Wales is the perfect destination to lose yourself in endless countryside and coastlines. With over 2,700km of coastline, Wales has more than 150 spectacular beaches, all with unique quirks. From the popular beaches of Pembrokeshire to the rather unexpected beaches in Snowdonia, a Welsh beach is a place for a seaside break from city life. Wales is so diverse and has many beaches to choose from all over the country’s coastline. Seaside town beaches provide families with plenty of things to do, and remote bay beaches offer the more adventurous a trip to remember. With so much spectacular coastline, there are almost too many beaches in Wales.
Wales offers visitors the perfect summer beach getaway but visit in the off-peak season, and you might just have the beaches practically to yourself. This list of 20 best beaches in Wales is grouped into seven counties, islands and peninsulas: Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, the Gower Peninsula, Anglesey, the Llŷn Peninsula, Snowdonia and Carmarthenshire. So if you’re heading to Wales for a week-long trip, then pick just one area to explore, and if you’re travelling for longer, then Wales is your oyster.
- 20 Best Beaches In Wales
- Beaches In South Wales
- Pembrokeshire Beaches
- Ceredigion Beaches
- 7- Ynyslas Dunes
- Gower Peninsula Beaches
- Carmarthenshire Beaches
- Beaches In North Wales
- Beaches In South Wales
20 Best Beaches In Wales
Beaches In South Wales
Pembrokeshire is a county in southwest Wales with nearly 300km of coastline and some of the best beaches in South Wales.
Pembrokeshire alone has over 50 beaches for you to explore, so here are our top five.
Also read: 21 Famous Landmarks in Wales
1- Freshwater West Beach
Freshwater West Beach is a stunning, wide, sandy beach complete with rocks and impressive sand dunes.
Located near to the village of Castlemartin, Freshwater West has quite the star-studded history and is one of the best beaches in South Wales for Harry Potter fans.
Harry Potter fans may recognise the beach as the location of Bill and Fleur’s Shell Cottage in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ and the final resting place of the much-beloved house-elf, Dobby.
The cottage was built on-site, and although it has since been removed, there’s still a magical air about Freshwater.
Owing to its exposed beach and strong winds, Freshwater West is also one of the most popular surfing beaches in Wales.
Due to the strong rip currents at Freshwater, it is advised that you only surf if you are experienced, with beginners opting to head to the Gower Peninsula instead.
2- Marloes Sands Beach
Marloes Sands has more than 1.6km of golden sandy beach to enjoy.
Backed with impressive cliffs and fronted with enticing turquoise waters, Marloes Sands Beach is a beautiful remote beach waiting to be explored.
If you’re travelling with kids, Marloes Sands is a fantastic beach because there are plenty of rockpools where you can search for crabs, limpets, mussels and even starfish.
Marloes Sands is on the most southwestern point of the Pembrokeshire coastline, near the villages of Dale and Marloes.
To reach Marloes Sands Beach, you will have to park in the car park, which will involve just less than a 1km walk to reach the beach.
During the summer months, you will have to pay for a ticket for the car park, but in the off-season it’s free.
3- Barafundle Bay
I must admit I like this beach first and foremost for its name, Barafundle.
It’s just got a good ring to it but putting the name aside, Barafundle Bay is one of the truly delightful beaches in South Wales.
With clear waters and a white-sand beach, there is no surprise that this beach has been frequently voted the ‘Best Beach in Britain’.
The car park is at Stackpole Quay, around a 1km walk from the beach.
There are a lot of steps from the clifftop down to the beach, so it may not be accessible for everyone.
The walk to the beach builds on the expectation, and once there, it is truly worth the reward.
This cute, slightly rounded bay makes it one of the best beaches in Wales to swim in summer and relax on the beach.
After, you can head back to the Stackpole Quay car park where you will find toilets, a café and the Stackpole village pub.
4- Broad Haven Beach
Broad Haven is a seaside village on the south side of St Bridge’s Bay in Pembrokeshire.
Broad Haven beach is a mixture of sand and pebbles.
The waters are popular in summer owing to their calm temperament, so the beach can get busy.
Visit the rock Lion’s Head at the north end of the beach or enjoy a sail or take up windsurfing.
Before reaching the beach, you can head to Haven Sports, where you can hire a variety of water gear, including kayaks and surfboards.
Broad Haven is 10km west of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire’s largest town.
5- Monkstone Beach
By no means the last of Pembrokeshire’s beaches, but the last on this list is Monkstone Beach.
Located between the village of Saundersfoot and Tenby town, Monkstone Beach is idyllic and peaceful.
The rocky land juts out, forming a somewhat sheltered beach.
There is no official car park for Monkstone, so park near Trevayne Farm (be mindful that spaces are limited) and then head to the beach via the farm footpath.
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Ceredigion is a Welsh county situated just north of Pembrokeshire.
