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Ultimate Adventure: The 7 Best Wales Cycling Routes Revealed

picture of a flat road in the countryside

Ultimate Adventure: The 7 Best Wales Cycling Routes Revealed

Read on to discover some of the best cycle routes in Wales that are not to be missed. From craggy mountain roads to winding coastline trails, we have 7 of the best and beautiful Wales cycling routes to be uncovered in this guide.

The country is simply brimming with stunning views of nature, sea and land that you can take in as you pedal your way through the vast landscape.

Whether you’re an expert rider or someone looking for a gentler cycle, there are locations for everybody up and down the country that are all just ready and waiting to be explored.

Table of Contents
Best Cycling Routes in Wales - Heritage Coast

1. Exploring Wales Cycling Routes along the Heritage Coast in the Vale of Glamorgan

Taking in some of the best sites among the Vale of Glamorgan, the heritage coast cycling trail promises stunning horizon views of one of South Wales’ best-kept secrets. Cyclists will pass sights such as Ogmore Castle, Nash Point Lighthouse and the golden sands of Glamorgan’s many beaches.

The area is also popular among ramblers, meaning there is a lot of relatively flat paths that are easily accessible on two wheels. Anyone with love for the countryside will enjoy the route’s natural ambience of wooded valleys, spectacular wildlife and secluded coves, making it a highlight among cycling in Wales.

In total, the route lasts for around seven miles making it a leisurely cycle that anyone can enjoy, showcasing some of the most scenic Wales cycle routes.

Nash Point Lighthouse:

  • Historical Landmark: Start your journey at Nash Point Lighthouse, a prominent historical landmark perched atop rugged cliffs. Built in the 19th century, this iconic lighthouse stands as a beacon of maritime heritage and offers panoramic views of the Bristol Channel.
  • Scenic Cycling Route: Cyclists can follow the coastal path from Nash Point, enjoying gentle slopes and coastal breezes as they traverse along the cliff edge. The route provides ample opportunities to pause and admire the sweeping seascapes and dramatic rock formations below.

Southerndown Beach:

  • Golden Sands: Pedal your way to Southerndown Beach, known for its expansive golden sands and striking geological features. Cyclists can take a break to soak in the tranquillity of this picturesque beach, with its backdrop of towering cliffs and crashing waves.
  • Geological Wonders: Geology enthusiasts will be intrigued by the geological formations found here, including the famous Jurassic limestone cliffs. These cliffs reveal a glimpse into Wales’ ancient past, with fossilised remains and rock formations dating back millions of years.
One of Wales cycle routes - Dunraven Bay on the Welsh Coast
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Dunraven Bay:

  • Coastal Pathways: Continuing along the coast, cyclists will encounter Dunraven Bay, a hidden gem nestled between rugged cliffs. The bay is accessed via a series of winding pathways, offering cyclists a chance to explore hidden coves and secluded beaches along the way.
  • Natural Splendor: Cyclists will be captivated by the natural splendor of Dunraven Bay, with its pristine sands and azure waters. The bay is surrounded by lush greenery and coastal flora, creating a serene oasis for cyclists to unwind and reconnect with nature.

Valeways Millennium Heritage Trail:

  • Heritage Trail: For cyclists seeking a longer adventure, the Valeways Millennium Heritage Trail offers an immersive journey through the cultural and natural heritage of the region. This multi-use trail follows ancient pathways and historic landmarks, providing cyclists with insights into the area’s rich tapestry of history and tradition.
  • Sustainable Exploration: The trail promotes sustainable tourism and outdoor recreation, encouraging cyclists to explore the Vale of Glamorgan’s hidden treasures while minimizing their environmental impact. Cyclists can pedal through picturesque villages, past ancient ruins, and alongside scenic waterways, experiencing the beauty of the Welsh countryside.

2. Wales Cycling Routes: Exploring Lôn Cambria’s Scenic Journey

Lôn Cambria is a delightfully peaceful journey through the Cambrian Mountains that takes in some of Wales’ most iconic landscapes and quaint towns, marking it as a jewel among Wales cycle routes.

Throughout the journey, hills gradually unfold to reveal more and more beautiful moments that are tough to replicate. Memorable highlights of the 113-mile route include stretching views from the top of the Long Mountain, imposing dams at the Elan Valley reservoir and the friendly towns of Rhayader, Welshpool and Newtown, showcasing the variety and appeal of cycling in Wales

The route concludes on the end of the Aberystwyth pier which provides a beautiful opportunity to raise a glass to a successful trip through Mid Wales.

