Best for foodies 2019: Galway
Galway has enjoyed the spotlight already in 2018, and we expect more to come in 2019 from Ireland’s west coast.
Why go in 2019
Galway was named a European Region of Gastronomy for 2018 thanks to its foodie scene - think local seafood, craft breweries, fine dining and food tours. The historic city has also been selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2020. That means a focus on culture, events and festivals, plus a host of community projects and investment in the city and its hotels.
We expect to see great deals on trips to Galway throughout 2019, and brilliant prices on hotel stays for independent travellers. As an added bonus, Ireland’s west coast is a short hop over from the UK mainland by air, with budget airlines flying into Shannon and Knock airports, both within around an hour’s drive of Galway and served by bus and coach.
Galway is known for
Galway, on Ireland’s west coast, sits on the Wild Atlantic Way route. It’s a foodie hotspot, with everything from local cafés and bistros serving up fresh seafood to Michelin-starred fine dining. It’s also famous for its local brews - think craft beer in a cosy pub with live music as a backdrop (try Galway Hooker Irish Pale Ale). Wander the city’s medieval cobbled streets in the Latin Quarter, eat your way through a farmers’ market, walk the Salthill Promenade and visit the Spanish Arch, part of the original 16th-century city walls.
Galway is also a great jumping-off point for day trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Dunguaire Castle and the Aran Islands.
When to Go
There’s no bad time to visit Galway, but the weather’s best between April and October. It’s warmest in July and August, although you’re still liable to experience the odd rain shower whenever you visit!
If you can, we recommend timing your trip to coincide with St Patrick’s Day (17 March), when the city puts on a host of events, including its St Patrick's Day Parade. July is also a big month for festivals in Galway, including the Galway Film Festival (Galway Film Fleadh), Galway International Arts Festival and the Galway Races Summer Festival, a big horse-racing event.
Of course, these peak times also spell crowds. For a more peaceful break, go for the spring and autumn, when the weather is mild but crowds are thinner.
The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival is a 4-day annual event that is said to be the world’s longest-running oyster festival. Sample some of the planet’s finest oysters (washed down with champagne and Guinness) on the Seafood Trail, enter an oyster-eating competition or shuck like a pro at the World Oyster Opening Championship. The festival is held in September each year.
How to get there: You can fly to Shannon from London and Birmingham, or to Knock from London, in around 1.5 hours. Both are around an hour’s drive from Galway. Alternatively, fly into Dublin from a host of UK cities, and take a scenic 2.5-hour drive from there. Car hire is generally inexpensive, but all three routes are also well served by bus and coach.
Currency: the euro.
Visa: British citizens don’t need a visa to enter Ireland, and you can stay as long as you want.
Plugs: same as the UK.
Average cost of a pint of beer: £4 - less than in many areas of the UK.