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Wales Road Trip – the ONLY Itinerary (with Route Map) you Need!

Wales Road Trips- the best welsh road trip itineraries and ideas

Planning a tour of Wales? Want to know the best places to visit on a Wales road trip? Here are some of the best routes and places to visit to create an incredible Welsh road trip itinerary, plus a map to help you see where everything is!

Don’t forget to grab your free downloadable Wales road trip guide to help you plan your trip.

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Wales road trip ideas

I love touring and exploring Wales. It’s one of my favourite places to road trip in the UK and every time I visit I find something new to enjoy, whether it’s a coastal walk, cute independent shops, medieval castles or the never-ending natural beauty.

From my very first trip there, I’ve always found the people friendly, the roads fun and the scenery jawdropping. On that first trip with the motorhome I visited a couple of the best motorhome sites in Wales and it started a love of the country that’s never faded.

I’ve now visited numerous times and can’t wait to go back again. Indeed, I’ve been back several times on my own and recently spent some time exploring the Gower peninsula with my dog and had a great time.

Like many places where there’s so much to do outdoors, the weather can make or break a trip, but the advantage of a road trip around Wales is you can always drive to a different area where the weather might be better!

Wales road trip – most scenic drives

The Welsh tourist board have created 3 national driving routes called the Wales Way and they are all fantastic. One explores the fabulous north coast, one the wilder middle section and one the breathtaking south.

But those driving routes can take longer than you might have for your trip, so we’ve put together some alternative Wales road trip itinerary ideas for you.

If you’ve only got 2 or 3 days, or a long weekend, stick to one area. If you have a week or longer to explore, you could easily do several places on these itineraries or explore one of them in more depth. However you plan your Welsh road trip, you’ll have a fabulous time. 

Planning a trip to Wales?

Grab your FREE guide to the Wales Way road trip routes, including:

  • suggested routes around Wales
  • best places to see on your trip
  • campsites to stay at along the way
  • and other tips for touring Wales

travel planner wales

When is the best time to road trip around Wales?

One of the reasons we love Wales so much is all the outdoor activities it offers. For that reason, we recommend visiting Wales anytime between Easter and mid-October, to really take advantage of the highlights. 

Having said that, Wales is not as seasonal as somewhere like Cornwall , and many tourist attractions and historical sites do not shut for the winter, so you could go out of season and enjoy the lack of tourists. It’s entirely up to you! 

Wales Road Trip Map- plan of our Welsh itinerary

This is a map of our suggested Wales road trip itinerary in full. I find it so frustrating when people mention all the best places to go… and you have no idea where any of them are! I hope this Wales road trip map helps you get more familiar with the places we share in this post.

travel planner wales

How long to do a Wales Road Trip?

We recommend at least 10-14 days to do the entire route. If you have a shorter time, just pick an element of it – one of many good reasons to come back for the rest later!!

Doing it ALL in a week might be a struggle, although you can if you drive a lot and don’t stop often during the day. 

The problem with doing this is you will miss some beautiful places- after all, part of the joy of a road trip is getting out and experiencing the place you’ve just driven to.

Brecon Beacons National Park- the Perfect South Wales Road Trip

Wales Road Trips- the best welsh road trip itineraries and ideas

Suggested by Pauline | BeeLoved City

The Brecon Beacons National Park is perfect for road trippers looking for an adventure. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK and yet so underrated. You will find beautiful wild camping spots where you can enjoy these wide-open spaces, beautiful landscapes and a sky full of stars!

The Brecon Beacons is one of three national parks in Wales. They all offer breath-taking landscapes and amazing hiking opportunities for nature lovers. 

Brecon Beacon road trip- driving the highest mountain road in Wales

The highest driving road in Wales is called the Gospel Pass- snaking over the Black Mountains from Abergavenny to Hay-on-wye on the east of the Beacons

How to get to the Gospel Pass

From Abergavenny, turn off the A465 at Llanvihangel Crucorney and follow signs for the ruins of Llanthony Priory. From Hay-on-Wye, the Gospel pass is sign-posted.

CAUTION- The Pass is 22 miles of often single track, very steep (1/4) and is rarely cleared in winter. Motorhomes might find it tough and snow chains are essential in winter. 

Driving the Top Gear Road

You can also drive another of the best driving roads in Wales- the A4069 (to the west of the Brecon Beacons.) This road was made famous by Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear (no, this is NOT the same road as the Gospel Pass!)

The road runs from Brynamman to Llangadog (I swear I’m not making these names up!) This is another incredibly scenic road- and most of it is 2-way you’ll be pleased to know. We did it on a motorbike- it was spectacular.

What else is there to do on a Brecon Beacons road trip? 

  • Hiking. Lots and lots and lots of hiking
  • Pen-Y-Fan- the highest peak in South Wales (on the road from Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon) Try a Beacons Horseshoe ridge walk which will take you up to the summit of Pen Y Fan- a popular spot with 360-degree views on the Cwm Llwch valley. This 3 to 4 hours walk is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of the Beacons.
  • Waterfalls! There are some incredible waterfalls all over the Brecon Beacon National Park. One of the most popular waterfalls is Sgwd Gwladys. On some there is a small commission for entry and some can be a long walk to get there!
  • Kayaking, rafting and bouldering are also popular
  • Show Caves- visit some of the largest showcases in the UK
  • Visit amazing castles such as Carreg Cennen or Brecon Castle. The area has a rich history and guided tours are a great way to discover amazing Welsh local legends and stories.
  • Visit cute towns like Brecon, Crickhowell or Hye-on-Wye. 

If you have time before you start your Brecon Beacons National Park road trip, be sure to visit the capital city of Cardiff, Castell Coch, Cardiff Castle and nearby Barry Island.

Gower Peninsula – Wales Road Trip highlight

Gower Peninsula- Wales Road Trips- the best welsh road trip itineraries and ideas

Recommended by Clemens | Travellers Archive

The Gower peninsula is a perfect stop on a Wales Road Trip. It’s a small peninsula on the south coast, just west of Swansea. Did you know, it was the first region in Great Britain to be recognised as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.

Why should I include Gower in a Welsh Road Trip itinerary?

“The Gower”, as the peninsula is also called, is a perfect place for outdoor/ nature enthusiasts and is super popular with:

  • bird watchers
  • sun worshippers
  • watersports enthusiasts
  • campers and motorhomers

It’s a short but scenic drive from the main motorway down to Gower Island, where you’ll find an idyllic scene of sandy beaches, fine dining, unique shops and traditional pubs. Above all, it’s topped with the relaxed vibe of a surfing village – the ocean is near and so is the fresh air. It’s the perfect place to relax and have a good time.

Ok, so it’s pretty- but what is there to DO? 

You can easily spend a whole week on the Gower Peninsula.

  • Worm’s Head is a good starting point; a bizarre tidal island on the southwest tip of the peninsula in Rhossili Bay. This is one of the Gower’s most famous attractions- although it’s not entirely clear why!
  • Definitely put in a stop at the small town of Rhossili, where you can rent a surfboard at PJ’s Surfshop and also enjoy delicious fish and chips at the ‘The King’s Head’ pub.
  • Gower also has several of the best beaches in Wales where you can spend relaxed days in the sun. Our favourites are Caswell and Landland, the perfect base for everything you need for a day on the beach: ice cream, parking and shops.
  • Also, don’t forget to go on a proper coastal hike.  The easiest of them all is actually the hike between the two aforementioned beaches. 
  • The Mumbles is where we spent our very first night ‘off-grid’ in our motorhome in late spring. DEFINITELY worth a visit.

Pembrokeshire Road Trip

Pembrokeshire Road trip- Wales Road Trips- the best welsh road trip itineraries and ideas

Recommended by Suzanne | Meandering Wild

The Pembrokeshire Coast is located in the far south-west of Wales.  It is easily accessible from the end of the M4 at Swansea.  The road follows the coastal way with numerous little beaches, beautiful castles and small towns.  Further around the west Wales coast, the roads become smaller and the landscape more rugged.

Highlights of Pembrokeshire- what to include on your Wales road trip?

  • Seaside town of Tenby
  • Caldey Island
  • Pembroke and Pembroke Castle
  • Pembrokeshire coast national park
  • Manobier Castle
  • Skomer Island (puffins!)
  • St Davids- the smallest city in the UK

Pembrokeshire road trip itinerary

Tenby is one of the small seaside towns in Pembrokeshire and has beautiful golden beaches.  In the summer months you can take a short boat ride to the monastic island of Caldey Island.  This is the perfect escape and you can walk to the lighthouse as well as try the chocolate made by the monks.

A short distance from Tenby is Pembroke.  This is one of the larger towns and has a spectacular castle that sits overlooking the river that flows through the town.  Pembroke Castle is impressive, but even more impressive is the nearby Manobier Castle that looks over a small bay perfect for surfing.

If seeing puffins is on your bucket list then don’t miss the nature reserve of Skomer Island. In the summer months this small island is home to thousands of puffins and it’s practically guaranteed to see them.  There are day trips to the island via a boat which runs in good weather (not in the winter months sadly) and cannot be booked in advance.  You will need to arrive in St Martins Haven car park very early to get a ticket for the boat trip. 

The final place to visit in Pembrokeshire is St David’s.  This is the smallest city in the UK but is a great place to visit. Don’t miss the beautiful cathedral and small winding streets- as well as one of the best pasty shops we’ve ever found!

How long should you plan for a Pembrokeshire road trip?

A road trip around Pembrokeshire needs at least three days to really explore, but the longer you can spend there the more you can see.  In the summer months it is busy but the weather is better- especially for the beaches.  In the winter it is wild and desolate but attractions are empty.

You can also grab our interactive map and online guide filled with places to visit in Wales- check it out here

travel planner wales

Wales Road Trip- driving the coast from south Wales to North

As with most countries, there are plenty of routes to head north through Wales from south to North. You could choose the Cambrian Way however, in this instance we highly recommend the coastal route around the west coast of Wales.

Head up from Anglesey, you can enjoy the magnificent views of

  • Cardigan Bay- famous for clear water and frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins
  • Fishguard- a pretty harbour and village
  • Strumble Head lighthouse
  • The coastal town of Aberystwyth- an ancient market town and home of the National Library of Wales. If you have time, detour inland and visit the visitor centre of Elan Valley.
  • Menai Straits- infamous stretch of water and very dangerous!
  • Snowdonia National Park- this requires at least 3 days to do it justice, but if nothing else be sure to visit Mt Snowdon- Wales’ highest peak. You can take a trip on the Snowdon Mountain Railway or choose a walking trail and explore the region.
  • Whilst in Snowdonia, be sure to visit Swallow Falls near Betws-y-coed. It’s the single highest continuous waterfall in Wales, just a short walk from the car park. While you’re here, Capel Curig is also worth a visit.

Isle of Anglesey, North Wales Road Trip

Anglesey Beaumaris Castle- Wales Road Trip- the best welsh road trip itineraries and ideas

Recommended by Sophia | The Wanderful Me

Featuring unbelievable hikes, gorgeous green rolling hills, endless seaside coastlines, cool castles, beautiful beaches and cute little Welsh villages (filled with delicious food!), you should definitely include Anglesey on your Wales road trip itinerary.

Best Things to do in Anglesey 

Across the Menai Strait in North West Wales you’ll find Anglesey- regularly mentioned as one of the best places to visit in Wales . Here are some of the highlights you can include in your driving itinerary:

  • Coastal hikes — there are SO many to choose from and all will deliver incredible views over the sea.
  • Parys Mountain — an abandoned copper mine that now looks like the surface of Mars. 
  • Beaumaris Castle — A Unesco World Heritage site built during the late 13th century and considered to be the most technically perfect castle (its symmetry is incredibly accurate)
  • Visit a lighthouse  — dotted all across the coastline of Anglesey, you’ll find a number of beautiful lighthouses. You can even enjoy an overnight stay in one!

How long should an Anglesey road trip take?

Since Anglesey is pretty small, a road trip shouldn’t take too long! It could easily be done in 1-2 days (especially if you’re not a big hiking fan). Of course, you could slow down and take a few days to see all this island has to offer.

Does it cost money to get to Anglesey if it’s an island?

No- there’s a suspension bridge (the Menai bridge – although sometimes called the Telford Bridge by locals), and it’s free to cross. Cars and motorhomes can get across no problem- just follow the road signs.

When is the best time to plan a road trip to Anglesey?

Wondering what time of the year is best for a visit? Though summers are blissful on Anglesey, it’s incredible packed at this time with UK vacationers and families. Thus, I recommend either doing an Anglesey road trip in the fall or spring, when it’s not too cold or overrun with visitors! 

Want more places to visit in Europe in Autumn? Here are some of the best!

On your way back from Anglesey, there are plenty of incredible places to visit:

  • Caernarfon Castle (right up near Anglesey)
  • Llangollen Canal – we hired a narrowboat from here for a few days to go over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct- which is the best way to experience it! You can do this as a day trip too.
  • Dinas Bran Castle (near Llangollen)
  • Chester- one of my favourite cities in the United Kingdom; right on the border between England and Wales- we visited as part of our epic England Road trip
  • Chirk Castle- a National Trust property well worth a visit
  • Conwy- we stayed here for several nights on a yacht MANY years ago and it was beautiful- a great stop.
  • Wye Valley – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Useful things to know for your Wales Road Trip planning

Do they really speak welsh.

Yep. All signs will be in Welsh, then English. The Welsh are a small nation but fiercely proud of their heritage and language. However, nearly every person in Wales speaks at least some English, and certainly everyone who deals with tourists.

Do they take £/ GBP?

Yes, Wales does NOT have its own currency. They use pound sterling, just like the rest of the UK.

Do they drive on the left or the right?

In the UK, we drive on the left everywhere.

If you’re hiring a rental car, Cardiff city or Swansea is a good base to collect it from in the south, or Chester in the north.

Is it easy to find camping spots for motorhomes/ campervans?

Yes- if you don’t go in high summer. We went in the Easter holidays a few years ago and had no problems finding a campsite, but I’ve heard in the summer they get VERY booked- especially near the sea and Cardiff city.

Books to help your Wales Road Trip

If you prefer a physical book, you might find these helpful:

Take the Slow Road: England and Wales: Inspirational Journeys...

Is wild camping legal in Wales?

It’s tolerated, as much as wild camping is anywhere in the UK . Stay away from the main tourist areas and you should be fine. You might be able to use services at campsites for an extra cost.

Having said that, we were in Wales when it all went a little wrong- watch the video below:

When wild camping goes wrong! (Wild camping tips for beginners)

When wild camping goes wrong! (Wild camping tips for beginners)

If you want a free wild camping checklist, grab it here .

Planning a UK Road Trip? You might find these posts helpful:

  • How to plan a UK road trip- essential things you NEED to know
  • England road trip- the BEST places to visit
  • The ONLY Scotland itinerary you need

See all our UK travel itineraries and tips

I hope this post has helped you find incredible places to visit and enjoy. Been already? Where’s your favourite Wales Road trip? Let us know!

Wales Road Trip Itinerary and Travel tips

Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.

Find out how she went from stuck in the rat race to being a digital nomad and inspiring thousands of people to have their own epic adventures here.

If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.

Last update on 2024-07-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Langland bay on the Gower I assume. I used to surf there as a nipper. PJs surf shop is still there, wow. Pete was a world class surfer back in the day, bought my surf boards and “sex wax” (look it up, it’s for your surfboard) from him when it was just a small shed/garage. I camped there for a summer back in the late seventies, early eighties( the year of the fast net disaster(that was windy), beautiful place. Thanks for the wonderful trip back in time

As someone who was born and brought up in Usk, Monmouthshire (now called Gwent) I would also suggest: 1 the Wye Valley from Chepstow to Monmouth en route to Abergavenny and the Black Mountains 2 Lougharne and the Taff estuary which is not only very beautiful but is a place of pilgrimage for anyone interested in Dylan Thomas 3 Portmeirion on the Mawddach estuary with Barmouth at it’s mouth. Another beautiful spot. 4 There are also number of National Trust houses and gardens that are well worth visiting. Just get on the National Trust website/app. to find out where.

Can I suggest that a trip via Pembrey to visit Wales longest beach (there’s also a very nice caravan park at Pembrey Country Park), Burry Port and North Dock are all worth a visit. It’s then only 30 mins to the Gower peninsular to pick up the remainder of the trip.

Thanks for the tips!

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The World Was Here First

The Ultimate 5 to 7-Day Wales Road Trip Itinerary

Published on December 6, 2023

by Neota Langley

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

travel planner wales

Taking a Wales road trip from the majestic peaks of Snowdonia National Park (known as Eryri in Welsh) to the windswept shores of the Pembrokeshire Coast is the best way to immerse yourself in this land where breath-taking landscapes and charming towns and cities are combined.

Take 5 to 7 days in Wales to fully immerse yourself in the warmth of Welsh hospitality, sample traditional cuisine, and embark on a journey that reveals the fascinating Celtic heritage of this often underrated gem. 

