Super useful & totally free Wales travel guides, written by locals who love Wales
Why We Love Wales: Wales has a lot to offer for a small country! Wales has breathtaking mountains, awe-inspiring waterfalls, industrial landscapes, and a spectacular coastline. There are vibrant towns and cities and an amazing selection of eateries that celebrate local produce. Wales is rich in history and culture, from Roman amphitheatres to modern theatres! The ‘Land of Song’ is a magical place to visit where one of the oldest languages in Europe is spoken, Cymraeg (Welsh). You’ll be sure to have an unforgettable trip and a warm welcome – Croeso i Gymru (Welcome to Wales)!
Best of Wales
Wales is full of incredible destinations to visit. Everything from cities to mountain villages to seaside spots! Here are some highlights:
- Cardiff – The capital city of Wales has a vibrant city centre and a beautiful bay.
- Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park – Wales’ largest national park is full of spectacular scenery.
- The Gower Peninsula – A small and stunning area home to spectacular beaches and historical landmarks.
- Machynlleth – Wales’ ancient capital is a unique market town surrounded by nature in the Dyfi Valley.
- Tenby – A popular, colourful, and scenic seaside town in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
There is a huge variety of things to do in Wales, including things you probably had never even dreamt of! A few top recommendations are:
- Visit a castle – There are over 600 recorded castles in Wales, each with a unique history.
- Go hiking – Explore Wales’ three National Parks, stunning coastline, and nature on foot.
- Zip World – An outdoor activity centre whose offerings include soaring over a quarry on the world’s fastest zip line.
- Portmeirion – This beautiful, colourful village overlooks an estuary and feels like a piece of Italy in Wales.
- Epic train rides – Wales’ vintage steam trains and narrow gauge railways are a magical way to see breathtaking scenery.
✨ Read the full list of best things to do in Wales.
🗺️ Where to Stay
Wales is a small country with many great options for places to stay. These recommendations are beautiful in their own right and close to other popular destinations:
- Cardiff – The capital city hosts a wealth of attractions, history, culture, eateries, and has a friendly atmosphere.
- Llanberis – A small village at the foot of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) mountain, popular for hiking trips.
- Aberystwyth – A vibrant seaside town full of culture in the heart of Cardigan Bay.
- St David’s – The UK’s smallest city is a well-known destination near some of Wales’ best beaches.
- Abergavenny – This scenic market town is a great base for exploring Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park.
🛎️ Best Hotels
Wales has a wide selection of hotels that cater to a range of budgets and needs. Here are some top unique hotels:
- Deep Sleep – The world’s deepest underground hotel in an abandoned slate mine beneath the Welsh mountains.
- Portmeirion – This idyllic estate offers guests luxury accommodation in one of two incredible hotels.
- The Coal Exchange – Once the site of Welsh coal trading, this building is now a luxury hotel in the Welsh capital.
- Y Capel – This stunning boutique hotel is in a beautifully renovated Welsh chapel in Conwy.
- Craig Y Nos Castle – A hotel known for being the former home of a famous opera singer and for its paranormal activity!
🚗 Best Road Trips
Traveling in Wales by car can be a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery. But keep your eyes on the road on these stunning routes:
- A470 – Wales’ longest road passes through rugged, spectacular scenery and links Cardiff with Llandudno.
- Anglesey (Ynys Môn) – Drive from mainland Wales to the Isle of Anglesey across the Menai Suspension Bridge.
- The Wye Valley – Follow the serene River Wye down the valley from Chepstow to Monmouth via Tintern.
- Pembrokeshire (A487) – Get sweeping views of stunning beaches and countryside as you wind around rural roads.
- ‘Heads of the Valleys’ – A scenic route through industrial landscapes and a national park (still under construction).
⛱️ Best Beaches
The Welsh coastline is breathtaking and is home to some incredible beaches. These are some of the best beaches in Wales:
- Rhosilli Bay – A stunning sandy beach on the Gower Peninsula, often featured as one of Wales’ top 10 beaches.
- Porthor (Whistling Sands) – A small beach on the Llŷn Peninsula known for its unique whistling sound.
- Whitesands – A large beach in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park popular for water sports.
