Best places to visit in Wales

Penned on the 22nd March 2023

Best places to visit in Wales

Image by Rob Heath


If you’re seeking a staycation with wild natural beauty and a huge variety of things to see and do, Wales is a destination like no other. This small-but-mighty country is home to three rugged national parks, mile upon mile of stunning coastline and plenty of picturesque villages and towns. You’ll find rich history and culture around every corner too, as well as award-winning food and drink. 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway for two, a family-friendly holiday or an adrenaline-filled outdoor adventure, here are our favourite places to visit in Wales for a trip that you’ll treasure forever.


For outdoor adventures 

Snowdonia National Park

Vast lake at Snowdonia with still water and rugged mountains

Snowdonia is a vast and beautiful national park covering 825 square miles in the northwest corner of Wales. It’s the oldest and largest in the country – and arguably the most impressive. Every year around 10 million outdoor adventure-loving people visit to explore the dramatic mountainous landscape including Snowdon, the park’s highest peak at 1085 metres. You can challenge yourself to a hike to the summit, or if you prefer a more leisurely pace but still want to enjoy the breathtaking views, hop on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Below the mountains there’s plenty more natural beauty to discover too, from magical ancient forests to glittering lakes, rivers and waterfalls.


Brecon Beacons National Park

Golden and oranges hues over the Brecon Beacons as the sun sets

Further south spread across the counties of Monmouthshire, Carmarthenshire and Powys you’ll find another of the country’s gorgeous national parks, the Brecon Beacons. Its undulating hilly landscape and walking trails make it the perfect destination for nature-loving hikers. One of its most popular walks is to the summit of the highest peak, Pen-Y-Fan, where on a clear day you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views after your climb. It’s suitable for a mix of abilities too, with day routes ranging from family-friendly four mile trails through to more challenging 10 or 11 mile circuits. Similarly to Snowdonia, there are also plenty of stunning forests and cascading waterfalls to explore across the park, as well as deep caves and vast valleys.

If you’re looking for somewhere special to stay nearby, take a look at our collection of hideaways in Powys.



Arial view of New Quay harbour, with small fishing boats on the turquoise water

For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, head to the ancient county of Ceredigion on the west coast of mid-Wales. Here you’ll find reams of beautiful, unspoiled countryside and coastlines – but far less people than many of Wales’s busier tourist destinations. Walkers can head to any stretch of the county’s varied 60-mile coast path to enjoy a stomp in the fresh sea air on the rugged cliffs; or if downhill mountain biking is more your thing, don’t miss Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian Forest just inland from Aberystwyth. There are four different grades of purpose-built trails here for all skill levels. Plus the visitor centre is well-known for its tradition of feeding red kites daily, so make sure you catch that while you’re there! 

If you fancy staying in a quirky yurt or charming shepherd’s hut during your visit, take a look at our hideaway collection in Ceredigion.


Beautiful beaches


Arial view of the rugged, dramatic Pembrokeshire coast, overlooking crystal clear waters and a sandy beach

The county of Pembrokeshire is surrounded by the ocean on three sides and almost the entire coastline is a national park so, as you can imagine, it has some of the best beaches in the whole of the UK, let alone Wales. There are over 50 beaches to choose from here so there’s something for everyone, whether you’re seeking a spot for wild swimming, surfing, kayaking or simply strolling along the golden sands. You could easily spend a week or more exploring Pembrokeshire’s beautiful bays and hidden coves – but some of our favourites include the vast Freshwater West for surfing, Broad Haven (North) for calmer sea swims and Tenby, the county’s most delightful seaside town, for a family beach-day complete with fish & chips and ice cream. 

Take a look at our collection of gorgeous glamping sites in Pembrokeshire.


Gower Peninsula

Cliff walk along Gower Peninsula starting at Rhossili Bay Beach

This 70 square mile peninsula in Swansea Bay was the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and it’s easy to see why. The Gower is famed for its sweeping beaches backed by wild heather and gorse-covered cliffs; and it’s much-loved by birdwatchers, walkers and surfers alike. Three mile long Rhossili Bay Beach is a good place to start, with its dramatic dunes and rolling waves. You can walk to the iconic Worm’s Head at the end of the beach when the tide is low – just make sure you check the times because it’s only accessible two hours either side of low tide. For something quieter and more remote, Three Cliffs Bay is another scenic beach around the other side of the peninsula that’s well worth a visit. 



The rugged coastline in Anglesey looking out to the ocean and lighthouse

Anglesey is an island off west Wales filled with character, history and stunning nature. Much of the coastline has been declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are many different glorious beaches to choose from. Benllech Beach is one of the most popular with its soft golden sand and crystal clear waters that are perfect for all ages to take a calm, refreshing dip. Or if you’d prefer somewhere a little more secluded, pack a picnic and head to Porth Dafarch or Church Bay. Anglesey is also home to the village with the longest place name in Europe, Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch, so whilst on the island you must visit the tourist hotspot and snap a selfie next to the train station’s incredibly long sign! 


Picturesque towns 


Hay-on-Wye castle with bookshelves outside

This small but vibrant market town on the Welsh border has been named as the world’s first ‘book town’ and is internationally renowned for its books and literary festivals. The famous Hay Festival takes place every year in late spring, attracting big name authors, poets, comedians and musicians as well as over 100,000 thousand visitors. And along the characterful historic streets there are over thirty second-hand bookshops to peruse, many of which are jam-packed from floor to ceiling with literature of all genres, making it an absolute haven for book-lovers. There are lots of characterful antiques stores, galleries and craft shops to enjoy too, as well as cosy cafés, restaurants and pubs to duck into when you’re in need of a rest and some refuelling.