Known for the colourful houses of New Quay and the university town Aberystwyth, the beaches in Ceredigion aren’t as frequented as many in Wales, making for a perfect coastal escape.
6- Penbryn Beach
Penbryn Beach is less than 1km from the village of Penbryn in the south of Ceredigion county.
Park at Llanborth Farm and walk around 400m along a tarmac road to access the beach, which is a steep climb to the bottom of grassy cliffs.
The beach stretches for 1.6km, and the stunning cliff backdrop makes for an imposing and secluded atmosphere.
Visit Penbryn at sunset for beautiful skies reflected in the waters and hang around until dusk, and you may be in with the chance of seeing seals and even bottlenose dolphins.
For the best chance of viewing seals and their pups, head to Penbryn between August and December as its seal breeding season.
7- Ynyslas Dunes
The Ynyslas Dunes are on the southern side of the Twyni Bach Estuary and are 17km north of Aberystwyth.
The dunes are part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve and the largest dunes in Ceredigion.
Within the nature reserve, you can find the Ynyslas Visitor Centre, which has an exhibition and a shop and toilet facilities.
Slip and slide down these sandy dunes, wander along the beach for over 4km and watch the grasses blowing in the wind.
The Ynyslas Dunes are a truly peaceful paradise.
8- Mwnt Beach
The hidden cove of Mwnt has almost unparalleled turquoise waters and is picturesquely located next to a perfectly rounded rocky bottomed hill.
Located just under 5km north of Cardigan, this tiny beach is one of the top beaches in Wales to sunbathe and swim.
Mwnt Beach is also known for being one of the best places to see bottlenose dolphins, so keep a lookout as there’s a high chance you might be lucky enough to spot one.
Gower Peninsula Beaches
Located in southwest Wales, the Gower Peninsula was the UK’s first-ever Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Gower Peninsula is just 17km from the city of Swansea, and its coastlines meander for over 30km.
With over 20 beaches, here are three of Gower’s finest.
9- Rhossili Bay
A 4.8km stretch of striking sandy beach coastline, Rhossili Bay is the place to go for panoramic views.
The coastline is popular with walkers, surfers and birdwatchers.
Voted ‘Best Beach in the UK’ in 2010, the beach is expansive at low tide.
Park at the Rhossili Bay National Trust Car Park to access the beach. From the car park, it’s around a five to 10-minute walk to get down to the beach.
As Rhossili is at the bottom of a cliff, it isn’t the most accessible beach and the climb can be a little tiring.
10- Blue Pool Bay
Just from the name Blue Pool Bay, you can tell this beach is going to be an interesting one.
The Blue Pool Bay is a small cove with its own natural swimming pool in the form of a large rock pool located on the bay’s eastern side.
The pool is around 8m deep at high tide.
Although the bay’s beach is idyllic and quiet, many come to the Blue Pool to enjoy diving or tombstoning.
The Blue Pool Bay is quiet because it’s a little out of the way and can only be accessed on foot.
You can park your car in the tiny hamlet of Broughton and walk just under 1.6km to reach Blue Pool Bay.
11- Pwlldu Bay Beach
This charming, pebbled beach of Pwlldu, which is Welsh for ‘Black Pool’, is not the most easily accessible beach on this list.
It is often considered one of Gower’s most difficult beaches to access, but doesn’t that make the reward even better?
For the easiest way to access the beach, find somewhere to park in Bishopston and walk down Pwlldu Lane for around 25 minutes. Or a more scenic route is to head from Bishopston down Brandy Cove Road and then follow the ‘Wales Coast Path’ to the beach.
Carmarthenshire is in the southwest of Wales, sandwiched between Pembrokeshire and the Gower Peninsula.
Known for its coastal landscapes, rivers and lakes, Carmarthenshire is also home to a bit of beach history.
12- Pendine Sands
Pendine Sands is owned and managed by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and has been used as the place for land speed records since the 1920s.
The sands are 11km long, hard and flat, and therefore support vehicles.
Malcolm Campbell was the first to try and break the land speed record at Pendine and, in 1924, succeeded with a speed of 146.16 mph.
In 2010 it was announced that the general public was allowed to drive on the beach in designated areas.
As the MOD own the beach, they often conduct operations between Monday and Friday, so parts of the beach are often closed.
To get to the beach you can use the postcode SA33 4NY.
Pendine is around 25km northeast of the harbour town of Tenby.
Beaches In North Wales
Anglesey is an island in Wales located off the northwest coast.
You can access Anglesey and all its wonders via the impressive Menai Suspension Bridge.
With beautiful natural landscapes, plenty of coastal walks and some of the best beaches in North Wales to enjoy, Anglesey is the perfect spot for a holiday.