- Abersoch – This sandy beach with colourful beach huts is a good spot for sunbathing and water sports.
- Barry Island – A popular seaside destination which featured in the British sitcom ‘Gavin and Stacey’.
⛰️ Best Mountains
Wales is known for its mountainous scenery and views. Here are some popular mountains for hiking:
- Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) – Wales’ largest peak which you can summit on a range of trails or by steam train.
- Pen y Fan – The largest peak in South Wales and the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) National Park.
- Cader Idris – One of the Welsh Three Peaks, this dramatic mountain is steeped in legends and is not an easy climb.
- Skirrid Fawr – A distinctive mountain with beautiful views and a relatively easy hike to the summit.
- The Garth – This big hill near Cardiff is a good option for those who want a lighter walk with great views.
🖼️ Best Museums
The many museums across Wales capture the country’s past and present, including Wales’ National Museums. Here are some highlights:
- Big Pit National Coal Museum – Learn about Wales’ coal mining heritage in this former working mine.
- St Fagans National History Museum – Explore Wales’ history in this popular open-air museum across acres of parklands.
- National Slate Museum – Delve into the slate industry and craft of quarrying in this engaging museum.
- National Waterfront Museum – This interactive museum in an old dock area explores Wales’ industry and innovation.
- National Roman Legion Museum – Step back into the Roman Empire in Wales and see rare Roman legionary artifacts.
🏰 Best Castles
It’s hard to choose from Wales’ hundreds of castles as each one is unique. But here are some favourites:
- Caerphilly Castle – The largest castle in Wales and second largest in the UK has a moat and beloved leaning tower.
- Cardiff Castle – This iconic landmark in the heart of the capital city has a history dating back two thousand years.
- Caernarfon Castle – This huge castle has been the site of significant battles and royal occasions in Wales’ history.
- Harlech Castle – A dramatic castle built on a rocky crag with a mountainous backdrop.
- White Castle – A fairytale-like castle in Monmouthshire, on the ‘Three Castles’ hike.
🌊 Best Waterfalls
Wales has many spectacular waterfalls. One of the bonuses of Wales’ wet weather is the plentiful supply of water for them! Here are some top picks:
- Pistyll Rhaeadr – Wales’ tallest waterfall is set in the beautiful Berwyn mountains.
- Sgwd yr Eira – A towering waterfall that you can walk behind (carefully!) in ‘Waterfall Country’.
- Swallow Falls – A stunning waterfall along the Afon Llugwy, surrounded by lush woodland.
- Devil’s Bridge Falls – These magical waterfalls are set in a gorge and plummet past the iconic ‘Three Bridges’.
- Henrhyd Falls – The highest waterfall in South Wales has even appeared in a Batman movie!
Wales Travel Advice
Wales typically has wet and windy weather, with fairly mild temperatures. Summer is the best time to visit to increase the likelihood of a sunny day.
- 🌞 Summer – Typically the hottest season with the most sunshine, the least rainfall, and the highest sea temperatures.
- 🌼 Spring – A warm but often rainy time of the year that hosts spring flowers, lambing season, and Welsh events.
- 🍂 Autumn – The rainiest season of the year is a good time to see waterfalls and beautiful autumnal leaves.
- ❄️ Winter – A cold and often icy season with the warm glow of festive cheer and events.
🗓️ Read the full guide to when to visit Wales.
🚌 Getting In & Around
For a largely rural country, Wales has a fairly decent (if sometimes unpredictable) public transport network. There are also good road networks and some great routes for active travel.
- ✈️ Airports – Cardiff has a small airport. You can travel to Wales from airports in England.
- 🚗 Driving – You can travel around easily and get to rural locations with a car.
- 🚌 Bus – There are good bus connections across Wales including inter-city coaches and local buses.
- 🚇 Trains – Travelling by train can be convenient and scenic, especially on the ‘heart of Wales’ line.
- 📲 Ride Share – Taxis are available in cities and rural areas, booking in advance is often advisable.
- 🚴♀️ Cycling – There are some great cycling routes and facilities across Wales.
- 🚶♀️ Walking – Wales is known for hiking, and you can explore much of the countryside on foot.