Pretty river running through the town of Llangollen at the bottom of a lush green valley

With cobbled streets, Tudor-style architecture, gorgeous local shops and eateries and a stunning backdrop of rolling hills, Llangollen is a quaint town that’s undeniably picturesque. The River Dee runs dramatically through the town from Snowdonia and, after spending a few hours exploring the pretty streets, you can happily while away several more at one of Llangollen’s historic riverside pubs. The Corn Mill is a great choice, with an outdoor terrace to enjoy a hearty meal or thirst-quenching beer on the river bank on a sunny day.

In July thousands of visitors descend on the town for the famous International Music Eisteddfod too, an event bursting with sound and colour – it’s a must-visit for music and culture-lovers!


St David’s

St David's Cathedral on a sunny day

St David’s in the far west of Wales is Britain’s smallest city and it’s absolutely packed with charm. Despite its tiny size it gained city status in 1995 – but its roots go back much further to the 6th century when the patron saint of Wales, St David himself, founded a monastery here. Since then it’s been a site of religious significance and thousands of people still visit his birthplace, the ancient chapel ruins and, of course, St David’s Cathedral every year. Once you’ve spent some time soaking up the heritage, on the quaint streets you’ll find a handful of cafés, shops, pubs and galleries. And at the head of the city Oriel Y Parc is worth a visit for its showcase of Welsh art and crafts.

If you’d like to find somewhere unique to stay nearby, browse our gorgeous Pembrokeshire glamping accommodation.


Castles & gardens 


Looking up at a Carreg Cennen Castle up on a hill

Wales is renowned for its castles – in fact, there are over 600 to visit here, making it the country with the most castles per square mile in the world! History-buffs will love the southwest county of Carmarthenshire with its nine different castles and ruins to discover, dating back as far as the 11th century. Many of Carmarthenshire’s castles are perched high on cliffs or hills making for a historic day out with stunning views, including Carmarthen Castle, a Norman ruin on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Tywi, and Carreg Cennen Castle, a dramatic 13th century ruin atop a sheer 300 foot cliff.

Why not stay for a week or two and explore all nine?


The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

Vibrant flowers and greenery lining the pathway at The National Botanic Gardens on a sunny day

Also in Carmarthenshire you’ll find The National Botanic Gardens of Wales. This remarkable venue is a garden-lover’s dream. It’s home to the world’s largest single span glasshouse filled with endangered plants from all over the world; as well as a tropical butterfly house, an 18th century walled garden, lakes, waterfalls, a bee garden and more. The attraction is also dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity and sustainability, so your visit will be supporting this great work. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop at the on-site Caffe Botanica for a hot meal or a snack made with organic, locally grown ingredients.


Powis Castle and Garden

Lush greenery surrounding the grand Powis Castle on a sunny day

For a day out that combines magnificent history and stunning gardens, plan a visit to Powis Castle and Garden. This National Trust property in the market town of Welshpool was built around 1200 by Welsh princes as a medieval fortress. It was occupied by the Herbert Family from the 1570s and on your visit you can admire generations of the family’s grand collection of paintings, furniture, sculptures and textiles. The striking building stands high and proud above its world-famous Grade I listed gardens. Once you’ve explored the castle interiors make sure you allow plenty of time to enjoy the tranquil, beautifully-manicured outdoor space, with views over the Severn Valley. 


Family fun


Ziplining across the aqua blue waters in a slate quarry in Penrhyn

Located in Penrhyn Slate Quarry in North Wales, Zipworld is perfect for adventurous families. It’s home to the world’s fastest (and Europe’s longest) zipline, Velocity 2, with four parallel lines so you can race each other across to the other side of the quarry’s lake. Plus there’s a more gentle option, ‘Quarry Flyer’, for slightly smaller children or those that don’t fancy the white-knuckle ride. Not only that, but you’ll find the UK’s first mountain karting track here too, with an exciting course to complete in three-wheeler karts that can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour! 

All that adrenaline is sure to make you hungry – fortunately Zipworld has its own bistro-style eatery, Blondin Restaurant, with lots of tasty food and drink on the menu.


Cardigan Bay

Arial view of a sandy cove with turquoise waters in Ceredigion

What better way to encounter Wales’s marine wildlife than with a trip to Cardigan Bay, the largest bay in the whole of the British Isles? The waters here are home to a rich variety of marine life including Europe’s largest population of bottlenose dolphins. You could enjoy sitting with a picnic and binoculars to try and spot them from the shoreline or cliffs, but for the best chance of seeing the animals join a Dolphin Survey Boat Trip from New Quay. You’ll learn all about the magical creatures in their natural habitats from the expert volunteers on board – and you might be lucky enough to see Atlantic grey seals, harbour porpoises, marine birds and even minke whales or thresher sharks too.



Vibrant Cardiff Bay at night as city lights reflect off the water

For a vibrant day-out in the city in Wales, head to the country’s capital Cardiff. As well as an excellent food and culture scene that grown-ups will appreciate, there’s plenty on offer to keep children of all ages and interests entertained. The city is compact enough to explore by foot too. Discover 2000 years of history at Cardiff Castle, bounce off some steam at Infinity Trampoline Park, get hands-on with the science exhibitions at Techniquest, enjoy some healthy competition at Treetop Adventure Golf or have a run around in the fresh air and open space at Bute Park. Hungry tummies will appreciate a stop off at family-friendly restaurant The Real Italian Pizza Co.



Staying in Wales

Shepherd's hut nestled amongst the trees on a hillside in the Ceredigion countryside

Looking for a unique place to stay? Take your pick from our collection of luxury glamping accommodation in Wales, from cabins on the coast to shepherd’s huts in the countryside.


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