Dublin vs Galway: Which City To Visit Or Live In?

Dublin vs Galway, which city should you visit, and which city should become your new home?

It’s definitely difficult to decide between Dublin v Galway!. 

But you’re in luck! When Ger and I made the decision to make Ireland our home, we researched the cities and made comparisons on which city would suit us best.

So, here is a detailed guide to help you narrow the decision between the bustling city of Dublin and the picturesque city of Galway!

Dublin vs galway

At A Glance: Dublin vs Galway

Safety1. Pickpocketing and petty theft are common 2. Higher crime index than Galway 3. Certain areas of Dublin should be avoided at night1. Lower crime index than Dublin
Food1. Experience the Irish pub culture here 2. Vegetarian and vegan food available1. Excellent seafood here 2. Vegetarian and vegan food available
AttractionsMuseums, beaches, Irish dancing shows, Temple District, and much more!Markets, Latin Quarter, castles, and the exquisite countryside!
Day ToursSize of City1. Cliffs of Moher 2. City Tour 3. Food Tour 4. Connemara National Park Tour
Public TransportReliable public transport system – buses, taxis, trams, and trainReliable public transport system – buses and taxis 
Affordability1. Many job opportunities available 2. Cost of living is higher than in Galway1. Job growth is expected in industries such as technology, tourism, manufacturing, and banking and finance 2. Cost of living is lower 
Education1. Top universities such as Trinity College Dublin are found in Dublin 2. Higher cost of living as a student 3. Plenty of entertainment here1. Vibrant student community 2. Plenty of festivals as entertainment 3. Easy to walk around the city – no need for a car!
Size Of CityArea of 117.8 km2Area of 57.3 km2
WeatherSlightly less rain compared to GalwayMore rain compared to Dublin
CultureDublin’s nightlife is one of a kind, especially at the Temple DistrictLate night bars and live music are top notch here! Easy to go bar hopping as it is a smaller city

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Dublin vs Galway – Dublin

1. Safety

You’ve worked hard to save up for your vacation, and now you want to travel around and enjoy the culture, food, and experience in peace. 

So, let us guide you through how safe it is to travel in Dublin!

Dublin vs galway

Dublin is the capital and the largest city of Ireland. This means more people and a higher chance of crime. Here in Dublin, pickpocketing and petty theft are rather common.

According to Numbeo, Dublin’s safety index stands at a rating of 46.97, while its crime index stands at a rating of 53.03.

Some parts of Dublin should be avoided at night, such as Talbot Street and Tallaght. If you’re uncertain, hailing a taxi is always your best bet. 

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Tripadvisor

2. Food

Want to enjoy a pint of beer with delicious food? Why not hang out at Dublin’s pubs to experience the authentic Irish pub culture and meet the locals?

Aside from its pubs, Dublin has many great restaurants and cafes of all kinds of cuisines. 

If you are wondering what Irish food you should order in Dublin, go for chicken fillet roll, boxty, Irish stew, coddle, spice bag, Irish soda bread, and anything seafood in general!

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, no worries at all! The restaurants in Dublin have an array of tasty options that will leave you wanting more.

3. Attractions

Although Dublin is the bustling capital, the city is also known for its vibrant arts scene and warm Irish hospitality that we know so well.

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Tripadvisor

There are many museums around Dublin for you to get to know the city better. Aside from those, Dublin has an array of entertainment, such as theaters and festivals.

Besides, you’d be surprised to know Dublin has its fair share of beaches, such as Malahide Beach, Portrane Beach, and Donabate Beach. 

So, if you’re hoping to visit the city and later head down to the beach for a swim during your vacation, Dublin might just be the vacation of your dreams 😉

Dublin also has a unique show called Celtic Nights, which is all about traditional Irish dancing! 

The show is held every night at Arlington Hotel, where tickets start at around €49 (USD 54). You will be served a 3-course meal while you enjoy the unforgettable night ahead.

If you need more recommendations on where to go in Dublin, we’ve got you covered!

1. Temple Bar District

You absolutely cannot miss out on this iconic place if you intend to experience Dublin’s iconic nightlife!

Temple Bar District is home to Dublin’s famous bars and restaurants. There’s lots of live music here as well, which will have you on your feet, dancing all night! 

Of course, don’t forget to grab a few Irish beers as you soak in the welcoming atmosphere in Dublin.

