10 of the Most Beautiful Places in Wales
We round up the most beautiful places in Wales to consider for your next holiday. From Snowdonia’s snow-capped mountains in the north to the wild southern valleys, Wales is a diverse landscape steeped in folklore and mystery. There’s plenty for intrepid explorers to see, including the famous Brecon Beacons National Park and Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Thanks to the countless Blue Flag beaches, you can spend balmy afternoons enjoying the country’s spectacular sun, sea and surf.
The only downside? There are so many must-visit hotspots that it’s hard to choose just one.
Prettiest villages in Wales
One of the prettiest places in Wales is Beddgelert. It’s a quaint village tucked away in Snowdonia National Park. The bustling market town of Caernarfon is only a 30-minute drive away, enticing history buffs with castles and ruins. Adventure seekers should travel south to the Aberglaslyn Pass. The hair-raising gorge walks, old copper mines and rocky crags aren’t for the faint-hearted!
The stone-built village is named after the legendary hound, Gelert – a symbol of loyalty and protection in Welsh mythology. Gelert’s grave is a popular tourist attraction alongside the picturesque River Colwyn crossing. In the evening, head to one of the many local inns. Menus showcase iconic Welsh fare and locally sourced vegetarian dishes.
Best of all, Beddgelert is an excellent base to explore Snowdonia. It’s ideal for hikers who want to scale Snowdon’s frosty summit, while beginners might prefer the Dinas Emrys trail. This leisurely hour-long route zig-zags through oak woodlands, waterfalls and a centuries-old fortress.
What is the most beautiful part of Wales? Well, Portmeirion is certainly up there. It pops up time and time again on holiday destination lists and people often choose it above the more metropolitan towns and cities.
The curiously designed village in Gwynedd is the brainchild of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The Welsh architect drew inspiration from the Italian Riviera. He introduced a grand central piazza and colour-washed buildings in charming seaside shades. Palm trees and exotic plants flank the terracotta-roofed houses, adding to the Mediterranean vibe.
Keen horticulturists might like to visit Gwyllt Gardens. The subtropical forest boasts fascinating species and flowers, including a collection of colourful rhododendrons. The Dwyryd Estuary is a private sandy beach reserved for guests. Drink in the panoramic ocean views while savouring an ice cream or late afternoon tipple.
A wealth of accommodation providers promise to make your stay extra comfortable. The luxurious Portmeirion Hotel has rave reviews and overlooks the dramatic coastal scenery. Or choose a self-catering cottage with a hot tub for a romantic couples getaway. Bathing in the warm water is bliss after a long day’s adventuring!
Tintern sits close to the English-Welsh border in the rolling Wye Valley. It’s one of the prettiest villages in Wales, showcasing monastic ruins, curving river banks and sweeping pine woods. Its ethereal, fairy-tale feel has fuelled many masterpieces. Wordsworth scribbled “Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey”, while Turner memorialised the River Wye in whimsical watercolours.
It’s clear to see why Tintern held such power over the greats. The surrounding Wye Valley is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, home to wild boar, beavers and otters. In the sky above, you might catch a glimpse of nature’s top aerodynamic predator – the peregrine falcon. But the fun doesn’t stop there for twitchers. Summer attracts elusive nightjars, only identifiable by their unique churring call.
You can’t visit Tintern without a trip to Tintern Abbey. The imposing gothic peaks cut through the landscape in exquisite detail, making this one of the most beautiful places in Wales. Roam through the ruins on a guided tour before finding a grassy picnic spot to refuel.
Most beautiful towns in Wales
If you’re searching for a lively town, Chepstow ticks all the boxes. It offers the best of both worlds. There’s a combination of historic castles, museums, restaurants and shops. Bringing the kids? The Cute Farm Experience is only a stone’s throw away. Spend the afternoon walking alpacas, cuddling donkeys and feeding the sheep.
Chepstow Castle is another highlight, earning the town its reputation as one of the prettiest places in Wales. Although built in 1067, it’s retained much of its former splendour. The preserved fortress stretches along the limestone cliff, reminding passers-by of the region’s rich medieval history. Afterwards, absorb more knowledge at the Chepstow Museum. They run numerous exhibitions and workshops to celebrate the town and Wye Valley.
Outside, ramblers have a buffet of hikes to sink their teeth into, including the Offa’s Dyke National Trail. This 177-mile route passes through eight counties and three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Remember to bring your sturdiest walking boots!
Caernarfon is home to the country’s most famous castle and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Caernarfon Castle. The old royal palace proudly stands on the River Seiont, enveloped by multi-coloured sails. Exploring the waterfront on a boat tour is one of the best ways to experience the castle. Thrill-seekers should head further down the river where they’ll find hair-raising rapids for kayaking.
Prefer to keep your feet on dry land? You’ll love the Welsh Highland Railway, which runs 25 miles to Porthmadog. Established in 1832, it’s a love letter to the Industrial Revolution, passing through popular tourist destinations like Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass. Or challenge the kids to laser tag and go-karting at the brilliant Hwylfan Fun Centre. The giant play area features ball pits, slides and tumble towers.
If all that sounds like hungry work, there’s no need to worry. Caernarfon is a culinary delight. Restaurants serve a smorgasbord of global cuisine to placate every taste. Savour traditional Welsh seafood or turn up the heat with Indian or Thai. Once sated, wash it all down at a trendy waterfront cocktail bar.
Expansive green spaces, conservation sites and star-studded night skies make Brecon one of the most beautiful towns in Wales. The lively atmosphere attracts city-dwellers looking for a pretty pastoral escape with a thread of continuity. The town was originally a Roman military base constructed along the River Usk. You can still see echoes of its past in the cobbled, narrow streets and ye-olde architecture.
