The best places to visit in Wales include historic castles, scenic national parks, and so much more! As part of the UK, Wales is bordered by England to the east and the Irish Sea to the north and west.
If you’ve got some time, choose one base to explore the south of Wales and another to the north. It’s 170 miles to drive from one end to the other!
- Best Places to Visit in Wales
- 1. Conwy Castle
- 2. Cardiff
- 3. St. Fagans National Museum of History
- 4. Wye Valley
- 5. Tintern Abbey
- 6. Snowdonia National Park (Eryi National Park)
- 7. Crickhowell
- 8. Llanfairpwllgwyngyll
- 9. Betwys-y-Coed
- 10. Llyn Padarn, Snowdonia
- 11. Hay-on-Wye
- 12. Stackpole National Nature Reserve
- 13. Pistyll Rhaeadr
- 14. Brecon Beacons National Park
- 15. Pembrokeshire National Park
- 16. Portmeirion
- 17. Gower Peninsula
- 18. Tenby
- 19. Anglesey Island
Best Places to Visit in Wales
Start with the list below and then wander further afield…
1. Conwy Castle
We loved our stay in Conwy.
You can’t miss Conwy Castle as this magnificent medieval fortress dominates the skyline here…and has been doing so for 700 years!
The castle was built by Edward I as part of a bigger project—the walled town itself—and played a significant role in numerous wars, including the English Civil War in 1642 when it was surrendered to Parliamentary Armies.
UNESCO names it one of the best examples of late 13th and early 14th centuries military architecture in Europe.
Don’t miss it.
As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is Wales’s largest city. You’ll find it in the southeast.
The city has a distinct working-class feel compared to the rural countryside that makes up much of the rest of Wales. But there’s a lot to do here!
Make your first stop at Medieval Cardiff Castle. It’s hard to miss in the center of town and it is spectacular.
It was built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd-century Roman fort—and possibly… opinions differ—commissioned by William the Conqueror.
It’s most famous for its incredible Victorian apartment but be sure to check out the Roman Walls, Chariot Corner, and Norman Keep while you’re here.
Then head to Cardiff Market for lunch. The market is a huge Victorian structure and indoor market filled with cafes, delis, and small pubs. Or head down to the beautiful bay.
One of the most unique and interesting things to do in Cardiff, however, is…
3. St. Fagans National Museum of History
To really step back in time and imagine what Welsh life was like hundreds of years ago, plan a half day at St. Fagans National Museum of History. This is no ordinary museum!
Fifty original buildings were moved here from all over Wales and reconstructed as an open air museum that focuses on the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people.
It’s a beautiful place to walk, too.
You’ll meander through furnished farmhouses, a clogmaker’s workshop, beautiful gardens, a tannery, a tailor’s shop, and school…just for starters.
Just be sure to save sometime for the castle (which is more of an Elizabethan manor house) and to savor the beautiful gardens while you’re here.
4. Wye Valley
Wales’s Wye Valley is rural bliss. It straddles the border between England and Wales.
Most importantly, it showcases some of the most beautiful landscapes in Britain with dramatic scenery and plenty of wildlife. In fact, it’s protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cycling, kayaking, and hiking are all prime activities here.
Or, take a full-day scenic drive stopping into scenic villages and to enjoy iconic viewpoints.
(Symonds Yat Rock is a favorite for panoramic valley views…and has been since Iron Age inhabitants built a fort here 2,500 years ago!)
But perhaps the most famous site in the Wye Valley is…
5. Tintern Abbey
You’ll find the famous Tintern Abbey near the village of Tintern in Monmouthshire on the bank of the beautiful River Wye.
The abbey itself was founded in 1131 but then fell into ruin in the 16th century. These remains have been celebrated in poetry and painting ever since.
Wordsworth, in fact, has a poem titled Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey that captures the beauty of this area.
The remains you can see today of the abbey are a mix of buildings covering a 400-year span.
You can’t miss the Decorated Gothic abbey church however, with its impressive nave, two chapels, and so much more…built out of old red sandstone. It’s huge!
6. Snowdonia National Park (Eryi National Park)
Think hidden pools and wild mountainous peaks.
The dramatic landscape that marks Wales’ largest and most impressive national park covers 823 square miles and is home to 26,000 locals, too.
Snowdonia National Park is a cornerstone of Welsh culture and identity.
This vast, wild area requires advance planning to make the most of your visit. Book ahead to see it by steam train. Or drive it yourself by car or campervan.