2. Enjoy Afternoon Tea 

Dublin has many lovely venues that serve excellent afternoon tea, ranging from afternoon tea on wheels to luxurious hotels to the cutest cafes! 

Having a round of afternoon tea is a great way to unwind after exploring the city while enjoying a delicious feast. 

3. Visit Museums

For those looking to learn more about Ireland’s history, Dublin has many unique museums for you to check out. 

Some of these museums are within walking distance of each other. It’s a convenient way for you to cover more museums in one day 😉

For example, the Museum of Literature Dublin and the Little Museum of Dublin are a 5-minute walk from each other! 

4. Join A Food Tour

What better way to enjoy Dublin’s best food than a food tour?

If you’re a little overwhelmed on where to start finding the best food in Dublin, joining a food tour will be your best bet. 

It’s also a great way to make friends with other tourists as you enjoy different types of Irish food.

5. Walk Around Dublin’s Parks

Although Dublin is a city, it does have many beautiful parks where locals can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a while. 

Another gorgeous public park would be St. Stephen’s Green. It is a gorgeous Victorian public park that is well-loved by locals and tourists alike. 

If you wish to explore more of Dublin’s green spaces, the National Botanical Gardens, Iveagh Garden, and Phoenix Park are some alternative spaces for you to visit.

6. Dublin Castle

How could you drop by Ireland and not visit a castle? 

Located in the city center, the stunning Dublin Castle is another way to learn more about Ireland’s history as you admire the magnificent architecture and settings. 

You can opt for a self-guided tour or pay a little more to enjoy a guided tour around the castle. 

4. Day Tours

1. Dublin Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours 

Joining a food tour is an excellent way to explore the streets of Dublin while trying out delicious food! It’s also a fun way to make new friends with other tourists or locals.

2. Dublin Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse Guided Tour

If you’re visiting Dublin, you absolutely cannot miss out on visiting the Jameson Distillery and Guinness Storehouse!

Join this guided tour as you learn how each drink is produced, and enjoy a good beer or whiskey along the way. The best part is you can skip the line at the locations!

3. Dublin Book of Kells, Castle, and Molly Malone Statue Guided Tour

If you wish to know more about Irish history, this tour is for you! 

You’ll visit the Trinity College Library to see one of Ireland’s treasured Book of Kells, where you will learn more about its symbolism and history. 

The best part is you will be given early access to this area, so there will be no crowd!

Later, the guide will guide you on a tour of Dublin Castle, where you will learn more of its fascinating stories.

We suggest you wear comfortable shoes during this tour because you’ll be doing plenty of walking over the hills and uneven surfaces.

4. Dublin Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Guide and Little Museum Entry

Explore Dublin at your own pace by joining this hop-on and hop-off tour! There is a guide on board to provide insightful commentary throughout the tour of the capital.

If any location caught your eye, feel free to hop off the bus whenever you like. You can hop back on the bus whenever you feel like it.

5. Public Transport

Fortunately, it is quite easy to get around in Dublin. Walking around the city is a great way to get your daily steps in while soaking in the atmosphere of Dublin. 

But Dublin is bigger than Galway, so there are areas in which you may want to consider public transport. 

Lucky for you (and us!), public buses throughout Dublin are reliable and easy to use, where you can easily do a quick online search for the timetables

Taxis can be found scattered around the streets of Dublin, so you can easily hail for a cab. 

It is also safer to use a taxi at night, so it’s a good thing there are plenty of them around.

Aside from hailing taxis, LUAS, the tram system, connects the city and the suburbs. Just as its meaning in Irish, which means speed, the trams are rather fast. 

While LUAS serves a smaller area in comparison to the public buses, it’s still a great way to get around the city. 

Just a heads-up that you might find the trams are quite packed during rush hour!

Dublin Area Rapid Transit (or DART) is Dublin’s train system, which is also well-connected across the city and runs along some coastal areas of Dublin.

Dublin vs galway

6. Affordability 

As the capital of Ireland, Dublin is rather expensive to live in, with an average rent of about €2,046 (USD 2,219) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city.

If you are looking for job opportunities in Ireland, Dublin is the best place. Industries such as accounting, pharmaceutical, IT, and finance are always in demand in Dublin. 

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Tripadvisor

7. Education

Dublin provides excellent options for you to further your studies. Without a doubt, one of the most famous universities in Ireland is Trinity College Dublin.

