Galway Christmas Market: When to visit, what’s on, and things to know

Transforming this beautiful city centre into an enchanted wonderland full of festive fun and merriment, the Galway Christmas Market is a must-visit for anyone visiting Ireland at Christmas.

Welcoming artisan food and drink producers, a wide variety of entertainment, and a festive atmosphere in cosy wooden chalets, the Galway Christmas Market is one of the most amazing events to take place in the city.

Taking over the central Eyre Square in the weeks leading up to Christmas day, a visit to the markets is a great way to get into the festive spirit.

So, if you’re planning to visit the west of Ireland this December, we highly recommend checking out the markets in Galway City to get that festive feeling. Curious to learn more? Read on to find out what it’s all about.

Overview ‒ the story behind the Galway Christmas Markets

Overview of the Galway Christmas Market.
Credit: Instagram / @galwaytourism

As one of the most bustling cities in Ireland, boasting plenty of history and culture, Galway should be on any traveller’s Irish bucket list. Known as the ‘Capital of Culture’, the city offers an electric atmosphere and an unrivalled sense of Irishness for all who visit.

For us, there is no better time to visit this beautiful city than at Christmas time. Every year, the streets come to life with festive cheer, glittering lights, and delicious food and drinks.

Perhaps the highlight of Christmas in Galway, the Galway Christmas Market has been lighting up the dark winter nights for over a decade, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors from all across Ireland and further afield.

A collaboration between Milestone Inventive and Galway City Council, Galway Christmas Markets are undoubtedly the highlight of the city’s festive calendar.

When to visit ‒ opening times and crowds

When to visit the Galway Christmas Market.
Credit: Instagram / @galwaytourism

The Galway Christmas Market normally occurs in the city from mid-November through to late December, with official dates announced close to the opening date every year.

Having welcomed over 350,000 visitors last year, it is expected that the market will prove incredibly busy when it returns to the city. Thus, it is important to plan your visit if you’re hoping to avoid crowds.

The market opens daily, from 12 pm to 8 pm from Monday to Wednesday and from 10 am to 10 pm from Thursday to Sunday. The market proves busiest at the weekends and during the evenings.

So, if you want to enjoy the food stalls and festive entertainment at your own pace, we advise visiting on a weekday.

Additionally, as much of what is available at the market is food, many people will choose to visit during mealtimes. So, a great way to avoid crowds is to avoid these times.

Finally, the majority of the market takes place outdoors. Thus, it is important to check the weather forecast before deciding to visit to ensure your time is as enjoyable as possible.

What to see ‒ food, drink, entertainment, crafts, and more

What to see at the Galway Christmas Market.
Credit: Instagram / @eunhyeleeya

Inspired by continental markets that pop up throughout Europe come December, the Galway Christmas Market welcomes a whole host of local, international, and European traders to Eyre Square.

Food lovers will be in heaven as they indulge in all the festive food and drink offerings at the market.

With over 50 stalls set up, the selection of foods is incredible, with everything from French pastries to artisan food products, Austrian market food to Italian chocolates, and much more.

There are many food and drink stalls.
Credit: Instagram / @asilem68

Drink lovers will also have a wide range of drink products to choose from. You can head to the beer tent, which serves everything from European Christmas beer to gluhwein, including German beers and local craft beers.

For those who prefer to steer clear of alcohol, there is also a great selection of delicious hot drinks, including hot chocolate and non-alcoholic mulled wines.

It is not just the choices of food stalls and central beer tents that keep visitors coming back for more. Event producers create a truly special atmosphere by setting up amusement rides and local shops selling at stalls.

Almost like stepping into a Christmas aesthetic shop window, this colourful event features everything from music performers to an enchanted light garden walk, a Santa’s Grotto and train, and much, much more.

Directions and where to park ‒ right in the city centre

Directions and where to park.
Credit: Instagram / @eunhyeleeya

The Galway Christmas Market is centrally located in the city’s main shopping area at Eyre Square. If you’re travelling by public transport, the market is situated right across from the central train and bus station. So, it won’t be hard to find from here.

Various popular hotels, including Hotel Meyrick, Victoria Hotel, Eyre Square Hotel, and the Skeffington Arms, are located right beside the market. Thus, providing the perfect convenient location for those visiting.

If you’re driving, the most convenient place to park is at the Q-Park Eyre Square. Parking is also available close by at Merchants Road and Queen Street.

Things to know ‒ useful info

Useful info about the Galway Christmas Market.
Credit: Instagram / @grainnemarie77

The Galway Christmas Market is free to visit. However, most food, drinks, and events within will require payment. Some stallholders may only accept cash payments. So, we advise bringing some euros so you won’t miss out.

The Galway Christmas Market is one of the city’s most highly anticipated events. So, expect large crowds, especially if you plan to visit in the evenings or on the weekends.

The majority of the market takes place outdoors. So, make sure to dress appropriately in warm layers and waterproof clothing. Comfortable shoes are also advisable.

Address: Eyre Square, Galway, Ireland

Notable mentions

Wildlands Winter Wonderland.
Credit: Facebook /

Light Up Galway Festival: Lighting up the streets with glittering light installations, Light Up Galway Festival is one of the best festive events in the city.

Elf Town: Taking over Ballybrit Racecourse at Christmastime, Elf Town is a great event for families.

Wildlands Winter Wonderland: A great fun event for families with kids of all ages. Kids will have a chance to post their letters to Santa and even help a sick reindeer at the Reindeer Hospital.

FAQs about the Galway Christmas Market

Is there any point in visiting or is it just insanely expensive?

Yes! Galway turns completely magical at Christmas, and it is well worth visiting. There are many free events to enjoy throughout the city to get in the festive spirit!

Where is the Galway Christmas Market located?

The Galway Christmas Market is located in Eyre Square.

What’s on in Galway in December?

Aside from the Christmas Market, there are plenty of fun events in the city in December. Some of the best are Elf Town, Wildlands Winter Wonderland, and Light Up Galway Festival.

Various events will also be revealed closer to the time, so best to check in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Are there other Christmas Markets in Ireland?

Yes, there are the Dublin Christmas Market, the Belfast Christmas Market, and the Cork Christmas Market.

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