Hike the Wales Coast for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
There is no better way to discover the beauty and magnificence of Wales than by hiking its coastline. Wales is the only country in the world with a continuous waymarked path around its coast, presenting the unique opportunity to walk the unspoiled trail without missing fascinating landmarks or getting lost.
The 870-mile adventure will wind through the lovely Isle of Anglesey, photo genetic Vale of Glamorgan and the proud capital city of Cardiff, whilst taking in sights such as Britain’s only coastal National Park, the fringe of the mountainous Snowdonia and numerous ancient castles.
Bear in mind that the whole trek can’t be completed in a single day – or anywhere near that – so those looking to hike the wales coast may want to do some research into the section they wish to explore and devise a specific itinerary to suit their needs.
1. North Wales
The North Wales coastal path winds through many historical sites of interest and plenty of gorgeous promenades stretching over golden sands. Perhaps the most iconic location on this route is the historic Conwy Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, it stands tall as an excellent example of medieval architecture and gives breathtaking views of the trail that lies ahead.
Hiking through North Wales will also take you through the spectacular Great Orme, a prominent mountain standing 679 feet high over the town of Llandudno and the Irish Sea. There is plenty to discover on the walk to the summit of the mountain, including local flora and wildlife grazing freely.
2. The Isle of Anglesey
As you approach Bangor, you will be able to walk the crossing to the Isle of Anglesey. A designated area of outstanding natural beauty, Anglesey’s coastal line is a perfect example of Wales’ distinctive and memorable scenery.
The coastal walk is set upon the backdrop of the stunning Snowdonia mountain range offering plenty of intriguing history to uncover and rare wildlife to spot along the way.
The 125-mile trail circuit around Anglesey also includes some of the best beaches in Wales, meaning there is plenty of space to relax and take in the cool sea breeze. It is very much the heartland of the Welsh language so expect to hear plenty of local dialects as you traverse the diverse landscape.
Hikers with love for all things nature and will rejoice as they re-join the mainland and start the walk through the Ceredigion coast. Designated as a Special Area of Conservation for their native wildlife population, Ceredigion is the perfect place to spot animals as you walk through its secluded beaches and untarnished coastlines.
The path is surrounded by untouched nature and is a natural habitat for animals such as the bottlenose dolphin, seal and porpoise. On top of that, this section of the route tends to be relatively quiet, so you’ll find much of the tranquil stretched path all to yourself.
However, if you wish for some company after a long day trekking the landscape, the intimate Theatr Mwldan is a beautiful place to take in an independent film. In contrast, those after a lively night scene may wish to visit the nearby town of Aberystwyth with its varied selection of pubs and restaurants.
The next section of the coastal path embarks on the Pembrokeshire coastline. Stretching for 186 miles, this part of the walk offers some of the most awe-inspiring coastal views in Britain.
Lying almost entirely inside the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the path is home to dramatic cliffs, countless coves and stunning beaches.
Hikers will also stumble across St Davids, the UK’s smallest city with a population of just 1,600. Known for its magnificent Cathedral which dates back to the 12th century, St Davids is widely known as the heart of the Pembrokeshire coastal path and will be a memorable stop for all those lucky enough to visit.
5. Gower and Swansea Bay
The penultimate chapter of the extensive Wales coastal hike covers the Gower coast, home to an array of stunning, unspoiled beaches and rugged cliffs just waiting to be explored.
The landscape is rich in heritage, with many castles scattered across the peninsula and imposing ruins giving a thoughtful reminder of how the area came to be. No hike across Gower is complete without taking in the sights of Three Cliffs Bay with its three towering limestone cliffs giving a piercing backdrop to any walk.
The route itself has few steep sections and lots of areas of the path uneven between the long stretches of the open landscape between beaches. However, you can still expect crowds at the height of the summer season as the Gower Peninsula becomes an attractive spot for families as well as a perfect fishing area.
6. South Wales
The final and most southern section of the path is home to the vibrant capital city of Cardiff – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities for peaceful strolls across the coast.
Sweeping views of dramatic cliff faces meet gorgeous riverbanks as well as impressive structures, including the iconic Newport Transporter Bridge and Chepstow Castle. As you make your way towards the English border, hikers can also take in the iconic seaside resorts of Barry, Porthcawl and Penarth.