Besides, studying in Dublin has many perks. Public transport is easily accessible in Dublin, and the Dublin airport is about half an hour’s drive from the city center. 

Dublin also has many activities, making it an exciting experience on any day or night of the week. 

But keep in mind that many tourists love to visit Dublin. So, you may see flocks of tourists around the city, especially during the summer.

Dublin is the capital, so the cost of living here would be higher than living as a student in Galway.

8. Size Of City

As the most populated city in Ireland, Dublin has an estimated population of 1,284,551 living in an area of 117.8 km2

9. Weather

If you’re looking for an area with slightly less rain (but it’s still a good amount of rain), Dublin is the winner between Dublin vs Galway. 

For context, Dublin has about 188 days of rain annually with about 680mm of precipitation. 

On average, summers in Dublin range between 12°C (54°F) to 19°C (66°F), while the average temperature during winters is about 11°C (51°F)

Overall, it is rare to see snow in Galway and Dublin during the colder months. But it is definitely windy all year round in Galway and Dublin!

10. Culture

Everyone knows that the nightlife in Dublin is one of a kind! The diverse range of options offers a different experience in terms of style, character, and crowd. 

You can’t help but feel much more alive once you’ve immersed yourself in experiencing the vibrant Dublin nightlife at the iconic Temple District!

Dublin vs GalwayGalway

1. Safety

On the other hand, Galway is a smaller city compared to Dublin. According to Numbeo, Dublin’s safety index stands at a rating of 68.79, while its crime index stands at a rating of 31.21.

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Unsplash

While Galway is technically safer to travel around compared to Dublin, you should always remain alert of your surroundings and take care of your belongings.

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Tripadvisor

2. Food

As Galway is quite close to the sea, you can’t go wrong with ordering the seafood dishes here, such as the cockles, mussels, and oysters. 

Nevertheless, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options in Galway, which are just as delicious!

But if you’re indecisive about where to eat in Galway, joining a food tour is your best option. The guide will lead you to the best places for delicacies that will delight your taste buds!

You can also head for the Galway Market, which is only open on the weekends. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours searching for delicious treats through hundreds of stalls.

Dublin vs galway

3. Attractions

If you love the countryside, then Galway is the place to be. After all, it’s dubbed as the cultural capital of Ireland for a reason! 

Galway is famous for hosting many festivals throughout the year. If you decide to visit Galway, don’t forget to check whether any festivals will coincide with your holiday!

If you’re feeling adventurous, check out an Irish dancing class for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

If you are stumped on what to do in Galway, here are a few of our suggestions on what you can check out here:

1. Join A Tour

If you are in Dublin and decide to check out Galway, why not join a tour? 

For instance, you can join a 13-hour tour that includes visiting Galway and the famous Cliffs of Moher. 

Besides, joining a tour is a great way to explore more of Ireland without fussing over transportation and buying tickets in a queue.  

All you gotta do is pay ahead and get ready for a fulfilling day of exploring Galway and the countryside!

2. Galway Market

Although Galway Market is only open during the weekend, you’d be surprised to know that this market has been operating for centuries. 

With hundreds of stalls on site, you get to enjoy all sorts of Irish delicacies and baked goods. 

Other international cuisines such as Japanese and Indian food are available in this unique market as well. So, be sure to go there on an empty stomach to enjoy all the food!

There are also many unique craft stalls and live music that sets a unique atmosphere for you to enjoy.

If you happen to be in Galway during the Christmas season, don’t forget to check out the magical Galway Christmas Markets! 

3. Aran Islands

If you want to see more of the countryside, the Aran Islands are a must on your itinerary!

The Aran Islands comprises of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oírr. You can board a ferry or take a plane to these beautiful islands. 

Picture this: you are cycling around the islands surrounded by the magnificent coastal scenery while the wind ruffles your hair! I wish I could be there right now O_O

Besides, there’s plenty to be found on the islands. There’s the historical stone fort on the cliff of Inis Mór, Inis Oírr’s Plassey shipwreck, scuba diving, scenic hiking, and much more!

4. Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is a treasure trove of history, colorful stores, unique architecture, and entertainment. 

You will be captivated by the atmosphere and beauty the moment you walk on this iconic street. 

As you stroll through the street, you will be serenaded by various musicians and spoiled for choice by the numerous shops and restaurants. 

The best part is the Latin Quarter is only a few minutes away from the Galway Market! So, you can easily plan these two places as part of your itinerary for the same day. 

