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Galway is known for a lot of things and beaches are one of them! Being part of the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway has some outstanding beaches to offer, and with many of them located in the Connemara region, a lot of them are quiet and less visited than other beaches in Ireland. Gold sands and clear blue water? Yes please. Let’s go through “The Best Beaches in Galway“.

The Best Beaches in Galway – Beaches in Galway

 

The Best Beaches near Galway City

Salthill Beach – Just outside Galway City

Salthill beach stretches a whopping 1 km. Although, it is technically multiple beaches in a row, divided by stone outcrops. Some are sandy, some pebbly but all are beautiful. It is absolutely the most famous beach in Galway with anywhere around 2500 people visiting the beach each day in Summer! It’s within walking distance from Galway city and is famous for the Blackrock diving board.

Parking? Yes, free car park and ample parking along the street
Dogs allowed? No dogs between 9 am – 8 pm  May- the end of September
Blue flag beach? Yes
Toilets? Yes with charge

Silverstrand Beach near Galway City

This beach is great for families as it is a more shallow sandy beach. Although get there early, because the car park isn’t very big. It is just 2 km from Salthill and has large cliffs to the side. The beach faces Galway Bay and transitions from sand to pebbles. Make sure to get there at low tide, otherwise, there is no beach to see.

Parking? Small Carpark fitting less than 100 cars
Dogs allowed? No dogs between 9 am – 8 pm  May- the end of September
Toilets?
Yes 
Blue Flag Beach? Yes

Beaches in Connemara Galway – Beautiful Beaches in Galway Ireland

Furbo Beach – Furbogh – Tra na Bhforbacha

Located alongside the road between Barna and Spiddeal is this beautiful horseshoe-shaped beach. There is a 250 m long stretch of sand to enjoy.

Parking? Yes, car park alongside the road
Dogs? Yes once on a lead
Toilets? No – but there is a pub/restaurant with toilets beside the beach

 

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Spiddal Beach – Beach near Galway

Spiddal beach is alongside the main road into Spiddal. It is 200m long and has a promenade running alongside, which goes just shy of  1km along the coast and on to another beach – Cebh an Spideil. It is a lovely route passing the harbor and ending beside the large pier.

I love coming to Spiddal Beach for a morning dip as it’s much quieter than Salthill and silver strand.

Parking? Parking alongside the main road
Dogs allowed? Not sure of the times dogs are allowed but on a lead
Toilets? No

 

An Trá Mór – Best Beaches in Galway

An Trá Mór , which translates as “Big Beach” is just outside Spiddal near Inverin Village. It is a long beach which at low tide, seems to extend miles towards the horizon. While at high tide, there is no beach at all. It is great as it’s a lot quieter than city beaches.

Important to note: at low tide, you can’t swim as it’s much too rocky.

Parking? Yes, a large car park
Dogs allowed? Yes, on a lead / under control
Toilets? Yes
Blue Flag Beach? Yes

Renvyle – White Strand Beach

Renvyle Beach is also known as An Trá Bán (white strand beach). It’s yet another beautiful beach in Galway along the Wild Atlantic Way, which gives incredible views of Achill, as well as Mweelrea and Croagh Patrick mountains.

Parking? Yes, a small car park
Dogs Allowed? No info – presumably on a lead/under control
Toilets? No

Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay – Goirtin/Port Na Fadoige


Dogs Bay & Gurteen Bay are some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. While they are absolutely stunning in their own right, they are unique in that they like back to back. Both horseshoe-shaped beaches are divided by a thin stretch and sand dunes.

Both Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay are very sheltered. I’ve never experienced a beach so calm as Gurteen bay, with water so blue. Both are brilliant for swimming and are just a few minutes drive from Roundstone fishing village. Also unlike normal traditional “limestone” beaches, here the sands are made of foraminifera shells eroded over time to produce fine white sand.

Parking: yes both have parking – Dogs Bay car park is very small
Dogs? Yes under control
Toilets? There is a sign for toilets in the Gurteen Bay car park, not sure where they are, perhaps the Gurteen Bay Caravan Park

Glausilaun Beach

 

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Another white andy beach with stunning mountain views. I have wanted to visit this beach for so long but it is clear from the images that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Galway. Surprisingly it is not a Wild Atlantic Way point and does not seem to have any facilities except a small car park

Parking? Yes small car park
Dogs? Yes
Toilets?

