Update: This post was originally published on 28 November 2018 and updated on 31 October 2019.
Galway is a fantastic city to visit at any time of the year but of course it’s even more magical at Christmas time, particularly when the Christmas Market is in full swing. This year the Galway Christmas Market kicks off on November 15th and runs until December 22nd. So, if you’re looking to soak up some festive vibes, then a visit to the Christmas Market is sure to do the trick. It’s Galway’s very own winter wonderland!
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Visiting the Christmas Market Galway
You’ll find the Christmas Market Galway in Eyre Square, right in the city centre. It will be open daily from 12pm, Monday – Wednesday and from 10am, Thursday – Sunday. It’s undoubtedly at its best once the sun has gone down though. As that happens pretty early this time of year, it gives you plenty of opportunity to enjoy some festive cheer under the twinkling lights with the market running till 8pm, Monday – Wednesday and until 10pm for the remainder of the week.
Those who want a bird’s eye view of everything will love the 32 metre high Big Wheel and there’s also an old school carousel. In addition to Santa’s Grotto, which is being run by local charities, there will be live music performances, carol singing and more through the weeks. Keep an eye on the Galway Christmas Market’s Facebook page for updates on events.
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Eat, Drink and be Merry at the Christmas Market
The Après Ski Bar will be returning this year. Last year it was open till 10pm each night offering musical entertainment along with traditional German beers, apple cider and mulled wine. Judging by the queue of people we saw waiting to get inside, it’s a popular spot! We couldn’t help but notice that everyone queuing was, on average, probably about twenty years younger than us though. Not that we’d let that stop us joining in the fun but we had to drive home, so we were on the dry! So we left them to it and wandered around the stalls instead.
If you’re looking for Christmas gifts, you might find some inspiration from what’s on offer from local and European traders. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the headspace for shopping when we were there last year so I missed out on some items that could have been good for gifting. I plan on being more prepared before I go this year and maybe I’ll be able to tick a few people off my Christmas list!
I don’t know if it was for this reason that there seemed to be more food stalls, or if that actually was the case. Either way, you’re not likely to leave the Galway Christmas Markets feeling hungry! Well, if you’re a meat lover you certainly won’t have a problem finding food. Unfortunately the veggie options were not so plentiful. I can only recall one stand that had veggie chilli and pizza on offer. The chilli was already sold out though unfortunately. Hopefully there will be more options this year.
I actually ended up heading off to TGO Falafel (highly recommend a visit if you want yummy vegan and vegetarian fast food) for a quick bite and then came back to the Christmas Market for dessert. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’re going to be happy…or in trouble!
From the chocolate fountain with marshmallows and fresh fruit, crepes with lots of yummy fillings to choose from, waffles, Czech Chimney cakes and sweets galore, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice. There are also plenty of stalls selling hot drinks to keep you warm and cosy as you wander and enjoy the atmosphere. Mulled wine, punch and beer are on offer as well as teas, coffees and hot chocolates with a Christmas twist, if you fancy it!
Where to stay when visiting the Galway Christmas Market
The Galway Christmas Market is conveniently located close to all the other delights that Galway has to offer when it comes to dining, shopping and grabbing a pint or two. So whether you’re making an evening, day or weekend of it, you’ll have plenty to explore and enjoy. Get amongst the festive buzz and have a mulled wine for me!
If you’re looking to stay for a night or weekend, here are some suggestions for accommodation:
Nox Hotel Galway – we usually stay here when we overnight in Galway. It’s not in the city centre so you get a much better deal and we enjoy the short walk into town. It’s about 20 minutes walk to Eyre Square or a short taxi ride, if you don’t fancy the walk! Check dates and availability.
Garveys Inn – if you want to be right in the heart of the action, this is probably one of the best deals you’ll get right by Eyre Square. The perfect location for exploring the Christmas Market and more. Check dates and availability.
The Woodquay Hostel – Rather save some money for shopping? The Woodquay is central and has dorms, double rooms and a two-bed apartment available. Check dates and availability.