Builth Wells:

  • Starting Point: Builth Wells serves as an excellent starting point for cyclists embarking on the Lôn Cambria route. This historic market town, nestled on the banks of the River Wye, offers ample amenities and accommodations for cyclists preparing for their journey.
  • Highlights: Cyclists can explore the town’s rich heritage, including the impressive Builth Wells Castle ruins and the iconic Builth Wells Showground, which hosts various events throughout the year. Additionally, the town boasts charming cafes and local shops where cyclists can refuel and stock up on supplies for their ride.
2 people cycling in the Elan Valley Wales
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Elan Valley:

  • Natural Beauty: As cyclists venture westward along Lôn Cambria, they’ll encounter the breathtaking landscapes of the Elan Valley. This designated Dark Sky Park is renowned for its stunning reservoirs, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic vistas, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
  • Cycling Routes: Cyclists can choose from a variety of cycling routes within the Elan Valley, ranging from leisurely paths along the reservoirs to challenging mountain trails. The Elan Valley Trail offers a scenic route following the old railway line, providing cyclists with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the area’s scenic beauty and contribute to the rich tapestry of Wales Cycling routes

Rhayader:

  • Cycling Hub: Rhayader, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Elan Valley,” serves as a vibrant hub for cyclists exploring the Lôn Cambria route. The town offers a range of cycling-friendly facilities, including bike shops, repair services, and accommodations catering to cyclists’ needs.
  • Attractions: Cyclists can take a detour to explore Rhayader’s attractions, such as the Rhayader Museum and Gallery, which provides insights into the town’s history and cultural heritage. The nearby Gilfach Nature Reserve is also worth a visit, offering opportunities for wildlife spotting and tranquil walks along the River Wye.

Aberystwyth:

  • Final Destination: Aberystwyth marks the end point of the Lôn Cambria route, where cyclists can celebrate their journey along the picturesque Welsh coast. This vibrant seaside town boasts a bustling promenade, sandy beaches, and a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy.
  • Coastal Delights: After completing the inland journey through rural Wales, cyclists can relax and unwind in Aberystwyth, soaking up the seaside atmosphere and sampling fresh seafood at local restaurants. The town’s iconic pier and cliff railway offer panoramic views of Cardigan Bay, providing the perfect finale to a memorable cycling adventure.

Essential Information:

  • Distance and Difficulty: Lôn Cambria covers approximately 113 miles (182 kilometers) from Builth Wells to Aberystwyth, with varying terrain ranging from gentle riverside paths to challenging mountain roads. Cyclists should be prepared for changes in elevation and weather conditions along the route, embracing the challenges and rewards of cycling in Wales

Best Cycling Routes in Wales - Peregrine Path

3. Exploring Wales Cycle Routes: The Peregrine Path Experience

If you’re searching for a simple cycling route that the whole family can enjoy, look no further than the Peregrine Path.

Starting in the historic market town of Monmouth, with its plethora of old-time pubs and quaint shops, the route winds alongside the beautiful backdrop of River Wye and taking cyclists past the Kymin, a well-known picnic haunt set within nine acres of glorious parkland.

The eight-mile route concludes near a steady climb towards Symonds Yat Rock, where nesting falcons can be spotted over the vast landscape.

Scenic Beauty:

  • Riverside Charm: The Peregrine Path meanders alongside the majestic River Wye, providing cyclists with uninterrupted views of the tranquil waters and lush greenery that line its banks. Cyclists will be enchanted by the serene ambiance and natural beauty that surrounds them as they pedal along this idyllic route.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Nature enthusiasts will delight in the amount of wildlife that inhabits the area. Keep an eye out for the namesake peregrine falcons, as well as other bird species such as kingfishers, herons, and dippers. The path also offers opportunities to spot otters, deer, and other native fauna along the riverbanks.
Family cycling along the Peregrine Path in Wales
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Cycling Experience:

  • Route Accessibility: While the Peregrine Path is not officially designated as a cycling route, cyclists can still enjoy traversing its scenic stretches on two wheels. The path predominantly follows public footpaths, offering a mix of gravel tracks and compacted earth surfaces that are suitable for cycling.
  • Traffic-Free Riding: One of the highlights of the Peregrine Path is its traffic-free nature, allowing cyclists to enjoy a peaceful and undisturbed ride along the river. Away from the hustle and bustle of roads, cyclists can immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the countryside and fully appreciate the natural surroundings.

