Lonely Planet Writer

Wales is enticing travellers to visit with a celebration of its legends and myths

Travellers who are enchanted by legends, myths and folklore should consider a trip to Wales as the country aims to lure in visitors in 2017 during the ‘Year of Legends’.

Landscape of Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK.
Landscape of Snowdonia National Park, Wales, UK. Image by ©Andrei Tudoran/Shutterstock

The Year of Legends campaign is the second in a series of three themed years, following 2016’s Year of Adventure, in which the country saw record-breaking tourist numbers. North Wales was named as one of the top ten regions on the planet to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet.

The Green Bridge of Wales, Castlemartin Range, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
The Green Bridge of Wales, Castlemartin Range, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Image by ©joe daniel price/Getty Images

With an emphasis on the country’s legends, Visit Wales notes that the country has more castles per square mile than anywhere else on earth, “offering the ideal playground for anyone looking to explore culture, heritage, myths and legends”. The scenery of Wales – and its connections to the famous story – will be highlighted in Guy Ritchie’s new film “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” which will be released in May. The campaign also has some big Welsh names behind it, including Iwan Rheon, who starred as Ramsay Bolton in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, and Cerys Matthews of the band Catatonia.

As part of the year-long campaign, the country will see a series of unique pop-up cabins from Epic Retreats, where visitors can stay in incredible locations.

Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales.
Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, Wales. Image by ©Benjamin Rowe/500px

There will also be a year-long celebration with events and activities centred on the theme. This includes a Merlin Festival in Carmarthenshire in March, The Tournament, a medieval festival in Conwy in June, and more.  

In a study recently carried out by Visit Wales, 61% of overseas visitors say the country’s historic sites are key reasons for their visit, and in the UK, 42% of Brits said they would love to explore myths and legends.

St Catherines Island, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, U.K.
St Catherines Island, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, U.K. Image by ©Billy Stock/Shutterstock

The focus on legends comes in the same year that Bangor University in Wales launched a Centre for Arthurian Studies, the only place to offer a master’s degree in the subject.