Top 5 best beaches in Galway, RANKED

Galway’s beaches are well worth a visit no matter the season. If you’re looking to dip your toes in the sand, read on.

Galway Bay is an important stop on the eager traveller’s journey through Ireland. Even on a dull day, the area never loses its appeal.

Galway’s sea and sand have long been the subject of famous songs such as ‘(My own dear) Galway Bay’ sang by Irish singer Dolores Keane and ‘Galway Bay’, popularized by the international star Bing Crosby.

If their lyrics have inspired you to head west and dip your toes, then check out our list of the top five best beaches in Galway.

Ireland Before You Die’s tips about the best beaches in Galway

  • Check the weather forecast and plan your visit accordingly.
  • Galway’s beaches are perfect for outdoor activities such as swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and even beach volleyball.
  • Wear appropriate footwear like sandals or water shoes, as some beaches may have rocky areas or seaweed-covered surfaces.
  • Research the amenities nearby, including restrooms, picnic spots, and cafes or restaurants.
  • Research parking and transport options to and from the beaches, especially during peak times.

5. Salthill Prom – the first pick on our list of the top five best beaches in Galway

Salthill Prom kicks off our list of best beaches in Galway.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Salthill Prom presents a cluster of beaches with charming names, such as Ladies’ Beach and Blackrock Beach. It is an attractive spot for tourists and locals, having been awarded the Blue Flag status year after year for outstanding water quality and safety standards.

Let’s not forget that no Galway bucket list is complete without jumping off the Blackrock diving tower! This bright yellow landmark is an iconic piece of the Galwegian identity and is not to be missed by visitors.

Salthill Prom also makes our list because of its proximity to other amenities such as pubs, restaurants, and the Galway aquarium. If it’s accessibility you’re looking for, then this is the beach for you!

Salthill is within walking distance of the city centre, or you can drive there in less than ten minutes.

Address: Salthill Prom, Galway

Check out: 10 best things to do in Galway.

4. Silverstrand Beach – a haven for families

Silverstrand Beach is a haven for families.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Silverstrand is another one of our Blue Flag beaches, which is no surprise considering the crystal blue clarity of the water. This beach, situated beside a stunning cliff, is a popular place for swimming and flying kites.

The water here is quite shallow, so it’s extra safe and suitable for families with young children. At just a 12-minute drive from the city centre, Silverstrand should definitely be on your list of the best beaches in Galway.

Seeing as it’s such a long and spacious beach, why not bring a bucket, spade, and picnic basket? Add even more magic to your day with a stroll through Barna Woods just across the road from the gorgeous Silverstrand.

Address: Silverstrand, Lenarevagh, Galway

Read also: 5 great things to do with the kids in Galway.

3. An Trá Mhór – a serene escape

An Trá Mhór is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Galway.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Although this beach’s Irish name translates directly as ‘The Big Beach’, you’ll never hear anyone referring to it in English, and after visiting An Trá Mhór, you’ll soon learn why.

In the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) village of Inverin, An Trá Mhór is a haunt for local Irish speakers, so be sure to visit and listen to our melodic language being spoken against the crashing of the waves.

This beautiful Connemara beach is a 30-minute drive from Galway city, and while it attracts a few tourists, it’s never as crowded as those closer to the city. So, if serenity is what you’re after, then this is the beach for you!

What’s more, An Trá Mhór is another one of Galway’s Blue Flag beaches, so what are you waiting for? Drive on over here, enjoy a swim, and admire the view of County Clare across the bay.

Address: An Trá Mhór, Kilroe East, County Galway

2. Dog’s Bay – a unique limestone beach

Dog's Bay is a unique limestone beach.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Instead of the usual limestone sand, Dog’s Bay is made up of tiny seashell pieces giving it its gleaming white appearance. The lack of a strong current here means that it’s safe for swimming and windsurfing.

You will find this beach on your way to Clifden, a quaint town known as ‘the capital of Connemara’ due to its popularity amongst tourists. Similarly, Dog’s Bay is a popular tourist spot loved by artists and photographers.

For example, Galway’s ‘Paintclub’ has centred events around this eye-catching beach. In June 2019, members were invited to paint, wine, and dine here.

This was followed by an online event in March 2020, featuring a Dog’s Bay painting tutorial, allowing participants to be creative and socialize from home.

We encourage you to follow their lead by grabbing some art supplies and heading to Dog’s Bay, whose beauty is worth the one hour and 20-minute drive from Galway city.

Afterwards, we suggest a visit to the picturesque village of Roundstone, which is just two miles from Dog’s Bay.

Address: Dog’s Bay, Ervallagh, Roundstone, County Galway

Read more: Our guide to Dogs Bay beach.

1. Trá an Dóilín – the number one pick on our list of best beaches in Galway

Trá an Dóilín is one of the best beaches in Galway.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

‘Trá an Dóilín’ in Carraroe, Connemara, wins out as the best beach in Galway. ‘Dóilín’ translates as ‘small inlet of the sea’, but in English, this beach is more commonly known as ‘Coral Beach’.

Unique for its gravel and coral-like ‘maerl’ instead of sand, Coral Beach suits any keen adventurer with an affinity for collecting seashells. At this beach, you can marvel at a colourful collection and enjoy a pleasant swim while you’re there.

Coral Beach is also a Blue Flag beach, so it’s perfect for swimming! Just remember to bring swim shoes so that you can avoid stepping on any sharp shells.

The best time to visit Coral Beach is at the end of June, when you can catch ‘Féile an Dóilín’ (Dóilín festival). Another significant part of the Galwegian identity is the Galway hooker, a traditional fishing boat with a dark red sail.

At Féile an Dóilín, you can catch the Galway hookers regatta, fishing competitions, barbeques, and a sports day for the children, among many other activities.

Want to tick the rural Irish experience off your bucket list? If so, you won’t regret visiting this beach, which is an hour-long scenic drive from Galway city.

Address: Coral Beach, Carraroe, County Galway

Check out: 5 most Instagramable spots in county Galway.

Your questions answered about the best beaches in Galway

What is the best beach in Galway for kids?

Trá na gCeann or Silver Strand Beach, is located just outside Barna, just two miles from Salthill, and is a very popular beach for young families.

Is Galway a seaside town?

Yes, Galway is a seaside city located on the western coast of Ireland. It is situated on Galway Bay, providing the city with a stunning waterfront and access to several nearby beaches.

Can you swim in Galway?

Silverstrand beach is suitable for swimming at low tide, but the beach area is largely covered during high tide.

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.

Get featured on Ireland Before You Die

Do you want to get your Irish business more online exposure? Especially to those interested in travelling the best places in Ireland? Then why not get a dedicated feature on Ireland Before You Die. Find out more here.

Related Posts


Ireland Before You Die is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Send this to a friend