Best travel experiences in Wales

written by Keith Drew
updated 7/29/2021
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For inspiration, check out our list of things you definitely should not miss when travelling in Wales. Also, check out the quick video summary.

1 - Scale the walls at Conwy

One of north Wales’ finest walled medieval towns, Conwy contains over two hundred listed buildings within its tight grid.

© Richard Hayman/Shutterstock

2 - Hike Cadair Idris, Snowdonia

The dominant mountain of southern Snowdonia, Cadair Idris is a magnificent beast chock-full of classic glacial features.

View from Cadair Idris (Penygader or Cader Idris) mountain: lake Llyn y Gader, and Irish sea at the horizon © sosn-a/Shutterstock

3 - Celebrate Music at the Green Man Festival

Three wonderful days of new folk, American and indie music plus a range of workshops, performance art and comedy in green fields near Crickhowell.

© Trybex/Shutterstock

4 - Visit Aberystwyth

The capital of sparsely populated mid-Wales, Aberystwyth is a breezy and bright university and seaside town surrounded by luscious countryside.

Stormy weather at Aberystwyth, Wales, UK © oksana.perkins/Shutterstock

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5 - Go Mountain biking at Coed y Brenin

Some of Wales’ finest singletrack and adrenalin-pumping descents through the forest combine with family trails, high-ropes adventures and even geocaching.

© Matt Gibson/Shutterstock

6 - Take the steam train on the Ffestiniog Railway

Of Wales’ many “great little trains”, the Ffestiniog Railway, winding down through the Snowdonia mountains, is one of the best.

Ffestiniog Railway Portmadoc (Porthmadog) North Wales © Lukas Hejtman/Shutterstock

7 - St Davids Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

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The heart of Welsh spirituality, St Davids Cathedral is at Wales’ westerly extremity and has drawn pilgrims for a millennium and a half.

© Andrew Roland/Shutterstock

8 - Walk the Mawddach Trail

Ride or walk this easy trail beside Wales’ finest estuary, the Mawddach, crossed by the 2253ft rail and foot bridge into Barmouth.

© Alexandra Glen/Shutterstock

9 - Carreg Cennen Castle

The most romantic ruin in Wales, Carreg Cennen Castle sits in glorious isolation amid pastures grazed by Welsh longhorns.

Aerial view of the ruins of an ancient castle on a hilltop (Carreg Cennen, Wales, Britain) © Richard Whitcombe/Shutterstock

10 - Walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a long-distance walking path around some of Wales’ wildest coastal scenery. You can break it into a series of day walks, or tackle the full 187 miles in one big push.

© Shutterstock

11 - St Fagans National History Museum

An unmissable chronicle of Welsh life, featuring period buildings from all over the country.

© Gail Johnson/Shutterstock

12 - Climb Snowdon

Hike one of half a dozen demanding tracks to the top of Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain – or take the train and sup a beer at the summit café.

© Lukassek/Shutterstock

13 - Enjoy modern architecture in Cardiff Bay

The wonderful Wales Millennium Centre and National Assembly Building are just two of many striking modern structures around the rejuvenated Cardiff Bay.

© Shutterstock

14 - Portmeirion

The grandest folly of them all, Portmeirion is a gorgeous visual poem that will melt the hardest heart.

© Debu55y/Shutterstock

15 - Walk the Wye Valley

Soak up the pastoral beauty of the wonderful Wye valley and sense why Wordsworth was so moved as you wander past Tintern Abbey.

© matthi/Shutterstock

16 - Coal-mining history at the Valleys

Colourful terraces of housing, hunkered down under the hills, are the hallmark of Wales’ world-famous Valleys, the old mining area in the south.

Village of Grosmont on the border of England and Wales © Cliff Day/Shutterstock

17 - Sample Abergavenny’s food

Sample some of the best morsels Wales has to offer in the gastronomic hotspot Abergavenny or, better still, time your visit to coincide with September’s food festival, among the best in Britain.

© Nicky Rhodes/Shutterstock

18 - Explore the Big Pit

Plunge into the depths of coal-bearing earth in this superb evocation of what life was like for vast numbers of Valleys miners.

Big pit National Coal Museum-South Wales, UK © Ajit Wick/Shutterstock

19 - Visit the Aberglasney gardens

Rescued from near-terminal decay, these formal gardens in the Tywi Valley are a perfect counterpoint to the nearby National Botanic Garden of Wales.

20 - Partake in Llanwrtyd Wells’ mad events

Bog snorkelling, a Man versus Horse Marathon and a Real Ale Wobble bring a wonderful sense of lunacy to Llanwrtyd Wells, a quiet corner of mid-Wales.

(Illustration) © Lasko Dmitry/Shutterstock

21 - Enjoy a game of Rugby

Although Wales’ standing in international rugby fluctuates wildly, the game remains nearly a religion here, never more so than when the national team are playing at Cardiff’s awesome Millennium Stadium.

© PhotoLondonUK/Shutterstock

22 - Relax on the seaside in Llandudno

North Wales’ most genteel seaside resort, Llandudno spreads languidly around the bay beneath the ancient rock plug of the Great Orme.

Llandudno Pier © jax10289/Shutterstock

23 - Walk the Brecon Beacons

The rambling moors of the Brecon Beacons are perfect for wild, lonely walks with thundering waterfalls and limestone caverns as destinations.

© antb/Shutterstock

24 - Hay-on-Wye Festival

Rub shoulders with the literati or just come along for music, a few book readings and a great time to the festival in Hay-on-Wye.

© Allen Paul Photography/Shutterstock

Travel advice for Wales

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written by Keith Drew
updated 7/29/2021
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A former Rough Guides Managing Editor, Keith Drew has written or updated over a dozen Rough Guides, including Costa Rica, Japan and Morocco. As well as writing for The Telegraph, The Guardian and BRITAIN Magazine, among others, he also runs family-travel website Lijoma.com. Follow him @keithdrewtravel on Twitter and @BigTrips4LittleTravellers on Instagram.

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