Located on the windswept west coast of the United Kingdom, Wales is home to endless rugged landscapes, ancient history, and a vibrant cultural scene. This enchanting country is not to be overlooked, for it reveals a treasure trove of experiences. Perfect for those who seek to take the road less travelled. 

Table of Contents

How Many Days in Wales?

Wales is a country in itself but it is much smaller than the likes of Ireland or Scotland . This makes it the perfect location for a week-long getaway. Although you won’t be able to explore every corner with 5-7 days, that doesn’t mean you can’t easily experience the highlights. 

With 5 days in Wales, you will be able to hit the two largest national parks, the rugged and mountainous Snowdonia and the glorious coastline of Pembrokeshire.

For the purpose of this itinerary, we begin in the north and come to a close in the south which makes this a circular road trip. This means you can experience the variation of this country in a short amount of time.

Depending on your priorities, you could easily swap out some of the more outdoorsy activities for days spent in Wales’ towns and cities. That’s the joy of exploring such a small country.  

If you have 1 week in Wales, you will be able to visit all 3 national parks. Ramble along coastal footpaths, climb mountains and visit the country’s capital, Cardiff. Discover local cuisine such as Bara Brith (fruit loaf), Lava Bread (seaweed) and the incredibly moreish Welsh Cakes.

The Celtic past and delve into the myths and legends that surround Wales. One week is the perfect amount of time to spend in this varied country but if you do have more time on your hands, we have included some additional locations at the end of this itinerary that are worth adding to your route. 

Lighthouse on Llanddwyn Island

Getting To & Around Wales

Getting to Wales is relatively straightforward, thanks to its air, rail, road and sea connections. This itinerary is set up as a Wales road trip so, the best way to make the most out of your time here, is by car.

If you are visiting the UK and don’t have a car with you, there are several hire locations across the country where you can pick up, and drop off your hire car. You can browse Rentalcars.com to compare options.

There are public transport options if you are unable to hire a car but across the more rural parts, the timetables can be sparse. Visiting Wales is doable when relying on public transport but you will have to allow extra time for connections and there may be certain areas you won’t be able to explore. You can view schedules here.

If you are travelling from further afield, there is one major airport in Cardiff which offers flights to a wide range of destinations across Europe and beyond. There are also direct ferries connecting Anglesey and Fishguard with Ireland . 

Driving through Snowdonia NP

5-7 Day Wales Itinerary

Welcome to Wales, from the mountains in the north to the golden sandy beaches in the south, this road trip whisks you away on a journey of discovery. Take the slow road and explore the hidden gems throughout this Wales itinerary. 

Day 1 – Anglesey

For the purpose of this itinerary, our road trip begins in the north and you can’t get any further north than the island of Anglesey. Known as the “Mother of Wales,” this island, attached to the mainland by the Menai Bridge, is a wild place full of ancient ruins, windswept landscapes, and picturesque villages. 

Anglesey makes the perfect day trip, although you could easily take longer to explore the coast. Start your day by driving over the Menai Bridge, an iconic suspension bridge connecting Anglesey to mainland Wales.

If you have been stuck in the car for a few hours, you will find the National Trust property Plas Newydd on the other side of the bridge. It’s the perfect place to stretch your legs, with beautiful views across the Menai Strait, especially if you have a four-legged companion. 

There are a few options for spending the day on Anglesey, depending on what you want to see and do with your time. 

For those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and embrace the serenity, head down to Newborough Forest. Take a peaceful stroll amidst the towering pine trees before reaching the stunning Llanddwyn Island. Explore its historic lighthouse, ruins, and peaceful beaches.

To get the best of both worlds, head to South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve, where the South Stack Lighthouse stands proudly against the dramatic coastal backdrop.

Take a stroll along the cliffs for breathtaking views out to sea. Then, in the afternoon, you will have time to explore Holyhead, the largest town on Anglesey. Visit St. Cybi’s Church and unwind beside the Holyhead Harbour. 

For the evening, return to the mainland, maybe making a pit stop a the incredible Conwy Castle or Caernarfon Castle on the north coast. For the first two nights of this itinerary, we will be based in or around Snowdonia National Park . 

Menai Suspension Bridge

Where to Stay Near Snowdonia National Park

Hafan Artro – This small hotel in the village of Llanbedr is a great base for exploring North Wales. They have free on-site parking, a full breakfast and a range of comfortable rooms available.

The Tilman – Those after luxury will love this 5-star hotel during their time in North Wales. They have several luxe rooms to choose from, a fab breakfast available and amenities including an on-site bar to enjoy.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Snowdonia hotels!

Day 2 – Snowdon (Eryri)

After a peaceful day enjoying the sea breeze over on the island of Anglesey, it’s time to lace up those hiking boots to head up to the tallest mountain in Wales, Snowdon (Eryri in Welsh). 

For those who love walking and want to complete the challenge of the ascent, the hike up to the summit is beautiful and accessible for most fitness levels/ages during the summer months.

For those who would rather reserve their energy, there is a train that chugs up the steep mountainside to reach the top from Llanberis. No effort required. 

If you are hiking, it’s best to set out early. During the peak season, the path can become crowded, especially later in the day. There are 6 pedestrian routes to the summit but the two that start and finish on the Pen Y Pass road are the best.

You can also create a circuit with these two routes which gives a little more diversity than the other paths. You can park your car in the Pan y Pass car park but you will need to book ahead for a spot during the summer.

Head out on the ‘Pyg’ trail and return on the ‘Miners’ – this way, you could pack your swimwear and take a dip in the Llyn Llydaw, a chilly mountain lake, to cool off on the return. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear, pack a coat and take plenty of snacks and water.

The weather can change very quickly in the mountains so it’s always best to be prepared, even if it’s a beautiful sunny day in the car park. 

You will most likely spend the entire day in the mountains, the hike takes between 6-8 hours. If you are an inexperienced hiker and prefer to go with a guide you can  join a hiking tour  or  organise a private hike.

As you return to your car, it’s likely you will need to have a good meal to replenish your energy. There are plenty of cosy pubs offering meals beside the fire around the area, including ‘The Heights’ in Llanberis.

There is also a pizza restaurant serving the best wood-fired pizzas in North Wales called ‘ Hangin Pizzeria ’ in Betws-y-Coed a short drive away which is definitely worth the trip.  

View from Mount Snowdon

Day 3 – Portmeirion/Mid Wales 

After spending 2 nights in North Wales, day 3 is a road trip day. We have added a few options for pit stops along the way so depending on how much time you have, you could visit one or all three.

The drive itself takes between 3-4 hours depending on where exactly your accommodation is. There is one main road down the west coast of Wales and you’re in luck, it’s an incredibly scenic drive through mountains and along the coast road. 

Our first stop is a slight detour from the main road but is well worth visiting, especially during the summer months when the sun is shining. 

Portmeirion – Is this really Wales? You’d be forgiven for confusing the village of Portmeirion with a quaint village in Italy. It defies convention with an enchanting blend of Italianate architecture and lush landscapes.

Conceived by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this colourful haven transports visitors to a Mediterranean-inspired realm, adorned with pastel buildings, cobbled streets, and exotic gardens. 

Stop number two is the charming coastal town of Aberystwyth. Mid Wales is often overlooked but it is a real hidden gem, with the Cambrian mountains on one side, and Cardigan Bay on the other.

Home to Aberystwyth University, this town exudes a youthful energy, with vibrant cafes, shops, and cultural spaces. You will find the mediaeval castle ruins on one side of the promenade and the funicular railway up Constitution Hill on the other.

Aberystwyth offers endless options for exploration, from spending time on the beach, treating yourself to some authentic Welsh cuisine, hiking in the hills, to rummaging through the independent shops along the high street. If you only have time to stop once on your journey south, Aberystwyth is the place to visit. 

The final stop is the quaint coastal market town of Fishguard. This maritime town is the gateway to Pembrokeshire but also serves as a ferry port to the Republic of Ireland.

The town is famed for the Last Invasion of Britain in 1797, an event commemorated by the impressive tapestry found in the Town Hall. Take a stroll to enjoy breathtaking views from the cliff tops overlooking Fishguard Bay before exploring the winding streets lined with Georgian and Victorian architecture, uncovering local shops and cafes along the way.

For the next 3 nights on this Wales itinerary, we will be based around Pembrokeshire National Park. In terms of accommodation, selecting a central location is a strategic move and will help cut down on driving hours.  

Village of Portmeirion

Where to Stay in Pembrokeshire

Coach Guest House – This guesthouse in Tenby is a great base in Pembrokeshire. They have plenty of comfortable rooms to choose from and a wonderful breakfast each morning.

The Park Hotel – Situated in South Wales just outside of Tenby, this hotel is a great, peaceful getaway in the region. They have beautiful rooms (some with sea views) and a swimming pool on site.

Beachcomber B&B – This beachfront bed and breakfast is another excellent base for exploring Pembrokeshire. They have several delightful rooms to choose from along with an exceptional breakfast available.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Pembrokeshire hotels!

Day 4 – Pembrokeshire – North

We kick off day 4 in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Home to meandering cliff paths, turquoise waters and long stretches of sandy beaches, this is Wales’ answer to the Riviera.

For the purpose of this itinerary, we have split this vast area into two days. It may look like a small national park but with most of the roads being windy country lanes, it can take time to get from one location to the next. 

The unofficial capital of this National Park is St Davids, Britain’s smallest city. Despite its city status, St Davids exudes a charming village atmosphere, characterised by its stunning cathedral, historic sites, local boutiques and a backdrop of rolling hills and pristine beaches. 

Any day trip to this micro-city should start at the magnificent St David’s Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century, this beautiful building stands as a testament to the city’s religious significance, drawing pilgrims from around the world. 

St Davids also serves as a gateway to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a renowned long-distance trail hugging the rugged Welsh coastline. The nearby St Davids Peninsula, with its secluded coves and panoramic vistas and is within walking distance from the city centre,  giving you ample opportunity to explore its natural wonders. 

The centre of the city can become very crowded during the peak summer months and, due its size, parking can be tricky. It’s best to arrive early to make sure you bag a spot and can explore for the rest of the day without worrying. 

Pembrokeshire is a coastal paradise, so it’s only right that our next destination is a beautiful sandy beach. Framed by towering cliffs and rolling sand dunes, Marloes Sands is one of the more ‘off the beaten track’ beaches in this National Park and even during the busiest seasons, there is plenty of space to spread out and find your own slice of tranquillity.

The expansive sands reveal intricate rock formations, tidal pools, and the iconic “Church Rock,” a limestone stack rising dramatically from the sea.

The beach is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, as seabirds soar overhead and seals often bask on the offshore rocks. Make sure you take note of the tide times before visiting, at high tide there is little to no sand visible. 

Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Day 5 – Pembrokeshire – South

Day 5 begins in the unassuming village of Bosherston. As with most of the destinations in Pembrokeshire, it’s best to arrive early to make sure you get a parking spot.

Bosherston is a very small village, with just a campsite, a handful of houses, a pub and a cafe. The reason this quaint village is so popular is what is hidden beneath the trees beyond the car park, the Lily Pools.

These beautiful lakes are full of lily pads and if you visit in July/August, the flowers will be in full bloom. There is a circular path around the lakes but if you take a short diversion, you will emerge from the treeline onto the coast at Broad Haven South Beach.

This hidden bay is complete with golden sands, surrounding countryside and breathtaking rock formations.  

After spending the morning soaking in the best of Wales’ coastline, it’s time to head into the seaside town of Tenby. Although Tenby is a town, it is much larger than St Davids and there are plenty of ways to spend your afternoon.

The town’s three golden-sand beaches invite sun-seekers from around the world, while the mediaeval town walls surround the quirky, vibrant atmosphere of the town’s shops, galleries, and cafes. Explore the bustling harbour, where fishing boats bob on the tide, or take a short boat trip to Caldey Island, home to a tranquil abbey and lighthouse.

If you only have 5 days for your trip to Wales, Tenby is the perfect place to round off your trip. From here, you will be able to reach the M4 in just one hour or, if you are using public transport, there is a train station just outside of the walled town centre.

Make sure you grab a bite to eat before you leave, Tenby is home to some excellent up-and-coming restaurants and street food stalls such as Tap & Tan, Ultracomida and Lokky’s. 

The charming seaside village of Tenby

Day 6 – Brecon Beacons 

If you have dedicated a whole week to exploring Wales then you’re in luck, our next destination is the rugged Brecon Beacons National Park.

A true hiker’s paradise, the Beacons are much smaller than the mountains of Snowdonia but they can be equally as beautiful and are much more accessible for every level of adventurer. Encompassing lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and ancient woodlands, this national park has it all. 

If you loved climbing to the summit of Snowdon, it’s only right that you also bag Pen y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain. Towering over the rolling hills that surround it, Pen Y Fan stands at 886m.

The climb is moderate and is accessible to most, with an easy-to-follow, non-technical path. The journey begins from the popular trailhead at Pont ar Daf, winding through heather-clad slopes and rocky terrain. As you ascend, the panoramic views are revealed, step by step. 

Climbing Pen Y Fan is a popular choice for a day trip in the Brecon Beacons, but for a unique adventure that is a little further from the beaten path, you’ll want to head over to the other side of the National Park to discover the magical trails of Waterfall Country.

Here, a meandering path leads you deep into the ancient forest, venturing along the trails of the Mellte and Hepste Rivers. The highlight is the Four Falls Trail, a mesmerising circular route leading to four breathtaking waterfalls – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and the awe-inspiring Sgwd yr Eira.

Each waterfall has its own unique charm but at Sgwd Y Eira, you can actually walk behind the curtain of water to the otherside. This is also a popular place to go wild swimming in the fresh Welsh mountain river. 

Last on our list of things to do in the Brecon Beacons is the Llyn Y Fan Fach circular hike. This horseshoe walk is much quieter than the Pen Y Fan horseshoe but the incredible views and dramatic geology make it a real hidden gem.

Ascent behind the lake to walk along the ridgeline then loop back around, passing another hidden lake. The real highlight is this legendary hidden valley, where the Lady of the Lake is said to have risen from the waters.

This mythological past, coupled with the tranquil beauty of the lake and mountain views, makes the Llyn y Fan Fach walk a must-do for any adventurer visiting the Brecon Beacons. Plan to spend the night in Cardiff.

Hiking Pen Y Fan

Where to Stay in Cardiff

Parador 44 – This hip hotel is an excellent mid-range option in the centre of Cardiff. They have several modern rooms on offer, an on-site restaurant serving Spanish cuisine and a superb breakfast each morning.

Future Inn Cardiff Bay – This luxe hotel is wonderful for those after a plush stay in Cardiff. Located within easy walking distance of Bute Park and Cardiff Castle, there is a wonderful restaurant on-site along with amenities like room service to enjoy.

The Spires Serviced Apartments – These pet-friendly apartments are perfect for those looking for a self-catering option in the Welsh capital. They have several furnish flats to choose from and a great location for exploring the city.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cardiff hotels!

Day 7 – Cardiff 

Seeing as we are rounding off our trip to Wales in the south, it would be a shame to miss out the country’s capital, Cardiff. This city blends its rich history with a modern day vibrancy, there is plenty to see and do whether you want to discover the castle, spend the day shopping or immerse yourself in Wales’ favourite sport, rugby. 

The city’s iconic skyline is dominated by Cardiff Castle, a mediaeval ruin nestled in the heart of the bustling metropolis.

Take a stroll through Bute Park, a natural oasis perched along the River Taff, before immersing yourself in the cultural delights of the National Museum.

It’s also worth making a short detour to visit the recently modernised waterfront of Cardiff Bay which houses the Wales Millennium Centre and a plethora of shops and restaurants.

If you are a night owl, you will find plenty to do in the city centre as the darkness draws in. From mysterious cocktail bars to thumping nightclubs, this is a university city which really comes alive after dark. 

Cardiff Castle

Have More Time?

If you have more than one week to spend exploring Wales, there are a few additional stops along the way that are worth adding to your itinerary. The first being the coastline just beyond the city of Swansea, known as The Gower Peninsula. 

Designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower is home to iconic spots like Rhossili Bay, with its sweeping sands and the famous rocky outcrop of Worm’s Head. The peninsula is dotted with mediaeval castles, such as Pennard Castle, overlooking Three Cliffs Bay.

A true haven for water enthusiasts, the Gower offers world-class surfing at Llangennith, and opportunities to discover secluded coves by paddleboarding and kayaking.

Wye Valley / Offa’s Dyke

On the border between Wales and England, you will find Offa’s Dyke, an ancient earthwork tracing this historic frontier built by King Offa in the 8th century. Spanning 177 miles, it weaves across diverse landscapes, from rolling hills to woodlands.

Today, the dyke serves as a long-distance trail for hikers and nature enthusiasts, revealing remnants of history along the way, including ancient forts and Roman ruins. 