Points of Interest:

  • Symonds Yat: A notable landmark along the Peregrine Path is Symonds Yat, a charming village nestled amidst the Wye Valley’s dramatic scenery. Cyclists can take a break here to explore the village, visit the riverside pubs and cafes, or even embark on a scenic boat trip along the river.
  • Historical Sites: History enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to discover the area’s rich heritage, with attractions such as Tintern Abbey and Goodrich Castle located within cycling distance of the Peregrine Path. These historic landmarks offer an interesting stop-off for cyclists.

4. Cycling in Wales to see Cliffs and Castles

Only a short section of Britain’s standalone coastal national park is open to cyclists, but this short Wales cycle route promises immeasurable beauty and unforgettable scenery.

The wide roads are littered with towering cliffs, remote enchanted hamlets and sweeping landscapes. The route begins in Pembroke and passes imposing Norman fortresses and Castlemartin Firing Range, which are an excellent example of the rich history of the country.

It is also worth taking the time to visit Cardigan Castle. The 900-year-old Grade I listed building hosts a range of fascinating exhibitions all year round and is the birthplace of Wales’ biggest cultural festival – The Eisteddfod.

Scenic Wonders:

  • Coastal Majesty: The Cliff and Castle route showcases the stunning beauty of Pembrokeshire’s coastline, with panoramic views of the rugged cliffs and azure sea stretching out before cyclists. Prepare to be awe-struck by the dramatic scenery and ever-changing seascapes that unfold along the route.
  • Golden Sands: Cyclists will have the opportunity to pedal along pristine beaches such as Barafundle Bay and Whitesands Bay, where golden sands meet crystal-clear waters. These idyllic coastal gems provide the perfect backdrop for a refreshing stop and perhaps a well-deserved picnic break.
Strumble Head Lighthouse at Dusk
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Cycling Experience:

  • Varied Terrain: The Cliff and Castle route offers a mix of terrain, from smooth coastal paths to challenging climbs and exhilarating descents. Cyclists can expect a diverse and engaging ride that caters to both leisurely explorations and adrenaline-fueled adventures.
  • Waymarked Trails: While exploring Pembrokeshire’s coastal paths, cyclists will benefit from clear waymarking, guiding them along the designated route and ensuring a seamless navigation experience. Look out for signposts indicating key landmarks and points of interest along the way.

Points of Interest:

  • Historic Landmarks: History buffs will be captivated by the wealth of historical sites dotted along the Cliff and Castle route, including the iconic Pembroke Castle. Cyclists can take a detour to explore this medieval fortress, immerse themselves in its rich history, and enjoy panoramic views from its towering ramparts.
  • Natural Wonders: Nature enthusiasts will revel in the opportunity to encounter Pembrokeshire’s diverse wildlife, from seabirds soaring overhead to seals basking on rocky outcrops. Keep a lookout for resident bird species such as puffins, guillemots, and razorbills nesting along the cliffs.

Practical Considerations:

  • Weather Awareness: Due to its coastal location, the Cliff and Castle route is susceptible to changeable weather conditions, including strong winds and occasional rain showers. Cyclists are advised to check the weather forecast beforehand and dress accordingly, with layers and waterproof gear recommended.
  • Safety Precautions: While the route offers spectacular views from cliff-top paths, cyclists should exercise caution and stay alert, especially on narrow sections and steep descents. Helmets are essential, and cyclists should be prepared with basic repair tools and first aid supplies.
Bwlch y Groes

5. Bwlch y Groes: A High Point on Wales Cycling Routes

Bwlch y Groes is a challenging but rewarding cycle that will be a real test for any experienced cyclist and without doubt one of the best cycling routes in Wales.

The route is the second-highest public road mountain pass in Wales, with a summit altitude of 545 metres over a distance of just over 2 miles. Not for the faint-hearted, it has severe gradients throughout and was included among the list of hundred greatest cycling climbs in Britain.

The reward comes when you reach the ascent as you’ll be greeted by incredible valley views that make the taxing climb all worthwhile.

