Wales is a wild and beautiful country with stunning natural landscapes and is home to five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 74 nature reserves. A very drive-able country, scenic routes through some of its best landscapes connect the towns and cities in Wales.
Wales is well-known for its cheeses, many of which are award-winning. Cheese-based dishes such as Welsh rarebit have become popular on menus across the UK, with the best versions of course served in Wales. Leeks are the country’s national symbol and feature in many traditional Welsh dishes. Other famous foods to try during your trip to Wales include Welsh cakes, laverbread and cockles. Many of these dishes are made to local or traditional recipes in Wales’ excellent pubs, most offering a cosy local vibe with delicious food and drinks.
Wales has its history steeped in legends and myths, with the origins of Merlin and Arthur from Arthurian legends and even the language of Elvish from Lord of the Rings, both heavily influenced by Welsh lore and culture. No matter which town or city in Wales you choose to spend time, you can be guaranteed of a warm and friendly welcome from the locals.
In Wales’ attractive towns and cities, you will find an array of independent restaurants utilising the best in local ingredients, shops, cafes, museums and plenty of history. There is so much to Wales that a city break is not long enough to enjoy this beautiful and historic country fully. If you are planning a short visit or want to spend longer road-tripping around the Land of Song, here are the best Welsh cities and towns to add to your travel list.
- Towns And Cities In Wales
- Welsh Cities
- Towns In Wales
Towns And Cities In Wales
- 4 Medieval Castles of Wales Private Tour – explore history through its castles.
- From London: Wales 5-Day Group Tour – sit back and let an experienced guide show you Wales.
As the oldest city in Wales, Bangor is steeped in history and legend and makes for the perfect city destination to begin your Welsh trip.
Marvel at the architectural beauty of Bangor Cathedral, whose gothic features have set this place of worship above other Christian sites in the country.
Built in the 6th century, the cathedral is filled with religious treasures, including the Mostyn Christ, a 15th-century oak carving, and, more uniquely, a collection of five tiny carved mice.
Continue exploring the city’s history in Penrhyn Castle, a 19th-century castle built as a home for an industrialist and surrounded by the wild Welsh mountains.
Cardiff is one of the liveliest and busiest cities in Wales and is tightly packed with museums, parks, historical sites, restaurants and bars.
Cardiff Castle, a Norman castle, is in the city’s heart and makes for a great day out for families and history buffs.
The National Museum is a top spot to learn more about Wales throughout history and up to the modern day.
It’s free to enter and split into many galleries, including ones dedicated to botany and zoology.
Cardiff Bay is believed to be Europe’s largest waterfront area and is perfect for a walk or bike ride to some of Cardiff’s best attractions, including the Millenium Centre and Road Dahl’s Enormous Crocodile around the waterfront area.
The Cardiff: 24-Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour will get you around nicely. You can also take a day trip to Cardiff from London.
Newport is a small and compact city perfect for exploring on foot.
Spend a day like royalty in Tredegar House, a Charles II-style mansion run by the National Trust.
Inside the mansion are many beautifully preserved and authentically decorated rooms reflecting the three main periods of the house; 17th century, Victorian and 1930s.
Enjoy some of Wales’ most spectacular nature at the RSPB Newport Wetlands Reserve, a vast space of the Severn Estuary dedicated to preserving the lost mudflats of Cardiff Bay, its wealth of birds, butterflies and otters.
4- St Davids
St Davids is the UK’s smallest city and is perfect for a relaxing day or two away from traditional bustling big cities.
Enjoy a beautiful coastal walk from Porth Clais Harbour and admire the colourful boats bobbing on the waters with mountains overlooking the bay.
Another excellent coastal location to explore in St Davids is Caerfai, a beautiful beach within 20 minutes walking from the city centre, or Whitesands, a short drive away, where the locals love to surf.
5- St Asaph
St Asaph is a picturesque city on the banks of the River Elwy, home to the smallest cathedral in the UK.
St Asaph Cathedral has a turbulent history, having been burned down twice, suffered violent attacks from foreign invaders and had been severely damaged in several fierce storms.
Despite this, the cathedral still stands today, with most of its structure dating from the 14th and Victorian centuries.
Spend a quiet moment exploring the cathedral’s interior and admiring its sculptures, artworks and stained glass.