You can explore this trail the entire way down the spine of Wales but the section that runs through the Wye Valley is the most breathtaking and is well worth taking a day to explore. Carved by nature, this UNESCO-listed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty follows the river Wye, bordered by ancient woodlands and towering limestone cliffs.

Climb up to Symonds Yat Rock, a scenic viewpoint above the village, offering breathtaking vistas of the river winding through the valley. Don’t forget to visit Tintern Abbey, a Gothic masterpiece, founded in 1131. Its soaring arches and weathered stone walls stand as a thought-provoking testament to centuries past.

Llyn Peninsula

Another destination that is a little further from the beaten path is the rugged Llyn Peninsula. Often forgotten in favour of Snowdonia and Anglesey, this coastal haven juts out of north Wales into the wild Irish Sea.

Renowned for its rugged landscapes and picturesque villages, the peninsula boasts enchanting beaches like Porth Neigwl and Porth Oer. Aberdaron, a charming coastal village, marks the far western tip, with its quaint charm and the historic St Hywyn’s Church.

The Llyn Coastal Path meanders along the shoreline, offering panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia.  If you want a peaceful holiday away from the crowds, even in the high season, the Llyn Peninsula is the perfect destination. 

Llyn Peninsula

Wales may be a small country but with hidden valleys, towering mountains, golden sands and mystical waterfalls, it really does have everything. With ample opportunities to discover hidden gems, Wales is one of those destinations that will always leave you wanting more. 

Are you planning to visit Wales? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

travel planner wales

Related Posts:

Beautiful Brecon Beacons NP

One Day in the Brecon Beacons Itinerary: A Day Trip from Cardiff

Stunning Snowdonia Nationla Park

The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Snowdonia Itinerary

The beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast

9 Best Places to Visit in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Neota Langley

About Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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How to Plan the Perfect Wales Itinerary: 7 Things to Consider

How to Plan the Perfect Wales Itinerary

From storybook castles alive with myths and legends to snow-capped peaks and windswept beaches, Wales is an incredible holiday destination. Prefer more of an urban scene? Whether you’re gallery-hopping in Cardiff or savouring Michelin star cuisine in Swansea, you can pack your Wales itinerary with something for everyone. Planning is key, which is why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to plan a travel itinerary for your trip to Cymru.

1. Your personal interests

Naturally, your personal interests should be at the top of your priority list when planning a Wales itinerary. Below, we take a closer look at some inspiration for your trip.

Outdoor adventures in Wales

If you love to hike and be in the wilderness, destinations like Snowdonia National Park will tick your boxes. The country’s other national parks – Brecon Beacons (keep an eye out for wild ponies) and Pembrokeshire Coast (hello puffins!) – are also top picks for nature lovers.

Crazy about castles

Similarly, if you’re a bit of a history buff, you may prefer to prioritise attractions like Pembroke Castle and Cardiff Castle. Both are Welsh showpieces and grace countless postcards and guidebooks. But we’ll let you in on a secret. There are more than 600 castles in Wales! No wonder the country is nicknamed The Land of Castles.

Foodie fiend

Wales is an incredible destination for foodies. You’ll find Michelin star restaurants scattered across the country. As well as big cities like Cardiff and Swansea , you’ll find award-winning establishments in pocket-sized towns and villages.

Of course, one of the best things about Wales is the incredible combination of history, culture and scenery you’ll find around every corner. This makes it easy to plan a Wales travel itinerary that features a variety of experiences.

Conwy Castle Wales

2. Save with passes

From centuries-old castles to ancient forts, Wales is brimming with historical attractions. Visiting one or two big-ticket attractions is doable for most travellers. But admission costs can quickly add up when you spend more than a few days in Wales. This is where passes come in. Here’s a quick overview of what’s on offer:

Cadw Explorer Pass

The Cadw Explorer Pass is a godsend for history aficionados. Available for either three or seven days, this pass unlocks access to a huge range of selected sites and attractions.

It’s offered by Cadw, a government agency dedicated to protecting historic buildings, sites and landscapes across Wales. Fun fact: the word “cadw” translates to “to protect” in Welsh.

  • 3 Day Cadw Explorer Pass gets you three days of free entry over a seven-day period.
  • 7 Day Cadw Explorer Pass gets you seven days of free entry over a 14-day period.

Another option is to become a Cadw member for the year. This gets you unlimited access to hundreds of castles, forts, abbeys and other heritage attractions across the country. If you plan to visit lots of Cadw sites in a single trip or to holiday in Wales multiple times through the year, annual membership offers excellent value for money.

National Trust membership

The National Trust is another organisation worth joining if you plan to visit heritage sites and attractions. Like the Cadw pass, membership gets you unlimited entry to hundreds of National Trust sites across Wales, as well as England and Northern Ireland.

City Sightseeing ticket

In Cardiff, Llandudno and Conwy, a City Sightseeing pass can be a great way to get around the city.

Great Little Trains of Wales card

For train buffs, a Great Little Trains of Wales Discount Card or Gold Card is a worthwhile investment. Enjoy discounted tickets on iconic Welsh train rides, including the Brecon Mountain and Snowdon Mountain Railway.

3. Transport options for your Wales itinerary

Transport is one of the most important factors to consider when researching how to plan a travel itinerary in Wales. Major towns and cities are well-connected by public transport, including buses and trains. Of course, nothing beats a rental car for the ultimate sense of freedom. Or you could consider using your own vehicle, depending on where you live and if you have the time to drive over to Wales.

Like passes for sights and attractions, there are big savings on offer when it comes to transport. Here are a few of our favourite picks:

  • Explore Wales Pass – available to purchase from ticket offices, this pass offers four days of travel within an eight-day timeframe. Enjoy access to all Transport for Wales services, as well as select bus partners and privately-operated railways.
  • Brit Rail UK Pass – Includes travel on National Rail services in Wales. There’s lots of flexibility, making this pass a great option for intrepid travellers.

Another option is booking a guided tour of Wales. If you’re the kind of person who hates planning, an all-inclusive tour can be a great way to experience Wales without lifting a finger. At least when it comes to planning!

Wales Millenium Centre

4. Book attractions and experiences in advance

Simply turning up and buying a ticket at the entrance gate is a good option for most Welsh attractions. However, if you have something extra special in mind it’s worth booking in advance. If you’re wondering how to plan a travel itinerary with zero hiccups, this is one of our best tips.

For example, securing reservations at Michelin star restaurants like The Whitebrook in the Wye Valley and Beach House in Oxwich can be difficult, especially in summer. So it’s best to book in advance if you have your heart set on a particular restaurant.

Pro tip: if you’re looking for Michelin award-winning food at a delicious price, make reservations at The Walnut Tree  in Llanddewi Skirrid. Prices start at £45 for a three-course lunch, making this one of the best-value, top-rated restaurants in the country.

The same concept applies to special events. For example, don’t expect to score last-minute tickets to a high-profile concert at Cardiff Castle or an event at the Wales Millennium Centre.

5. Where to stay

Accommodation has a big impact on your travel experience. Your personal preferences, as well as your budget, are two of the biggest factors to consider when deciding on accommodation for your Wales itinerary. Let’s take a closer look at some of the options:

B&Bs in Wales

Want to experience Wales through a local lens? We highly recommend checking into a B&B. You’ll find them across Wales – everywhere from big cities to chocolate-box villages. Yes, Airbnb is hugely popular. But when we say B&B, we’re talking a more traditional vibe. Expect a warm welcome from your host, cosy décor and most importantly, a scrumptious homecooked breakfast every morning. There’s simply no better way to kickstart a day of sightseeing in Wales.

From Brecon Beacons to the Usk Valley, Wales is blessed with incredibly beautiful countryside. Farm stays are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the scenery and truly appreciate the fresh country air. You’ll find these rural properties across the country, usually on working farms complete with friendly barnyard animals. Naturally, this makes farm stays a popular option for a family-oriented Wales travel itinerary. That said, you’ll also find some amazing luxury farm stays in Wales suitable for romantic getaways.

Lakeside hotel in Wales

For some travellers, nothing beats the convenience of a hotel . They’re a great option in cities like Cardiff and Swansea, where you’ll find hotels for every budget. Whether you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful or want to splurge on a boutique hotel housed in a heritage-listed building, you’re spoilt for choice in Wales.

Self-contained accommodation

Travelling as a group or family? Self-contained accommodation offers all the comfort of home. Features like separate bedrooms, spacious living areas and fully equipped kitchens make it easy to explore by day and stick to your usual evening routines.

Self-contained accommodation is also a wonderful option for groups. If the goal of your trip is to bring people together or spend quality time with your nearest and dearest, self-contained properties are a great choice.

Camping in Wales

Planning a Wales trip itinerary on a budget? Swap hot showers and plush beds for a camping adventure. Wales is strewn with campsites for every occasion. The most affordable are remote and off-the-grid. Perfect for if you want to sleep under the stars and escape the crowds.

If you’re travelling with a family or prefer a few more creature comforts, serviced campsites are a terrific option. Enjoy landscaped grounds, clean toilet and shower blocks, and easy access to nearby towns and villages. Many campsites are within walking distance of pubs!

6. Weather and when to go

Summer in wales.

For many travellers, weather can make or break a holiday. If you’re the kind of person who has a much better time when the sun’s shining, you’ll want to plan your Wales itinerary between June and August. The country is often bathed in sunshine, especially coastal areas like Pembrokeshire.

If activities like swimming and bucket-and-spade fun are on the cards, summer is the best time to visit Wales. For most people, pleasant temperatures and sunshine also make outdoor activities more enjoyable. Of course, summer also translates to bigger crowds and inflated prices, especially when it comes to accommodation.

Autumn can be a wonderful time to visit Wales. Days are often clear and crisp, the countryside explodes in a sea of colour and sipping a pint of ale by a roaring fireplace feels all the more cosy. September, October and November are considered ‘shoulder season’ in Wales and are great months to visit if you want to skip the crowds and score great discounts on accommodation.

Snowy Nant Peris, Caernarfon, Wales in winter

Winter in Wales can be a little wet, windy and wild to say the least. But if you’re up for an adventure and aren’t afraid to get stuck in the occasional rainstorm, winter is an amazing time to plan your Wales travel itinerary. For starters, the country’s mountains are dusted with snow which gives the entire country a storybook feel.

Armed with the right winter shoes and clothing, destinations like Brecon Beacons National Park are still open for business. Instead of a cascade, Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall is decorated with crystalline icicles. Work up an appetite on the three-hour return hike, then head to nearby Penderyn Distillery for a snap of Welsh whisky.

Winter is also a fantastic time to enjoy indoor attractions. From the National Museum Cardiff to MOMA Machynlleth, there’s plenty to keep you entertained on a rainy day. You’ll even find a slew of underground attractions, like King Arthur’s Labyrinth and the Llanfair Slate Caverns.

Spring in Wales

Locals wax lyrical about the period from April to June, when the country is carpeted in wildflowers. Spring is in full swing, and daffodils, bluebells and crocuses start to replace milky-white snowdrops. Waterfalls start to cascade, the sun feels warmer and there’s that sense of hope and positivity in the air. Just don’t forget to pack your wellies. Spring in Wales can be muddy!

The final word on when to plan your Wales itinerary

The bottom line is that weather in Wales can be frustratingly unpredictable. You might encounter glorious sunshine one day and relentless drizzle the next. Our best tip? Pack wisely. There’s no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothing choices! Or at least, that’s what the Welsh will tell you.

7. Research festivals, events and holidays

It’s always worth doing a bit of research before locking in your Wales travel itinerary just in case there’s an event you want to attend or avoid. Prices can skyrocket over busy weekends like the Green Man Festival held in Brecon Beacons every August and the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts in Powys.

If you want to attend an event it’s worth paying a premium for accommodation. However, if you’re not planning to attend, you’ll be forced to absorb inflated prices. This is when shuffling around your Wales trip itinerary can be a good idea.

Now you’re armed with tips on how to plan a travel itinerary in Wales, it’s time to get stuck in as planning is half the fun, so enjoy the process, get creative and most importantly, enjoy your adventure in Wales!

Photo showing the face of Nicholas who is the owner of Wales.org with a grey background

Nick, your trusted guide to Wales travel and exploration, shares a deep passion for this enchanting land. With years of exploration, Nick offers expert insights into the best of Wales. Join him on a journey through its captivating history, culture, and hidden gems, as he inspires you to create unforgettable Welsh travel experiences.

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©  Cambrian Railway Partnership

Barmouth Bridge, North Wales

Plan your trip around Wales

It’s easy to get around Wales by train, bus, car or on foot. If you’re keen to explore, you’ll find plenty of journeys that are wonderful experiences in their own right, on some of the most scenic roads, railways and pathways in Britain. There are also seasonal bus services available in lots of areas that you can use to travel around easily and sustainably.

TrawsCymru  long distance buses are an ideal way of exploring Wales.

The ' TrawsCymru Day Ticket ' allows unlimited travel on TrawsCymru services T1, T1C, T1S, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, T12, X43, and the 460. You can download the TrawsCymru app or buy your ticket from the driver. Other fare offers include local rover tickets and integrated railway and bus tickets. Visit the TrawsCymru fares page for more details and to plan a journey.

TrawsCymru T6 near Brecon, Mid Wales

© Trafnidiaeth Cymru / Transport for Wales

The TrawsCymru network travels through some of Wales’ most spectacular landscapes, from the Pembrokeshire coast to the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) and Eryri (Snowdonia) national parks.

The new TrawsCymru app lets you view bus timetables, view live vehicle tracking updates and tells you how much carbon emissions you’re saving by travelling with TrawsCymru.

Bus services in our national parks

Bus services for walkers and cyclists operate in the Welsh National Parks: the  Coastal Buses  in Pembrokeshire and the  Sherpa'r Wyddfa  in Eryri (Snowdonia). They’re designed to reduce traffic in the parks.

fflecsi is a bookable bus service operating in  12 different locations across Wales , including Pembrokeshire, the Llŷn Peninsula, and the Conwy Valley.

fflecsi will pick you up and drop you off in a service area and not just at a bus stop. You can book your journey via the fflecsi app or by calling 0300 234 0300, then a bus picks you up at your request, changing its route so that all passengers can get to where they need to go.

fflecsi bus in Pembrokeshire, West Wales

© Trafnidiaeth Cymru /  Transport for Wales

Seasonal bus travel

Seasonal bus services operate in many areas over the summer months so you can travel around easily and sustainably.

South Wales

Cardiff Bus  operate an open top bus between Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay, daily from 25 May 2024 until end August. The frequency on the Baycar service (route 6) between the city centre and Cardiff Bay is also increased during the summer.

Explore Porthcawl's seaside attractions on Lucie the Land Train , running from Coney Beach all the way up to Rest Bay, passing the marina, the main promenade, the Grand Pavilion, the town centre, the fairground and back again. Lucie operates Wednesday to Sundays during Spring and Summer.

Cardiff Bus open top bus, South Wales

© Cardiff Bus

There’s a Waterfall Country free shuttle bus service between the town of Glynneath and the village of Pontneddfechan, which runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday until early September. 

Pembrokeshire Coastal Buses operate all summer, and then into winter with a reduced service.

The  Cymru Clipper service uses easy access buses and covers large towns in Swansea/Neath Port Talbot/Carmarthenshire. Tenby operates a Park and Ride service during the summer.

Enjoy spectacular views of the Pembrokeshire Coast on the Tenby Coaster . This open top bus operates from April until mid September, and connects Tenby (South Parade) to Saundersfoot via Tenby Esplanade, New Hedges and Saundersfoot Harbour. 

Tenby Coaster in Tenby and Carew Castle, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

© First Cymru

North Wales

There are two Fflecsi bus services – Fflecsi Bus Conwy Valley  between Llanrwst – Cwm Penmachno (Monday to Saturday, all year round), and the Llŷn Fflecsi  operating Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the Llŷn Peninsula (up to mid September). These offer a more tailored way of getting about by picking you up and dropping you off in the defined area, and not just along a fixed bus route. You will need to book this service using an app.

Dee Valley Picturesque Bus service is a circular route runs Saturdays from April until early November, linking Llangollen and the surrounding villages to popular local attractions.

The Sherpa'r Wyddfa is a unique bus service that travels around the foot of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), linking the six main routes that travel up Yr Wyddfa, as well as the main car parks, villages and tourist attractions in the area. All journeys are operated by Low Floor buses with wheelchair space and ramp to ensure that the stops provided with raised kerbs are served by accessible vehicles.

The principal railway line in South and West Wales runs more or less parallel to the south coast, connecting Chepstow, Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. Branch lines from Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend serve The Valleys, the Wye Valley and the Vale of Usk.

The North Wales Coast Railway hugs the coastline through Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Conwy and Bangor to Holyhead. There’s also a branch line between Wrexham and Shotton.