Route Description

The ascent of Bwlch y Groes begins near the village of Llanuwchllyn and climbs steadily for approximately 1.6 miles, gaining an impressive 1,206 feet in elevation at an average gradient of 14.1%. Cyclists are greeted with stunning vistas of the surrounding Snowdonia mountains and lush green valleys as they tackle this iconic climb.

Three Routes Up

There are three main routes to ascend Bwlch y Groes, each offering a unique perspective and level of difficulty. Cyclists can choose between the challenging northern approach from Dinas Mawddwy, the picturesque southern route from Bala, or the lesser-known eastern ascent from Llanuwchllyn.

  • Northern Approach: The northern route from Dinas Mawddwy presents cyclists with a demanding climb featuring steep gradients and sweeping hairpin bends. It offers stunning views of the rugged Aran Mountains and is often favored by experienced riders seeking a tough challenge.
  • Southern Route: The southern approach from Bala offers a more gradual ascent compared to the northern route, making it suitable for cyclists of varying abilities. Riders can enjoy panoramic views of Lake Bala and the surrounding countryside as they make their way to the summit.
  • Eastern Ascent: The eastern route from Llanuwchllyn is less commonly used but provides a serene and secluded climb through verdant valleys and quaint villages. While less demanding than the northern route, it still offers a satisfying challenge for cyclists looking to explore lesser-known routes.
A4061 Bwlch Y Clawdd Road in South Wales
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Cycling Tips and Recommendations

  • Gear Selection: Due to the steep gradients encountered on the ascent, cyclists are advised to ensure they have appropriate gearing for the climb. Compact chain sets and wide-range cassettes can be beneficial for tackling the challenging sections of the route.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: It’s essential to stay hydrated and fueled during the climb, especially on hot days. Carry an adequate supply of water and energy snacks to maintain energy levels throughout the ascent.
  • Weather Considerations: The weather in Snowdonia National Park can be unpredictable, with conditions changing rapidly at higher elevations. Check the forecast before embarking on the climb and dress accordingly, taking extra layers and waterproof clothing to prepare for all eventualities.

6. Exploring the Celtic Trail: Top-Notch Cycling in Wales

The Celtic Trail offers cyclists a unique, scenic journey through Wales’ heartland and is perhaps the best way to discover the vast diversity of Welsh culture. Historic attractions, coastal gems and gorgeous landscapes await those up for the adventure with plenty of opportunities to stop and learn more about the region.

The route starts at the coast of the Irish Sea and lasts right through to the English border, taking in the picturesque valley, the fantastic beaches of Pembrokeshire and the rural countryside of Carmarthenshire along the way.

If you’re looking to stretch out a trip, the route can easily be broken down into several daily stages with highly recommended stops at tourist attractions such as National Botanic Gardens, Caerphilly Castle and St David’s, Britain’s smallest city.

Scenic Beauty:

  • Breath-taking Landscapes: The Celtic Trail offers cyclists the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of Wales. From rugged coastlines to verdant valleys, cyclists will encounter a diverse range of landscapes along the route. Highlights include panoramic views of the Brecon Beacons, tranquil stretches of the River Usk, and the picturesque coastline of Pembrokeshire.
  • Charming Villages and Towns: Throughout the Celtic Trail, cyclists will encounter charming villages and historic towns that provide the perfect opportunity to rest and refuel. Quaint villages like Laugharne, with its connections to Dylan Thomas, and picturesque towns like Tenby, renowned for its colorful houses and sandy beaches, offer cyclists a glimpse into Wales’ rich cultural heritage.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks:

  • Castles and Fortresses: History enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of castles and fortresses that dot the landscape along the Celtic Trail. Cyclists can explore iconic landmarks such as Pembroke Castle, Caerphilly Castle, and the medieval ruins of Tintern Abbey, each offering a glimpse into Wales’ storied past.
  • Industrial Heritage: The Celtic Trail also provides insight into Wales’ industrial heritage, with former colliery sites and industrial landmarks scattered along the route. Cyclists can learn about Wales’ coal mining history at sites like Blaenavon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore the industrial legacy of towns like Merthyr Tydfil.
Blaenavon Ironworks - One of the many places to while cycling in Wales
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Practical Considerations:

  • Route Accessibility: The Celtic Trail offers a mix of on-road and traffic-free paths, catering to cyclists of all abilities. While some sections may be challenging, particularly in hilly areas such as the Brecon Beacons, cyclists can enjoy relatively flat and easy-going stretches along canal towpaths and disused railway lines.
  • Amenities and Services: Cyclists will find a range of amenities and services along the Celtic Trail, including bike hire facilities, accommodation options, and cyclist-friendly cafes and pubs. Towns and villages along the route provide opportunities for restocking supplies and accessing essential services.

