Are you planning a trip to Wales this year and need some help figuring out where to go? As someone who spends nearly half the year in this magical little country, I’ve got a few destinations that’ll blow your mind! From the castles and villages in the north to the coast and national parks in the south, here are my 10 best places to visit in Wales, UK.
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First thing first: yes, Wales is a country.
And yes, it is ridiculously amazing.
A personal favorite destination of mine (heck, I pretty much live there!), I can wholeheartedly say there has never been a better time to visit Wales than in 2020!
Because this little, underrated country in the United Kingdom has been named one of 20 great destinations to visit in 2020 by the LA Times.
And boy, oh boy, I can tell you now Wales is going to blow up as a hot new place in no time (kinda like how Bali blew up in the last few years)!
With its rolling green hills, towering mountains, quaint villages, mind-blowingly beautiful national parks, gorgeous coastlines, and incredible hikes, there are more than a few reasons to visit Wales in 2020.
So, if you’re ready to plan a trip there, don’t forget to add these 10 destinations to your itinerary! They’re going to blow you the F away.
Table of Contents
10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN WALES
Snowdonia National Park
Towering mountains? Check. Cascading waterfalls? Check. Crystal clear lakes? Check. Wildly breathtaking views? Infinite checks.
Snowdonia hails at the top of this list because it’s a top destination in Wales that’s a MUST if you decide to visit this amazing little country.
Even cooler, Snowdonia has something to offer for everyone. If you’re an avid hiker or adventurer, the trails here are mind-blowing.
A few of my favorite include Watkins Path (which features gorgeous Fairy Pools!), Moel Siabod, Aber Falls Walk, Llyn Ogwen circular walk, and Tomen y Mur.
Although, Snowdonia isn’t just one of the top places to visit in Wales because it’s heaven for hikers!
If you just like good views or are traveling as a family with kids, head up to Snowdon Summit on the Snowdonia Steam Train (SO much fun!).
Isle of Anglesey
Hands down, visiting Anglesey is one of my personal favorite things to do in North Wales.
(Although, it’s not just me who loves this ridiculously awesome island… it’s also a favorite amongst locals! On a UK Bank Holiday weekend, they flock to Anglesey in swarms for a cheeky getaway.)
With gorgeous sea views, coastal hikes, cute little island villages, and vast beaches to stroll, it’s a perfect place to spend a day exploring or breathing in the restorative ocean air!
A few great things to do in Anglesey include:
- Venturing on a coastal hike (there are a variety for both little ones and avid adventurers alike).
- Visit Beaumaris Castle.
- Explore Parys Mountain, aka what was once the largest copper mine in the world! (It’s now completely abandoned.)
- Admire South Stack Lighthouse (a great hike).
- Check out The Dingle Nature Reserve.
- Stroll one of the many beaches — some good ones include Penrhos Beach, Newborough Beach (great lighthouse), Benllech Beach, and Traeth Llygwy.
Heading to London, too? Find my super comprehensive list of the top 20 sites and attractions in the city HERE!
Head to Conwy!
While Conwy will only be a short little stop on your trip to Wales, this is definitely one of the coolest cities in the country.
Steeped in history and featuring the gorgeous Conwy Castle (one of the best I’ve ever seen!), Conwy boasts beautiful views of both the surrounding countryside and the sea, a remarkable suspension bridge, lovely cobblestone roads, and — of course — the quirkiest building you’ll ever see (aka the Smallest House in Britain!).
Not to mention, Conwy is a great point for exploring other attractions in Wales.
Such as Llandudno, which has a great pier; the Great Orme, which is a fantastic drive and features a cool cable car; Bodnant Garden, which is a century-old beautiful 80-acre garden; and you can easily slip to Snowdonia from here.
Who else loves sparkling blue ocean views, rocky cliff sides that make your heart skip a beat, endless sandy beaches, a coastline dotted with little islands, and alluring wildlife wherever you turn?
Then the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is your own personal heaven.
The only coastal national park in Britain, Pembrokeshire has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor adventures, making it one of the best destinations in South Wales!
A few great things to do in Pembrokeshire include:
- Going on a long, beautiful coastal hike.
- Heading out to Skomer Island Nature Reserve to spot some puffins, seals, porpoises, dolphins and more.
- Visiting the smallest town in the UK (more on that below!).
- And exploring one of the many historic sites in the area, like the Neolithic Stones Pentre Ifan and the ridiculous amounts of castles.
Love Harry Potter? While in the UK, visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London! Check out my guide HERE.
If you’re wanting to visit one of the most picturesque, quaint little villages in Wales, look no further than Llangollen!
Gorgeous cobblestone roads, Tudor-style architecture, cute eateries, wondrous little local shops, and amazing views of the surrounding rolling green hills, castle ruins, and more, Llangollen is without a doubt one of the most beautiful villages I’ve ever set my eyes on.