Moyrus – Tra Mhairois

Without wanting to repeat myself this is another beautiful  white sandy beach, 80 km outside of Galway city

Parking? Yes big car park
Dogs? Yes
Toilets? No

Lettergesh Beach – Beaches in Connemara

 

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I am across Lettergesh Beach accidentally and was surprised by just how great this spot is. Quiet and clean, it is a real hidden Gem deep in Connemara.  When the tide is out, there is lots of space to walk and sunbathe, and you can walk along the sand to other beaches. The water is also shallow quite far out into the ocean so it is good for swimming and families. You will enjoy views of the Connemara Islands as well as the Mayo coastline in the distance.

How many beaches are there in Galway?

There are 4 beaches in Galway City –

  • Salthill
  • Sliverstrand
  • Ballyloughane
  • Grattan

There are countless beaches outside of the city though. While I have named a lot of them here, it certainly isn’t all of them.

What is a Blue Flag Beach?

In order to receive the Blue Flag Beach award, a series of environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. To have been honored this award would suggest that the beach is easily accessible, has facilities and good water quality as well as encouraging the public to take steps to reduce their impact on the environment.  This is a worldwide program.

Best Beaches in Galway  – Beaches near Galway City and in Galway County

So there you have it, if you ask me, those are the best beaches in Galway. I hope you get to visit some of these beauties, and if you do, be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you get on, share a picture if you like 🙂

Any questions, let me know below!

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Tinyboots 

 

Galway’s Best Beaches:

  1. Salthill Beach
  2. Silverstrand Beach
  3. Furbo Beach
  4. Spiddal Beach
  5. An Trá Mór
  6. Renvyle Beach
  7. Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay
  8. Glausilaun Beach
  9. Moyrus Beach
  10. Lettergesh Beach

25 of the Best Things to do in Connemara | Things to do in Galway Ireland

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What will solo travel do for you? You may blossom, grow comfortable in your own skin, have your confidence soar and really open up your eyes to the world. Or you might become more independent and say goodbye to comfort zones. But when it comes to solo female travel, us girls can sometimes have to be a bit more careful of the destinations we choose. While it’s nice to believe us women can travel where ever we like without feeling wary, it may not always be the case. That being said, I am fully confident in saying that Galway is a great place for solo female travellers, and that Galway is probably the best place in Ireland for women traveling alone. Why? I thought you’d never ask! Here are 9 reasons why Galway is great for female solo travel in Ireland.

Ah glorious Donegal – where do we even start?! Voted the coolest place on the planet by National Geographic, and for good reason. I have explored the length and breadth of this wonderful county and I can easily say it is one of my absolute favorite places to go in Ireland. If you like your take-my-breath-away beaches, jagged wild coastlines and ancient epic landscapes, Donegal is the one for you. Get out your waterproofs and hiking boots, because you’ll want to visit these amazing places in Donegal. That’s right, here is your Ultimate Donegal Bucketlist.

Slieve League – One of the Absolute Best Things to do in Donegal

Sliabh league things to do donegal

Now we all know that the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous cliffs. BUT I think this should be revised. Because Slieve League cliffs are just something else! Although they are not a sheer drop, they are still so unbelievably impressive, standing at 596m making them the highest cliffs in the country. And they seem to stretch for miles off into the distance.

Stand and enjoy the views at Bunglas Viewpoint or hike right along the top of the cliffs. On a clear day, you will even spot Benbulbin across the waters in the distance. No Donegal bucket list would be complete without stopping off here.

For more, check out my post – Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal | The Beautiful Slieve League Walk 

Malin Head – The Most Northerly Point in Ireland

malin head, cliffs, water

The one you have been waiting for! Malin Head is the most northerly point of Ireland and has some of the most incredible cliffs jutting out into the sea. I say that about almost everywhere, but damn Ireland has some jaw-dropping landscapes. If you want to see waves hurling themselves at jagged cliffs, green lush hills, gold-sand beaches and rocky mountains, Malin head in Donegal is where you want to go.

Check out my post on Malin Head Ireland for all you need to know!

Fanad Head Lighthouse – A Working Lighthouse perched on the Rocky Coast

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Fanad head lighthouse is perched at the edge of Fanad Head Peninsula and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Ireland. In fact, it has been noted as one of the most beautiful in the world. Not only that, you might be lucky enough to spot a dolphin or some whales in the swirling waters below.

*Make sure you explore the whole Fanad Head Peninsula. From Ramelton right the way around. You’ll visit the most amazing beaches such as Ballymastocker Bay. This is for sure a must-do when in Donegal.

Click to see my post on Fanad Head Lighthouse and Fanad Peninsula Drive!

Assaranca Waterfall – The Most beautiful Waterfall in Donegal

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Assaranca Waterfall is perfectly located alongside a road, so it’s super convenient to get to for all yall lazybones or anyone who has mobility issues. There’s none of that hiking or walking to get there. Just pull up, hop out, enjoy the sight and snap a pic before continuing on your journey again. Driving down this road and turning a corner to be met with this magical sight, what could be better!

