Best Places to Visit in Wales
Wales shares a great deal of history with the rest of Great Britain, but the rugged beauty of its landscapes and the open nature of its inhabitants make it a distinctly unique travel destination. For first-time visitors, the most obvious difference between Wales and the other lands in the United Kingdom is the tongue-twisting Welsh language. While everyone speaks English, part of the fun of visiting Wales is learning a few phrases of one of the oldest languages in Europe. Besides its Celtic culture, the country is also famous for the large number of imposing castles. Wales’s scenic mountains, valleys and coastlines are just as enchanting, and no visit to Wales is complete without a long tramp through one of its stunning national parks.
An ancient town with a rich history, Conwy is located in North Wales on the Conwy Estuary near the forests of Snowdonia. The dark-stoned fortress of Conwy Castle dominates the cityscape. Built in the 1280s by Edward I, the castle’s mammoth curtain walls and eight round towers remain intact and imposing. Views from the battlements offer visitors a bird’s eye view of the castle’s Great Hall and of the walls and towers that surround the medieval town. With its Byzantine processional cross and 15th-century screens, the church of St. Mary’s is worth a visit as well.
Brecon Beacons National Park
On the south-west edge of the national park is an area known as Waterfall Country which is designated as both a Special Area of Conservation as well as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There is no clear-cut boundary for this area but it generally lies between the villages of Ystradfellte and Pontneddfechan.This area features a number of caves and gorges through which the rivers Nedd, Mellte, Pyrddin and Hepste all flow, creating beautiful waterfalls. You can visit a single waterfall or, because some of the waterfalls are located close together, you can opt for a walk that takes in a number of waterfalls.
Wales’s rugged coastline, windswept islands and verdant valleys offer bountiful opportunities to spot the country’s endemic wildlife, which includes red kites, falcons, puffins, basking sharks, dolphins, orcas and whale.
Located in the City of St. David’s in Pembrokeshire county, St. David’s Cathedral is a beautiful example of religious architecture in the Middle Ages. The patron saint of Wales, St. David was a Welsh bishop of the Catholic Church during the 6th century and was buried in the site’s original structure. Construction for the existing cathedral was begun in the 1180s using purple-colored sandstone. Now part of the Church of Wales, the Norman cathedral houses numerous treasures, including 800-year-old bishop staffs gilded with gold, 13th-century silver chalices and a 1620 edition of the Welsh Bible.
Home to the only coastal national park in Wales, Pembrokeshire county encompasses the country’s southwestern peninsula and offshore islands. Visited by more than four million people each year, the national park is best known for the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which winds for 300 km (186 miles) along cliff tops overlooking the craggy shoreline. The area is famed for its wildlife too. Seals bask on the rocks below and hundreds of species of birds soar overhead. For adrenaline junkies, opportunities for wind, kite and conventional surfing abound along the region’s numerous beaches, and there are quaint fishing villages and ancient castles to explore as well.