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Make Clifden your base for discovering the route of the Wild Atlantic Way. This coastal town in Galway sits on the Owenglin River, meaning there's breathtaking scenery all around. There's plenty to do within the centre, from tasting whisky at an authentic bar with live Irish music to exploring castle ruins. It's also the gateway to numerous wildlife walks, hiking and biking trails as well as a host of national parks.
You can stay among nature at a Clifden hostel that provides camping by the beach. At a place with lots of communal space it's easy to meet other travellers, but for a bit more privacy choose a hostel that has en-suite rooms. Start your day off right with a free full Irish breakfast, or cook dinner (and save some euros) with accommodation that has a barbecue. Many Clifden hostels have free Wi-Fi too for you to keep in touch with everyone back home.
Clifden town is small enough to be a neighbourhood in its own right. Spending time in the centre will mean you're close to local bars as well as the beach and a handful of walking trails. Cleggan village, the head of Cleggan Bay and home to a grand pier, is close by. If you want to explore the nearby Aran Islands, you can take a boat to Kilronan, which is known for its seafood and white sand beaches.
Stop at Clifden Castle on your tour of the town to witness Gothic architecture and ruins. Once a manor house, it now offers tours of its crumbling facade. For leafy walks (with a tearoom pit stop), head over to Connemara National Park. If you'd rather get out on a bike, you can take on the Sky Road – an 11km route of mountains and coastline. Eyrephort Beach is a short drive away and the perfect spot for wandering along the shore.
If you're flying into Ireland, the closest airport for Clifden is Ireland West Airport Knock, around a 2-hour drive away. The easiest way to reach the town is via Galway City – you can take a train or bus there from Dublin or beyond and switch to a bus into Clifden. The town is easy to navigate on foot, or you can rent a bike from companies in Clifden to get out and discover more of the region.