You’ve been searching for your next adventure, and you’ve decided Wales is calling your name. This small country packed into the western part of Great Britain has a little bit of everything—rugged coastlines, medieval castles, picturesque villages, stunning national parks, and a culture all its own. If you’re looking for an exciting escape where you can immerse yourself in history and natural beauty, Wales needs to be at the top of your bucket list. From hiking through breathtaking mountains to exploring ancient ruins to bonding over a pint of ale at a local pub, you’ll find inspiration around every corner. Get ready for an unforgettable getaway in one of Europe’s most underrated travel destinations. Here are 10 amazing Things to Do in Wales.
10 Amazing Things to Do in Wales: The Ultimate Bucket List
Explore the Brecon Beacons National Park
Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Then exploring the Brecon Beacons National Park should be at the top of your Welsh bucket list. Covering over 520 square miles, this park is one of the most stunning natural landscapes in Britain.
Start with a hike up Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales at 2,907 feet. Don’t worry, there are routes for all skill levels. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the park’s grassy hills, open moorlands and conifer forests.
Next, visit one of the park’s scenic waterfalls like Sgwd Gwladys or Henrhyd Falls. Some you can view from a distance, while others have pathways leading right up to the cascade. Nothing is more rejuvenating than the sounds and smells of fresh mountain water.
An adventure in the Beacons isn’t complete without spotting the local wildlife. Keep an eye out for red kites, buzzards, peregrine falcons, and even feral goats as you explore the park’s many hiking trails. You may also catch a glimpse of an otter or kingfisher along the River Usk, which cuts through the heart of the park.
Whether you come for a day or stay longer in one of the park’s campsites or cabins, the Brecon Beacons will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that exists in South Wales. Lush green landscapes, rolling hills, hidden waterfalls and an array of wildlife are waiting to be discovered in this paradise for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers.
Visit the Historic Caernarfon Castle
Visiting Caernarfon Castle should be at the top of your Wales bucket list. This massive stone fortress was built in the 13th century and is one of the finest medieval castles in Europe.
As soon as you enter the castle grounds, you’ll be struck by its immense scale and grandeur. The castle’s imposing walls and towers were built to impress – and intimidate! Walk along the ramparts and you’ll get sweeping views of the town, port and Snowdonia mountains.
Inside the castle, you can explore the royal apartments and towers. Check out the Eagle Tower, which was once used as a grand banqueting hall. The castle’s architecture is a perfect example of medieval defensive fortification, with multiple gatehouses, towers and a massive main gate.
No trip to Caernarfon Castle is complete without seeing the ancient town walls. Stretching over 1 mile around the town, the walls are considered the finest example of medieval fortifications in Europe. Walk or bike the walls to get a glimpse into Caernarfon’s history.
Whether you’re interested in medieval architecture, Welsh history or just want to feel like royalty exploring an ancient castle, Caernarfon Castle should not be missed. It’s one of the most well-preserved medieval fortresses in the world and a true wonder of Wales. What are you waiting for? Time to start planning your Welsh adventure!
Take a Scenic Drive on the Coast Road
One of the best ways to take in the stunning Welsh scenery is to drive along the coast road. This winding route hugs the sea cliffs and offers jaw-dropping views at every turn.
The Coast Road
The coast road, officially known as the A55, stretches for over 200 miles along the northern coast of Wales. Starting from the English border, it passes by Holyhead and Bangor before ending in Chester. Along the way, you’ll pass secluded coves, sandy beaches, medieval castles, and the towering peaks of Snowdonia.
Take your time driving this picturesque route. Pull over at the many viewpoints and lay-bys to snap photos of the crashing waves, rocky sea cliffs, and rolling green hills. Some of the must-see spots along the coast road include:
- Conwy Castle, one of the finest medieval fortresses in Europe with eight massive towers and a high curtain wall.
- Penrhyn Castle, a 19th-century neo-Norman castle set within a Victorian walled garden.
- Beaumaris Castle, another impressive fortress commissioned by King Edward I with a perfect concentric design.
- Puffin Island, home to a large puffin colony as well as seals and other seabirds. You can take boat tours from Beaumaris to get a close-up view of these adorable birds.
- The Great Orme, a massive limestone headland in Llandudno that offers scenic walking trails, prehistoric copper mines, and marine drive.
- Bodnant Garden, an 80-acre horticultural paradise with Italianate terraces, waterfalls, and the Dell, filled with exotic plants and flowers.
Whether you drive the entire coast road over several days or just explore sections at a time, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty of Wales. Take a scenic drive on the coast road—it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Check Out the Charming Seaside Town of Tenby
Charming Coastal Town
Tenby is a picturesque seaside town on the Pembrokeshire coast that should be on every Wales bucket list. With its colorful harbor, narrow winding streets, and beaches surrounded by medieval walls, it’s easy to see why Tenby is such a popular holiday destination.