Serious climbers shouldn’t miss Yr Wddfa, the park’s most famous of its 15 peaks, standing tall at 3,000 feet high. Adventurers worldwide have been summiting this impressive peak for hundreds of years.
You’ll also find 24 charming villages and five towns throughout the park. A few come with cute pubs, tony boutiques, and cliffside views of rushing rivers. A great place to base in a cottage if you’ll be spending a few days.
Crickhowell makes a popular base to see the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons.
Mountain bikers, campers, rock climbers, and fly fishers all head here in the summer to tour this area. Bluebells abound in this area, too, in May!
It’s a tiny little one-road town with a 17th-century stone bridge over the River Usk and a 14th-century parish church.
The best place to stay? We loved The Bear Crickhowell.
Dating back to 1432, The Bear comes with lots of old-world charm and excellent on-site meals that are reasonably priced. (Reserve dinner ahead or prepare to be disappointed!)
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, often abbreviated as Llanfair PG, is renowned not only for its tongue-twisting name but also for its breathtaking beauty, making it one of the most charming destinations in Wales.
Nestled on the picturesque Isle of Anglesey, this village is surrounded by lush green landscapes, rolling hills, and the serene Menai Strait.
The village’s idyllic setting showcases the quintessential Welsh countryside, with quaint cottages and charming gardens dotting the landscape.
Visitors are greeted by the iconic Menai Suspension Bridge, offering panoramic views of the surrounding scenery.
The nearby Plas Newydd, a stately home set against the backdrop of the Snowdonia mountain range, adds a touch of historic elegance to the area.
Llanfair PG’s natural beauty is made even better by its warm and welcoming atmosphere. The community’s friendliness and Welsh hospitality make visitors feel instantly at home.
In this region of North Wales, you will find some epic places to stay too!
The village also provides a gateway to explore nearby attractions, including the ancient Beaumaris Castle and the stunning coastal paths.
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, Llanfair PG serves as a cultural hub, offering insights into Welsh traditions and language which is another great reason to visit!
Lowri | Many Other Roads
Nestled in a valley where the River Llugwy and the River Lledr converge with the River Conwy, Betws-y-Coed stands as a picturesque town in Wales.
Situated within Snowdonia National Park, the town offers a haven for nature enthusiasts and avid hikers.
Whether embarking on family-friendly adventures at the Fairy Glen along the Conwy River or exploring the renowned Swallow Falls trail, the landscape is adorned with unparalleled beauty.
If hiking isn’t your thing, walking the streets of Betwsy-y-Coed is a perfect way to spend a day. With quaint stores and restaurants, the town has everything you need to enjoy a beautiful Welsh day.
The best insider tip for this tranquil spot is to skip the stress of driving and use railway and bus.
Since the inauguration of the Betws-y-Coed railway station in 1868, the Conwy Valley line has facilitated convenient access, allowing travelers to savor breakfast in London and arrive in this haven in just four scenic hours.
The train ride, recognized as one of Wales’ most picturesque, promises an unforgettable journey.
Alternatively, the Snowdonia bus provides an excellent means to explore the region and reach hiking trails, especially during the bustling summer months when trailheads become congested with cars.
Opting for public transport ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience while uncovering the allure of Betws-y-Coed and its neighboring Snowdonia gems.
Faith | 3 Tickets Please
10. Llyn Padarn, Snowdonia
Llyn Padarn is one of the most beautiful lakes in North Wales.
This glacially formed lake is an impressive 3.2 km (1.9 miles) long and around 30 meters (98 feet) at its deepest point.
It’s located alongside the village of Llanberis in Snowdonia National Park. Better yet, it’s found at the foot of Mount Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales.
The best way to appreciate its beauty is to walk the Llyn Padarn Circular Walk which will take visitors around the lake, or hop on the Llanberis Lake Railway.
Better yet, head to Snowdonia Watersports Centre where it’s possible to hire kayaks and paddleboards. It’s here that the iconic ‘Lonely Tree’ is located (a favorite spot with landscape photographers).
Llyn Padarn can be visited all year round, but in the summer it can get busy.
To avoid the crowds, visit during spring or fall (and in the morning if possible). There are plenty of places to park but this car park is a great choice as it’s located alongside the lake.
The great thing about Llyn Padarn is that it’s free to visit, so is perfect for those on a budget.
Abbie & Jack | A Couples Calling
Hay-on-Wye is a charming town in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park (also known as the Brecon Beacon). It has winding alleys, quaint independent shops, and cobbled streets that transport you back in time.
