the trips from the airport are half an hour longer and somewhat more expensive.
Citylink, GoBus and Aircoach are the three companies currently offering the trip between Dublin and Galway. Prices start from 12 euros to 20 euros depending on the timetable and route. It will always be cheaper to buy the ticket online than directly from the bus.
The journey time ranges from 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours depending on the intermediate stops along the route.
- Price: Between 12 and 20 euros.
- Duration and distance: 208 kilometers and between 2.5 and 3.5 hours.
- Recommended if: You are looking for the most economical transport alternative.
4. How to get there by car: The alternative.
Renting a car is always a very interesting option as it gives us a lot of freedom of movement and that allows us to see some highly recommended places near Galway, such as the Cliffs of Moher, just over 1 hour from the city.
If you prioritize this option you should know that the trip by freeway from Dublin to Galway is very comfortable and fast. There are just over 200 kilometers that you can travel in about 2 hours and 10 minutes, traveling the M4 freeway from Dublin that connects with the M6 to your destination.
The cost of fuel and the price of car rental depends on your choice, what is certain is that you will have to pay a toll if you do this route, although the price is reduced. If you want to reduce costs you can always resort to carpooling through companies like Blabacar.
- Duration and distance: 209 kilometers and 2 hours and 10 minutes.
- Recommended if: You want to have more freedom of movement.
Price: From 50 euros
Duration: 3 hours
Advantages: Transfer and organized itinerary
Disadvantages: Limited time to see the city and its surroundings
Price: From 17 euros
Travel time: 2 hours and 20 minutes- 2 hours and 30 minutes
Advantage: The most comfortable and fastest transport
Disadvantage: More expensive than the bus
Price: From 12 euros
Travel time: Between 2 hours and 30 minutes and 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Advantage: The cheapest option
Disadvantage: Longer trip than by train
Price: Depends on consumption
Travel time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
Advantage: Maximum freedom of movement
Disadvantage: Total price between rental, consumption and expenses.
Tips for traveling between Dublin and Galway
To make the trip between Dublin and Galway is advisable to take a few things into account. Therefore I leave you these tips and information that may be useful:
- Always try to buy bus and train tickets online, as they are always cheaper than buying them at the ticket office.
- Also take into account the trip to the train station. This is located west of the city and the best way to get there is to take the red streetcar line which takes about 10 minutes from the city center or the bus line 145 which also departs from the center of Dublin.
- If you go by car you should know that in Ireland you drive on the left.