There are several scenic railway lines in Mid Wales and North Wales. The  Heart of Wales Line  from Shrewsbury to Llanelli and Swansea cuts diagonally across the rolling hill country of Mid Wales. The Cambrian Line runs west from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth, where it meets the picturesque Cambrian Coast Line , which connects Aberystwyth and Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula. The beautiful  Conwy Valley Line  runs from Llandudno through Eryri (Snowdonia) to Blaenau Ffestiniog. For those travelling by train around Wales who need extra assistance, Transport for Wales has a dedicated service for Train Accessibility . You can find a full breakdown of accessible features for each train including universal toilets, on-board audio and visual information and more. There is an Assisted Travel team to help book your journey, plus further assistance available if needed.

Additionally, you can take advantage of the National Rail Passenger Assist service , allowing you to request support from rail staff, whether navigating the station, boarding or changing trains. 

Assistance may be requested via the Passenger Assistance by Transport app, or by calling free on  0800 0223720  or text  60083 . Textphone/minicom:  0845 60 50 600.  Further details on the  National Rail Website .

Train timetables and tickets

  • National Rail Enquiries
  • Traveline Cymru
  • Transport for Wales
  • Great Western Railway
  • Avanti West Coast

At Blaenau Ffestiniog, you can hop onto the narrow gauge  Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways  to Porthmadog and Caernarfon. Other vintage railways in Wales include the  Snowdon Mountain Railway  from Llanberis to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the  Llangollen Railway  from Llangollen to Carrog, the  Talyllyn Railway  from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol and the  Vale of Rheidol Railway  from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge . They all offer memorable journeys through impressive scenery. Find out more on the Great Little Trains of Wales website.

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway steam train Tan y Bwlch Station and Aberglaslyn Pass

© Hawlfraint y Goron / Crown Copyright

Discounted train and bus travel

An  Explore Wales Pass , Ranger or Rover gives you unlimited access to Wales’ mainline train services and many bus routes, plus discounted admission to many tourist attractions. There are options covering various parts of the country, valid for either one day or eight days.

A  Railcard  gets you 33% off adult fares and 60% off kids’ fares on mainline rail services, and a  Great Little Trains of Wales  discount card gets you 20% off the adult fare on several narrow gauge steam railways in Wales.

When making a journey by train, it's possible to buy a PlusBus ticket  and make local journeys by bus. 

National Express operate long-distance intercity coach services along the south coast from Cardiff and Swansea to Pembrokeshire; from Newtown to Aberystwyth on the west coast; and along the north coast from Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno to Bangor.

Megabus  runs a low-cost coach service between Newport, Cardiff, and Swansea.

Flixbus operate services to and from Cardiff to Swansea, via Bridgend.

National Express Accessible Transport  provides tailored accessible solutions and  Megabus  offers guidance to passengers with disabilities, though it is important to book any special requirements in advance.

Getting around North and South Wales by car is straightforward. Travelling from north to south is a picturesque route that includes Eryri (Snowdonia), the Cambrian Mountains and the Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons), it’s not the fastest route but think of the views, picnic and photo opportunities.

The most scenic drives in Wales count among the best in Britain. Some favourite routes with fantastic views include the A466 along the Wye Valley, the B4574 from Rhayader to the Vale of Rheidol, the A4069 across the Black Mountain range, the A4086, A498 and A4085 around Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and Marine Drive around Great Orme, Llandudno.

There's a list of electric charging points on the Transport for Wales website . There are electric vehicle charging points in many National Trust locations. You can charge your car while you visit a stately home or enjoy exploring a garden or beach. There are also 40 charging points at the National Library of Wales  in Aberystwyth, Mid Wales.

Visitors driving in Wales should be aware that laws in Wales regarding speed limits on the roads differ from the rest of the UK. Please head to the gov.wales website for more information.

Remote roads to explore in Wales

Rural Wales is one of Britain’s best cycling destinations. By following the National Cycle Network, you can explore some of Wales’ most appealing country lanes, disused railway lines and forest paths by bike.  Sustrans , the charity which created the network, has a great list of routes on their website. There are also several major long-distance routes:

  • Lôn Las Cymru (NCR 8) – Anglesey, Eryri (Snowdonia), Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons), Cardiff, Chepstow
  • Lôn Cambria (NCR 8 and 81) - Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth
  • North Wales Coast Cycle Route (NCR 5/8/45) – Anglesey to Chester
  • Lôn Geltaidd (NCR 4) – Fishguard to Chepstow

With the completion of the  Wales Coast Path , it’s possible to walk or hike right around our country. The Coastal Path connects up with the Offa’s Dyke Path , one of the three National Trails in Wales. The other two National Trails are the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Glyndŵr’s Way in Mid Wales.

Other popular long distance public footpaths in Wales include the  Cambrian Way  high level walk along the middle of Wales between Cardiff and Conwy, and the  Wye Valley Walk  from Chepstow to Plynlimon. All of these walking routes pass through spectacular landscapes.

Wales Coast Path - New Quay to Cwmtydu, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

The Wales Way

The Wales Way is a family of three national routes that lead you into the heart of real Wales.

The Coastal Way travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a 180-mile (290km) road-trip between the sea and mountains. The Cambrian Way crosses the spine of Wales for 185 miles (300km) between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big green spaces. The North Wales Way leads 75 miles (120km) past mighty castles into the island of Anglesey.

We’ve also suggested loops and detours so that you can go 'igam ogam' and create your own Wales Way road-trip.

Driving along The North Wales Way, Great Orme, North Wales 

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Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Driving in Wales

Top Destinations

Best Beaches

Castles to Visit

Weird & Amazing Attractions

Adventurous Things to Do

Things to Do in Cardiff

48 Hours in Cardiff

Snowdonia National Park Guide

Guide to the Pembrokeshire Coast

Food to Try in Wales

Best Restaurants

Your Trip to Wales: The Complete Guide

Wales Guide: Planning Your Trip

travel planner wales

With more than 600 castles, unique cultural and culinary traditions, and untamed, dramatic coastline, it's shocking that only a small percentage of visitors to the United Kingdom set foot in Wales. There's something for everyone here, whether you're into trekking mountain peaks in Snowdonia National Park, exploring "Dr. Who" filming locations in Cardiff, or strolling among Easter egg-hued beachfront cottages in quaint Tenby. Plus, it's remarkably easy to get to. Here's what to know for planning your trip to Cymru. (P.S. That's the country's name in Welsh, which you might be surprised to hear throughout the country!)

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit : Wales is at its best during the late spring through early summer. You can expect a fair bit of rain, but also beautiful flowers throughout the country. Wales's temperate, humid climate means that there's only a small variation among temperatures throughout the year, with summer temperatures usually hovering in the mid-60s F.

Language: English and Welsh, the latter of which has seen a resurgence in recent years. According to a survey conducted by the Welsh government in early 2020, nearly 30 percent of the population can speak Welsh   , and the government aims to have 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Currency: The pound sterling.

Getting Around : Wales is a tiny country—you can drive from Cardiff, along the Southern coast, to Angelsey, an island in the north, in about four-and-a-half hours, and many of the roads are scenic. Wales is also supported by an excellent network of cycling and rail connections.

Travel Tip: Don't let the tiny size of Wales fool you—this small area can easily sustain a trip of a week or more.

Things to Do

Depending on where in Wales you're visiting, activities can include everything from coasteering off the coastline , visiting the many famous television and film sites (Dr. Who, Harry Potter, James Bond, and Tomb Raider, among others), or simply lying on one of Wales's sprawling, sandy beaches . You won't be bored no matter what you choose.

  • Even if you're planning on heading farther afield, spend at least a day or two in Cardiff , Wales's largest city. This bustling university town has excellent nightlife and restaurants and is also home to the National Museum of Wales, which houses one of Europe's best collections of Impressionist art.
  • Wales is a surfing hotspot , with surfers taking to the sea in Whitesands and Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, Oxwich Bay, and Llangennith in Gower, among others. Want to get your feet wet (literally) in a more tame environment? Adventure Parc Snowdonia has an artificial wave lagoon, perfect for beginners.
  • With so many castles (and ruins) across Wales , it's hard to choose which to visit. But if you only visit one, make it Conwy Castle . The castle still has a complete set of medieval royal residential rooms, and visitors can walk a full circuit of the eight-towered battlements and town walls. 

Looking for more things to do in Wales? Check out the top 15 destinations to visit in Wales , the best Welsh castles to visit , Wales's best beaches , and adventurous things to do in Wales .

What to Eat and Drink

Wales is home to many unique culinary traditions that can be hard to find elsewhere in the U.K. While some commonly-used ingredients in Welsh cooking—leeks, lamb, and excellent cheese, among others—might not be surprising, they can come together in unique ways. Don't miss trying Glamorgan sausage, an ironically meat-free snack made from cheese, leeks, and breadcrumbs, or laverbread, a seaweed harvested in South Wales. You'll also want to tuck away a sleeve of moreish Welsh cakes (firm, thick pancakes studded with fruit) as a souvenir.

Learn more about the best foods to try in Wales .

Where to Stay

Whether you're interested in roughing it or being treated like a queen, Wales has it all. Cardiff, being Wales's largest city, has an abundance of hotel choices, while smaller towns' accommodation options might be limited to quaint pubs or guesthouses.

In the countryside, you'll find castle hotels like Ruthin or Roch Castle , farm stays, and even yurts, and along the coast, there are many seaside resorts. (One of the nicest is Pembrokeshire's St. Brides Spa Hotel , famously where the cast of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" stayed during filming.)

Getting There

If you're spending any measurable amount of time in London, there's no excuse for not visiting Wales—it's just that easy. Getting from London to Cardiff is very easy and affordable via train, which takes only 1 hour, 45 minutes, and costs around $36. If you don't mind a more extended trip, bus tickets can be had for as little as $6.

The Cardiff Airport isn't huge, but it does receive international flights from Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Munich, and others. There are also plenty of regional flights from other destinations within the U.K. If your trip is starting in northern Wales, you might find it easier to fly into the U.K.'s third-largest airport   , Manchester Airport, less than an hours' drive from the Welsh border.

Driving in Wales is uncomplicated, but many roads are small, so you shouldn't be surprised if your trip is briefly derailed by a flock of sheep on the road!

Culture and Customs

While Wales is part of the U.K., don't call a Welsh person British! The Welsh are fiercely protective of their country's history and traditions, and the country has its own set of customs, holidays, and even political practices that distinguish it from England. If you're visiting Wales in August, don't miss the annual National Eisteddfod , a massive celebration of Welsh music, poetry, and art.

Money-Saving Tips

  • In Cardiff, the excellent National Museum is free. On the outskirts of the city, visit  St. Fagans National Museum of History . This free, open-air museum offers a unique glimpse into Welsh history through relocated historic buildings, reenactments, and more.
  • Rugby is huge in Wales, and going to a match is an experience unlike any other. If you're looking to save money on tickets, try to get tickets for the fall international matches (held in November and December), as opposed to the Six Nations matches in early spring.
  • For a quick and inexpensive meal on the go in Cardiff, pop into the Victorian-era Cardiff Market. The market has been operating since the 18th century   and is home to butchers, produce vendors, fishmongers, and plenty of Welsh cakes.

Welsh Government. " Welsh language data from the Annual Population Survey: April 2019 to March 2020 ." June 25, 2020

UK Civil Aviation Authority. " CAA Airport Data 2019. "

Cardiff. " Cardiff Central Market ."

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UK Travel Planning

Wales Travel Guide

LETS VISIT WALES

Welcome to our  Wales Travel Guide  where you will find links to all the travel-related posts about Wales on the website. This includes articles about itineraries, where to visit, what to see and do, best day trips, tours and tickets, books to read and lots of practical tips, resources and inspiration for your trip.

Are you planning a visit to Wales? This guide contains everything you need to plan the very best trip. Discover the best places to visit in Wales plus resources, tips, and guides to ensure you make the most of your time at your chosen Welsh destinations.

Wales (or Cymru in Welsh) is famous for its rugged coastline (over 2,700 kms of it), beautiful National Parks, castles and mountainous landscapes.

With 2 official languages (English and Welsh) and a strong Celtic tradition, Wales has a population of around 3 million. Approximately 20% of the population speak Welsh.

Cardiff is the capital and Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa) is its highest mountain.

If you love castles it is worth noting that Wales has more per square mile than any other country in the world.

Wales is also home to the town with the second-longest one-word place name in the world – LLanfairpwllg wyngyllgogery chwyrndrobwllllant ysiliogogogoch !!!

The leek and the daffodil are official emblems of Wales.

Click on the links below for travel inspiration and tips to make the most of your visit to Wales. Get help planning your trip to Wales here

Start here – Top 10 places to visit in Wales

Travel guides for welsh cities, regions and attractions, 🎧 podcasts about visiting wales, when is the best time of year to visit wales, itineraries, best group tours and tickets, where to stay in wales – accommodation guide, travel books about wales, wales travel guide – popular destinations to visit in wales.

MAP OF POPULAR WELSH LANDMARKS AND CITIES

Follow-up your initial research with a more in-depth look at the places that interest you before then checking out the various itinerary and tour options for Wales.

A picture of Cardiff a great place for your Wales Travel Guide

CARDIFF TRAVEL GUIDE

Conwy Castle

WELSH CASTLE GUIDE

Snowdonia National Park

NORTH WALES TRAVEL GUIDE

LLANDUDNO

LLANDUDNO TRAVEL GUIDE

PODCAST EPISODE #52 – AN INTRODUCTION TO NORTH WALES & ARTICLE

Portmeirion in Wales

PORTMEIRION

FAQs – PLAN YOUR VISIT TO WALES

If you are wondering when is the best time of year to visit Wales the answer will depend on a number of factors.

The weather in Wales varies with the seasons and the number of hours of daylight also changes throughout the year. These factors should be considered when planning your visit as reduced daylight hours and cool. wet weather may impact your choice of activities.

Wales experiences its warmest and lightest days in the summer months of June, July and August and the colder, darker days during December, January and February.

For more information to help choose the best time of year to plan your visit to Wales read my in-depth article – ‘When is the best time of year to visit the UK?’ which examines each season as well as detailing popular events on a month by month basis.

Suggested itineraries for Wales coming soon

Read my month-by-month guide to visiting the UK which contains information about what to expect during the different seasons as well as shows/attractions and activities.

Tours and tickets for attractions can be purchased through Get Your Guide (one of my tour companies of choice) and include the following:

Fancy staying in a fairytale Welsh castle? Take a look at my curated list of 8 castles you can stay at in Wales.

My accommodation guide for Wales includes our pick of the best hotels, apartments, cottages for your stay.

  • Best places to stay in North Wales (area and accommodation guide)

> CLICK HERE FOR MY STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO PLANNING YOUR UK TRIP !

How to budget for your UK trip

What to budget

When to visit the UK 2

What to pack

travel planner wales

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Wales Trip Planner

Top destinations in wales.

Cardiff

Top attractions in Wales

St. Fagans National Museum of History

Other notable attractions

travel planner wales

Explore nearby places

  • Snowdonia National Park
  • Dinas Powys
  • Saint Georges-super-Ely
  • Taff's Well
  • St Nicholas
  • St. Brides Wentlooge
  • Llantrisant
  • Pontymister
  • Maesycwmmer
  • Ystrad Mynach

All related maps of Wales

  • Map of Wales
  • Map of Snowdonia National Park
  • Map of Cardiff
  • Map of Penarth
  • Map of Dinas Powys
  • Map of Wenvoe
  • Map of Saint Georges-super-Ely
  • Map of Sully
  • Map of Taff's Well
  • Map of St Nicholas
  • Map of Dyffryn
  • Map of Nantgarw
  • Map of Barry
  • Map of Caerphilly
  • Map of Rudry
  • Map of Coedkernew
  • Map of Bonvilston
  • Map of St. Brides Wentlooge
  • Map of Hensol
  • Map of Abertridwr
  • Map of Llancarfan
  • Map of Llantrisant
  • Map of Rogerstone
  • Map of Pontymister
  • Map of Pontyclun
  • Map of Rhoose
  • Map of Pontypridd
  • Map of Cwmcarn
  • Map of Newport
  • Map of Maesycwmmer
  • Map of Ystrad Mynach

Wales throughout the year

  • Wales in January
  • Wales in February
  • Wales in March
  • Wales in April
  • Wales in May
  • Wales in June
  • Wales in July
  • Wales in August
  • Wales in September
  • Wales in October
  • Wales in November
  • Wales in December

Q&A about Wales

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Wales Road Trip Planning Guide Castle

A Detailed Guide to Planning a Trip to Wales

Last updated: April 17, 2024 . Written by Laurence Norah - 2 Comments

If you’re planning a trip to Wales, then you’ve come to the right place! In this guide we’re going to share everything you need to know to plan the perfect Wales trip. This is based on our experiences of traveling in Wales and also my time living in Wales, which I did for many years. I was actually born in Wales!