The town has earned the nickname, ‘the Town of Books’ thanks to over 20 independent bookstores lining its charming streets. From dusty antiquarian gems to contemporary bestsellers, you can spend hours getting lost in the bookshops.
Aside from the bookshops, the town has plenty more to offer. At its heart is Hay Castle.
Originally a medieval fortification, it was later turned into a mansion and is now a public space with a café and exhibitions.
One of the highlights of the town is taking a tour of the castle, led by a local expert who will tell you about its history and some of the interesting characters that built it into what you see today.
Hay is a charming town to visit year-round. But it truly comes alive during the Hay Festival, a world-famous literary festival that takes place in May.
The festival sees authors, artists, and intellectuals gather for thought-provoking talks, workshops, and performances in the town.
Hay is also a great spot to base yourself for exploring the wider national park. From the town, you can go kayaking down the River Wye, visit Llanthony Priory, or go hiking up Pen-Y-Fan.
Kieren | Wales Guidebook
12. Stackpole National Nature Reserve
Nestled in the Southwest corner of Wales, Stackpole National Nature Reserve is a scenic National Trust site and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wales.
Natural highlights include Church Door Cove, a large sea arch, as well as a natural limestone arc nicknamed The Green Bridge of Wales, and a sea cave called The Witches Cauldron.
Located within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Stackpole Reserve also features 5 square miles of woods, valleys, beaches, freshwater lakes and limestone cliffs.
Kayaking, coasteering and hiking are some of the many exhilarating outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in Stackpole National Nature Reserve.
While animals lovers can explore a range of habitats and spot local wildlife including birds and otters. The area is of particular archaeological importance as evidence of human occupation was uncovered that dates back around 3000 years.
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a 186 mile cliff-top trail, passes through Stackpole and is popular with hikers, offering panoramic ocean views.
The best time to visit Stackpole National Nature Reserve is in Spring when the woodland flowers bloom, which is also before the busier summer crowds draw in. T
The reserve is free to enter with certain attractions having paid car parks. The reserve is also accessible via the 387 Coastal Cruiser bus.
Lucy & Dan | Thoroughly Travel
13. Pistyll Rhaeadr
Pistyll Rhaeadr, a short drive from the beautiful Snowdonia National Park and among Wales’ tallest waterfalls, is often dubbed one of its seven wonders.
Loved by nature enthusiasts, photographers, and hikers, this waterfall promises a memorable addition to your travel itinerary.
A designated pay-and-display car park awaits at the falls’ foot, or, if you arrive early, find convenient free parking along the lane.
To reach the falls it’s just a short 5-minute stroll from the car park leading to a perfect spot for a picnic or hot coffee at the falls base.
The surrounding forests invite leisurely walks or if you want an alternate view, the hour-long hike to the waterfall’s summit is a manageable trail, treating you to breathtaking views of the cascading waters below.
Given its popularity, it’s wise to avoid the bustling months of July and August. The Shoulder season offers the perfect compromise of warmer weather and fewer tourists.
Opt for an early arrival to enjoy the tranquillity of the falls and beat the crowds. Facilities on-site, including tea rooms, toilets, and a campsite, ensure a comfortable and extended visit if you choose to stay longer after exploring the falls.
Steffan & Emma | In Wanderment
14. Brecon Beacons National Park
The Brecon Beacons National Park, now known officially as Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, is full of beautiful natural landscapes.
One of the most popular hikes is Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales at 889 meters. Extend the walk to the summit of Cribyn, for more impressive views.
Another unmissable spot is the Four Waterfalls Trail. This route takes in four stunning waterfalls: Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and Sgwd-yr-Eira.
Llyn y Fan Fach is another beautiful place to visit in the Brecon Beacons – a pretty lake surrounded by mountains.
Don’t miss a stop to sample Welsh whisky at Penderyn Distillery – it’s the first whisky distillery in Wales!
The Brecon Beacons is a popular area – car parks at main attractions can and will fill up quickly, especially on sunny summer weekends.
Plan to arrive early, especially at the main car parks for Pen y Fan and the Four Waterfalls.
Consider public transportation if possible – there is sometimes a free park-and-ride shuttle bus to the Four Waterfalls car park from nearby villages.
The Brecon Beacons is home to lots of special wildlife, but some of the most unique are the wild ponies. Drive on the A4059 road for a good chance to spot them.
Maja | Away With Maja
15. Pembrokeshire National Park
Pembrokeshire National Park is located in the far south west corner of Wales and has large sandy beaches, small coastal villages and a wide variety of wildlife.
The picturesque city of St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, has a magnificent cathedral and small independent shops.