After a busy day, head to Jacob’s Ladder, a bright and welcoming tea room, to try some Welsh Rarebit made with a blend of local cheeses.
Swansea is a popular waterfront city filled with vibrant student life, museums and Welsh-Italian ice cream.
Museums in the city include the Egypt Centre, housing the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts in Wales, The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and its vast collection of art from old masters and examples of Swansea china.
Football fans should visit the swansea.com Stadium, the home of Swansea City FC, for a tour of the tunnels, home dressing room, dug out and hospitality areas.
Round off your time in Swansea with a creamy scoop of ice cream from Welsh-Italian ice cream makers Joes.
Joe’s is a family-run ice cream parlour serving up delicious vanilla ice creams with a range of toppings, fruit-filled sundaes and speciality layered ice cream cakes.
Enjoy Swansea on a walking tour.
Wrexham has recently risen to fame thanks to the purchase of the city’s football club Wrexham FC by TV star Rob McElhenney and movie star Ryan Reynolds.
If you are in Wrexham on a match day, buy a ticket and watch The Red Dragons play at their home ground, The Racecourse Ground, and immerse yourself in the passion of the fans.
Aside from football, there are plenty of things to do in Wrexham and the surrounding areas, as the Welsh Hills are only a short drive away.
3 of 7 Wonders of Wales are in this northern city, including the gothic 16th century St Giles Church tower, 21 medieval yew trees in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin, and the church bells at 15th century All Saints Church.
Towns In Wales
Hay-on-Wye, or Hay as it is locally referred to, is a market town nicknamed ‘the town of books’ thanks to the more than 20 bookshops within its boundaries.
While in Hay-on-Wye, seek out some of its most interesting and beautiful bookshops, including local favourite Booth’s Books, Rose’s Books, which specialises in rare children’s books, and Murder and Mayhem, dedicated to crime and horror.
If old vinyl records are more your thing, spend an hour or so trawling the shelves at Haystacks to seek out the perfect album.
Indulge in some locally made and unusual ice cream at Shepherd’s and try their ice cream made from sheep’s milk.
Shepherd’s offers 16 different ice cream flavours daily, with classics such as vanilla or chocolate and more unique flavours like lavender.
Conwy is famous for its grand UNESCO World Heritage Site castle, Conwy Castle.
The castle has eight towers that can be climbed, offering incredible views across the surrounding landscape.
Uncover more of the town’s history at Plas Mawr, a 16th-century townhouse on the high street preserved as it was when local merchant Robert Wynn lived in the home.
Spend time relaxing and getting some fresh air at Bodnant Garden and wander around its ornate ponds and terraces before finding a shady tree to sit under.
Wales is filled with ancient castles and forts, and one of the best is Chepstow Castle and its famous Tower Keep.
William the Conqueror built the castle shortly after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, making Chepstow Castle the oldest in the United Kingdom built after Roman times.
Chepstow is an old market town named after the old English word for marketplace.
Spend time and money around the town centre and its many shops inside beautiful Georgian and Victorian buildings.
See more of the city from another ancient site by walking the 13th-century port wall, pausing to take photographs of the town’s historic buildings.
Like many of Wales’ towns, Laugharne has a beautiful and ancient castle to explore and many relaxing countryside walks.
Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet, had a boathouse in the town where he lived during the last few years of his life.
Some of Thomas’ best works were written in the boathouse with inspiration taken from the surrounding areas.
After exploring the rooms and learning more about Thomas and his works, call into the tea room for a traditional Welsh cake, a sweet and fruity bread cooked on a griddle.
Continue your Dylan Thomas-inspired time in Laugharne and venture along the two-mile (3.22 kilometre) uphill walk to the top of Sir John’s hill that, when hiked on his birthday in 1944, Thomas wrote ‘Poem in October’.
The most popular landmark and attraction in Caerphilly is Caerphilly Castle and its leaning tower.
On tours of the castle, immerse yourself in Welsh history, and uncover the mysteries behind the Green Lady of Caerphilly, who is believed to haunt the castle’s halls today.
Enjoy both art and the great outdoors by taking a gentle stroll to Penallta Park and looking for its giant earth sculpture representing Sultan the Pit Pony.
Continue immersing yourself in Caerphilly’s art scene at Y Galeri.
