Brecon Beacons & Southeast Wales
Wales' southeast corner, where the misty River Wye meanders along the border with England, is the birthplace of British tourism. For over 200 years travellers have visited this tranquil waterway and its winding, wooded vale, where the romantic ruins of Tintern Abbey have inspired poets and artists such as Wordsworth and Turner.
Anglesey & the North Coast
This compact region can be boiled down to two essential things: castles and coast. Yes, there are look-at-me castles all over Wales, but few attract more admiring stares than the glamorous trio of Caernarfon, Conwy and Beaumaris, which is why they're recognised as World Heritage Sites today.
The capital of Wales since only 1955, Cardiff has embraced the role with vigour, emerging in the new millennium as one of Britain’s leading urban centres. Caught between an ancient fort and an ultramodern waterfront, compact Cardiff seems to have surprised even itself with how interesting it has become.
The Pembrokeshire coast is what you imagine the world would look like if God were a geology teacher. There are knobbly hills of volcanic rock, long thin inlets scoured by glaciers, and stratified limestone pushed up vertically and then eroded into arches, blowholes and sea stacks. All along the shoreline towering red and grey cliffs play leapfrog with perfect sandy beaches.
The North Coast
The North Wales coast has perennial natural charms, but seaside resorts of uneven appeal: some are outstanding examples of the genre, others more down at heel. The section west of Colwyn Bay includes glorious Unesco World Heritage–listed castles at Caernarfon and Conwy and the Victorian resort of Llandudno, a favourite family holiday hub.
Swansea, The Gower & Carmarthenshire
A smorgasbord of experiences is on offer in this corner of Wales, with physical proximity being the only thing linking its three main dishes, each with its own distinct flavour. Try a taste of each or gorge yourself on whatever you think sounds yummiest.
Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri)
Wales' best-known and most visited slice of nature became the country's first national park in 1951. Every year more than 350,000 people walk, climb or take the train to the 1085m summit of Snowdon. Yet the park is more than just Snowdon – its 823 sq miles embraces stunning coastline, forests, valleys, rivers, bird-filled estuaries and Wales' biggest natural lake.
Small villages, quiet market towns and an abundance of sheep litter the undulating hills and moorland of rural Powys, by far Wales' biggest county. Named after an ancient Welsh kingdom, this modern entity was formed in 1974 from the historic counties of Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and Brecknockshire.
South Pembrokeshire boasts some of Wales' best sandy beaches and most spectacular limestone formations and makes an impressive starting point for the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (PCP). Once known as Little England Beyond Wales, it was divided from the north by the Landsker Line – a physical and then a linguistic barrier roughly following the old Norman frontier.