👉 Tips & Things to Know
- 🏴 – Welsh (Cymraeg) – Welsh is an official language of Wales and is still widely used and spoken, especially in North Wales.
- 📅 – Keep plans flexible – The weather can change quickly so you might need to adapt depending on the weather.
- 👍 – Explore responsibly – Park in designated car parks, always stick to the path, and check the weather before doing outdoor activities.
- 🚌 – Public transport – Check recent timetables for buses and listen to announcements on trains.
- 🏰 – Cadw membership – Consider becoming a member of Cadw if you plan on visiting multiple castles and historic sites. You’ll get free or reduced entry to over 130 sites for a small yearly membership fee.
🧳 What to Pack
- 🧥 – Raincoat – Wales is notoriously wet and windy so come prepared with a decent raincoat.
- 🚶♀️ – Hiking Boots – Bring decent hiking or waterproof boots to keep your feet comfy and dry.
- 👖 – Layers – The weather is unpredictable and can change in any season. Bring layers so you can easily adapt.
- 💳 – Cash and card – Bring cash (GBP) and a card – some places only accept one or the other.
- 📷 – Camera – You’re going to want to take lots of photos of Wales, so bring your camera and its charger!
🤓 Facts & Info
- Population (2021) – 3,107,500
- Capital – Cardiff
- Largest Metro Areas – Cardiff, Swansea, Newport
- Time Zone – Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and British Summer Time (BST) (UTC/UTC+1 during daylight savings)
- Airports – Cardiff (CWL)
- Colleges & Universities – Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, University of South Wales
- Nickname – Land of Song
- Demonynm – Welsh
- Prime Minister – Rishi Sunak (The Conservatives)
- Welsh First Minister (Prif Weinidog) – Mark Drakeford (Labour)
- Country – United Kingdom
💵 Costs & Budgeting
- 3 Star Hotel Room – £100/night
- 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental -£120/night
- Rental Car – £85/day
- Public Transport Ticket – ~£4
- Take Out Meal for Two – £24-£45
- Sit Down Dinner for Two – £30-£60
- Draft Beer – £3 – £6/pint
FAQs About Visiting Wales
Is Wales safe for tourists?
Wales is a safe country for tourists. Crime rates are relatively low across the country and in popular tourist destinations. Tourists should take care of their belongings and be sensible when exploring the countryside.
Do I need a car to visit Wales?
You do not need a car to explore Wales. There are good public transport connections to plenty of beautiful places. However, journeys by car can be quicker and allow you to visit harder-to-reach rural destinations.
How many days are enough to visit Wales?
Seven days is enough to visit Wales. One week gives you ample time to visit a variety of destinations across the country without being rushed. No matter how long you stay, you’ll probably want to return!
What is Wales known for?
Wales is known for its stunning scenery and landscapes, particularly its mountains and coastline. It is also known for its castles, historic monuments, and landmarks. Welsh people are renowned for their friendliness.
Is Wales worth going to?
Wales is definitely worth going to. Wales is full of incredible scenery and landscapes, from its rugged coastline to dramatic mountains. The small country is home to interesting and beautiful cities and towns, and lots of history and culture. You won’t regret a visit!
Meet Our Wales Travel Expert
Ruthie Walters is a freelance writer from Cardiff. She is passionate about sharing travel tips for Wales and is always excited to discover new Welsh destinations. When not exploring her home nation, she can be found in far-flung corners of Europe, or farther afield. Ruthie has a background in languages, communications and campaigning. She’s now pursuing her love of writing and writes about travel and other topics on her site Thought Bubbles.
📰 Wales Travel Guides
There is lots to explore in Wales and across the United Kingdom! To help plan your trip, check out our other articles written by locals and experts:
- 7 Best Cities in Wales in 2023 (By a Local)
- 23 Best Things to Do in Wales in 2023 (By a Local)
- 29 Best Things to Do in Cardiff in 2023 (By a Local)
- The Best Time to Visit Cardiff (A Local’s Guide)
- 19 Best Day Trips from Cardiff in 2023 (By a Local)
- Best Time to Visit Wales in 2023 (By a Local)