21 most beautiful beaches in Wales

written by Rachel Mills
updated 8/3/2021
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Wales is your ideal choice for incredible beaches - from surfer waves over family-friendly stations to hiking and cycling trails - Wales offers a beach for any occasion. The Welsh coastline also offers plenty of glorious places to go green off-the-beaten-track , with sustainable trips for every season .

1. Rhossili Beach, Wales

Wales has plenty of incredible beaches, and Rhossili Beach is certainly one of them. As the westernmost beach along the Gower Peninsula, its brutish waves and powerful Atlantic swells are not for the faint-hearted – so it’s understandable you’ll find surfers rather than swimmers here. Be warned that the path down to the beach is very steep.

Fancy waking up to sweeping sea views? The Broad Park offers sea view rooms only a few car minutes away from the beach.

Rhossili Bay, Wales, UK © Steve Mann/Shutterstock

2. Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire

Backed by dunes and with Gower Peninsula on the horizon, Wales’ longest beach is an eight-mile-long dog walkers’ paradise. Roughly translated from Welsh as "silky back", and at low tide the wet beach really does sparkle. Part of the Pembrey Country Park, there are nature trails and cycle paths to explore inland.

If you're planning to stay in the area, consider the Marsh Water Ponds Fishery in Kidwelly.

Sand dune on Cefn Sidan in West Wales © Jenny Burrows/Shutterstock

3. Rhosneigr Beach, Anglesey

This village beach in Anglesey is known to adrenaline seekers (who come out to play in all weathers) for its windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing – surfboards can be hired here too. For those seeking a less frenetic activity, at low tide there are lots of lovely rock pools to explore.

The Sandy Mount House is a beautiful property only a few steps away from the beach in Rhosneigr.

© Andy Troy/Shutterstock

4. Llanbedrog Beach, Gwynedd

This beach, run by the National Trust, is on the more bucolic south coast of Llyn Peninsula. Sheltered by the headland of Mynydd Tir-y-Cwmwd, the calm waters are perfect for splashing about with the family. There are seventy colourfully-painted wooden beach huts which add to the laidback and friendly vibe. Well behaved dogs (and owners) are also welcome.

There's many different holiday homes to choose from, try the Holiday Home Darris for a lovely patio and garden views.

© Anna Phillips/Shutterstock

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5. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Certainly no stranger to the "Best Beach" awards, cute little Barafundle takes a small bay-shaped chunk out of the inimitable Pembrokeshire Coast. It’s a walk from the car park but its pristine sands and crystal clear waters really are worth the trip; ramp up the temperature gauge a bit and you might well mistake it for the Caribbean…

The East Trewant Farm is a charming property and a wonderful choice especially when travelling with family.

Barafundle Bay Wales © Shutterstock

6. Porthor (Oer), Gwynedd

On the northern Lleyn coast, the white sands here are famous for the squeaking sound that is made as you trample the dry sand underfoot, giving them the nickname "Whistling Sands". The crescent shaped picturesque beach has rugged headland at either end and the water here is popular with swimmers and surfers.

While there are no properties to stay directly on the beach, try out the Cottage Bryn Llan Leisure in Pwllheli, less than a 10 minute drive from the beach.

Whispering sands Llyn Peninsula Wales © Johann Knox/Shutterstock

7. Aberdyfi (Aberdovey), Gwynedd

There’s four miles of coastline from Tywyn all the way to Aberdyfi, an idyllic coastal village at the mouth of the River Dyfi. The beautiful estuary beach has the foothills of Snowdonia as a backdrop and is a well known spot for stunning sunsets. You can follow the old "Roman Road" (actually built in the 1800s) for a lovely walk beside the water and stop at one of the village pubs for a bite to eat and a pint of ale.

With amazing views over the sea, the Britannia Coaching Inn is just 200m from Aberdyfi Beach.

8. Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire

Wide and wild, with a pretty mix of sand and rocks, Whitesands Bay curves round close to St David’s head. It’s a top spot for surfing, and makes up a portion of the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path. On a sunny day, the sea turns a deep and mesmerizing sapphire blue.

Consider staying in St David's, with a larger selection of accommodation options like the St David's Cross Hotel.

The extensive beach at Whitesands Bay, Nr St David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales © Peter Moulton/Shutterstock

9. Broad Haven (St Brides Bay), Pembrokeshire

This family-friendly beach has safe swimming and spectacular views out across St Brides Bay. When the tide is right out, the beach is huge, with cliffs at either end. Compared to some Welsh beaches, Broad Haven is positively brash; come here for typical, wonderful, British seaside fun.

Broad Haven's YHA is set in private grounds, just 100m from the Blue Flag beaches.

10. Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire

Between Amroth and Laugharne on Carmarthen Bay, this vast seven-mile stretch of beach is famous for the car racing of yesteryear. The "sands of speed" are still as smooth and straight as they were when Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record here in the 1920s. Cars are still allowed on the beach, but today it’s the kite buggies that race up and down.

For gorgeous views of the surroundings, check in to Pendine Heights Apartment with a lovely balcony and your own fully equipped holiday home.

© antb/Shutterstock

11. Rest Bay, Bridgend

Few people know exactly what’s on offer in this friendly little county sandwiched between Cardiff and Swansea. Rest Bay itself is a quiet, sandy beach located a little distance from the centre of Porthcawl. It’s fast becoming a popular surfing and kitesurfing destination (boasting waves to rival Newquay and Swansea) and is also overlooked by the world class Royal Porthcawl golf club.

Only two kilometres from Rest Bay, the Foam Edge offers accommodation right on the seafront in Porthcawl.

12. Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

The craggy, rock-strewn coastline here is known for its stunning cliffs of grey, gold and purple folds of rock, alternate layers of grey shale and old red sandstone. There are rock pools to explore at the western end of the bay and you should keep an eye out for seabirds and seals.

The Lobster Pot in Marloes offers great value family rooms only 1.5km from Marloes Sands.

13. Tywyn Beach, Gwynedd

This five-mile sandy stretch of beach with shingle and breakers is perfect for walking. In the low season there’s hardly another soul around and, even on sunny summer days, the beach is too large to get really busy. Lots of life gets washed up at hightide, so it’s perfect for inquisitive dogs and children (though watch out for jellyfish).

Right in Tywyn is the 157 Amour Caravan - a small caravan apartment with a fully equipped kitchen and 2 bedrooms, ideal for a family getaway.

© Mark Shutter/Shutterstock

14. Mwnt Beach, Ceredigion

Another beautiful, sheltered and sandy cove, steep steps lead down to this unspoiled bay, which is owned and run by the National Trust. The Wales Coast Path winds its way along the cliffs above, and from here there are extraordinary views as well as the possibility of spotting dolphins, porpoises and seals.

With no hotels directly on the beach, your best bet is to stay in Cardigan, a roughly 20 minutes drive from the beach is the Cliff Hotel and Spa.

15. Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd

This long stretch of sandy beach is on the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula. The waters are protected by a natural harbour and when the tide is in the little boats bobbing on the calm water are a gorgeous sight. Ty Coch Inn was opened here on the beach in 1842, and is today one of the most famous pubs in Wales, with one of the loveliest settings.

The Old Boat Store is a fully equipped apartment with 2 bedrooms, ready to offer you a comfortable stay while exploring the region.

Porthdinllaen Llyn Peninsula Wales Great Britain © januszkurek.com/Shutterstock

16. Three Cliffs Bay, Swansea

This beautiful little bay is surrounded by three prominent crags and is best approached from the car park at Southgate, from where you hike for a mile or so west along the clifftops before you can descend – in the spring patches of brightly coloured flowers pop up along the route. Depending on the tide, and your level of fitness, you can clamber up from the bay to the atmospheric ruins of fourteenth-century Pennard Castle.