In this post, we’ll cover the best times of year to visit Wales, highlights not to miss, how to get around Wales, where to stay in Wales, what to eat in Wales, how to book tours, and many more tips to help you plan the perfect Wales adventure.

We’d suggest reading this guide alongside our detailed Wales road trip itinerary , which will give you more ideas of a specific itinerary and sights to see.

Let’s start with an overview of Wales.

A Quick Overview of Wales

Wales is a country with a population of around three million people. It is part of the Island of Great Britain along with England and Scotland. It is one of the four countries (along with England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) that make up the United Kingdom.

Geographically, Wales borders England along its entire east coast, from around Chester in the north down to near Bristol in the south. The rest of the countries border is made up of stunning coastline, mostly along the Irish Sea.

The history of Wales is fairly complex. People have been living here for hundreds of thousands of years, with continuous habitation for at least 9,000 years. Since the Roman times, many battles were fought between the Welsh and the English as each side fought for control over what is present day Wales.

One of the side effects of all these wars is that Wales now has a huge amount of castles you can visit which is great as a tourist. There’s also a lot of fascinating history and culture which is unique to Wales.

Back to the present, and modern-day Wales exists as its own country with its own language (Welsh) and, since 1999, its own parliament. However, there are no border controls or anything like that when traveling from England to Wales (they are both part of the UK), and English is also of course the most widely spoken language.

If you are not that familiar with the history of Wales, we can highly recommend reading a book on Welsh history before or during your visit. This will not only help you better understand many of the places you are likely to visit in Wales (e.g., castles, museums, churches, Iron Age ruins), but it will also help you better understand the modern culture and politics in Wales.

Castell Carreg Cennen

What is there to see in Wales?

There is a lot to see in Wales, something really for everyone.

To start with, with so much history spanning thousands of years, Wales has a huge amount of cultural attractions.

From iron age burial chambers to fascinating museums to unique cultural events like the Eisteddfodd , there really is a huge amount to choose from.

Of course, the first thing that likely springs to mind when you think of Wales are the castles, a side effect of all the various wars over the years. Wales has a huge number of castles, including a number of UNESCO listed medieval castles .

In fact, Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe! Suffice to say, if you like exploring castles as much as we do, Wales has no shortage to offer you.

If you do plan on seeing a lot of castles, then we can highly recommend picking up a Cadw pass. This includes access to a huge number of historic sites in Wales, including most the castles.

You can buy this  online here , or in person at most Cadw sites. We found this saved us a lot of money on our most recent trips.

Lovers of the outdoors, like us, will also find plenty to do in Wales. There’s a huge amount of natural landscapes to explore, from stunning coastal scenery to beautiful hills and mountains. It’s perfect for hikers of all abilities. So whether you prefer to wander along a lovely bit of beach or climb to the top of a mountain, Wales has you covered.

Speaking of beaches, with so much coastline, as you might imagine there are plenty of beaches to choose from. These run the full gamut, from beautiful sandy stretches to those covered in pebbles. So if you’re after a good swim or just a nice walk on the beach, there are lots of options for you.

All that lovely outdoors space also means Wales is a great destination for wildlife. The variety in landscape and habitat means there’s a lot of different bird species you can spot, and there are various nature preserves you can visit where you can spot various types of bird and learn about them.

It’s more than just birds of course, with viewing opportunities for all kinds of wildlife, from seals and other marine life through to mammals, reptiles, and more!

Finally, Wales is also a great destination for lovers of mythology. This should be obvious from the flag, which is emblazoned with a red dragon, arguably the world’s coolest flag. Naturally, you can learn all about the mythology of Wales, from the origin story of King Arthur through to dragons and druids.

Overall, we think it’s fair to say that Wales is not a destination where you will run out of things to do!

Freshwater West beach

Some Basic Information for Traveling in Wales

Let’s cover some basic information for traveling in Wales.

Wales and the wider UK

Wales is a part of the United Kingdom (UK), so once you have entered the UK then you can travel in and out of Wales freely.

If Wales is your first point of entry into the UK (such as if you arrive into Cardiff Airport from outside the UK), then you would need to go through passport control and have the correct visa and any necessary documentation.

You can see more information on any required visas for your visit on the UK government website here or from your own government’s official travel website.

If you arrive into another part of the UK such as England or Scotland, then you don’t need to go through any further controls when you travel to Wales, be that by car, train, or plane.

Getting to and from Wales

Wales is an easy country to get to. In terms of flights, the only commercial airport in Wales is Cardiff airport , which offers both local and international flights to a limited number of destinations.

Wales is also well served by regional transport connections from the UK. By train, Cardiff is around 2.5 hours from London, 50 minutes from Bristol, and 4 hours from Liverpool.

North Wales destinations like Conwy are around an hour by train from Chester, or 3.5 hours from London.

You can also easily drive to Wales from locations around the UK. It’s around 3 hours by car to from London to Cardiff, 4 hours from Liverpool to Cardiff and 7 hours to Cardiff from Edinburgh.

Wales is also served by ferry routes which link Wales with the Republic of Ireland. So if you are doing a trip like our two week UK itinerary , this would let you connect between Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

There are also multiple tours that include Wales, departing from locations such as London or Bristol. More on tours later on in this guide. Suffice to say, you have plenty of options for getting to and from Wales!

Language in Wales

Wales has two official languages: Welsh and English. Just under 20% of the population of Wales speaks Welsh, but pretty much everyone also speaks English.

However you will almost certainly hear Welsh being spoken during your visit.

The main way you will encounter Welsh as a visitor is likely to be on signs. Most signs are provided in both Welsh and English. Place names are also nearly always written in Welsh.

Welsh is a pretty challenging language to learn and the pronunciation is definitely not always obvious! Place names can easily trip visitors up, although the good news is that most Welsh people are pretty used to it.

If you’d like to improve your pronunciation, this is a good starter guide . A good guide book to Wales should also include a guide to pronunciation.

Wales multilingual sign

Driving in Wales

Driving in Wales is the same as driving in the rest of the UK, with the main difference being that the majority of the road signs are in Welsh as well as English.

If you drive in Wales, you will quickly learn some Welsh words from the road signs, particularly “Araf” which means “Slow”. In the majority of cases though, signs will be in both English and Welsh.

Other than that, driving in Wales is the same as driving in the rest of the UK. Drive on the left of the road and be sure to observe all speed limits and road rules. Speed limits are normally posted, with the national limit at 60 miles per hour and limits for built-up areas normally 20 to 40 miles per hour. You can see more tips in my guide to driving in the UK .

If you are renting a car ( compare prices here ), you can drive the car between England and Wales without any issues.

Be aware that the majority of cars in the UK use a manual transmission, so be sure to specify an automatic if that is what you are used to driving. Just note that these do normally carry a price premium as they are not as common.

Depending on where in the world you are visiting from and the language your license is in, you may also need an international driver’s license from the country which issues your driver’s license.

Wales road trip

Public Transporation in Wales

Wales has a pretty good public transport network, with both buses and trains which link many of the towns and cities across the country. You can see the main transport routes on the Transport for Wales website here .

For travel planning by public transport in Wales (and the UK in general), we recommend and use the Traveline website . It’s a free service provided by a partnership of public transport operators in the UK, and will help you plan your travel between pretty much any two points in the country.

For the majority of public transport in Wales and the UK (especially on longer distance routes) you will get better prices if you book online in advance. We recommend the trainline website for train and bus booking, we’ve used them for years for our public transport needs in the UK.

Other options to consider, especially for long distance bus journeys include National Express and Megabus .

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch longes

Electricity in Wales

Wales uses the same power system as the rest of the UK. It’s a 220v system which uses a three-pin plug (plug type G).

Travellers from most of the rest of the world, including mainland Europe and the United States will need an adapter like this .

American travellers will also want to check their equipment supports the 220v standard, as the U.S. uses a 110v standard. The voltage a device supports will be written clearly on the power adapter, usually in the form of 110v – 240v.

In our experience most modern laptops, phone and camera chargers, and other small electronics are universal, whilst larger devices like hair dryers and hair straighteners are not.

See more on travel adapters and how to choose one for your trip in our guide to the  best travel adapters .

Currency in Wales

Wales uses the same currency as the rest of the UK, namely Pound Sterling, or GBP (Great British Pounds). Wales uses the bank notes issued by the Bank of England, so the currency in use in Wales looks exactly the same as that used in England.

Note that this is different to Scotland and Northern Ireland, where bank notes are issued by Scottish and Irish banks respectively. These bank notes can also be used in the rest of the UK (and Bank of England notes can be used in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Time Zone in Wales

Wales is on the same time zone as the rest of the UK, which is either GMT, or GMT+1, also known as British Summer Time (BST).

BST runs from the last Sunday in March through to the last Sunday in October.

Best Times to Visit Wales

You might be wondering when the best time to visit Wales is. Whilst Wales is a year-round destination, there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to visiting at different times of year.

Best for Weather

Wales has a relatively mild climate year-round without tremendous extremes.

If you want warmer weather and longer hours of daylight for sightseeing, then the best time of year to visit is going to be from late May through to mid-September.

This time of year will give you the best chance of good weather and sunny days, although note that rain and cooler temperatures are possible year-round.

Snowdon hike Wales

The summit of Snowdon in summer – good weather not guaranteed!

Snowdon hike Wales

Avoiding Crowds

Wales is a popular destination, especially for visitors from other regions of the UK. There are a number of big English cities near Wales such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, and Manchester, and visitors from these cities regularly take trips to Wales. It is an especially popular destination for families.

As a result, the busiest time of year in Wales is generally going to be over the school holidays (school breaks) in England and Wales.

The exact timing of school holidays varies a little by area, but generally there are major holidays over the Easter period, and over the summer months from mid-July through to the end of August.

There are also “half-term” holidays which occur halfway through each school term and are generally a week in duration. There is normally one in mid-February, one around the end of May and one around the end of October.

The most popular time for people to visit Wales is during the warmer summer months, and during school holidays, especially the Easter holidays, spring half-term, and summer holidays.

As a result, if you want to visit Wales when it is likely to be quieter then you would be best served avoiding these times.

If you still want good weather, we’d suggest June or September to be optimal months, although April and May can offer good weather if you have a bit of luck on your side!

Best for Hiking / Climbing Snowdon ( Yr Wyddfa )

Whilst you can hike in Wales at any time of year, we would suggest that the best times for hiking are going to be similar to that for visiting for the best weather. So that is going to be from late May to mid-September.

Whatever time of year you plan to go hiking though, be aware that the weather can change very quickly. So you will want to be prepared, ensure someone knows your route and where you are going, and pack appropriately. For more information, this safety guide is very helpful.

The most popular hike in Wales by far is the hike up Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh). You can both hike and take a train to the summit, both of which are popular options.

In our experience, Snowdon can be busy year round, but the warmer summer months are definitely the most popular time to tackle the hike.

If you want to avoid the crowds on the hike itself, then we’d suggest avoiding the Llanberis path which tends to be the most popular, and taking one of the other less popular routes such as the Snowdon Ranger path or the Rhyd Ddu path .

Of course, Wales has a great many more mountains you can hike, the majority of which are far less busy and popular than Snowdon. A personal favourite is Cader Idris , which also offers spectacular views across the Snowdonia National Park, and attracts a fraction of the visitors!

Snowdon hike Wales

Major Festivals in Wales

Wales plays host to a number of festivals and fairs throughout the year, including music festivals, food festivals, literary festivals, craft fairs, art festivals, and more (see a fairly comprehensive list of festivals in Wales here ).

The largest festival in Wales is normally the National Eisteddfod of Wales , which is held for around a week on the first week of August each year. The location for the festival changes each year, and it normally attracts upwards of 100,000 visitors. The festival celebrates Welsh culture, with the events and activities all taking place in Welsh.

If you plan on visiting the Eisteddfodd (or any other festival in Wales), you will definitely want to plan well ahead as accommodation can book out, and the area where the event is being held is likely to be much busier than usual.

Conversely, it’s worth being aware when and where festivals are being held even if you don’t plan on attending them, so you don’t get caught up in the crowds!

How Long to Spend in Wales

As should hopefully be obvious by now, although Wales is a relatively small country, there is a huge amount to see and do in Wales. You could easily spend many weeks exploring the country without running out of things to see and do.

Our recommendation would be to spend at least a week if possible to get a good idea of what is on offer and to have time to explore some of the country’s highlights.

If you have less time, say three to five days, then we would recommend focusing on one area or region of the country rather than trying to cover too much ground.

So, for example, with three days you might want to focus on visiting Cardiff and south-west Wales or explore part of north Wales with visits to Caernarfon and Snowdonia National Park.

If you have a week or more, then you can expand your itinerary to cover more of the country.

We will share some suggested itineraries further on in this guide to help you plan, and we also have a 7 – 10 day Wales road trip itinerary you should find helpful. That itinerary can easily be expanded to 2 or more weeks.

Where to Stay in Wales

Wales has a wide range of accommodation options across all budgets. Whether you prefer camping , glamping , self-catered accommodation , family-run guesthouses , country house hotels or  regular hotels , you are going to find something to suit.

We have stayed at a huge range of accommodation options across Wales, including apartment rentals, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and hotels. Usually we prefer to either stay at a locally owned bed and breakfast or small hotel. But for longer stays, we normally book an apartment or cottage.

When looking for accommodation, we recommend a mix of the following sites:

  • Booking.com – this is usually our first stop for all sorts of accommodation types, from hotels to guests houses to apartments. We like the powerful filter system that allows us to hone in on exactly what we want in each location, as well as the map tool that lets us see different options in different areas.
  • Sykes Holiday Cottages – for longer stays in Wales (and the wider UK) we also use Sykes. They specialize in holiday cottages, and we have stayed at some really lovely properties through their system.
  • Vrbo UK – if we are specifically looking for an apartment or vacation rental, we’ll also usually look on Vrbo. They offer a good selection of options and it is nice to have a comparison.

If you would like more options for accommodation booking in Wales and the UK, see our guide to booking holiday homes in the UK for some ideas!

Snowdonia accommodation

What to Eat in Wales?

You might be wondering what food you should try in Wales when you visit, and if there are any uniquely Welsh dishes. Well, the answer is yes there are.

Whilst there are certainly a lot of similarities between Welsh food and English food, including staples such as fish and chips and the full fried breakfast experience, there are some dishes that are common to Wales. Here are some to try:

  • Cawl – one of more traditional Welsh dishes, cawl (pronounced cowl) dates back to the 11th century at least and is essentially a stew made with meat, vegetables, and potatoes.
  • Welsh Rarebit – whilst this sounds like it’s going to involve rabbit, this quintessential Welsh dish is actually melted cheese on toast. There are variations on the recipe, with mustard or a bechamel sauce added to the cheese. Delicious however it’s made!
  • Glamorgan sausage – this popular “sausage” is a traditional vegetarian sausage primarily made from leeks, cheese, and breadcrumbs. It dates back to at least the 18th century but rose in popularity during World War II due to meat rationing and remains popular today.
  • Welsh cakes – this small cake is made from dough, raisins, currant and candied fruit peel and then cooked on a griddle. It can be eaten hot or cold and is texturally more similar to a shortbread than a cake. We like it served hot and eaten with butter!
  • Bara brith – this fruit loaf is a popular option to have with afternoon tea and is often served with butter on it. It’s basically a fruit cake filled with raisins, currants and dried candied fruit peel.
  • Laverbread – This is a very interesting delicacy, which despite the name, isn’t a bread at all. Instead, it’s a puree made from a specific type of seaweed which grows along the Welsh coastline. The seaweed is cooked for hours to form the puree, which is then most commonly served with bread.
  • Welsh cheese – Wales is home to many milk producing animals, including cows, goats, and sheep. As such, there are many traditional Welsh cheeses to enjoy. The most well-known is Caerphilly, which is a hard but crumbly white cheese. Others include Y Fenni, Tintern and Pantysgawn
  • Local drinks – Wales produces a wide range of local drinks, including locally brewed beers and ciders. There are also over 20 vineyards in Wales producing Welsh wine, and Welsh whisky is becoming more popular as well!

As well as specific dishes, there are also many foods that Wales is generally known for. These include Welsh lamb and beef, seafood, seaweed, and leeks, the latter of which is actually the national symbol of Wales.

If you are going to be shopping and cooking during your time in Wales, you should have no problem finding some local Welsh produce.

We can also recommend The Welsh House for trying a variety of Welsh foods. They are in a few locations, including in Cardiff near the castle. The last time we visited they had a “Taste of Wales” menu option which let us try a lot of different Welsh dishes for a very reasonable price.

Suffice to say, we don’t think you’re going to go hungry during your stay in Wales.

Welshcakes

How to get around Wales?

There are quite a few options for getting around Wales, which we’ll go through now.

Our preferred option for traveling in Wales is to drive ourselves. Wales has a lot of attractions that are a little off the beaten path, and a car makes it a lot easier to reach those tucked away castles or hidden beaches.

