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The best things to do in Wales

If you’ve never been to Wales, let me help you build your Wales bucket list with these fun things to do in Wales! 

Full of walks and hikes to go on, three national parks, some wonderful cities to explore (such as Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea), unique places to visit and some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, it’s easy to see why everyone loves Wales! Not only that, but the local people here are really some of the loveliest in the world, making for an awesome adventure. Whether you just want to visit for a weekend away or as part of a bigger UK road trip, it’s time to start planning your trip to Wales! 

In this post I’m going to take you through what I think are the best things to do in Wales. From horse riding on the Gower Peninsula to hiking Mount Snowdon, and from eating Welsh Cakes to taking on the fastest zip line in the world, yo won’t be short of things to do in Wales after reading this travel guide.

The best things to do in Wales, UK...

1. Explore the Gower Peninsula.

The Gower Peninsula is one of my favourite places to visit in Wales, and exploring it is definitely one of the best things to do in Wales. The beaches, the walks and the local people make for a fun, friendly and wholesome experience while you’re there. Back in 1956, the Gower Peninsula was actually crowned as the UK’s first outstanding area of natural beauty, and it’s easy to see from the pictures why. Highlights from my trip included visiting Rhossili Bay, walking to the end of Worm’s Head and marvelling Three Cliffs Bay. 

The best things to do in Swansea | Planning your trip to Wales

The Gower peninsula is also the perfect place for adventure bunnies! From horse-riding along the coast to climbing to some epic view points, the Gower is home to some of the best things to do in Wales. 

Check out 11 reasons why you should visit the Gower Peninsula here. 

The best things to do in Swansea | Planning your trip to Wales | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

2. Enjoy a city break in the capital, Cardiff.

The capital of Wales is a great place to visit and one of the best places to visit in the UK for a weekend break. If you love outdoor sport, it’s home to Cardiff International White Water where you can get your adrenaline running and hit the water! If you prefer watching sport, Cardiff is known for hosting football, rugby and ice hockey matches in its stadiums. While you’re exploring the city centre, make sure you check out the arts and theatre scene as well as the food scene, and take a walk around Cardiff Bay (one of the best walks in Wales). On the outskirts of Cardiff you can also visit Carephilly Castle (the second largest castle in Britain) and Castell Coch (surrounded by fairytale-like woodland), which are both beautiful castles in Wales and worth the trip! 

3. Visit some of the many beautiful Welsh castles.

If you enjoy exploring history or culture, or maybe you just want to feel like a prince or princess for the day, one of the best things to do in Wales is to visit one of the many beautiful castles. With over 600 castles to choose from, it can be hard to decide which are the best castles in Wales to visit, but castles that are on my Wales bucket list include…

4. Head to Zipworld and take on Velocity 2, the fastest zip line in the world.

Another one for the adrenaline junkies out there… one of the most fun things to do in Wales is the fastest zip line in the world at Zipworld! Take on the longest zipline in Europe as you fly over the Penrhyn Quarry at over 100 mph and marvel at the bright blue lake. Find out more on the Zipworld website here.

After you’ve completed the zip line, head to Bangor for a day or two to relax. Home to a famous university, it’s a great, compact city to unwind in and enjoy. Whether you want to explore the city of Bangor itself or head to the nearby Cwm Idwal National Nature Reserve and go hiking, you’re sure to have a great time.

5. Visit Portmeirion, a little piece of Italy.

Visiting Portmeirion, a colourful Welsh village built to look like an Italian village, is one of the most popular things to do in Wales. Grab a takeaway coffee or gelato as you meander through the back streets, admire the brightly coloured buildings and soak up the energy of the main piazza. Before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re really in Italy

6. Check out the wildlife in Pembrokeshire National Park.

Pembrokeshire Coast is one of three National Parks in Wales and one of the most popular places to visit in Wales. As well as mile after mile of stunning coastline, some of the best beaches in Wales, and endless walking trails, it’s home to an abundance of wildlife. The shore is home to an array of amazing creatures: jellyfish, sharks, seals, dolphins, orcas, turtles, puffins and more! 