5. Kylemore Abbey

Built in 1868, Kylemore Abbey looks like something that came out of a fairytale with endless stories of romance and tragedy. 

Now, the abbey has been the home of Benedictine nuns for many years. But you can still go for a tour of Kylemore Abbey and get to know its history better. 

Aside from exploring the castle, the estate also has Victorian Walled Gardens, one of the last Victorian walled gardens that was built in Ireland. 

The colors of the gardens change throughout the seasons and are beautiful throughout the year. 

6. Connemara National Park 

If you’re an outdoor and hiking enthusiast, you must not miss out on visiting Connemara National Park. 

The mountains, grasslands, colorful Irish bog, and stunning scenery will take your breath away. You will want to stay here surrounded by this natural splendor forever!

While it is exciting to spend the day hiking trails and admiring the magnificent landscapes, we recommend you wear a comfortable pair of hiking shoes to ease your walk around the national park.

4. Day Tours

1. Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin

If you are in Dublin but wish to explore the rugged countryside of Ireland, then this tour is perfect for you! 

Enjoy a full-day trip to the Cliff of Mohers and the city of Galway. Walk along the cliffs as you admire the magnificent coastal scenery before heading to Galway for a guided tour!

Even when you’re in the coach, you won’t be bored! 

Aside from the free Wi-Fi on board, you will be entertained by the endless tales of Irish music, folklore, and history. 

2. The Legendary Walking Tour of Galway

You will meet for the tour in front of the Galway City Museum. If you are up for it, you can come earlier to tour this museum while waiting for the rest of the tour to arrive. 

There is so much to see and learn throughout this tour, so get your cameras ready to capture some of Galway’s best landmarks! 

Learn about the tales and history of Galway, including the murder case related to the influential Lynch family, the Hall of the Red Earl, The Spanish Arch, and more!

3. Galway to Connemara National Park Day Tour

This tour is ideal for any outdoor lovers among you! 

You’ll depart from Galway to visit Connemara National Park and stop by a few charming villages and Killary Harbor.

Along the way, you learn more about Galway’s culture and music. So, it definitely will be an enriching experience during the coach ride. 

With plenty of walking and hiking involved, this tour is recommended for travelers of moderate fitness levels. 

A good pair of hiking shoes and a bottle of sunscreen will be your perfect companions throughout this tour too!

4. Galway Food Tours

What better way to explore Galway’s best food than a food tour? It’s an eye-opening experience to learn where the ingredients come from. 

You get to meet artisan producers and sample their products – from cheese to chocolates to beer. Toward the end, you even get to bring a goodie bag back home!

5. Public Transport

Whether you plan to take a taxi or board a bus, Dublin and Galway’s public transport systems are easily accessible throughout the day. 

If you’re hanging around in the city area, you’ll be pleased to know that usually wherever you need to go is within walking distance! 

But if you plan to explore the areas outside of the city, you should have a car so it is convenient to drive to wherever you want to go. 

Typically, the locals would prefer to walk or take the bus around the city.

Just like the system for Dublin buses, Galway’s public bus system is pretty reliable and affordable, which is a relief! 

There are also numerous taxis around the city, or you can use apps like Uber, ProCab, and FreeNow. 

Dublin vs galway

6. Affordability 

Galway isn’t cheap either, but it is definitely more affordable than Dublin, with an average rent of €1,536 (USD 1,666) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment in the city.  

In terms of job opportunities, Galway may not have as many options as Dublin does. But sectors such as technology, tourism, manufacturing, and banking and finance are expecting job growth in the next few years.

Dublin vs galway

7. Education

Although Galway is smaller than Dublin in terms of area and population, the city has a vibrant student community that will make you feel welcome with its Irish hospitality.

There is so much to explore in Galway, the cultural capital of Ireland. There are many festivals throughout the year for you to enjoy. Its markets and nightlife are rather lively as well.

It is also easy to get around in the city as many areas are within walking distance. So, you don’t have to worry too much about getting a car, unless you plan to explore the areas outside of the city. 

Not to mention the rugged countryside of Galway, which will take your breath away. If you are a student and an outdoor lover, then Galway is for you!

8. Size Of City

Galway has an estimated population of 85,256 living in an area of 57.3 km2.

9. Weather

Everyone knows that Ireland is famous for its rainy weather! 

While both Galway and Dublin have plenty of rain throughout the year, Galway does have much more rain compared to the eastern side of Ireland, such as Dublin. 