That said, you should be aware that the road network in Wales is primarily made up of regular two-lane roads rather than multi-lane freeways (known as motorways in the UK).

As such, journey times can take a bit longer than in other parts of the UK. It is difficult to zip across Wales and journeys may take longer that you expect from just looking at the map.

This isn’t a bad thing, as the scenery is generally lovely, and there are plenty of things to stop and look at anyway. However, you’ll just want to be aware when planning that even if the distances don’t look particularly long, it can take a bit of time to get from place to place.

If you are planning on traveling by car and need to rent, we recommend comparing car rental prices on Discover Cars here . They compare all the main providers so you can get the best price for your trip.

Public Transportation

As mentioned in the section on public transport, Wales has a pretty good public transport network.

The main thing to know if you are planning to travel in Wales by public transport is that you’ll definitely want to plan well in advance. You will also want to be aware that it can take quite a bit of time to get between locations.

I have done a fair bit of travel by train and bus in Wales, and whilst the scenery is always very pretty, it can take a while to get from location to location. So just be aware that if you are on a limited timetable, you will need to plan carefully so as not to spend all your time sitting on a bus or train.

It’s also worth noting that whilst trains and buses connect a lot of the country, they don’t go absolutely everywhere. So if there is somewhere you really want to see, do check to ensure you can actually get there by the mode of transport you wish to use.

Overall, whilst you can definitely get around Wales by public transport, for folks on a limited timeframe who want to see a lot, we would probably recommend either driving or taking a tour.

Easiest Places to visit in Wales by public transport?

If you are planning on visiting Wales by public transport, you might be wondering what the best locations are for doing so. Here are some tips.

First, we’d suggest focusing on a specific region of Wales if you plan on visiting by public transport, as then you’ll be able to spend more time sightseeing and less time traveling.

Cardiff is a very well-connected city, and then from here you could easily explore along the south coast to Tenby and even St. David’s.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to explore more of the mountains, then head to North Wales. I’d recommend taking the train line along the north coast from the English city of Chester (or Liverpool), which connects to a number of other train and bus routes.

This will allow you to explore many highlights of the region, including Conwy, Bangor, Caernarfon, the Snowdonia National Park, as well as the northeast coastline including Harlech and Barmouth.

You could easily make a loop through North Wales by public transport, going into Wales from Chester across to Conwy and Bangor, then heading south down the coast to Barmouth and Aberdovey, and then finally east through Machynlleth to Shrewsbury.

This route will let you explore castles, see coastline and experience the mountains, all without needing a car.

Join a Tour

One of the best way to see Wales in our opinion, especially if you prefer not to drive, is to join a tour. A tour lets someone else handle all the logistics, from planning what to see and do to how to get from place to place.

You do lose a bit of flexibility when taking a tour of course, as they generally follow a fixed itinerary. This is particularly the case if you join a group tour. A private tour will normally offer a lot more customization, with the downside that they tend to be more expensive.

That said, in our experience most group tours focus on the highlights that visitors want to see anyway. Just be sure when choosing a tour to ensure it visits the majority of sights and attractions you really want to see in Wales.

We have some recommended tours of Wales in the section of this guide on recommended tours. You can also see a range of tours by various providers at different price points and durations on TourRadar here .

travel planner wales

Best Guided Tours of Wales

A great way to see the highlights of Wales without having to worry about the logistics of planning transport and accommodation is to take a guided tour.

There are a number of tours to choose from that visit Wales, of varying duration and price.

The longer Wales tours generally depart from London, Bristol, or Cardiff.

Some we suggest are as follows:

  • This  5 day road trip with Rabbies would be our first pick of available small group tours of Wales. We’ve taken a great many tours with Rabbies and we love their knowledgeable driver guides and small group sizes. This tour departs from London and covers many of the highlights of the country, from Snowdonia down to south west Wales.
  • This  8 day tour from Cardiff follows a similar route to our own suggested Wales road trip itinerary . This tour includes time in Cardiff, the Brecon Beacons mountains, Snowdonia National Park, Conwy Castle, St. Davids, Tenby, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
  • If you have less time to spare, then this 3 day tour with Rabbies departs from Bristol and focuses on the highlights of south Wales, including Carreg Cennen Castle, Hay on Wye, St. Davids, Tenby, and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
  • This is another 3 day tour with Rabbies which departs from Bristol and focuses on the highlights of North Wales. It includes Snowdonia National Parks, Conwy Castle, Harlech Castle, the Slate Museum, and Portmeirion.

There are of course more tours to choose from in Wales. See  this selection from a range of operators on TourRadar  which will let you sort and filter by duration, places visited and price.

Highlights in Wales

There’s a lot to see in Wales, enough to fill many weeks of explorations. As it can be hard to figure out what to see, we wanted to share some of our personal highlights in the country. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we do think it covers a lot of what the country has to offer.

We’ve divided it roughly into attractions in the southern half of Wales (basically everything south of around Aberystwyth) and the northern half of Wales (everything north of Aberystwyth).

We think this makes sense because if you are on a shorter timetable you will want to focus on a more manageable area.

If you are lucky enough to have more time then you can definitely visit the whole country!

Sunset Wales

South Wales Highlights

South Wales has a lot to offer, from the cultural attractions in and around the capital city, through to the stunning landscapes of the Pembrokeshire National Park where you will find ample hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities.

This part of Wales is also home to ancient burial grounds, beautiful churches, castles, beaches, and more!

Here are some highlights to consider adding to your Wales itinerary.

  • Cardiff Castle
  • Cardiff Museum
  • St. Fagans (National Museum of History)
  • Castell Carreg Cennen
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Freshwater Beach
  • Whitesands Beach
  • St. David’s Cathedral
  • Hiking in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
  • Pentre Ifan Burial Chamber
  • Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth
  • Elan Valley
  • Brecon Beacons

Marloes Peninsula walk

North Wales Highlights

North Wales is perhaps best known as being how to the spectacular Snowdonia National Park, which is fair enough as it is a truly beautiful part of the world.

However, there’s lots more to this region of the country, from epic castles through to heritage steam railways and wonderful beaches.

Here are a few highlights to consider adding to your itinerary for Wales!

  • Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways
  • Caernarfon Castle
  • Beaumaris Castle
  • Conwy Castle
  • Harlech Castle
  • Mount Snowdon & Snowdonia National Park
  • National Slate Museum
  • Bird Watching in the Dyfi Valley & Coast
  • Centre for Alternative Technology
  • Barmouth Beach
  • Portmeirion

Cadair Idris Hike Wales

Suggested Itineraries for Wales

There is a lot to see in Wales! We wanted to share some suggested itineraries for visiting the country for different durations, so you can make the most of your visit.

Of course, your mode of transport will dictate exactly how far you are able to go and what you are able to see. If you are relying on public transport, we’d definitely recommend focusing on a smaller area so you can spend more time seeing sights and less time traveling.

If you are on a tour or in your own vehicle, you will likely be able to fit more in.

1 – 3 Day Wales Itineraries

With one to three days in Wales we would highly recommend focusing on a specific area of the country, such as an area of south Wales or north Wales.

For example, for south Wales you might consider spending a day in Cardiff and then a day or two exploring the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, overnighting in St. David’s or the pretty coastal village of Tenby.

Another option would be to focus on the mountains and castles of north Wales.

Basing yourself in Caernarfon for example would put you in easy reach of some of the most spectacular castles in Wales, as well as the hike or train ride up Snowdon. You could easily spend a wonderful one to three days visiting castles, exploring beaches and hiking in the mountains of Snowdonia.

3 – 6 Day Wales Itineraries

With three to six days you would be able to more thoroughly explore a region of Wales.

Again, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to see the whole country in this time period as it might feel a bit rushed. Instead, focus on a particular area and hone in on some of the attractions you are interested in.

For example, if you want to experience culture and coastal scenery, then we’d suggest starting in Cardiff, working your way along the south coast, and then heading up towards Aberystwyth.

Along the way you’ll be able to visit cultural attractions, experience beautiful coastal walks and take in a number of castles.

Alternatively, head up to north Wales. With a bit more time you can explore more of this beautiful part of the world, from the peaks of the Snowdonia National Park to the UNESCO listed castles to the heritage steam railway lines.

We’d suggest basing yourself in two or three locations, such as Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Conwy, or Barmouth, and exploring from there.

6 Day+ Wales Itineraries

With more than six days in Wales, you would be able to explore from top to bottom if you so wished. We’d suggest a loop along the coast, starting in Cardiff, heading out to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, then all the way up to Snowdonia National Park and north Wales.

We have a suggested 1 week Wales itinerary (can be adjusted to 10+ days) for doing just that with lots of detailed information, which we think you’ll find helps you get around.

What to Pack for Wales

Wales, like the rest of the UK, is a country where the weather can be highly variable. Rain is possible at any time of year, as are cooler temperatures.

So when you plan what to pack for your trip to Wales you will want to be prepared for a variety of scenarios. Additionally, as a lot of the activities in Wales involve time spent outdoors and particularly hiking, you’ll want to plan and pack accordingly to ensure you are prepared.

We would recommend reading our guide to what to pack for the UK as a general overview, but also to remember the following items:

  • Layered clothing so you can adjust what you are wearing as the weather changes over the day. We’d suggest something like a t-shirt baselayer, a fleece mid-layer and a waterproof outerlayer .
  • A good pair of hiking pants and waterproof hiking boots if you plan on doing any hiking. We love our Scarpa hiking boots and have hiked in them all over the world, but there are many options available .
  • A travel plug adapter like this so you can charge all your devices
  • A good guidebook for Wales which you can use for planning and reference is always a good idea

Portmeirion Wales

Further Resources for Visiting Wales and the UK

And that’s it for our detailed planning guide for visiting Wales! We hope you found this guide useful. We also wanted to share some more resources we think might help you with planning this and future trips in the UK.

  • We have a detailed 7 – 10 day road trip itinerary for Wales , with day by day highlights, tips on where to stay, and lots more.
  • If you’re looking for more road trip inspiration in the UK, we have a  two week UK road trip itinerary  and a  one week UK road trip itinerary . We also have a  one week Cornwall itinerary
  • If you’re heading to Scotland, check out our  2 day Edinburgh itinerary , our  Glasgow and Loch Lomond itinerary , our guide to the  best day trips from Glasgow , our guide to  things to do in Edinburgh , our  itinerary for Skye and the Highlands , our guide to the  best day trips from Aberdeen , and our guide to the best  day trips from Edinburgh . We also have a  North Coast 500 planning guide  and  North Coast 500 seven day itinerary
  • If you’re not familiar with driving in the UK, see my  guide to driving in the UK  for helpful tips.
  • We have guides to many cities in the UK you can check out! See our guides to  things to do in Manchester ,   things to do in Stratford upon Avon ,   things to do in Bristol ,   things to do in Portsmouth , tips on a  weekend in York , tips on  Visiting Oxford on a Day Trip , and  things to do in Cambridge  to get started
  • If you’re looking for a guidebook for your trip, check out the  Rough Guide to Wales

And that’s it! Have you ever visited Wales? Do you have anything you’d add to the above? Just let us know in the comments below, and safe travels!

A detailed Wales planning guide. Everything you need to know to plan a trip to Wales, from when to go to what to see, do and pack!

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Claudia says

11th March 2024 at 1:52 am

Hi, there! First, I’d like to say that I find your blog, travel news and tips really useful and interesting!! Then, I wanted to share with you part of my experience in Wales. Last October I traveled solo from Argentina around Wales, England and Scotland. I organised my own trip visiting ONLY castles during 21 days and I can say that Welsh castles just blew my mind!!!! 🥰🥰 I visited some of the ones you’ve mentioned and some you haven’t, and I think ALL are worth seeing: Cardiff, Caerphilly, Chepstow and Kidwelly in the south and Conwy, Caernarfon and Beaumaris in the north ❤️❤️❤️. I really do hope I can go back some time!!! Cheers from Argentina🇦🇷

Laurence Norah says

13th March 2024 at 3:01 pm

Hey Claudia!

Wow, that sounds like an awesome trip 🙂 The Welsh castles are definitely epic, and I’m so glad you enjoyed your time visiting them. I agree, they are all worth seeing. We’re actually heading back to Wales in a couple of weeks to see some more 😉

Safe travels!

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Wales Road Trip: The Best Route & Itinerary + Map

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Wales Road Trip Planner

Small but perfectly formed, the glorious country of Wales is a road-trippers dream. With soaring mountains and valleys, miles of golden sands, craggy headlands, historical sites, and some incredible roads, Wales offers an adventurous and eclectic road trip.

We’ve spent many happy weekends and holidays in Wales, and have brought together all our favorite places into a road trip that showcases the very best of the country. In this Wales road trip planner, we share the best itinerary, travel tips, things to do and see along the way, and hotel recommendations to help you plan your perfect Wales road trip.

Wales road trip

Where is Wales?

A small country that is part of the United Kingdom, Wales is on the island of Great Britain, with an open border to the west of England, and covers an area of 8,024 square miles. That’s around half the size of the Netherlands, a similar size to Slovenia, and slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey.

Wales has a varied geography with strong contrasts. In the south, flat coastal plains give way to valleys, then to hills and mountain ranges in mid and north Wales. There are three national parks and five areas of outstanding natural beauty, which cover a quarter of the land mass of Wales.

map of wales and the Welsh flag

Getting to Wales

For those looking for a UK staycation, Wales makes a great destination on your doorstep. Otherwise, fly into Cardiff , Bristol , or Birmingham airports to start your Welsh road trip. We recommend booking through Skyscanner for live deals and the best prices. You could also fly into London Heathrow , pick up a hire car, and drive to Wales from London along the M4 motorway to begin your Wales self drive itinerary in less than half a day.

You can hire a car  at any of these airports with a car hire booker like Rentalcars.com  who will provide the best deals from all the top car hire companies.  How?  Because they have such a large market share, they’ve got way more buying power than individuals and can negotiate much harder on price.

For a real adventure , hire a motorhome or campervan in Wales. We recommend Motorhome Republic , an aggregate booking site that pulls together all the best deals from a number of rental agencies, to offer you a wide choice of options alongside an excellent English-speaking expert motorhome Concierge Team.

Wales Road Trip Route & Map

  • Get the Travel Guides
  • Lonely Planet Wales
  • The Rough Guide to Wales
  • The AA Guide to Wales

Wales Road Trip Itinerary

Snowdonia – conwy – anglesey – caernarfon – portmeirion – blaenau ffestiniog – coed y brenin – barmouth – elan valley – new quay – pembrokeshire – gower peninsula – mumbles – brecon beacons – hay-on-wye.

  • Distance: 450 miles
  • Duration: 10-14 days
  • Drive Time: 11 hours

Wales is an extraordinary country of rugged coastlines, mountainous national parks, dark skies, and beautiful beaches.

Alongside the spectacular wild landscapes, you’ll also find historic sites, world-class attractions, and warm hospitality.

Whether you’re an outdoor activity lover, a history buff, or a family on your annual holiday, you can explore the best places to visit in Wales by car with our travel tips and Wales coastal road trip itinerary.

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

The starting point for your Wales road trip is the spectacular Snowdonia National Park, or  Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri  in Welsh, in north Wales. Our favorite place in Wales, you’ll find plenty of drama, huge skies, and outdoor adventures.

The perfect stop for your first day is Betws-y-Coed, a typical mountain town in a beautiful valley, full of companies offering outdoor adventures, shops selling outdoor gear, and pubs and restaurants full of hikers talking about the day’s activities.

The town is a great base for outdoor sports such as climbing, hiking, abseiling, zip-lining, caving, and mountain biking. You’ll also find natural beauty spots such as Conwy Falls, the Fairy Glen, and Swallow Falls to visit nearby.

Test yourself by climbing to the peak of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales at 1,085m above sea level. Even relatively inexperienced hikes will be able to climb Snowden, just make sure you have the right hiking equipment and check the weather carefully before heading off. If you’re in Wales during peak season, start early and try to avoid the weekends, as queues have been known to form on the ascent.

If you still want to enjoy the views but don’t fancy the hike to Wales’ highest peak, you can get the Snowdon Mountain Railway up from Llanberis station, almost to the summit. From here it’s a short walk to cover the last 20m of elevation to the cairn, and you can conquer Snowdon on foot!

Snowdonia National Park is also perfect for star-gazing and only the second area in Wales to be designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve. On a clear night in Snowdonia, you can see the Milky Way, all the major constellations, nebulas (bright clouds of gas and dust), and shooting stars.

  • Where to Stay in Snowdonia

Upmarket: Portmeirion Village & Castell Deudraeth – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: The Slate – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia – Booking.com | Agoda

Views of Anglesey from Snowdon

Is this your first time visiting the UK? Get all the information you need in our United Kingdom Travel Guide , including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there, and practical tips to help you have the best trip!

