Galway has so much to offer, including some incredible scenery, so here are the ten best walks in County Galway, ranked.
Whatever your ability, there are walks all around the County of Galway, and of course, the city itself is best explored on foot.
With Galway being home to Connemara National Park, the Aran Islands, and the popular coastal towns of Spiddal, Clifden, and Roundstone, the opportunities are endless for scenic walks.
You can take on a 50 km trail, hike up a mountain, or take a leisurely forest walk with the family all within the same county. But to avoid being overwhelmed by all the possibilities in Galway, we have narrowed down the ten best walks in County Galway. The rest is up to you!
Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for walking in Galway:
- Come prepared for the unpredictable Irish weather. Check the forecast in advance and pack accordingly.
- Ensure to wear appropriate footwear and bring any other important equipment.
- If you stay in the city, make sure to check out the fantastic restaurants, pubs, and clubs that make Galway so fun!
- Book accommodation in advance! Galway is a very popular destination and its hotels regularly sell out.
- If you need to rent a car to reach these walks, check out our handy guide!
10. Lúibín Mhaírois (intermediate) – a must-do in Connemara
If you want to see stunning beach views, quaint cottages, and traditional stone walls, whilst working up a sweat, try this one.
This is an intermediate hike with some uphill climbs along the way. But what goes up must come down.
9. Knockma Hill (all levels) – one of the best panoramic views in Galway
Try to find the burial site of Queen Maeve of Connaught on this walk. She is said to be buried at the top of the hill.
Starting in Castlehackett, this walk is a cool four km and leads you through the forested hill to the summit, giving you a stunning panoramic view.
8. Rinmaher walking trail (all levels) – take in all Portumna Forest Park has to offer
This 10 km single track walk takes you through the beautiful Portumna Forest Park and provides scenic lakeside views. You can also opt for shorter trails within this park.
7. Killary Harbour (all levels) – Ireland’s only fjord
This walk may be 16 km but don’t let that put you off. It is easy and can be taken on by almost anyone.
With views to Mweelrea mountain and the Devil’s mother, this is one of Galway’s best walks. Plus, it is among Ireland’s only fjord.
6. Inishbofin West Quarter Loop (intermediate) – a great island walk
If you find yourself on Inishbofin Island off the coast of Galway, you must do this coastal walk. This intermediate-level walk is an 8 km (4.97 mi) loop beginning and ending at the pier in Inishbofin.
5. Twelve Bens (challenging) – for the mountain adventurers
This walk is not for the inexperienced, and should only be taken on by people who’ve hiked steep mountains before.
However, this 11 km (6.8 mi) hike, reaching 3461 feet (1055 m) and crossing three of the famous Bens along the way, is very rewarding.
READ MORE: Our guide to the most beautiful Irish mountains.
4. Inishnee Loop Walk (all levels) – a walk that brings you into the heart of the island
This 6 km (3.72 mi) loop trail starting and ending at the bridge that leads onto Inishnee Island and finishing there, takes you around the island giving you fantastic views of the Connemara coastline from all angles.
3. Central Maamturks (challenging) – classic Connemara scenery
The trail is 8 km (4.97 mi) long and is an intermediate hike, so some experience and stamina are required considering the hardest part is at the beginning with the first ascent.
After this, though, the rest is gradual, and you will be rewarded with stunning views over Connemara.
2. Diamond Hill, Connemara (intermediate) – Connemara’s great loop trail
This 7 km (4.34 mi) walk begins and ends at the Connemara visitor centre and is regarded as intermediate. So, a good level of fitness is required.
With gravel paths and rugged mountain terrain, this track will allow you to take in the stunning coastline, make sure to stop and enjoy.
1. The Western Way (moderate) – a mammoth walk in Connemara’s wilderness
Starting in the popular fishing town of Oughterard on Lough Corrib and finishing in Leenane, this epic walk will allow you to catch sight of the Twelve Bens, Killary Fjord, and The Maumturks.
The walk is a mix of bog road, mountain paths, forest tracks, and timber bridges, so be prepared for a real Galway adventure In the Connemara wilderness.
You might need a few weeks in County Galway if you want to take on all of these walks because it will be hard to choose just one.
We promise, once you set your eyes on the stunning scenery from your first Galway walk, you’ll be pleasantly addicted.
Luckily, the walking possibilities are endless, and these are just a few of many, so get planning.
Your questions answered about walks in County Galway
In this section, we answer some of our readers’ most frequently asked questions and some that are asked often in online searches.
What is the closest mountain to Galway?
The closest mountain range to Galway is the Twelve Bens. The highest peak is Benbaun.
What is the oldest part of Galway?
The Claddagh is the oldest part of the city of Galway.
How long is Barna Woods walk?
Barna Woods is 2.4 km (1.5 mi). It takes about 35 minutes to complete.