For context, Galway has about 230 days of rain per year with more than 2,800mm of precipitation!

Overall, the temperature during summers in Galway is about 17°C (63°F) and rarely exceeds 25°C (77°F), while the average temperature during winters in the day hovers around 5°C (41°F)

During the colder months, it is rare to see snow in Galway. But you will definitely experience windy conditions all year round here. 

10. Culture

Galway is more about having late-night bars, which might work better for the older crowd. Galway is also more of your speed if pubs and live music are your thing. 

The locals perform excellent live music for different genres – country, folk, rock, and more. So, there is something for everyone! 

Aside from that, Galway is a smaller city, so you won’t feel overwhelmed by its crowds. You can walk around the city to go bar hopping throughout the night.

FAQs On Dublin vs Galway

How Far Is It From Dublin To Galway?

So, how far is it from Dublin to Galway?

It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to travel from Dublin, Ireland to Galway, Ireland. 

You can board a Dublin bus to Galway, or take a train, which is definitely more comfortable. 

If you plan to drive from Dublin to Galway, car rental is available in Ireland. Some companies even allow you to drop off the car at a different location, which is really convenient!

Is It Cheaper To Live In Dublin Or Galway?

It is cheaper to live in Galway compared to Dublin. 

In terms of cost of living between Galway vs Dublin, it costs about €1,536 (USD 1,666) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment in Galway.

Meanwhile, it costs about €2,046 (USD 2,219) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment in Dublin.

Dublin vs galway

Photo Dublin vs Galway: Tripadvisor

What Can I Do In Galway For A Weekend?

So, what can you do in Galway for a weekend? Here are a few of our suggestions to enjoy a great weekend in Galway!

1. If you’re in Dublin and wish to check out Galway, join this 13-hour tour! This is one of the Dublin tours to Galway that includes the famous Cliffs of Moher. 

2. Head to the centuries-old Galway Market (which is only open during the weekend) to savor all sorts of Irish delicacies and enjoy the live Irish music, which really sets the unique atmosphere of the market!

3. For my outdoor lovers, board a ferry or take a plane to the glorious Aran Islands! Whether you are cycling around the island, hiking the trails, or scuba diving, you will fall in love with this place. 

4. Be prepared to fall in love with the iconic Latin Quarter as the buskers serenade you with Irish music, and the smell of good food tempts you to open your wallets to try them all!

5. Visit Kylemore Abbey and learn its tales of romance and tragedy from the guided tour. The Victorian walled gardens of the estate are worth a visit as well!

6. Hiking enthusiasts will have so much fun exploring Connemara National Park! We recommend going there by tour if you do not wish to rent a car to drive there. 

Dublin vs galway

Photo: Tripadvisor

What Can I Do In Dublin For A Weekend?

So, what can you do in Dublin for a weekend? Let us walk you through a few suggestions to make the most of your weekend in Dublin!

1. Experience Dublin’s nightlife by hanging out at the Temple Bar District! Whether you’re here for a good meal or to grab a beer (or more), you are in for a great time!

2. Enjoy a round of afternoon tea after exploring the city for the day! Whether you wish to sip your tea on a bus or in a comfy armchair at the hotel, Dublin has it all!

3. Want to learn more about the history of Ireland? Dublin’s museums are a great place to start. 

To make the most of your weekend, you can visit museums that are within walking distance of each other, such as the Museum of Literature Dublin and the Little Museum of Dublin.

4. If you’re indecisive about where to eat, why not go for a food tour in Dublin? Taste some of the best Irish food for the next few hours and make new friends with the other tourists! 

After all, what better way than to bond over food 😉

5. While it’s a bustling city, Dublin does have many green spaces for you to relax in the presence of nature. Some of the best parks in Dublin include St. Stephen’s Green and the National Botanical Gardens. 

6. You must visit a castle when you’re in Dublin! Dublin Castle is in the city center, so you don’t have to travel far to admire its unique architecture and learn more about its history. 

So, which city has captured your heart for good?

We hope you found this article helpful for you. We know it isn’t easy to decide when it comes to narrowing down between Dublin vs Galway. 

Whether it’s Dublin or Galway, both are such charming cities with their own appeal!

If you are looking for places to stay for your vacation in Dublin, check out some of our guides on navigating Dublin, ranging from food tours to getting around Dublin with ease!

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