Tenby, with its pastel-hued houses and golden beaches has an old-world charm and a short boat ride from the town takes you to Caldey Island with its monastery and lighthouse.
The small islands off Martin’s Haven are the summer home to huge bird colonies including puffins, guillemots, and gannets.
The area also has the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail that follows the entire 300km coast of the county.
The Marloes Peninsula is one of the best places to hike and explore. Even in the summer months the beaches are empty and while other places like Tenby and St David’s can be busy, this corner of the county is quiet and relatively undiscovered.
To spend time with the puffins you will need to book tickets to Skomer Island in advance. The island is a short 30 minute boat trip from Martins Haven and is a unique experience.
Suzanne | Meandering Wild
Created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is an Italian-themed village nestled on the coast of North Wales.
The elegant architecture is situated within extensive botanical and tropical gardens, romantic lookout points and quaint ice cream and coffee shops.
A much-loved beauty spot in North Wales, Portmeirion is popular with tourists and photographers alike and makes for a wonderful day out for all ages.
Given the picturesquely themed village is home to sweeping gardens, spring or summer are the best months to visit to enjoy the blooming flowers and colorful plants.
However, Portmerioron is a very popular tourist attraction, so it’s best to avoid popular holidays and weekends to beat the crowds.
A day ticket costs £10 for adults and £5 for children and can be pre-booked online here.
Alternatively, you can pay for your ticket at the toll booth upon arrival.
There is a dedicated car park and the village has all of the facilities you could need including restaurants, a spa, cafes, hotels and self-catering accommodations.
Steffan & Emma | In Wanderment
17. Gower Peninsula
The Gower Peninsula is close to Swansea in southwest Wales. It is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty full of amazing beaches and walks.
Running from the pretty seaside village of Mumbles to Penclawdd on the northern side of the peninsula is a footpath called the Gower Peninsula Coastal Path.
It is 38 miles long and most people walk it over 3 or 4 days. It takes in all the fantastic beaches along the peninsula.
Some of the best bays are Three Cliffs, Oxwich and Rhossili. The beaches on Gower are just as spectacular as beaches much further north, such as the beaches in Mallaig in Scotland.
Spring and autumn are the best times to visit. However, to go swimming or lie on the beach visit during the summer. It gets very busy at this time of year but start walking along the coastal path and the crowds fade away.
Some of the beaches, such as Rhossili, are very long so even on a busy summer day you will find an area to yourself.
Another benefit of Rhossili is that there is a lot of parking. Generally, parking on Gower is limited so arrive early to get a space.
Kristin | Scotland Less Explored
Tenby is a beautiful town in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with colourful buildings and plenty of exciting things to do.
Local visitors from around the UK spend their summers in Tenby to frequent the stunning, white sand beaches surrounding the town, eat ice creams from the many ice cream shops, and relax in the tranquil atmosphere of this beach town.
Tenby is home to some fascinating British history. This is where Henry VII escaped during the War of the Roses, before returning years later to win it all and become the first Tudor king (and father of infamous Henry VIII).
To avoid the busiest crowds, but still experience the beauty of summer in Tenby, visit in May, before school holidays start in the UK.
Don’t miss a trip to Caldey Island, inhabited by Cistercian monks. You also cannot miss St. Catherine’s Island (pictured), where you will find an old fort from 1867. During high tide, the island can only be reached by boat.
Tenby is the perfect place to go in Wales for those who want to mix a beautiful seaside town with interesting history.
Lisa | Fjords and Beaches
19. Anglesey Island
Anglesey Island in Wales is a treasure trove of beautiful places that are worth exploring.
From stunning coastlines to charming villages, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the top reasons to visit Anglesey Island is its breathtaking natural beauty.
With its picturesque landscapes, including rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and rolling hills, it is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.
Aside from its natural wonders, Anglesey Island offers a plethora of activities and attractions.
History enthusiasts can explore ancient sites such as Beaumaris Castle and the Neolithic burial chamber, Bryn Celli Ddu.
For those seeking adventure, the island offers opportunities for water sports like surfing, as well as scenic coastal walks and cycling routes.
When planning a visit to Anglesey Island, there are a few insider tips to keep in mind.
The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months when the weather is mild and the landscapes are in full bloom.
To avoid crowds, it is advisable to visit during weekdays rather than weekends or public holidays.
Some attractions may require advance tickets, so it is recommended to check their websites beforehand.
For those looking for hidden gems, exploring the island’s secret hikes can lead to breathtaking views and secluded spots away from the tourist crowds.
Paulina | UK Every Day