Tenby is home to not one but three stunning beaches. Walk along the harbor to reach Castle Beach, a Blue Flag beach in the town center with colorful houses as a backdrop. Follow the shore around the headland to reach South Beach, a sheltered sandy bay that’s ideal for swimming and sunbathing. The largest beach is North Beach, a vast stretch of sand with dunes, ideal for walking, sandcastle building, and beach activities. No matter what type of beach experience you’re after, Tenby has you covered.
With parts of its town walls and fortifications still intact, Tenby oozes history and charm. Walk around the walls for panoramic sea views, then wander the cobblestone streets lined with pastel-colored houses, art galleries, and cafes. Visit St. Catherine’s Island, a small fortified island you can access on foot at low tide. Climb the steps of the 15th-century St. Mary’s Church tower for the best view of Tenby’s rooftops and the sea.
When you tire of relaxing on the beach, Tenby offers plenty of outdoor activities to keep you entertained. Go rock pooling along the shore, take a boat trip to spot dolphins and seabirds, or try coasteering – climbing, swimming and scrambling along the coastal cliffs. There are also scenic walking trails along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and cycling routes to explore the surrounding countryside.
With a picturesque setting, beaches galore, historic charm, and outdoor adventures, Tenby has something for everyone. No trip to Wales is complete without visiting this delightful seaside escape.
Go Whale and Dolphin Watching in New Quay
New Quay in Wales is one of the best places in the UK to spot whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Around 25 species have been seen in the waters here, including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, harbor porpoises, and even humpback and fin whales.
Take a Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour
The best way to see these magnificent creatures up close is to take a boat tour from one of the operators in New Quay. Some recommended options include:
- SeaMôr Dolphin Watching Trips – Offers 2-3 hour tours with an onboard marine biologist. They have a high success rate for spotting dolphins and whales.
- Dolphin Survey Boat Trips – Runs 2 hour tours on a small rigid inflatable boat that gets you up close with minimal impact on the animals.
- New Quay Boat Trips – Provides 1-2 hour tours on their passenger boat with a sheltered seating area and open deck. They frequently see bottlenose dolphins, harbor porpoises, and gray seals.
The tours run from April to October when the sea conditions are calmer and sightings are most frequent. Be sure to dress for the weather, bring binoculars, and keep your eyes on the water. The dolphins love to ride the bow waves of the boats, so you may spot them close by!
Go Sea Kayaking or Paddle Boarding
For a different perspective, consider renting kayaks or stand up paddle boards (SUPs) to explore the coastline of Cardigan Bay. Paddling silently through the water will increase your chances of spotting wildlife and offers a more immersive experience. Several outfitters in New Quay offer rentals and guided tours for all skill levels.
Whether from the deck of a boat or while balancing on a paddle board, seeing whales and dolphins gracefully gliding through the waves is a magical experience you’ll never forget. New Quay should definitely be at the top of your bucket list for an amazing adventure in Wales.
Marvel at the Majestic Snowdonia Mountains
The Snowdonia Mountains offer some of the most stunning scenery in all of Wales. This mountain range features rocky peaks, lush valleys, and crystal-clear lakes that will take your breath away.
Hike to the Summit of Mount Snowdon
As the highest mountain in Wales at over 3,500 feet high, climbing Snowdon is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast visiting the area. There are several trails of varying difficulty that lead to the summit, including the Llanberis Path which is the most gradual route. However, for the best views, try the more challenging Miner’s Track or Snowdon Ranger Path. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the entire national park.
Visit Picturesque Llyn Gwynant
Nestled in the heart of Snowdonia, Llyn Gwynant is a scenic lake surrounded by oak woodlands and mountains. It’s an idyllic spot for a picnic, going kayaking or fishing, bird watching, or simply enjoying a peaceful stroll along the shore. There are also campsites in the area if you want to wake up to the beautiful views of Llyn Gwynant.
See Stunning Swallow Falls
Wales’ highest waterfall, Swallow Falls is a magnificent sight with water cascading down rocky ledges into a deep gorge. There are well-maintained footpaths leading down to the falls with viewpoints at different levels. The best views are from the footbridge that crosses the river right at the base of the main falls. Swallow Falls is especially stunning after heavy rain when the water is gushing powerfully over the rocks.
Take a Scenic Drive on the Snowdonia Pass
For incredible vistas without the effort of hiking, take a drive through the Snowdonia Pass. This winding mountain road goes over several high passes with viewpoints looking out over Mount Snowdon and surrounding peaks. Make stops along the way at scenic overlooks like Pen-y-Pass, the highest mountain pass in Wales, and Llyn Ogwen, a glacial lake ringed by mountains. The Snowdonia Pass is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the UK.
There are so many natural wonders to experience in Snowdonia. Whether you prefer to get out on foot or take it in from the comfort of your car, the majestic mountains and landscapes will leave a lasting impression. A visit to this region of Wales is truly something you’ll never forget.
Tour the Beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Hike the Stunning Coastal Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path winds 186 miles along Wales’ picturesque coastline, offering some of the finest coastal scenery in Britain with its rugged sea cliffs, sandy beaches, and charming fishing villages. One of the top highlights of the trail is the section between St. Davids and Fishguard—about 35 miles of dramatic cliffs, secluded coves, and sweeping sea views.