Head to the northern coast of Wales to Conwy, to visit the fortified town and magnificent Conwy Castle, built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales in the 13th century.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the medieval castle dominates the skyline for miles around and has amazing views from the battlements. It’s also a fantastic sight as you cross the 18th century Gothic-style Conwy suspension bridge, which frames the ancient castle perfectly between its struts.

Not far from the castle, on Lower Gate Street, is the smallest house in Great Britain. Perched at the end of a terrace of houses and painted pillar box red, the smallest house is just 72 inches / 183cm wide by 122 inches / 310cm high. It was occupied until 1900 by a local fisherman called Robert Jones, who was 6 foot 3 inches tall!

  • Where to Stay in Conwy

Upmarket: The Gallery at Bull Cottages – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Gwynfryn – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Make sure you have travel insurance you can trust when visiting Wales . We recommend True Traveller for their 5-star TrustPilot reviews, variety of cover options, best activities cover as standard, great prices, and excellent service.

From Conwy, follow the coast road past Bangor and over the Menai Strait on the iconic Menai suspension bridge to the beautiful Isle of Anglesey, home to some of the best beaches in Wales, and fantastic coastal hiking, and cycling paths. 

Newborough Beach is a favorite of many on Anglesey, backed by the tranquil Newborough Forest, where you might see red squirrels. Take a walk through the forest and dunes to the peninsula of Llanddwyn Island to see the fascinating lighthouse and pilot’s cottages. 

  • Where to Stay in Anglesey

Upmarket: Sandy Mount House – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Lastra Farm Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Bold Arms Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

North Wales road trip - Anglesey lighthouse

As you leave Anglesey, you’ll pass by Caernarfon on the road south. It’s well worth stopping here to visit 13th century Caernarfon Castle on the banks of the River Seiont, widely recognized as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages.

The jewel in the crown of Edward I’s Iron Ring of Castles, a chain of fortifications and castles built in north Wales, this fortress-palace is grouped with Edward’s other castles at Conwy, Beaumaris, and Harlech as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can follow this string castles along the North Wales Way , a 75 miles long north Wales road trip from Chester to Holyhead in Anglesey.

Used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911 and again in 1969, Caernarfon Castle has benefitted from a recent £5m investment, including a multimedia interpretation focussing on the ordinary Welsh people who built and ran the castle, and redevelopment of the castle’s principal gatehouse, adding a viewing platform in the battlements with panoramic views of town, sea and mountains.

  • Where to Stay in Caernarfon

Mid-Range: The Celtic Royal Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Anglesey Arms – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Portmeirion

Designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century, Portmeirion’s colorful houses, ornamental garden, and iconic campanile are like nowhere else in the UK.

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in Wales, Portmeirion is also known for Portmeirion Pottery (now made in Stoke-on-Trent) and its role in the 1960s cult TV show The Prisoner .

Look beyond the obvious though and enjoy local walks, tropical gardens, and interesting architecture.

You can also get to Porthmadog from Minffordd Station just a mile from Portmeirion. From there you can travel on the Welsh Highland Railway, the UK’s longest heritage railway which runs for 25 miles from Porthmadog through the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass and the picture-perfect village of Beddgelert, past the foot of Snowdon and on to Caernarfon.

  • Where to Stay in Portmeirion

Mid-Range: Aberdunant Hall Country Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Golden Fleece Inn – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Blaenau Ffestiniog

Blaenau Ffestiniog is a small town with a rich mining history and is famously known as the ‘slate capital of the world’ and the dramatic slate landscapes that encircle the town have recently been designated as the fourth UNESCO World Heritage Site in Wales, following the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, and the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.

Since Roman times, Welsh slate has been utilized on roofs worldwide and has significantly changed the landscape over the years. The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, which spans Gwynedd, was the leading producer and exporter of slate in the world during the 1800s and remains a remarkable heritage site today, attracting thousands of visitors.

Over the past few years, Blaenau Ffestiniog has developed as an outdoor activities capital, and its location in the heart of Snowdonia, close to rugged mountains, lakes, and hiking and biking trails, makes it a popular choice for thrill-seekers.

  • Where to Stay in Blaenau Ffestiniog

Upmarket: The Grapes Hotel, Maentwrog – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Plas Weunydd – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Pisgah Guesthouse – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Coed y Brenin

A short drive south is Coed y Brenin, where cyclists should make a stop. The UK’s first and largest dedicated mountain bike trail center, with miles of exceptional single-track for intermediate, experienced, and expert riders, is also a great place to try MBX for the first time.

You can hire bikes at Beics Brenin and start a trail from there, or visit the Ffowndri skills area and bike park to test your skills.

You’ll also find hiking, geocaching trails, orienteering routes, and running tracks in the Coed y Brenin Forest Park, with even a half-marathon route if you’re feeling really energetic!

Want to plan your own road tri p? Get our step-by-step road trip planning guide to help you organize the perfect trip, find out how to road trip on a budget , or get ideas and inspiration with our favorite European road trips .

Nestled between Snowdonia and the Mawddach estuary, Barmouth’s location on the west coast has to be one of the most beautiful in Wales.

Steeped in a history rich with connections to the shipping and slate industries, this is a good old-fashioned seaside resort.

The town’s beach, Abermaw, is west-facing with a mixture of sand and some fine shingle and is a popular spot for sea swimming and watersports. 

You’ll also find a land train that runs along the promenade, which also makes a pleasant coastal walk, traditional donkey rides, swing boats, and amusement arcades as well as lots of local pubs and restaurants.  

  • Where to Stay in Barmouth

Mid-Range: The Tilman – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Tal Y Don Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Barmouth, a fantastic wales roadtrip destination

Don’t forget your road trip essentials! Our free road trip checklists help you remember everything, including road trip snacks , podcasts , and road trip songs for the journey!

The Mach Loop

As you head south, check out the Mach Loop on the A487 between the towns of Dolgellau to the north and Machynlleth to the south, the latter of gives its name.

The Mach Loop is a series of valleys notable for their use as low-level training areas for fast jet and propeller-driven aircraft. With an average of two to five movements a day, this is one of the best places in the UK to see this type of aircraft flying.

The MoD says “ the best time to see aircraft in action through the Mach Loop is late spring and summer which are the busiest times for low flying as squadrons make full use of good weather to carry out their training “.

travel planner wales

Elan Valley

Your next stop is the Elan Valley, a stunning area rich with wildlife and nature in the heart of Mid Wales. Inhabited since the Stone Age, the rural valley is now famous for its spectacular dams, reservoirs, and aqueducts – you should try and visit all of the six dams of the Elan Valley to really appreciate the history of these beautifully designed and engineered masterpieces.

One of the best ways to experience the valley is to take a hike or bike ride around one of the reservoirs of the valley or gain some height amongst the rocky crags and admire the breathtaking and peaceful landscape.

Over 80% of the valley is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Claerwen National Nature Reserve, encompassing 800 hectares of upland plateaux with gently rolling hills covered with acid grassland and in parts, blanket bog on a mantle of peat, is a beautiful place to visit.

The area also has International Dark Sky Park status, meaning that there is very little light pollution. On clear nights you can see constellations, planets, and stars so clearly you feel you could reach out and touch them – perfect if you’re camping or traveling in a motorhome.

RELATED POST – Motorhoming & Campervanning in Wales – Complete Guide

  • Where to Stay in Elan Valley

Mid-Range: The Elan Valley Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Llanerch Inn – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Castles in Wales

Wales is home to over 600 castles, more per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Some have been lived in continuously for over a thousand years, while others are romantic ruins. Many are native Welsh castles , built by Welsh royal dynasties, often in very beautiful places and you’ll find lots along our suggested route. 

These are some of our stand-out castles to visit along the way;

  • Dolwyddelan Castle in Conwy County is one of those romantic ruins – a stronghold built in the early 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and Wales.
  • Remote and evocative, the 13th century ruins of Castell y Bere are strung along a jagged rocky outcrop in the Dysynni Valley at the foot of Cader Idris.
  • Medieval Pembroke Castle was originally the family seat of the Earldom of Pembroke. A Grade I listed building since 1951, it underwent major restoration during the early 20th century.
  • Shaped by conquest and conflict, Carew Castle is one of the most architecturally diverse castles in Wales and is set in stunning surroundings.
  • Another romantic ruin, Pennard Castle is dramatic and beautiful, and the views are glorious.
  • Cardiff Castle is a renovated medieval fortress and Victorian Gothic revival mansion dating from 1081, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England.

Head south through coastal mid-wales to the vibrant seaside town of New Quay, following the Coastal Way (which makes up part of the Wales Way , a trio of national road trips in Wales; the Cambrian Way, the Coastal Way, and the North Wales Way) along the entire length of Cardigan Bay and stopping at the stunning Llanrhystud Beach on the way.

For something really adventurous, the Mid Wales Paragliding Centre is just outside Aberystwyth, on your route to New Quay. Stop off for a few days and learn to fly with their BHPA School.

New Quay is a pretty fishing town, popular with tourists for its picturesque harbor and sandy beach, and an ideal base for exploring the west Wales coastal area for a few days.

There is so much to do in this little corner of Wales, but you’re mainly here for the sea. With every kind of water sport on offer and the Ceredigion Marine Heritage Coast offering wildlife and seabirds aplenty, you’ll find lots to pack in for a couple of days.

Start with a trip to one of the activity companies in the area, where you can organize (perhaps in advance) sailing, stand-up paddle, kayaking, and canoeing.

There are several spectacular beaches nearby, including the beautiful Llangrannog Beach, which is good for surfing.

You can also take a boat trip from New Quay harbor to see bottle-nose dolphins and seals in Cardigan Bay, and sea fishing trips – fresh BBQ’d mackerel for dinner maybe?

The famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, lived in New Quay during World War II and it’s widely believed to be the setting for one of his most well-known works ‘Under Milk Wood’. You’ll find lots of places in the town connected to him and his work.

  • Where to Stay in New Quay

Mid-Range: Rooms @ The Dolau Inn – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Penwig Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Wales 10-14 Day Motorhome Itinerary

Let us do the planning for you with our Wales motorhome itinerary, packed with campsites, activities, attractions and insider tips.

Let us do the hard work for you! Get up every day knowing your campervan trip is planned with driving routes, overnight stops and attractions marked out for you on your interactive map.

Pembrokeshire

Famous for its rough cliffs, huge beaches, and remote islands, the coast of Pembrokeshire offers limitless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and is one of the most stunning places in the UK. 

It’s no surprise that National Geographic has voted the coastline the second best in the world.

Stop at beautiful Fishguard on the way south, famous for its role in the Battle of Fishguard. A military invasion of Great Britain by revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition, the brief campaign in February 1797 is the most recent landing on British soil by a hostile foreign force and thus is often referred to as the “last invasion of mainland Britain”.

This is also the perfect place to try delicious Welsh Cakes, a traditional sweet treat that is a sort of cross between a biscuit, scone, and pancake but unlike any of them! The best place for a homemade Welsh Cake in Fishguard is Ffwrn on Main Street. Enjoy!

If you’re looking for somewhere lively for an overnight stay, then you’ll find Fishguard a great choice. The main attraction here is the activities that the location provides; right on the Pembrokeshire Coast path, there’s also sailing, coasteering, and sea kayaking on offer and you’ll find lots to keep you busy.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is an activity lovers paradise and as well as coasteering, you’ll also find surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, canyoning, climbing, coastal path hiking, and many more activities in this gorgeous corner of the country. 

Pembrokeshire boasts that it invented coasteering, and it’s an activity you must try. The sport of jumping from land to sea, cliff scrambling, and swimming between rocks will stretch you mentally and physically but give you hours of fun. There are guided expeditions and courses for beginners of all ages, some of which include marine biology education along the way.

The Wales Coast Path passes through Pembrokeshire on its 870 mile journey from Chester in the north to Chepstow in the south and follows the route of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail. The total rise and fall of the Pembrokeshire section is approximately 35,000 feet or 10,668 meters – that’s as high as Mount Everest!

If you’re looking for child-friendly activities, check out Pembrey Country Park, perfect for a family day of adventure. Set in 500 acres of woodland and alongside eight miles of golden sands, there’s a dry ski slope, toboggan ride, crazy golf, pitch and putt, train rides, adventure play area, nature trails …in fact, pretty much everything a family on holidays wants!

Pembrokeshire is also home to St Davids, one of Wales’ major cities but the smallest city in the UK! With historic St David’s Cathedral, the UK’s first pollen trail , multiple artist galleries, and St Non’s Chapel, the city makes a great day trip.

Or check out Tenby, one of the prettiest seaside towns in Wales, steeped in history and surrounded by an imposing medieval stone wall. With several excellent sandy beaches, a colorful harbor, and narrow cobbled streets, this charming town is perfect for a relaxing day out with ice cream and fish and chips, in between sporting activities!

Finally, visiting the famous puffins of Skomer Island is a real must-do if you enjoy nature. A haven for migrant birds such as razorbills and guillemots, you may also see seals here, which come to molt in April, along with owls, buzzards, and peregrine falcons. In the spring, wildflowers cover the island, making it a truly beautiful and fascinating place to visit.

The boat over to the island works on a first-come, first-served basis, and numbers are limited. Tickets can be bought at Lockley Lodge visitor center just outside the small village of Marloes, make sure to get there early!

  • Where to Stay in Pembrokeshire

Upmarket: Grove of Narberth – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Heywood Spa Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: Llwyngwair Manor – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

United Kingdom Road Trip Ideas

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Scotland Road Trip: 8 Incredible Routes for an Epic Trip

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Cornwall Road Trip: The Best Itinerary, Map & Tips

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The 21 Best Motorhome Routes in the UK for an Amazing Adventure!

Gower peninsula.

Next up is the spectacular Gower Peninsula in south Wales, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty famous for its breathtaking coastline and 30 or so unspoiled beaches and coves.

Gower offers unrivaled coastal walking, including the gorgeous Rhossili Beach and Down, voted ‘Best Beach Wales’. The dramatic Worm’s Head, whose long ridged back rises straight from the sea before rearing up at the end of the promontory is an unforgettable hike, but does need careful planning as you can only cross the causeway to Worms Head for 2.5 hours on either side of low tide.

Some of the best beaches in Wales are on the Gower’s coastline, with the most famous being Oxwich Bay beach in the south and the huge Whiteford beach to the north.

If you like your sand a little more secluded, try Brandy Cove beach, only accessible by a cliff path, or head for Three Cliffs Bay, a spectacular shoreline of sand dunes, salt marsh, and limestone cliffs. 

Surfers and kitesurfers should check out Llangennith Beach or Broughton Bay Beach, both popular spots with good facilities.

  • Where to Stay in Gower Peninsula

Mid-Range: LLwyn Country House – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Ynyscedwyn Arms Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

The Mumbles

At the eastern end of the peninsula and often referred to as ‘the gateway to Gower’ is Mumbles, a traditional seaside town. Head here to walk along the bustling prom, where rollerbladers weave between pedestrians, and ice cream parlors tempt.

As well as the usual water-based activities, you can also hire jet skis and take a speed-boat ride into Swansea Bay from the Mumbles, the headland on the western edge of the bay. Perfect if you’ve spent the last week or so hiking, cycling, and paddling under your own steam!

  • Where to Stay in The Mumbles

Upmarket: Norton House Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: Oyster House – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Coast House – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Black Mountain Pass

If you have time, take a detour to the western edge of the Brecon Beacons for one of the best driving roads in Wales.

The epic Black Mountain Pass of Top Gear fame gives unrivaled views of the surrounding valleys and mountains, and enough hairpin bends and switchbacks to satisfy any dangerous road enthusiast.

The Black Mountain Pass is actually the South Wales road A4069 which climbs from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, between the breathtaking viewpoints of the twin humps of Pont Aber and Herbert’s Pass, before arriving in Llandovery.

From here, you can head southeast on the A40 to Sennybridge, and then south on the A470 into the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Make sure to add Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, Pont Aber, and Llandovery as via points in your sat nav, or you’ll be routed on a more main road.

Be aware that sheep will cross the road indiscriminately and it is known that mobile speed cameras are sometimes hidden along the route in things like horse boxes or small trucks.

RELATED POST – Why We Think These Are The Best Driving Roads in Europe

travel planner wales

Brecon Beacons

Undulating dramatically across the landscape, the Brecon Beacons National Park ( Parc Cenedlaethol Bannau Brycheiniog ) encompasses some of the most spectacular scenery in southern Wales.

Known simply as ‘the Beacons’ to hikers, these mountains are scattered with ridges and plateaus, glacial hollows that rise above forested valleys, hidden waterfalls, and gorgeous remote and empty landscapes.

There are many trails to choose from here, including the Cambrian Way, a long-distance hiking route from Cardiff to Snowdon through some of Wales’ most mountainous and wild landscapes. 

Pen Y Fan is a favorite, the route a challenging ten mile slog from the car park through forest and moorland to the steep ridge at the summit at 886m, where the views are superb.