Environmental and Wildlife Conservation:

  • Nature Reserves: The Celtic Trail traverses through several nature reserves and protected areas, offering cyclists the chance to encounter Wales’ diverse wildlife. From birdwatching opportunities along the coast to sightings of rare species in woodland habitats, cyclists can connect with nature and contribute to conservation efforts by respecting designated wildlife areas.
  • Sustainable Travel: As an advocate for sustainable travel, the Celtic Trail encourages cyclists to embrace eco-friendly transportation and minimize their environmental impact. By choosing cycling as a mode of transport, cyclists can enjoy the beauty of Wales while supporting conservation initiatives and reducing carbon emissions.

7. Lôn Las Cymru Trail: The Heart of Cycling in Wales

Cyclists looking for a challenging route will be keen to tackle the Lôn Las Cymru Trail.

The 250+ mile journey is perhaps the ultimate cycling route in Wales and takes in everything from winding valleys, demanding rolling hills and quiet country towns. This scenic long-distance cycle is every bit as beautiful and suitably grand as you could imagine.

Starting off in Cardiff Bay through the suburbs northwards out of the capital city, cyclists will soon find themselves on the Wye Valley where steep climbs will test their endurance. There will be more climbing to do as the route hits Snowdonia, but it will be made to feel much easier by the stunning backdrop of the Welsh mountains.

The route officially ends, after a short ride through the familiar names of Bangor and Llanfairpwyllgwyngyll, in the friendly town of Holyhead where riders will be greeted with a relaxing coastal breeze and can take in the many sights of the famous ferry port.

Family riding their bikes along the Lôn Las Cymru Trail
© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

Scenic Beauty:

  • Mountain Passes and Valleys: The Lôn Las Cymru Trail winds its way through some of Wales’ most spectacular scenery, including the majestic mountain passes of Snowdonia and the breathtaking valleys of Mid Wales. Cyclists will be treated to panoramic views of rugged peaks, tranquil lakes, and cascading waterfalls as they pedal through this picturesque landscape.
  • Coastal Splendor: In addition to its mountainous terrain, the Lôn Las Cymru Trail also offers cyclists the opportunity to explore Wales’ stunning coastline. From the rugged cliffs of the Pembrokeshire Coast to the sandy beaches of Cardigan Bay, cyclists can experience the beauty of Wales’ coastal landscapes firsthand.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks:

  • Ancient Sites and Historic Towns: Along the Lôn Las Cymru Trail, cyclists will encounter a wealth of ancient sites and historic towns that speak to Wales’ rich heritage. From the medieval streets of Conwy to the ancient ruins of Tintern Abbey, cyclists can immerse themselves in centuries of Welsh history and culture.
  • Welsh Castles: Wales is renowned for its impressive castles, and the Lôn Las Cymru Trail offers cyclists the chance to explore some of the country’s most iconic fortresses. Highlights include Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle, and the imposing ruins of Caerphilly Castle, each steeped in legend and lore.

Practical Considerations:

  • Route Difficulty: The Lôn Las Cymru Trail is a challenging route that requires a reasonable level of fitness and cycling experience. Cyclists should be prepared for long days in the saddle and varied terrain, including steep climbs and fast descents.
  • Accommodation and Services: Cyclists will find a range of accommodation options along the Lôn Las Cymru Trail, including campsites, hostels, and B&Bs. It’s advisable to plan accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability.

The Final Mile: Reflecting on Wales Cycle Routes

From the rugged mountain passes to serene coastal paths, cycling in Wales is an experience that blends challenge with unparalleled natural beauty. Each of the Wales cycling routes we’ve explored offers a unique glimpse into the landscape and spirit of this enchanting part of the world.

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist seeking thrilling new terrains or a casual rider eager to soak in scenic views, Wales cycle routes cater to all. So, gear up and set out on these trails; the majestic landscapes of Wales await to leave you spellbound, pedal by pedal. Remember, every turn in Wales unveils a new adventure, making it the perfect cycling destination to explore, cherish and return to.