You can walk the path in sections over several days or tackle shorter chunks in a day. Some of the must-see spots along this section include:
- Strumble Head – A scenic headland with an old lighthouse offering panoramic views of Cardigan Bay. It’s a popular spot for bird watching, so bring your binoculars.
- Abereiddy – A tiny cove with picturesque sea cliffs and the remains of an old quarry tramway. You may even spot daredevil coasteerers leaping into the azure sea from the high cliffs.
- Porthgain – A quaint harbor village where you can enjoy fresh seafood, shop for local arts and crafts, or just sit and watch the boats on the water.
- St. Davids Peninsula – Featuring the UK’s smallest city, the historic St. Davids, as well as the striking ruins of St. Davids Bishop’s Palace and Cathedral.
Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a challenging yet rewarding experience that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Wales. Be prepared for uneven and slippery terrain, changeable weather, and few facilities along the more remote sections of the trail. But the stunning vistas that greet you around every turn make it worth lacing up your hiking boots and hitting the trail. Discover the wild and windswept beauty of the Welsh coast at your own pace on this epic long-distance walk.
Visit the Quirky Portmeirion Village
An Architectural Wonderland
Portmeirion Village is an Italian-style tourist village in North Wales, built between 1925 and 1975. The architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis wanted to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it. The result is a quirky collection of colorful buildings, towers, domes and statues in an array of architectural styles that somehow work together.
As you explore the village, you’ll discover hidden paths, secluded gardens, and whimsical details around every corner. The focal point is the castle-like Portmeirion Hotel, but the real charm lies in strolling through the maze of paths, discovering the village’s many unique attractions. Some of the must-sees include:
- The Ship: A picturesque 18th-century ship figurehead mounted on a column. It has become the village’s logo.
- The Roundhouse: A tiny circular building with a domed roof that offers panoramic views of the estuary.
- The Temple of the Winds: An ornate garden pavilion inspired by the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens.
- The Bristol Colonnade: A colonnaded walkway lined with shops, built from architectural fragments found in Bristol.
A TV Legend
Portmeirion Village gained international fame as the setting for the cult 1960s TV show The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan. The show’s dramatic landscapes, surreal storylines and avant-garde themes gained it a passionate following that continues today. Visiting the village almost feels like stepping into an episode, with filming locations around every corner. There’s even an annual Prisoner convention!
Whether you’re a fan of the show or just love whimsical architecture and gardens, Portmeirion Village is a magical place to escape from it all. Its dreamy surroundings, oddball touches and layers of history make it utterly unlike anywhere else in Wales. Definitely one for the bucket list!
FAQs: Things to Do in Wales
Wales offers so much for visitors to see and do. If you’re planning a trip, you likely have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about things to do in Wales.
What are the must-sees in Wales?
Some absolute must-sees in Wales include:
- Snowdonia National Park, with stunning mountains, hiking trails and the highest peak in Wales.
- The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, offering 186 miles of breathtaking coastal scenery.
- Caernarfon Castle, a magnificent medieval fortress.
- St. David’s Cathedral, a historic church in Wales’ smallest city.
- Portmeirion, a whimsical Italianate village.
What outdoor activities can I do?
Wales is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Some exciting activities include:
- Hiking and climbing in Snowdonia National Park. There are trails for all skill levels.
- Cycling the Mawddach Trail or Lon Cambria. Wales has scenic bike routes for cyclists of all abilities.
- Surfing, kiteboarding or paddle boarding along the coast. Wales has miles of beaches with prime conditions for watersports.
- Zip lining over mountain lakes and through forests. Wales has some of the longest zip line courses in Europe.
What cultural attractions should I see?
- Caerphilly Castle, Cardiff Castle and Conwy Castle. Wales has many well-preserved castles you can tour.
- National Museum Cardiff and St. Fagans National Museum of History. These museums showcase Wales’ art, history, culture and heritage.
- Catch a rugby match. Rugby is Wales’ national sport, and the atmosphere at matches is electric.
- Listen to traditional Welsh choirs and folk music. Wales has a strong musical heritage that is still thriving today.
What food should I try?
Some classic Welsh foods to sample include:
- Rarebit, a savory cheese sauce on toast.
- Bara brith, a fruit tea loaf.
- Welsh cakes, flat scones traditionally served with jam and cream.
- Cawl, a hearty lamb stew.
- Laverbread, made from seaweed, usually served with bacon and oatmeal.
Wales has so much to offer for an unforgettable holiday. Enjoy all the natural beauty, history, culture and adventure this small country packs in! Let me know if you have any other questions about planning your trip.
So there you have it, 10 incredible experiences to add to your Wales bucket list adventure. From hiking stunning mountain trails and coastlines to exploring ancient castles, Wales offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, foodie or culture vulture, this small country packs a huge punch. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Wales today. The stunning landscapes, unique culture and warm Welsh welcome await you. You’ll return home with memories to last a lifetime and a longing to return again and again. Wales will capture your heart, just like it has captured ours.