But there is more hiking here than just Pen Y Fan. Sugar Loaf in Monmouthshire is stunning and the beautiful Brecon Beacons waterfall walk is a must-do.

From the Brecon Beacons, you can head to your final destination; either north into the beautiful and protected landscape of the Wye Valley and the literary town of Hay-on-Wye or make your way south to the lively city of Cardiff.

Either of these provides excellent transport links back into England and your journey home.

  • Where to Stay in Brecon Beacons

Mid-Range: The Plough Inn – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Belle Vue Through The Looking Glass – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Gospel Pass

But, we have one more small detour for you, if you like great driving roads !

In the Black Mountains at the eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park is the Gospel Pass, the highest road in Wales at 549m. The pass is possibly the most scenic drive in Wales with spectacular views and a few good hiking routes from the top.

Snaking along the narrow Vale of Ewyas the mostly single-track paved road rises steadily as you head north before dropping into the Wye Valley. To get to the pass, branch off the A465 five miles north of Abergavenny at Llanvihangel Crucorney. 

Most of the valley is in Monmouthshire but the last few miles, including the pass itself, are in Powys. The ridge line to the east, extending south from Hay Bluff, marks the border between Wales and England.

This single-track route is not for the winter months or those in motorhomes or larger campervans.

travel planner wales

The final stop in Wales, the capital city of Cardiff is a unique blend of British culture, Welsh attributes, and Celtic personality.

Cardiff has a subtle charm that you learn through the independent stores, laneways of bars, medieval Cardiff Castle smack-bang in the city center, and a diverse culinary scene offering everything from street food to fine dining.

There is a lot to explore here, including the Senedd Cymru (Welsh parliament) building in the lively Cardiff Bay area and nearby Barry Island, a bastion of Welsh seaside holidays and of course, the home of Gavin and Stacey!

RELATED POST – One Day Cardiff Itinerary – Map, Tips & Guide

  • Where to Stay in Cardiff

Upmarket: Parador 44 – Booking.com | Agoda

Mid-Range: voco St. David’s Cardiff, an IHG Hotel – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Beverley by Innkeeper’s Collection – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Hay-on-Wye is famous the world over for books and the annual Hay Festival of Literature and Arts.

Known as Hay by locals, this charming market town in Wales sits on the gently flowing River Wye in the beautiful Wye Valley and abuts the Wales-England border.

The pretty center is made up of skinny sloping lanes characterized by a shabby elegance that suits the quirky bookshops and antiques emporia that thrive here.

  • Where to Stay in Hay-On-Wye

Mid-Range: The Kilverts Inn – Booking.com | Agoda

Budget: The Swan At Hay – Booking.com | Agoda

travel planner wales

Wales Road Trip FAQs

When is the best time to take a road trip in wales, december to february.

The winter months in Wales are generally cold and wet. It is likely to be cloudy in the mountains, leading to poor visibility, and there may well be snow. Although other visitors will be thin on the ground, this would be our least favorite time to roadtrip Wales!

March to May

Late spring is a good time for visiting Wales, as the cold and wet retreats. Wildflowers appear, baby animals abound and life picks up a lively pace again. But, remember that Wales is so green because it rains, so always be prepared for a downpour, or a few drizzly days.

June to August

The summer months bring sunshine to all of Wales, with Pembrokeshire getting the best of the warm Gulf Stream weather. This is the perfect time to road trip around Wales, especially for outdoor adventures such as hiking and coasteering.

September to November

Autumn is a fantastic time to visit Wales . The coasts will be quieter but still warm and the glorious colors of fall bring vibrancy to the countryside. Don’t leave your trip to Wales too late, it will be cold and wet again by mid-October.

What is the most beautiful road trip in Wales?

We think our itinerary is the most beautiful road trip in Wales! If you’re looking for some of the best road trips in Wales, explore the routes of the Wales Way .

The Cambrian Way crosses the spine of Wales for 185 miles between Cardiff and Llandudno, through stunning national parks and the wild and remote Cambrian Mountains. The Coastal Way travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a 180 mile road trip between the sea and mountains. The North Wales Way is a 75 mile road trip past mighty historic castles onto the beautiful island of Anglesey.

How many days do you need for Wales?

One of the best things about Wales is its compact nature and short distance between places, meaning that even if you only have a short amount of time, you can still get a flavor of Wales in seven days. But this won’t be enough to truly explore the different regions – we think ten days to two weeks will give you a much better experience of this eclectic country.

What is the famous driving route in Wales?

The most famous driving route in Wales is the Black Mountain Pass. Picked as a filming location for Top Gear in 2011, Jeremy Clarkson drove the road in a Mercedes AMG SLK.

Is it easy to drive around Wales?

Yes, it’s easy to drive around Wales. Roads are generally well maintained and other drivers are courteous and safe.

In some remote places, you may encounter livestock on the roads, but take it slowly and you’ll enjoy the experience.

Wales Essentials

Here are the websites and services we personally use and recommend for traveling in the United Kingdom.

  • Search for affordable flights to Wales and the UK with Skyscanner
  • Search for availability and book hotels and accommodation in Wales with Booking.com
  • Find and book the best campsites in Wales with Eurocampings
  • Book the cheapest and most reliable hire cars in France with Rentalcars.com
  • Find and hire your perfect motorhome or campervan with Motorhome Republic
  • Get highly rated, reliable, and trustworthy travel insurance with True Traveller
  • Check if you need a visa and arrange your documents with Visagov

Information About Driving in Wales

Whether you’re road-tripping in a car, camper, or motorbike, make sure you’ve got all your documents handy and your spare tire is in good condition. If your Wales roadtrip itinerary is longer than a few weeks , you may want to consider a vehicle service before you go, and breakdown cover is probably a good idea.

  • Drivers from non-EU countries may require an International Driving Permit. The general rule is that if your license is not in English, then an IDP will be required. Check with your hire company or embassy if you’re in doubt.
  • You must have at least 3rd party insurance for your vehicle.
  • Your car must be considered roadworthy in the country in which it is registered.
  • Your headlights must be adapted for driving on the left if your vehicle is registered outside the UK.
  • Unlike France, the UK does not have laws that require you to carry certain equipment in your car, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. Being prepared in the event of an accident or a breakdown is invaluable. Ideally, you should carry a reflective jacket, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.
  • If you’re hiring a car, book well in advance and use a car hire booker like Rentalcars.com who will provide the best deals from all the top car hire companies.
  • Understand insurance options, mileage limits, and fuel policies before booking.
  • Check the car for damage on collection and make sure anything you spot is noted, and the same again when you drop it off.
  • In 2023 the statutory speed limit on Welsh restricted roads, those with streetlights, was reduced from 30mph to 20mph unless road signs dictate otherwise.
  • Remember to drive on the left during your trip to Wales!

RELATED POST: Driving in Europe – Everything You Need to Know

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Politics latest: Starmer jets off for first NATO summit - and in 'stronger position' than many allies

Sir Keir Starmer is on his way to his first NATO summit as prime minister, hosted in Washington DC. It comes after he sat opposite Rishi Sunak in the first sitting of the new parliament since last week's general election.

Tuesday 9 July 2024 22:55, UK

  • General Election 2024

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  • PM jets off for NATO summit
  • Mark Stone analysis: Starmer in much stronger position than allies
  • Health secretary 'optimistic' after junior doctor talks
  • Committee key to Tory leadership race elects new chair
  • Tory mayor attacks 'cack-handed' Braverman after Pride comments
  • Highlights from parliament's return: Starmer speaks in Commons for first time as PM | Sunak vows 'effective' opposition | Farage makes debut with dig over Brexit | Commons Speaker re-elected
  • Sam Coates analysis: A spirit of unity - but still moments of politics
  • Live reporting by Faith Ridler

Thanks for joining us for a very busy day for the new Labour government - and there's plenty more to come this week.

You can scroll through the page for today's updates, or check our 10pm post for a round-up of Tuesday's most significant news.

We'll be back at 6am with all the latest from Westminster.

The chancellor has revealed plans for a new national wealth fund designed to attract billions in private sector investment.

The new Labour government said it has allocated £7.3bn in additional state funding to support the plan.

The proposals include reforms to the state-owned British Business Bank.

Rachel Reeves met with a nine-strong National Wealth Fund Taskforce at Number 11 Downing Street in order to launch the plans.

The taskforce includes former Bank of England governor Mark Carney, Barclays chief executive officer CS Venkatakrishnan and Aviva chief executive Amanda Blanc.

'Further, faster'

Ms Reeves said the funding will be used to target green and high-growth British industries, stressing there is "no time to waste".

The chancellor added: "We need to go further and faster if we are to fix the foundations of our economy to rebuild Britain and make every part of our country better off."

It's the end of the day - which means it's time for a round-up of the main things you need to know from the Politics Hub.

  • Sir Keir Starmer is en route to Washington DC as you read this for his first NATO summit, where he'll meet world leaders including Joe Biden;
  • Our US correspondent Mark Stoke says he goes on the trip in a "much stronger position" than many of his allies, given his massive election win - we'll have live updates and analysis from the trip starting tomorrow.
  • Back in the UK, parliament has returned and the Speaker re-elected, with the cabinet and shadow cabinet having been sworn in;
  • Sir Keir Starmer  welcomed the diversity of the new parliament in his first Commons speech as PM, while  Rishi Sunak  vowed the Tories would be an "effective and professional" opposition;
  • The return of parliament allowed the Tories to elect the chair of their backbench 1922 Committee , which runs the party's leadership contests;
  • But our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey is getting the sense from Conservatives that the contest may not happen for several months, as the battle for the soul of the party commences.
  • Elsewhere, Health Secretary Wes Streeting says he's "optimistic" after his first meeting with representatives of junior doctors, as he seeks an end to the pay dispute that has caused industrial action;
  • Our political correspondent Tamara Cohen said there may only be "a matter of weeks" to find an agreement before the BMA union holds a vote on holding more strikes.

That's it for our final bulletin of the day - stay with us for more news and analysis through the evening.

A former army chief has warned members of NATO the world is facing "as dangerous a moment as any time that we've had since 1945" as he called on members to invest more into their arms.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, who served as chief of the general staff until last month, told The Times that Russia, China and Iran were the "new axis powers", and a third world war could break out within the next five years if action was not taken.

Arguing the countries posed even more of a threat than the Nazis in 1939, he said: "They are more interdependent and more aligned than the original axis powers were."

But the military expert said the conflict was not a foregone conclusion if NATO members, including the UK, significantly improved their arms.

You can read more from Sky News:

The UK's newest MPs might have spent the last six weeks fighting for a place in parliament - but it can still be a shock to the system once they enter it, according to those familiar with the process.

That's why House of Commons staff have spent months preparing for their arrival, working on everything from buddy schemes to starter packs and photobooks to help them get to grips with the job.

This secret team of helpers is not messing about. In fact, the first contact parliament has with newly elected representatives is at the election count itself.

Read all about how new MPs are prepared for the job here:

After the Conservative Party lost the general election, Rishi Sunak announced he would resign as leader "once the formal arrangements for selecting my successor are in place".

So how could the next leader be selected?

1922 committee

The body that governs Tory party leadership races is their backbench committee of MPs, the 1922 Committee.

Today, Tory MPs elected a new chair - Bob Blackman.

Decisions can now be taken about the timeframe and process of the leadership contest - although it is unclear when that will happen.

Rishi Sunak's role

As it stands, the former PM remains leader of the party and leader of the opposition. He has appointed a shadow cabinet and will fulfil the constitutional requirements of the role - for now.

Mr Sunak could agree to stay as party leader until a permanent successor is selected - in which case he will continue to carry out the opposition leader role, including facing Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.

But he could choose to step down before the contest is concluded, which he seemed to suggest in his resignation speech, which would mean an interim leader would have to be chosen (that would likely fall to Oliver Dowden, who is the interim deputy leader).

Will the party members have a say?

There appears to be broad consensus among Tory MPs that members should get a vote on who the new party leader should be.

Short vs long

Some Tories have proposed the contest should be short, so the new leader can be in place to challenge the Labour government as soon as possible - particularly when they present their first budget in the autumn.

However, a consensus appears to be emerging that a long leadership contest is the right thing to do to ensure there is full debate on which direction the party should take.

It could mean that nominations for the new leader don't even open for a number of weeks, and then MPs could whittle down the number of candidates - or not, and members could choose between multiple people.

There have been suggestions that the contest should not conclude until after the party's conference in early October, like when David Cameron won back in 2005.

By Mark Kleinman , City editor

The boss of Hakluyt, the corporate intelligence firm, is being lined up for a top business role in Sir Keir Starmer's fledgling Labour administration.

Sky News has learnt that Varun Chandra, who has been Hakluyt's managing partner since 2019, is in advanced talks to join the government.

Sources said on Tuesday that he was likely to take on a senior business liaison role in 10 Downing Street - a role occupied by Lord Petitgas, the former Morgan Stanley banker, in Rishi Sunak's administration.

Like Lord Petitgas, Mr Chandra is an ex-Lehman Brothers banker who went on to establish the regulated business operations of Tony Blair, the former prime minister.

You can read more from Sky News here:

The UK is in a relatively unusual position as Sir Keir Starmer jets off for his first NATO summit as prime minister.

Given the struggles of Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron, and some other Western leaders, our  US correspondent  Mark Stone   says the prime minister comes to Washington DC looking relatively strong given his enormous election win.

"Politically he is in a much stronger position than many colleagues he will meet," says Mark, who'll be at the summit.

Sir Keir will be among the leaders of the 31 other NATO members for a summit being described "as the biggest event of its kind for three decades" given the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Mark says that sometimes in politics "timing is luck" - "and it's certainly luck for Starmer that so soon after he took office, he is in Washington".

He'll also meet Joe Biden at the White House while he's in town.

That concludes our coverage of tonight's Politics Hub programme - it will be back again from 7pm tomorrow. Stay with us here for more news and analysis through the evening.

Our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey is outside The Spectator's depressingly rainy summer party in London - and it doesn't get more "establishment" than this, he says.

Plenty of senior Tories are there, and so is Nigel Farage.

Darren notes that although the new chairman of the 1922 Committee was confirmed as Bob Blackman tonight - the timing of a Tory leadership contest remains unclear.

"The conversation is not tonight about who should take over the Conservative Party, it's much more about this process," Darren says.

"Whether this leadership contest needs to be sorted as soon as possible - ahead of the party conference - or whether the Conservative Party should do what they decided back in 2005."

That was a really long campaign, one which ended with David Cameron taking the reins.

Darren says the consensus at the party seems to be the Conservatives need to have a think - and they need a long time, certainly until the summer has been and gone.

It means Rishi Sunak could still be leader for months to come.

Housing minister Matthew Pennycook is now asked about  Labour's decision to take "Levelling Up" out of his department's name.

It is now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Boris Johnson didn't take well to this decision, accusing the new government of a lack of ambition.

Mr Pennycook says this is "nonsense", adding: "I'd expect nothing less from the former prime minister."

He said the way the Tory government had approached levelling up was a "gimmick", with communities "held back" and "forced to bid" for "small pots of money" from Whitehall.

"We are taking a whole government approach to regional inequality," says the minister.

"It's got to run through everything we do, so the ambition remains the problem, if you like. The diagnosis was right. 

"We want to get back to basics."

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    The Pembrokeshire Coast is located in the far south-west of Wales. It is easily accessible from the end of the M4 at Swansea. The road follows the coastal way with numerous little beaches, beautiful castles and small towns. Further around the west Wales coast, the roads become smaller and the landscape more rugged.

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    The Cambrian Way crosses the spine of Wales for 185 miles (300km) between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big green spaces. The North Wales Way leads 75 miles (120km) past mighty castles into the island of Anglesey. We've also suggested loops and detours so that you can go 'igam ogam' and create your own Wales Way road-trip.

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    Planning Your Trip . Best Time to Visit: Wales is at its best during the late spring through early summer.You can expect a fair bit of rain, but also beautiful flowers throughout the country. Wales's temperate, humid climate means that there's only a small variation among temperatures throughout the year, with summer temperatures usually hovering in the mid-60s F.

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    By train, Cardiff is around 2.5 hours from London, 50 minutes from Bristol, and 4 hours from Liverpool. North Wales destinations like Conwy are around an hour by train from Chester, or 3.5 hours from London. You can also easily drive to Wales from locations around the UK.

  17. Journey Planner Results

    Personalise your experience with us by signing up with your own account. Here, you will be able to save your favourite journeys, view disruptions & much more by customising your journey to your needs. Click here to find out more and sign up, or log in below.

  18. Plan Your Journey

    The gateway to Britain's public transport network. Latest News. Plan your journey; About Traveline

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  24. Timetable

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  25. Politics latest: Starmer defends cabinet snub

    By Tomos Evans, Wales reporter, in Cardiff "No justice, no peace" - those were the calls of a small group of pro-Palestine protestors in Cardiff during the final leg of the prime minister's UK tour.