Although, not only is Llangollen a gorgeous gem of a destination due to its picturesque setting, it also has a cool history worth checking out.
Did you know Llangollen Bridge, which was built in the 16th century, was the first stone bridge to cross the Dee river?
Or that the Castell Dinas Brân ruins situated at the top of the hills near Llangollen were built in the 1260s on the site of an Iron Age hillfort?
Even cooler, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is a remarkable 18-arched stone and cast iron bridge for the Llangollen Canal, is just nearby and is a ridiculously cool site to see! (More on that below.)
Brecon Beacons National Park
With beautiful cascading waterfalls, moss-covered magical forests, lush green mountains, crystal clear lakes (or Llyn, as they’re called in Welsh!), and wondrous hikes that’ll blow your hiking socks off, Brecon Beacons National Park is a fantastic destination in S. Wales!
Personally, my mind was blow by the sheer amount of waterfalls!
Like there are SO MANY — both big and small. At every turn in the road, you come across another… and another. And another!
Additionally, the main town of Brecon is incredibly cute and perfect for walking around in.
Or, if you want to breath in the fresh air of Brecon Beacons, head out on the Brecon Mountain Railway to see the Welsh countryside. Or heck, if you’re a more adventurous traveler, have a go at rock climbing!
Brecon Beacons National Park has so many great activities for every type of traveler on a trip to Wales.
Want to discover a unforgettable slice of Italy… in Wales?
Portmeirion is just that!
Designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village, Portmeirion is definitely one of the more peculiar places to visit but a requirement nonetheless!
As you stroll through this fantismal destination, the Italian-style architecture and bright colored buildings evoke the feeling of visiting the relaxing Mediterranean.
If you’re yearning to add a little pop of color and Italia to your trip, definitely add Portmeirion to your best of Wales list!
A famous cathedral? Check. ✓
Gorgeous coastal views? Check. ✓
Instagram-worthy little village streets? Check. ✓
Cool history featuring the Patron Saint of Wales himself? Check. ✓
The UK’s smallest city? Double check! ✓✓
Safe to say, St. David’s is a pretty cool place to check out!
Founded in the 16th century (although the cathedral dates back to the 6th century!), St. Davids holds immense history that’s pretty freakin’ cool.
For example, the original St. Davids cathedral was frequently plundered by the Vikings and burned down in 1087.
And many famous characters frequently visited this small little city, including William the Conqueror in 1077, Henry II in 1171, and Edward I and Queen Eleanor in 1284!
Now part of the Church of Wales, the cathedral holds historic treasures, including 800-year-old bishop staffs gilded with gold, 13th century silver chalices, and a 1620 edition of the Welsh Bible.
Even better, since St. Davids is located on the Pembrokeshire coast, it’s an easy day stop when you’re driving through the area!
Ever thought of hiking in the Lake District? Read my post on hiking Loughrigg Fell and my best tips HERE!
As mentioned earlier, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is located close to Llangollen and, as a World Heritage Site, is a ridiculously cool tourist attraction!
A wondrous marvel to behold, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is an 18-arched stone and cast iron bridge that carries canal boats over the River Dee.
Known as “the stream in the sky“, Pontcysyllte is the longest aqueduct in Britain and, as an American who didn’t even know what canal boats were before I came to Wales, this place literally blew my mind.
So, with that in mind, if you’re ready to walk across a very narrow bridge and get marvelous views of the Welsh countryside, don’t forget to add this place to your Wales bucket list!
The bustling capital city of Wales, Cardiff is located in the south and features a raving nightlife, fantastic eateries (tons of vegan options!), cool local shops, a beautiful bay area called the Mermaid Quay, the incredible Cardiff Castle, and an amazing shopping experience at what is known as the Victorian arcades.
Although I know not everyone is a city-lover (me included — I’m more of an mountain and outdoor traveler), Cardiff is small enough and is easily walked through where it doesn’t feel like a bustling city!
Thus, if you’re looking for good eats (being a capital city, it has more than you average Wales destination) and great shopping, Cardiff is perfect!
Alternatively, Cardiff is a great base for exploring the South of Wales! A couple day trips from Cardiff could include Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, and St. Davids.
Map of the Best Places to Visit in Wales
Need to get a visual of all the top places to visit in Wales? I’ve got you!
Check out the Wales map below, where you can find little blue dots on all the destinations I listed above.
If you’re ready to have the best holiday (aka vacation) in Wales, don’t forget to add these places to your must-visit list!
Personally, if I had a limited amount of time in the country, my favorite places in Wales would have to be Snowdonia, Anglesey, and Portmeirion — which are all located in the north!
Are you considering visiting Wales this year and are here to help plan your trip? Let me know your situation in the comments below! And if you have any questions for this Wales lover, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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