Isle of Anglesey (Ynys Môn)
At 276 sq miles, the Isle of Anglesey is Wales' largest island and bigger than any in England. It's a popular destination for visitors with miles of inspiring coastline, hidden beaches, chocolate-box villages and Wales' greatest concentration of ancient sites.
Wales' biggest seaside resort straddles a flat peninsula, with long sandy beaches on either side. The twin humps of ancient mountains, the Great Orme and Little Orme, loom over the graceful Victorian wedding-cake architecture of the seafront buildings that line the sweeping 2-mile prom for half its length.
In the heyday of the mail coaches, Holyhead (confusingly pronounced 'holly head') was the vital terminus of the London road and the main hub for onward boats to Ireland. The coming of the railway only increased the flow of people through the town, but the recent rise of cheap flights has reduced the demand for ferries and Holyhead has fallen on hard times.
Anglesey's prettiest town offers a winning combination of a waterfront location, ever-present views of the mountains, a romantic castle lording it over en elegant collection of mainly Georgian buildings, and a burgeoning number of boutiques, galleries, smart hotels and chic eateries.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Llanfair PG)
The small town with the absurdly long, consonant-mangling name is an unlikely hot spot for visitors, yet coaches stop by frequently, waiting while their passengers jostle for a photo opportunity on the train station platform (go on, you know you want to).
Whether you're a lover of gardens or fine food, the publicly accessible attractions on this privately owned agricultural estate (www.bodnant-estate.co.uk) should not be missed. While many large country estates fell on hard times in the 20th century, the McLaren family (holders of the title Baron Aberconway) have managed to keep hold of theirs.
Rhosneigr's long sandy beach may not be Anglesey's safest but it's certainly one of its most beautiful. The large village sits between the beach and a small lake, and it has the rare advantage of having its own functioning train station – all of which conspire to make it one of the most desirable addresses in Anglesey. It's also the island's best surfing spot.
Benllech is a small holiday town with a Blue Flag beach and an even better Blue Flag beach at nearby Llanddona. In between is Red Wharf Bay, apparently named after a Viking battle which drenched the beach in blood. Perhaps Benllech's main claim to fame is that Lemmy from the heavy metal band Motörhead grew up here.