The scenic region of Connemara sits north and west of Galway. Many who visit the coveted, Gaelic-speaking area use Clifden as a hub, which is 49 miles (77 km) from the city of Galway. It’s a small town located along the Wild Atlantic Way, and 1.5-2.5 hours by car (either rental or private transfer). This is the most convenient option to make the journey between the two.
Another option is the bus. Both regional and private companies offer several daily departures from Galway and arrive in Clifden 1.5 hours later.
If you have extra time to extend your trip, this 8-day walking itinerary combines the Connemara region with the famous Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours, more with stops
The most convenient way to travel between Galway and Connemara is by car. Having your own rental car will allow you to further explore the popular region. There are many sites to see, including Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, and the beaches of Roundstone, to name a few. If you’re not interested in navigating the Irish roads yourself, private transfers are also available.
The route is fairly straightforward, using road N59 to traverse Connemara’s picturesque bog region. The scenery is exceptional, with many lakes and mountain peaks to admire. You’ll pass by Quiet Man Bridge—featured in the popular The Quiet Man film. Pines Island Viewpoint is worth the stop to take in the scene of Derryclare Lake and the Twelve Bens, the mountain range in Connemara National Park. You’ll arrive in Clifden in about 1.5 hours.
If you’re up for a longer and even more scenic route, consider connecting to the Wild Atlantic Way. This option takes about 2.5 hours, leaving Galway from the west and following the coastline all the way to Clifden. The small town of Spiddal is great for a quick coffee and views of Galway Bay and the Burren. Plan for a little extra time to visit the beaches of Roundstone, including Gorteen Bay and Dog’s Bay.
Duration: 1.5 hours
Buses run regularly from Galway to Clifden, passing into Connemara via road N59. You can opt for either the regional bus service, Bus Éireann, or the private company CityLink. Between the two, you can choose from many daily departures. Sit on the right side of the bus for scenic lake and mountain views.