Galway is a perfect base for seeing the West of Ireland, but it is also worth a visit in itself. Although it has only a few typical sightseeing spots, what makes it a wonderful place to stay is the atmosphere, the culture, the people, and the events. Although Galway is the fouth largest city in Ireland, it has retained much of its small town character and is home to many artists, writers, and artisans. Galway is the unofficial cultural capital of Ireland and its lively arts scene peaks during the summertime Galway Arts Festival. Outside of Galway City the wild and sparsely populated Connemara region offers spectacular scenery of valleys, mountains and lakes and unparalleled hill walking across the peaks of the Twelve Bens. The coast line is wrought into rocky inlets sheltering white sand beaches, and is studded with the beautiful Aran islands that make for interesting day trips. Below is a list of categories detailing the best places to visit in and around Galway.