They say a day at the beach is the best escape anyone can have (get it? b-e-a-c-h?), and we can’t help but agree. Whether it’s the feeling of sand underfoot or the seabreeze on your cheek, nothing compares to the sights, sounds and smells that fill up your senses when wandering along the shore.
As with all good things, Galway’s got them in abundance. From rocky shores to sloping strands, there’s just about every variety of beach for you to choose from dotted throughout the county. Here are some of our very favourite spots to get your feet wet…
What kind of list would this be if we didn’t mention perhaps the most iconic beach in Galway? Salthill Beach is made up of several little beaches separated by outcrops, some sandy and some pebbled and each as beautiful as the last. Stretching right down to the Blackrock Diving Tower we all know and love, the area is accompanied by the famous promenade that hundreds of people walk, run and jog across each day. Sipping a coffee as you gaze across the Bay is always a good way to spend the day.
DOG'S BAY & GURTEEN BAY
Also an hour and a half’s spin from the city, on the road to Clifden, these back-to-back beaches are some of the finest in Ireland. Forming a tombolo extending out onto the Atlantic Ocean, we would recommend heading out here if you’re in the mood for a swim. Just a couple of miles from Roundstone, Dog’s Bay’s unique horseshoe shape and white sand made from seashells make it effortlessly appealing, while the crystal clear waters of each attract windsurfers and kite surfers alike.
Located an hour and a half from the city centre, this scenic sandy beach is known for its fantastic caravan and camping park that overlooks the Twelve Bens mountain range out in Connemara. With the town of Tullycross in close proximity, it’s tempting to spend the whole weekend lapping up the peaceful retreat offered by the entire area. When the sky is clear, the views offered by the beach stretch right across to the mountains of Clare and the island of Inishturk. The impeccable condition of the beach is a credit to the community and even received the Green Coast Award Beaches 2013, making its unspoilt beauty a symbol of environmental excellence.
Flanked by rocky outcrops, this 200 meter sandy beach offers a fantastic destination for swimmers, as it allows you to gradually get into your depth and feel comfortable and safe as you float along. Positioned on the roadside as you enter Spiddal village, you’re in a great spot to spend a summer’s day soaking up the relaxing energy of the area. Whether you’re with your mates or spending the afternoon flipping through a good book, the sights and sounds of Spiddal Beach offer a perfect setting to let the hours slip by.
Located on Inis Mór, the largest of the three Aran Islands, Kilmurvey Beach offers a stunning setting for a seaside picnic, a family day out or a romantic stroll against the backdrop of white sand and blue skies. Since there are no strong currents or tides, the water is ideal for swimming and - if you’re lucky - this beach is a great place to work on your tan. Many’s the memory have been made while wandering along Kilmurvey Beach, so snap some photos and embrace the salty sea air.
Just outside the city, between Salthill and Barna, Silverstrand beach is ideal for a family seaside visit. Safe and shallow, the sandy beach is positioned between a rocky region and a cliff, so the grown ups can enjoy the spectacular views of Galway Bay while the little ones splash about, make sand castles and collect some shells. An ideal day out of the whole family, it’s always best wrapped up with an ice cream or two on the road home.
Located on the island of Inishbofin, just off the coast of Connemara, the calm waters and white sands of Dumhach Beach offer an idyllic escape from the chaos of everyday life. Having won the Green Coast Award in 2019, the stretch is nothing short of spectacular and its scattering of small sand dunes make this a great location for running about, soaking up the sun and indulging in the pleasures of a day at the beach.