Wales Itineraries

Our Grand Tour is ideal for a first visit to Wales, taking in a sampling of the best cities and towns, the country’s industrial heritage and its superb mountain and coastal scenery. Fans of Neolithic cromlechs, ruined abbeys and stately homes should follow our Historic Buildings itinerary, while the more energetic will want to sample items on our Active Wales menu.

If you are planning your travel to Wales yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.


Pembrokeshire coast, Wales

Wales Itinerary 1 - Grand Tour of Wales

If you’ve only got ten days and want to tick off Wales’ acknowledged highlights, hit these.

1. Blaenafon

South Wales’ industrial heritage: the powerful Big Pit mining museum and the evocative ruins of the Ironworks.

2. Cardiff

Ground-breaking architecture, top-notch culture and blistering nightlife in the cool Welsh capital.

3. Gower

Welsh natural heritage at its most stunning, the Gower peninsula boasts wide-open beaches, rocky bays and steep cliffs.

4. St Davids peninsula

Sample some of the finest sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and stay in delightful St Davids.

5. Cadair Idris

The folds of this fine mountain harbour old castles, churches and a steam railway, the Centre for Alternative Technology and the sublime Mawddach Estuary.

6. Snowdonia

Hard-working narrow-gauge railways, slate-mining heritage and nuggety villages in inspiring mountain scenery.

7. Portmeirion

The whimsical Italianate beauty of Clough Williams-Ellis’ “home for fallen buildings”.

8. Conwy and Llandudno

A domineering castle and ancient houses within an intact ring of walls make Conwy an essential stop, best visited from Llandudno, with its grand seaside architecture, and blustery walks on the Great Orme.

9. Llangollen

A canal aqueduct, a heritage railway, a hilltop castle, an abbey ruin and the home of the Ladies of Llangollen all wedged into a bucolic valley.

Wales Itinerary 2 - Historic Buildings

Edward I’s massive castles across north Wales and the wonderful St Davids Cathedral are well known and covered elsewhere: here are a few equally fascinating monuments which can be inspected in a week or so.

1. Tintern Abbey

Admire the wonderful roofless ruin that inspired Wordsworth’s lines, by the placid River Wye.

2. Soar-y-Mynydd chapel

Wales’ most remote chapel, in the wild countryside of Mynydd Eppynt.

3. Carreg Cennen

The most wonderfully sited of all the native Welsh castles, high on a cliff.

4. Pentre Ifan

Wales’ largest burial stone with its 16ft-long top-stone precariously balanced on stone legs.

5. Penrhyn Castle, Bangor

Old masters in a grandiose Victorian mansion that loves to show off its slate-mining wealth.

6. Plas Mawr, Conwy

A superb example of an Elizabethan town house.

7. Plas Newydd, Llangollen

Fascinating mock-Tudor bolt hole of two aristocratic Anglo-Irish ladies.

8. Erddig, Wrexham

A Downton Abbey feel to the relationship between servants and masters at this stately home.

Wales Itinerary 3 - Active Wales

You’ll enjoy that slice of bara brith or pint of Purple Moose all the more if you’ve earned it hiking, biking or surfing. Set aside a week or more.

1. Whitewater rafting: Cardiff

Abundant thrills and spills on these superb man-made rapids.

2. Surfing: Gower

Suit up and surf some of the UK’s finest waves among the bays and beaches of the glorious peninsula.

3. Coasteering: St Davids peninsula

Jump off rocks into the sea, swim across bays and explore caves.

4. Walking: Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Spend a few hours or a few weeks exploring the gorgeous coves, windswept headlands and long beaches of this magical coastal walk.

5. Mine exploring: Corris

Get kitted out with harness and headlamp and listen to arcane tales of mining life in an abandoned slate mine.

6. Mountain biking: Coed y Brenin

Among the very best of many fine places to ride off-road in Wales.

7. Rock climbing: Llanberis Pass

The ultimate mountain challenge in the home of Welsh rock climbing; some climbers engage the guiding services of nearby Plas y Brenin.

8. Walking: Offa’s Dyke Path

Set aside a couple of weeks if you want to tackle the whole of this classic 177-mile long-distance walk which largely follows the ancient earthwork along the English border.

Keith Drew

written by
Keith Drew

updated 26.04.2021

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 Follow him @keithdrewtravel on Twitter and @BigTrips4LittleTravellers on Instagram.

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