Wales travel guide

Beachcombers, adrenaline junkies, wildlife watchers and knights in shining armour: head southwest. Over a quarter of the land in Wales is dedicated either to national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty, and they’re not there just to look pretty either. You’ve got award winning Blue Flag beaches to sunbathe or go rock pooling; what feels like endless trails for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking; more than 600 historic castles dotting the scenery; and vast swathes of picturesque coastline off which surfers and kayakers can share the waves with dolphins, whales and seals. Simply put: it’s a nature lover’s dream.
There’s a Welsh word, ‘hiraeth’, that loosely translates to nostalgia or homesickness. It’s easy to see how its hills, valleys and coastline might evoke such feelings, even if you’re not from these parts yourself.
Another reason to recommend Wales is the Goldilocks-weather. Most of the year it’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right. And of course scenery like this becomes even more dramatic when it’s overcast. Crossing the Severn Bridge from England into Wales there is a toll to pay, and believe us, it’s worth every penny. Read our Wales travel guide for more details.
Wales is/isn't

Wales is…

paradise for active and adventurous travelers of all ages. Guaranteed to clear away the cobwebs even if you’re only coming for a long weekend.

Wales isn’t…

soggy all year round. In fact, the weather is usually as moderate as other parts of the UK, if a little erratic.

Our top Wales Vacation

Sea kayaking vacation in Wales

Sea kayaking vacation in Wales

See Kayaking exploration on the Pembrokeshire Coast

From £305 to £585 2 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 17 Apr, 22 May, 24 May, 12 Jun, 21 Jun, 3 Jul, 19 Jul, 7 Aug, 23 Aug, 28 Aug, 4 Sep, 6 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Wales or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Wales map & highlights

Like a harmony choir in full swing, Wales is a country of soaring highs and plunging lows. There is the brawny expanse of the Cambrian Mountains that connect with the ranges of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Then there are the deep valleys carved between peaks, lined with old communities such as Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent where so much of the national culture is rooted. The Welsh coast, particularly that of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Cardigan Bay further north, boasts some of the most sublime beaches in the British Isles, with miles of walking routes and activities such as coasteering and stand up paddle boarding. For a taste of real wilderness, daytrips are possible to nearby islands such as Skomer, Bardsley and Caldey.
1. Pembrokeshire beaches
2. Cambrian Mountains
3. Cardigan Bay
4. Long distance walking trails
5. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
6. Snowdonia National Park
Pembrokeshire beaches

1. Pembrokeshire beaches

If it’s beaches you want then you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Pembrokeshire National Park. One of the most attractive is Abermawr Beach, remote and pebbly until the tide recedes to unveil golden sands, and with a gorgeous bluebell wood nearby. On the other side of the peninsula from Abermawr there is the vast Newgale Beach, far windier and so an ideal spot for surfing and kiteboarding.
Cambrian Mountains

2. Cambrian Mountains

Remote, rugged and blissfully peaceful, the Cambrian Mountains in central Wales are one of the UK’s last true wildernesses. From Pumlumon, on a clear day, you can see as far as Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Birds of prey soar above moorland ridges, and the few settlements of any size, such as the village of Llanddewi Brefi, retain a distinctive character.
Cardigan Bay

3. Cardigan Bay

You’ve heard of spotting the ‘Big Five’ on an African safari; in Cardigan Bay you can find the ‘Big Three’ of Wales – bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises and grey seals. Lined with pretty beaches and seaside resorts, the area offers a variety of landscapes ideal for outdoor pursuits, as well as plenty of cultural attractions including art galleries, museums and the steam-hauled Vale of Rheidol Railway.
Long distance walking trails

4. Long distance walking trails

300km of extravagant natural beauty, the Pembrokeshire Coast Path gently undulates its way through the national park, passing nearly 60 beaches as it stretches from St. Dogmaels to Amroth. Running inland there is another long-distance route from Prestatyn to Chepstow past historic towns and some of Wales’ most glorious rural scenery. If you don't have the time - or endurance - to complete a whole trail, a walk along a section of either makes for a fine day out.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

5. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The only coastal national park in Britain, this ribbon of Blue Flag beaches, cliffs and coves is an immensely popular destination for thrill seekers, from water sports enthusiasts to mountain bikers. There are relaxed seaside towns where you can enjoy traditional Welsh cuisine, the hilly countryside is scattered with charming pubs, and walkers will love the scope of trails from short treks to long-distance.
Snowdonia National Park

6. Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia is another superb area for outdoor activities. There are many great hiking and mountain biking trails of course, but also opportunities for abseiling and rock climbing, horse riding and fishing. Highlights include the vintage railway that takes you up Snowdon, and the quirky Italianate village of Portmeirion, which was the setting for iconic TV show, The Prisoner.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Hefin Owen] [Is/Isn't: Robert J Heath] [Map Intro: Andrew Bone] [Beaches: PreseliVenture] [Cambrian Mountains: David Merrett] [Cardigan Bay: Graham Well] [Long Distance Walking: Alex Liivet] [Pembrokeshire Coast National Park: David Evans] [Snowdonia National Park: Reading Tom]
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