13- Rhosneigr Beach
Rhosneigr Beach is on the east coast of Anglesey and is a beautiful golden beach with grassy dunes and rocks.
Rhosneigr is also extremely popular with windsurfers because of the big rolling waves and strong winds, and it is one of the best windsurfing beaches in Wales.
Once you’ve passed over the bridge to Anglesey, stay on the A55 until you see a sign for Rhosneigr, the postcode LL64 5QB will take you straight to the beachfront.
14- Benllech Beach
Benllech Beach’s golden sand and tempting waters make it one of the islands most popular beaches.
Unlike other more secluded Welsh beaches, Benllech Beach is accessible for wheelchairs and has several seafront amenities.
This is a great family beach, as there’s plenty of space to spread out, and the waters are calm and safe.
Located on Anglesey’s east coast, Benllech Beach is around 7km from Llangefni town and has easily accessible parking facilities right by the seafront.
15- Llanddwyn Beach
Located on the southwestern-most tip of Anglesey, Llanddwyn offers excellent views of Snowdonia and the Llŷn Peninsula.
What’s more, there are two lighthouses to explore that are perched on top of a rocky outlet.
Another of Wales’ sand dunes, Llanddwyn, attracts a lot of wildlife.
Nearby, the Newborough Forest and nature reserve can be accessed from the beach via footpaths and are just waiting to be explored.
Once you’ve crossed over into Anglesey, you want to turn off at junction 8A, then head towards Llanfairpwllgwyngyll (try pronouncing that one!), taking a left turn onto the A4080.
After entering Newborough Forest, you will eventually reach a ticketed car park in Newborough, where you can then walk to Llanddwyn Beach.
Llŷn Peninsula Beaches
The remarkable Llŷn Peninsula protrudes 48km into the Irish Sea and is home to some of Wales most stunning beaches.
Enjoy coastal walks, extinct volcanic peaks, and grassy hills, all with an impressive backdrop of Snowdonia.
16- Porthor Beach
Also known as Traeth Porthor, this beach is close to the seaside village of Aberdaron.
A curved white sandy beach sits beneath green cliffs with a pearly blue ocean waiting to be explored.
When you’re down on the beach, listen for the whistling sands.
The beach’s oddly shaped sand particles cause this whistling sound to occur when rubbed together in the sunny weather.
Just stamp your feet on the sand, and you’ll hear the famous whistle.
Park in the Porthor National Trust car park to access the beach and walk to the whistling sands.
17- Porthdinllaen Beach
Porthdinllaen is a tiny coastal fishing village tucked away on the Llŷn Peninsula and is home to Porthdinllaen Beach.
This fishing village is known for herring fishing, and during the Iron Age, its harbour was the main port between London and Dublin.
The area surrounding the beach is entirely car-free, making it a great place to relax away from the noise of vehicles.
18- Porth Ceiriad
Another of the Llŷn Peninsula’s beautiful beaches is Porth Ceiriad, which is owned by the National Trust, unspoiled and pristine.
South facing and sheltered by the cove, it’s an excellent beach for walking, sunbathing, surfing and sea kayaking.
A walk along the sand next to the cliff edge, and you will see a coastline steeped in geological history and look closely at the beach, and you can search for beautiful shells.
From Abersoch, take the Sarn Bach Road out of the village and continue driving straight up the road towards Cilan past Tan Y Bryn farm and a green substation where you can then take an unmarked right turn towards the beach. If in doubt, ask a local.
Located in the northwest area of Wales, Snowdonia is a region where the mountains meet the ocean.
More well known for the impressive Snowdonia National Park, many forget about Snowdonia’s charming beaches.
Pen-y-Banc is another sandy, rocky and sand dune filled beach nestled away next to the Dwyryd Estuary in Porthmadog.
A trip to Pen-y-Banc encapsulates an authentic trip to Wales, with stunning natural landscapes, charming tranquillity, and the knowledge of knowing that the impressive mountains of Snowdonia stand looming in the background.
Covered in rockpools, secret coves and tidal pools, there is much birdlife to see on the beach, including curlews and redshanks.
As it’s on an estuary, be careful with the strong tides.
To get to the beach, use the postcode LL49 9TW, and you’ll find signs for the beach.
20- Barmouth Beach
South of the Dwyryd Estuary, Barmouth Beach is on another of Snowdonia’s estuaries, the Mawddach Estuary.
Barmouth Beach is one of Snowdonia’s most popular beaches, but it never becomes overcrowded owing to its length.
It’s a fantastic beach in North Wales to spend the day watching seaside town life pass by, enjoying fishing trips and boat rides along the estuary.
As a seaside town, Barmouth Beach also conveniently has amenities that many secluded beaches don’t have, including an array of cafés, restaurants and shops.
If you’re heading to Barmouth from England, you get to pass straight through Snowdonia National Park and watch the mountains make way for the ocean.
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