Wales defines the phrase “good things come in small packages”.
Wales packs in a lot of beauty in a relatively small area. It is known for its coastlines, deep unending valleys and its historic castles. Then there are the mountains and the small towns.
Wales is often ignored because people mostly prefer to travel to Scotland or to Ireland. This has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that Wales remains pristine and untouched. The bad side is that tourists don’t get to see the beauty of Wales.
Both Scotland and Ireland have lost some of their local flavours because of the influx of tourists. Wales, on the other hand, remains real and ready to explore.
The difference between Wales and England can be felt as soon as you cross the border.The difference in terms of appearances and culture is obvious to the eyes. The Welsh language, one of the longest surviving languages in the world, is one of the cornerstones of Wales. The language is also what gives the villages their tongue-twisting names!
For example, try pronouncing the name of this village
Yes, that is the actual name of a village in Wales.
However, tourists don’t need to fret at all. Almost everybody in Wales speaks English.
The following are some of the most notable tourist destinations in Wales:
- Cardiff (The capital of Wales)
- Bangor (University town)
- Hay-on-Wye – The book capital of the United Kingdom
- Tenby – Walled coastal town
- Conwy – Home to the smallest house in Britain
Steeped in history, Cardiff is the perfect destination for both families and for groups. It is a city which is mad about Rugby and is home to the Millennium Stadium. It is also home to the Fonmon Castle which was built in the 12th century. Unlike many other castles, Fonmon still has people living inside it! It is open on Tuesdays and Fridays through the months of April to September.
Other popular attractions of Cardiff are:
- National History Museum
- Cathays Park
- Llandaff Cathedral
- Caerphilly Castle
- Cardiff University
- Castell Coch
Bangor is perfect for a weekend getaway because of its quiet and pristine nature. It is a picturesque town offering spectacular views of the setting sun across the Menai Strait. The town can also be used as a stop-over for travelling to the Snowdonia National Park. Bangor can also be visited for seeing the Penrhyn castle. It is a castle containing “Norman” style paintings and furniture. It also houses a railway museum and a doll museum.
Other notable attractions of Bangor are as follows:
- Bangor Cathedral
- Bangor Pier
Hay-on-Wye is the place to go to if you are in love with books and just want to be left alone with them. Home to book shops of all types and sizes, Hay-on-Wye has bookshops everywhere and anywhere (gardens, castles, walls). Some of these book shops are unmanned and are reliant on the honesty of the customers. Several travel guides describe this village as a “big library” and they aren’t wrong by any means. Apart from books, Hay (as it’s lovingly called) has plenty of cafes and shops selling antiques.
Other attractions of Hay-On-Wye include
- The Warren (Secluded pebble beach)
- Hay Castle
- Hay Market
However, people mostly travel to Hay-on-Wye for only one reason and that is books.
As mentioned before, Tenby is a walled coastal town located in Southern Wales. With the pleasant weather, attractive beaches and the colourful houses, Tenby is one of the most popular tourist spots in Wales.
The Welsh name of Tenby is Dinbych-y-Pysgod, which means “Little town of fishes”. The name is apt because Tenby is so small that it can be covered on foot.
What can you do at Tenby?
- Visit Caldey Island (Located off Tenby’s coast, it houses a monastery with Cistercian monks).
- Go Fishing (The name of the town itself mentions this!)
- Walk down the narrow cobbled paths
- Gape at the multi-coloured houses and take pictures of them
- Visit the Tudor Merchant’s house (Built in the 15th century, it is open to the public from April to September from Mondays through Saturdays (12 noon- 5 pm). It is also open on Sundays from 12 noon to 3 pm.
Conwy is a walled town located at Northern Wales. From big castles to Britain’s smallest house, Conwy has everything a tourist can wish for.
The smallest house in Britain
Only 6 feet wide, this little red wonder is the big attraction of Conwy. The last resident of the house was Robert Jones, who was well over 6 feet.
The Conwy Castle is the easiest way to indulge in some quick time travelling. The brooding presence of the Castle is enough reason to make one forget about the present for a while.
The Conwy Castle consists of eight towers and all of them offer stunning views of the town. Climb upon any one of them and enjoy the view.
The Plas Mawr is beautiful house which was built in the 16th century.
Built in the 16th century, this is the only merchant’s house in Conwy which has survived so far.
Other popular attractions of Conwy include:
- Bodnant Garden
- Conwy Mussel Sculpture
- Conwy Quay
- Conwy Mudflats
- Conwy Suspension Bridge