If you are looking for an interesting and relaxing part of the world in which to enjoy a simple day trip or a long holiday, the Welsh countryside has everything you could desire. Green mountains and valleys and beautiful bays of blue-gray water offer a backdrop for your excursion with which few areas of the world can compete. It is not surprising that for centuries artists have flocked to the countryside of Wales to capture its beauty on canvas. Outstanding landscapes and up-close-and-personal experiences all await you in this extraordinary part of the world. Below are some of the best places to visit when exploring the incomparable Welsh countryside.
Cardiff Castle and the National Museum of Wales
Cardiff offers a wealth of cultural attractions, but many visitors simply choose this area because of its amazing scenery. You may wish to consider visiting the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, which is set against the backdrop of the country’s timeless landscape. Here, you can view one-of-a-kind paintings of the surrounding area, as well as Rodin’s bronze version of “The Kiss,” and the world’s largest collection of Impressionist paintings. The natural history floor of the museum spans ten centuries of Welsh history. A great starting point for a walk through the countryside, a visit to the Museum will never be forgotten.
Neighboring the Museum is Cardiff Castle, which is truly a sight to behold. Wales is home to 644 castles, which is more castles per square-mile than any other country in the world can boast. However, Cardiff Castle is in a class by itself. It features the most opulent of interiors and has been kept in impeccable condition for almost nine centuries. Each room is a work of art, featuring Gothic splendor and every form of luxurious decor. Ensconced in gold, and boasting spectacular carvings and architectural characteristics, it is a must-see for anyone traveling through Wales.
South of the castle, Cardiff Bay offers another side of Wales’ fascinating history. The Bay was settled by sailors from 50 different countries, and is now a hub of local activity and tourism. In the beautiful countryside surrounding the Bay is the Norwegian Church Arts Center, which also features a café where you can relax and unwind before exploring more of your surroundings. This region is also home to the Welsh National Opera Building and the Wales Millennium Center.
The Welsh countryside is home to some of the most picturesque landscapes the United Kingdom has to offer, and arguably the most famous of these is Brecon Beacons. If you are searching for great photo opportunities during your excursion, you need look no further than the Beacons. The nearby National Park of the same name is also a great choice, particularly if you are searching for a more active getaway. It has numerous caves, waterfalls, cliffs and rolling hills to navigate, with plenty of breathing space along the way.
Established in 1957, the Brecon Beacons National Park spans 520 square miles of old red sandstone hills, which are divided by valleys and rivers. If you are a fan of the wilderness, you will almost certainly regard the Park as your garden of Eden. It is also ideal for kayaking, fishing, biking, hiking or simply basking in one of the United Kingdom’s most glorious views.
Guided tours are regularly organized by the National Park Authority, as well as a wide array of affordable events and activities. All proceeds of such events go towards the maintenance of the Park.
Do not overlook Tintern Abbey when making your trek through the Welsh countryside, as it is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. It was visited by William Wordsworth over 200 years ago and has barely changed since that time. Although the Abbey was destroyed during the rule of Henry VIII, a major conservation project has been undertaken recently, and those in charge plan to restore the Abbey as much as possible. However, merely exploring the ruins of the structure is an unforgettable experience.
Swansea Bay and the Wales Coast Path
The Wales Coast Path is Earth’s longest continual coastal byway, spanning 870 miles. Swansea Bay’s beaches, located on the pathway, give you the opportunity to step back in time to the Victorian era. The Bay’s bath houses and fog dense horizons set the tone for a terrific outdoor adventure. If the Bay is the last stop on your list, consider enjoying a traditional Welsh meal of laverbread and cockles at the nearby Langland’s Brasserie by the Sea Restaurant. Here, you can take in breathtaking views of both the ocean and the rugged Mumbles mountain range.
Regardless of where your excursion takes you, it is usually easy to reach one of the many quaint market areas in Wales, and therefore finding a place to shop or grab a bite to eat is typically not a difficult endeavor. With so much to see and do in the lovely Welsh countryside, you should consider spending more than just a few days in this timeless region. However, whether planning a day trip or an extended holiday, you will likely never forget the sights and sounds in this beautiful area of the world.
Ella, Content Manager for trekbible, is a writer and content specialist with a predilection for learning and exploring new places and cultures around the world. With family scattered throughout the U.S. and South Korea, she loves to see cross-cultural influences around the world. Her favorite thing to do on her travels is to taste the local cuisine of each destination.