7. Climb Mount Snowdon.

One of the most popular things to do in Wales is to climb Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Snowdonia National Park. There are 6 paths that lead up to Snowdon, each one varying in difficulty, so make sure you check out my guide to climbing Snowdon so you know which is best for you. The views from the top are particularly stunning, and so are the views as you meander through the mountain range.

If you are planning on visiting Snowdonia National Park, make sure you’ve checked out these blog posts…

8. Grab a new book at the Hay Festival.

The Hay Festival is every book lovers dream! Every year writers, authors and literary lovers gather to share their love and passion for reading and literature. Meander through the independent bookstores in the town of Hay-on-Wye before you head to the festival and lose yourself in a literary paradise. 

Feeling inspired to get reading? Check out my reading list here.

9. Explore Dan Yr Ogof caves while you're hiking in the Brecon Beacons.

The National Show Caves Centre is an amazing attraction in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales! Not only is it home to the Dan Yr Ogof caves, where you can walk through the decorated underground pathways for 1km, but there are also two more sets of caves. The Cathedral Caves were carved out over a million years ago, and when you get to the end of the passageways you reach a beautiful waterfall. And then there is the Bone Cave, whose name comes from the 42 human skeletons found in its chambers, where you can learn about the history of man. 

Once you’re done exploring underground, one of the best things to do in Wales is to hike Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak in south Wales! 

10. Eat your weight in Welsh Cakes.

The recipes for these melt-in-your-mouth treats have been perfected as they’ve been passed down from generation to generation. The teatime treats are soft and flaky and dotted with currants, not dissimilar to the English scone. Hit up a local cafe or bakery and make sure you don’t miss out!

The best things to do in Swansea | Planning your trip to Wales

11. Try your hand at bog snorkelling in Llanwrtyd Wells.

Yes, you read that correctly… bog snorkelling! This strange Welsh tradition has been described by Lonely Planet as one of the top 50 “must do” things from around the world, and the event (which takes places every August) attracts hundreds of international competitors and spectators every year. The challenge involves getting through a water-trench (cut through a peat bog) without swimming, only using flipper power! Fancy dress is strongly encouraged. 

If you’re not up for trying this unique thing to do in Wales, it’s worth attending the event anyway to watch the experts and enjoy the festivities that take place! 

Looking for more unique things to do? Check out these unique things to do in England.

12. Hit the arcades at Barry Island.

All Gavin and Stacey fans will know this already, but Barry Island is not actually an island! Barry is the largest town in south Wales and perfect for a fun weekend away. It’s Wales’ answer to Blackpool, Brighton or Bournemouth: Try your luck at the arcades, eat fish and chips on the beach as you soak up the sun (on a good weather day!), stroll along the pier and visit a multitude of quirky, independent cafes. 

13. Spend a weekend by the coast in Swansea.

Swansea has something for everyone. Whether you want to stay at the beach at Langland Bay, go exploring and get active on the Gower Peninsula, go surfing in Swansea Bay, meander around The Mumbles, or head to the city centre to enjoy the likes of Swansea Market, there is so much fun to be had in this part of Wales. 

Check out the best things to do in Swansea Bay in this blog post.

The best things to do in Swansea | Planning your trip to Wales | Where's Mollie? A travel and adventure lifestyle blog

14. Look for dolphins at Cardigan Bay.

This is one of the best things to do in Europe, never mind one of the top things to do in Wales! Cardigan Bay is one of the best places in Europe for dolphin watching – definitely one to add to your Europe bucket list! Cardigan Bay, which lies on the west coast of Wales and is spread among the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Gwynedd, is home to Europe’s largest population of bottlenose dolphins. Best seen between June and September, you can choose to go on a boat trip or you can even see them from the coastline – the cliffs at Mwnt are a great viewing spot! 

15. Visit Wales' highest waterfall, Pistyll Rhaeadr.

Pistyll Rhaeadr is the highest waterfall in England and Wales at 73m tall. The crystal clear water flows freely over the Silurian cliff face in three stages from the Berwyn mountain range, forming the river Afon Rhaeadr at the bottom. 

The surrounding area and mountain range are largely undiscovered, making it a haven for rare birds and other wildlife. Most of the mountain range is ‘access land’, meaning you can walk freely over the open hills, making the area one of the best places to go walking in Wales.

What are your top things to do in Wales?

What’s on your Wales bucket list? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

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