Above all else, you’ll be in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Covering 519 square miles of waterfalls, reservoirs and hamlets, you could spend all day exploring the magical landscape – surely one of the most beautiful places in Wales.
One of the best times to visit is at night. The park is an International Dark Sky Reserve (there are only 20 in the world). Once the mist has cleared, you can spot faraway galaxies and even the swirling Milky Way!
As Brecon is an epicentre of activity, there’s always something going on. The town helps host some of Wales’ most exciting events. The summer Royal Welsh Agricultural Show takes place nearby at Llanelwedd. The jam-packed schedule includes livestock competitions, outdoor sports and craft activities.
Looking for a weekend break? Spend 72 hours in Wrexham. On one side, there’s the lower Dee Valley and iconic Welsh mountain ranges. Further afield, you’ll reach the English border. Chester is only a 30-minute drive away and it’s worth a visit if you’re interested in Roman architecture, amphitheatres and cathedrals.
However, there’s no need to travel far and wide. Wrexham has everything you need for a one-of-a-kind stay. The Grade II listed St. Giles Parish Church dazzles guests with stained-glass windows and grand stone structures. Weather permitting, ramble around Erddig. The house and gardens are a blast from the past, providing valuable insight into the lives of 18th to 20th-century servants.
Come rain or shine, you’ll never get bored in Wrexham. There are numerous indoor activities for grey days, like the Xplore! Science Discovery Centre. Meanwhile, aspiring thespians are sure to adore a play or comedy show at the Grove Park Theatre.
Most beautiful cities in Wales
Cardiff is one of the most beautiful cities in Wales. The Welsh capital is a melting pot of different cultures, cuisines and influences, which attracts people from around the globe. The sprawling metropolis has a vibrant creative underbelly. The burgeoning music scene on Womanby Street tempts revellers with neon-lit nightclubs and bars. For a quieter but equally memorable experience, feast your eyes upon exhilarating exhibitions at the National Museum Cardiff or Chapter Arts Centre.
Culture aside, there’s also a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. When you need a break from the brilliant city lights, book a boat trip to Flat Holm Island. Five miles off the coast, the remote retreat is a haven of tranquillity. Despite its compact size, the island is a crucial Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. You’ll find an eclectic mix of rare seabird colonies, ancient Victorian barracks and desolate wartime bunkers.
Of course, you can’t come to Cardiff without seeing Cardiff Castle. Walking through the gates transports you to another world. Roman, Norman and Victorian design features mark the stone walls, paying homage to the castle’s venerable history. Don’t forget to look up. Fierce stone animals flank the South Gate, keeping a watchful eye over sightseers.
When thinking about the prettiest places in Wales, you probably imagine waterfront views with bucket loads of maritime charm. That’s where Swansea shines. Sunbathe or paddle at the award-winning Blue Flag beaches in Swansea Bay, Mumbles and Gower. Oxwich Bay and Llangennith Beach make a great family day out, with calm waters for water sports.
Back on land, there are myriad attractions to peruse. Take tiny zoologists to Plantasia – a tropical microcosm with unusual animals. The unmissable animal experiences let kids creep closer to caiman crocodiles, tortoises and monkeys. Want to burn off the holiday treats? The Ninja Warrior Park is a unique jungle gym that tests the bravest individuals. Tackle gravity-defying climbs and jumps before scaling the famous Warped Wall!
Like any city, Swansea is a foodie’s paradise. The harbour produces some of the country’s freshest fish and seafood. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, drive to the Michelin-starred Beach House, Oxwich. It’s only 30 minutes away from the city centre. The relaxed ambience, impeccable service and innovative menu are well worth the journey. Dishes change seasonally, so there’s always an excuse to come back.
Bangor is a small but vibrant university city that packs a punch. It offers a curious mish-mash of activities for tourists. On the one hand, it’s the oldest city in Wales. On the other hand, it’s wonderfully contemporary with performing arts venues, restaurants and shops.
We suggest visiting the Grade II listed Bangor Garth Pier – one of the finest surviving Victorian piers in the country. As you walk towards the Isle of Anglesey, the beautiful waters of the Menai Strait are on either side. Turn around, and you’ll see Snowdonia’s peaks on the horizon. Penrhyn Castle is on the outskirts of Bangor, infamous for its colonial past. Originally built on the back of the sugar and slate trade, it’s also a haunting reminder of how slavery shaped modern-day Wales.
Nearby, GreenWood Family Park and Zip World beckon. GreenWood is suitable for younger children with soft play, slides and tunnels. Zip World appeals to adults and teens. The bravest can fly 500m above the blue quarry lake on the world’s fastest aerial runway. Miniature Hamiltons can tackle chicanes and banked corners on three-wheeled quarry karts.
Discover the most beautiful places in Wales
The most beautiful places in Wales offer fun for the whole family. Wherever you go, you’re bound to have a fantastic time. Explore the striking landscapes, feast on traditional cuisine and visit the award-winning attractions. You’re never far from five-star accommodation, including wild campsites and holiday cottages.
The villages offer a quiet haven away from life’s to-dos, while the towns are a little livelier for young adults. Partygoers looking to sow their wild oats might prefer the cosmopolitan cities. Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor bristle with exciting nightlife.
And if you still can’t decide? Simply browse our blog for more information. Our knowledgeable team has curated a library of helpful guides to make your decision easier. We also review accommodation to ensure your stay is extra comfortable.