This small gallery space has in the past hosted exhibitions of Welsh artists such as Brendan Stuart Burns, an abstract artist, and Valerie Ganz, whose paintings tell the stories of the Industrial Revolution.
Caernarfon has some of the best views of Snowdonia and over the mouth of the River Seiont.
While admiring the river, take photos of the atmospheric Caernarfon Castle, often lit up at night.
The Royal Welch Fusiliers Regimental Museum is inside the castle, dedicated to the oldest infantry regiment in Wales and filled with exhibitions featuring uniforms, medals, articles and weaponry.
Make the most of this peaceful riverside town on a sunny day and visit Dinas Dinlle, a long stretch of golden sandy beach offering beautiful views and plenty of sand to lay back and relax on.
Top tour: Portmeirion, Snowdonia & Castle Tour.
Portmeirion is one of Wales’ newer villages, built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1971.
The village was designed to reflect an Italian village and is a picturesque destination that pulls in the crowds.
Head out on foot and wander the streets to immerse yourself in Portmeirion’s unique vibes and look out for ornamental gardens, cute minarets and Italian columns adorning the buildings.
Surrounding this unique village is The Gwyllt, another architecturally designed destination, this time by Caton Haigh.
Haigh designed The Gwyltt to be an Edwardian wild garden filled with plants, flowering trees and exotic flowers from the Himalayas, of which he was an expert in.
Top tour: Portmeirion, Snowdonia & Castle Tour.
Criccieth is at the top of Cardigan Bay and has immediate access to the Welsh Coast Path, offering a range of walking opportunities in beautiful surroundings.
While walking along this stretch of the Welsh Coast Path, look out for Samson’s Bay, a secluded cove, and admire the towering peaks of Moel y Gest.
Criccieth has a beautiful castle overlooking the sea, however, one of the best historical sites to visit in the town is the 15th-century Penarth Fawr, a medieval house with a large hall.
The house is well preserved and features traditional medieval beamed ceilings, a large hall for dining and entertaining, and a beautiful stone hearth in the centre of the hall used to heat the entire home.
Pembroke Castle is a must-visit when in this small Welsh Town not only for its historical significance but for its beauty.
Arnulf de Montgomery built the first part of the castle, a small inner bailey, in 1093.
Throughout the following centuries, further additions were made, including a 12th-century keep which still stands today.
Henry VIII was born in the castle, and historical artefacts from one of Britain’s most notable monarchs are displayed inside.
Purchase a town trail from the castle or the town hall and enjoy a three-mile (4.83 kilometre) walk around the town that takes in a range of statues, famous and important buildings, and plaques marking historical sites.
When in Aberystwyth, take the weight off your feet and scale Constitutional Hill using the 1800s funicular, the Cliff Railway.
Once aboard your small rail car, enjoy the views surrounding you and out to sea.
At the top of Constitutional Hill are spectacular panoramic views over the sea, the town and the surrounding hills, a cafe open in summer, and many gentle hikes back down to the town below.
Your first stop in Cardigan should be Cardigan Castle, an 11th-century castle overlooking the River Teifi.
The castle has many interactive exhibits and an excellent audio tour of its 900-year history read by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys.
Aside from its museum, the castle hosts regular concerts and has its own B&B inside its ancient fortified walls.
While pizza may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to Welsh cuisine, the best slices are served at Pizzatipi, which makes handmade and traditional wood-fired pizzas in picturesque surroundings.
Famous for its uniquely long and hard-to-pronounce name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, or Llanfairpwll as it is often shortened too, has the longest name of any in Europe and second-longest in the world.
While in this small town, stop by the train station to get a photograph with the station sign where the town’s full name and a guide below to help you pronounce it are proudly displayed.
Look out for the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column, a Greek-style column dedicated to the Marquess’ feats in the Battle of Waterloo.
You can climb to the top of the tower for outstanding views over the town and the surrounding areas.
Carmarthen is home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, a 400-acre site filled with woodlands, waterfalls and an incredible number of colourful flowering plants.
Continue spending time outside and meet some feathered friends at the British Bird of Prey Centre, located inside the botanic gardens.
Not only will you be able to see flying displays of some of the most beautiful British native birds, including red kites and falcons, but you may get the chance to handle an owl or raptor yourself.
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