The Aran Islands sit off the coast of Galway, in the lush country of Ireland. Galway is full of amazing things to do and see and you could easily spend a few days exploring Galway and the Connemara National Park. So should you make the extra trip to The Aran Islands?
We rented a beautiful sea view apartment in Galway for a couple nights and when the clouds cleared we had an incredible view of the Aran Islands across the bay. Naturally, we HAD to make the trip! We visited the largest and most “touristed” island: Inis Mor.
Here’s our tips and review of the Aran Islands.
They say Inis Mor is the most touristed of the 3 Aran Islands, however it still only gets about 1,000 visitors a year. We’d say that’s pretty damn remote. This place is an ecological heaven. Lush yet rugged landscapes. Nature and sea life galore. Only 15km across and easy bike rentals. Practically NO other tourists. And Ireland’s most astounding Archeological site. Ummm… This checks a lot of boxes on the Roaming Robinson’s Check List 😉
You can get to any of the 3 islands by 45 min – hour long ferry ride or 10-15 minute flight from Galway. The adventurers in us said “flight”, but the budget travelers in us settled on “ferry” (only 25 euro / person).
You can book your tickets here however it’s just as easy to pick them up at the ferry terminal.
Note: We traveled by ferry on a VERY windy day. The water was very rough and many “motion sickness bags” we’re passed out. If you’re prone to motion sickness wait for a clear day. If you don’t get motion sickness, you might still want to wait for a more clear day; Jenny found the trip a bit terrifying (and she doesn’t spook easily).
Getting Around on The Island:
Landing on the island you’ll be approached by a few bus tours and a few bike rental places. You can also opt to walk the island as many visitors do. Say NO to the bus tour, unless you’re unable to walk or bike. The island is small enough to easily get around on your own, and even in the wind you’ll be happy you got outdoors.
We rented bikes for 10 euro for the afternoon. We strongly suggest you do too! They’re faster than walking but still give you the freedom to chart your own path.
Have a Picnic:
It’s the thing to do. Partly because the landscape screams “picnic”. And partly because there aren’t many pubs or restaurants to choose from. Stop at the ONE store on the island. Grab a baguette, cheese, meat and an apple (to feed the friendly horses you’ll find around every turn) and hop back on your bike to find your ideal picnic locale.
In short, we loved our trip to the Aran Islands. We suggest you take an afternoon to explore one of the three islands. We took the 12 noon ferry to the island and the 4pm ferry back to the mainland and felt that was a sufficient amount of time to explore.