Grianan of Aileach – A Hillfort looking out on Inishowen

donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

This is one of those spots that you really only get the full effect of from above. Grianan of Aileach is a restored stone fort dating back to 1700BC. The fort was originally used for defense but now boasts spectacular 360 views over Lough Foyle, Donegal a total of 5 other counties.donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

Glenveigh National Park

Can’t do much more bragging about Donegal views but I can definitely give it another shot. Here, you can walk the feet off yourself visiting the castle, gardens, tea rooms, or some of the many trails. Or you can get on your bike, where you can enjoy the mountains, lakes, waterfalls and the gorgeous native oak woodlands.

Glengesh Pass – Best things to do in Donegal

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Glengesh pass is something straight from an Ireland Postcard. Rolling hills split by a valley and a wicked windy road. This area was beautifully carved out by glaciers in the last ice age and what we have today is absolutely stunning.  You will definitely wana make your way through this bendy pass.

This is one of my favourite drives in Ireland. For a full list of the most scenic drives in Ireland – I have a post coming soon

Glenevin Waterfall – A Cascading Waterfall & short Scenic Walk

donegal things to do. Glenevin waterfall

It seems Donegal is brimming with outstanding waterfalls. Glenevin waterfall is an impressive 30ft in Inishowen and is just a short walk along a path from a car park. But this 5-minute walk is very worth it as you are rewarded with this view of the falls crashing into the plunge pool below. There’s also paths above the waterfall too so you can see the area from different heights, and picnic spots a-plenty.

Beaches – The Must-Visit Beaches in Donegal

Murder Hole Beach – NO LONGER OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 

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Yes, you read that right! An intimidating name for an equally intimidating beach. This beach is nothing other than awesome. Although it’s not known exactly where the unusual name came from, it’s more than likely due to the crazy violent waves that collide into the beach here every day. I stood in awe and watched as these massive swells rolled inland and hurled themselves at the shore. The noise in the air was incredible and just as aggressive as the water.

Access is through a farmer’s land so please be respectful and leave no trace. I do not advise swimming here. It is more the kind of place for standing back and appreciating the sheer power of nature

Kinagoe Bay – Beautiful Beach in Donegal

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Driving through the windy roads of  Donegal, you may be lucky enough to stumble across this magnificent sight. With soft gold sandy beaches, this secluded beach is normally pretty quiet and unusually clean. It has been named Inishowen’s best beach with panoramic views of the bay. There is also a shipwreck of the Spanish armada “La Trinidad Valencara” hidden beneath the waters. So get the snorkel and flippers out or have a picnic on this serene beach. Whichever you’re into.

Malin Beg / Silver Strand – A Beach with a Unique Entrance

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Another really standout Donegal Beach. Standing at the car park you get such expansive views over the sheltered beach, surrounded by cliffs.  There’s a pretty dramatic staircase leading down to the golden sands at sea level. Someone has counted 174 steps down (not me, I was too busy gasping for breath).

If I was ever going to wash up on a beach, let it be one like this! If you don’t want to go down the steps just to trek back up to the top (but I highly suggest you do!), you can still appreciate the views from the top in the car park.

*IMPORTANT* To go down to the beach you have to open a gate. Make sure you close it. Sheep roam free on the beach and cliffs.

urris hills donegal

There it is, your Donegal Bucketlist

So there you have it. My list of the best things to do in Donegal, and the best scenery. A complete Donegal Bucketlist if you will! This is by no means a complete list though. Donegal has endless possibilities and things to do. And I keep coming across more.

Don’t be shy! IF you have visited any of these spots, comment below and let us know what you thought. Or if you have any you want to visit in future, let me know your thoughts!

Tinyboots

If you like my photography, be sure to check out my Instagram. All images are my own and subject to copyright.



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For some even great things to do in Donegal, see some more options below:

Other MUST do things I haven’t done but are on my list:

  • Climb Mount Errigal – a  751-metre (2,464 ft) mountain. You may have seen images on Instagram. It looks incredible.
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Wild Ireland – Although I don’t like to discuss places I’ve never been, I can’t not mention Wild Ireland. This is probably the most unique attraction in Donegal. Wild Ireland is an animal sanctuary in Inishowen that has seen the return of some of Ireland’s lost native species as well as other animals that were once here but have been hunted to extinction. From wolves to brown bears and even Lynxes. I can tell ya, it’s next on my list!

*Check back on this post, once I tick off each place above, I will add them to the post properly!

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Top 5 Places in Ireland you NEED to visit | Ireland Must See Places

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