There are few things in life as satisfying as a deep breath of fresh air – apart from being in love, of course. Valentine’s Day is almost upon us; the holiday synonymous with flowers, chocolates, romantic gifts and general indulgence. Restaurants heave, couples cuddle and spenders splurge on February 14.
Being showered with gifts and affection sounds like the ultimate luxury day to many of us. Having said that, Valentine’s Day is not everyone’s cup of tea, and single folk of the world are rarely excited by it. If you prefer a non-traditional day of love, then why not get out and explore the great outdoors of gorgeous Galway?
Although it’s still bitter outside, wrapping up warm with loved ones – whether romantic or otherwise – is a wonderful way to spend St. Valentine’s Day. Devote this love day to doing exactly that, loving where you are. Here are our top 10 most romantic (and just plain beautiful) outdoor locations in the county.
1. The Aran Islands
Is there anywhere more gorgeous? Each island is more interesting and impressive than the last. With history, character, stunning landscapes and a certain magical authenticity that is impossible to replicate, you can take your pick of these three islands for a romantic getaway. Ideal for a day trip or a weekend away, the islands are accessible by ferry or flight.
2. Barna Woods
The perfect spot for a family outing, and dog friendly too, is the charming Barna Woods. Located on the edge of the western side of Galway just a ten-minute drive from the city centre, Barna Woods is such a convenient spot to get out into nature. With a gorgeous array of ecological habitats, flora and fauna and small wildlife, you’re guaranteed to fill your lungs with some quality fresh air.
3. Brigit’s Garden
Between Moycullen and Oughterard in Roscahill, and just a twenty-minute drive from the city, is the picturesque Brigit’s Garden. Reconnect with nature and the Celtic calendar in their four main gardens, surrounded by meadows, native wildflowers and garden paths. Cosy up in their adorable café and enjoy fresh and local produce with herbs from the gardens.
4. The Spanish Arch
Although it’s not exactly picnic weather, The Spanish Arch is in such a pretty location next to the water. Both scenic and historic, The Arch is lovely to walk through whilst roaming around the city. Plenty of chic cafes are situated nearby to shelter from the cold, offering the perfect excuse for a cuddle.
5. Coole Park
With two marked trails to follow through the beautiful grounds, ample parking and marvellous landscapes and surrounds, Coole Park in Gort is picture perfect for a romantic stroll. Wildlife, woods, flora and fauna greet you at every corner to compliment the magnificent colours of winter.
6. The Long Walk
Beginning in the city just beyond the aforementioned Spanish Arch, The Long Walk is the perfect introduction to the west of Galway. Fresh seaside air will take you as far as the Prom and Salthill, where you can enjoy the bustling bars and restaurants that permeate this subculture of Galway. What could be more picturesque than the sea and your sweetheart by your side?
7. Renville Park
With gorgeous walks through the woods and alongside the sea, just outside the city in Oranmore, Renville Park is another brilliant option for refreshing views and quality amenities. With free parking, playground and picnic areas throughout, Renville Park makes for a charming and convenient day trip.
8. Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Gardens
Discover the magic and beauty of one of Ireland’s most iconic attractions. The stunningly beautiful grounds include a craft and design shop selling Kylemore Abbey Pottery as well as award-winning chocolates handmade by the Benedictine nuns. The grounds are historic, beautiful and most importantly, utterly romantic.
The village of Roundstone is beautifully located along one of the most spectacular coastal drives in Ireland, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean along the Wild Atlantic Way. The most stunning place to watch the sunset, the surrounding rugged mountains and scenery will take your breath away
10. Connemara National Park
Get an insight into Connemara’s history, wildlife and geology with a visit to Connemara National Park. The park is free with a playground, tea rooms and nature trails to keep you active and enjoying the outdoors with loved ones. The real gem of Galway, Connemara simply had to make our list.