Consider staying in Swansea for more accommodation options, like the Hael Farm Cottage.

Pennard Castle, Three Cliffs Bay, Gower, Swansea, Wales © Billy Stock/Shutterstock

17. Tenby North, Pembrokeshire

The harbour and lifeboat station at the eastern end of Tenby's sweeping north beach are incredibly picturesque, as is the pinnacle of Goskar Rock rising up in the middle of the sands. Rows of pastel hued Georgian and Victorian houses and and brightly coloured hotels spread out from the harbour and along the clifftops and fishing boats huddle behind the harbour wall.

The Park Hotel in Tenby offers wonderful views of the bay, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and terraces.

© Shutterstock

18. Llangrannog Beach, Ceredigion

Sebastien Boyesen’s statue of St Caranog overlooks the beaches at Llangrannog, partway along the Ceredigion coast path from Cardigan to Ynys-las. Fishing boats and fishermens' cottages back the main cove, which gets crowded on sunny days – the hidden cove of Cilborth just north (accessible from the main sands at low tide) is a lovely alternative when it's too busy.

Located directly on the beach, the Llais Y Mor is a great option for family trips as well as romantic getaways.

Statue of St Carannog, Llangrannog Beach, Ceredigion, Cardigan, West Wales © Billy Stock/Shutterstock

19. Aberffraw Bay, Anglesey

The name means “estuary of the River Ffraw” and you reach the beach by walking along the sandy riverbank from the village half a mile away. A wide arc of sand backed by dunes, pretty Aberffraw beach is rural and uncrowded.

The Prince Llewelyn Bed and Breakfast is right next to the beach with lovely owners taking amazing care of all of their guests.

Aerial view of Aberffraw Bay and Beach, Anglesey, Wales © januszkurek.com/Shutterstock

20. Llanddwyn Beach, Anglesey

Sometimes called Niwbwrch (Newborough) Beach, scenic Llanddwyn is backed by Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve and its extensive dunes. From the beach there are views across to Snowdonia National Park and the Llyn Peninsula, as well as a path that leads to the rocky promontory of Ynys Llanddyn (Llanddwyn Island) and its old lighthouse, which marks the western entrance to the Menai strait.

Stay in the area, for example in Dwyran with its Glan Morfa Lodge.

Newborough Beach, Wales © matt_train/Shutterstock

21. Dale, Pembrokeshire

The beach at the the tiny village of Dale, 14 miles west of Haverfordwest, is mainly pebble and shingle. Surprisingly sunny, its sheltered east facing beach makes it a popular yachting and watersports centre. The quaint shoreline houses add to the general charm of the place and are evocative of a time when Dale was a smugglers’ village. There’s also a lovely pub overlooking the sands, The Griffin Inn, which specialises in locally sourced seafood.

In Haverfordwest, stay at the College Guest House, a Georgian townhouse only a few hundred meters from the city center.

Boats at Dale is a small village on the Pembrokeshire coast of West Wales © ian woolcock/Shutterstock

Wales isn't only great for beaches, though, not least if you're looking to travel more responsibly. Discover sustainable Wales for all types of traveller, and five eco-friendly holiday ideas in Wales.

We've also got you covered if you're looking for places to stay in Wales for a responsible trip, and for practical ways to travel better in Wales.

You might also want to check out our list of the best experiences in Wales and great hikes and walks in Wales like the Pembrokeshire cost path, some lesser known must-visit places - or just get inspired by this video.

Travel advice for Wales

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written by Rachel Mills
updated 8/3/2021
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Rachel Mills is a freelance writer, editor and broadcaster based by the sea in Kent. She is a co-author for Rough Guides to New Zealand, India, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain a contributor to Telegraph Travel, the Independent, AFAR, DK Eyewitness and loveEXPLORING.com and an expert in sustainable, responsible tourism. Follow her @rachmillstravel on Twitter and Instagram and listen to her show Over Here on ramsgateradio.com.

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