The green, green grass of home

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - LONELY PLANET -

Whether it’s wilder­ness, cas­tles or fine lo­cal pro­duce, there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one within th­ese com­pact bor­ders

whizzing by; some lie in enig­matic ru­ins, while oth­ers still have fam­i­lies liv­ing in them. There’s also an al­to­gether more in­scrutable and far older set of stones to dis­cover — the stone cir­cles, dol­mens and stand­ing stones erected long be­fore cas­tles were ever dreamt up, be­fore his­to­ries were writ­ten.

BEACHES

Just be­cause it’s not ex­actly trop­i­cal doesn’t de­tract from Wales be­ing a su­perb beach­hol­i­day desti­na­tion – and the melanoma risk is con­sid­er­ably lower here. The beauty of the Bri­tish coast is cru­elly un­der­rated, and Wales has some of the very best bits. When the sun is shin­ing the beaches fill up with kids build­ing sand­cas­tles and splash­ing about in the shal­lows. And when it’s not? How about a brac­ing walk in­stead.

HOS­PI­TAL­ITY AND HIRAETH

Be­yond the scenery and the cas­tles, it’s in­ter­ac­tions with Welsh peo­ple that will re­main in your mem­ory the long­est. Per­haps you’ll re­call the mo­ment when you were sit­ting in a Caernar­fon cafe, lis­ten­ing to the ban­ter in the an­cient Bri­tish tongue danc­ing around you. Or that time when you were in the pub, scream­ing along to the rugby with a red-shirted mob. They talk a lot in Wales about hiraeth. A typ­i­cally Welsh word, it refers to a sense of long­ing for the green, green grass of home. Even if you’re not from Wales, a feel­ing of hiraeth may well hit you when you leave, only to be sated when you re­turn.

1. WALES COAST PATH

Since 2012, all of Wales’ fa­mously beau­ti­ful coastal paths have been linked up in one con­tin­u­ous 1400km route. Walk for two months or walk for two days – there’s no rule that you have to do it all in one go. The best stretches take in the Gower’s beau­ti­ful beaches, Pem­brokeshire’s mul­ti­coloured cliffs and lime­stone arches, the re­mote edges of the Llyn Penin­sula and the an­cient vis­tas of An­gle­sey. And if you link it up with Offa’s Dyke Path, you can cir­cle the en­tire coun­try.

2. SNOW­DO­NIA

The rugged north­west cor­ner of the coun­try has rocky moun­tain peaks, glacier-hewn val­leys and lakes, sin­u­ous ridges, sparkling rivers and charm-in­fused vil­lages. The busiest part is around Snow­don it­self, where hordes hike to the sum­mit and many more take the less stren­u­ous cog rail­way from Llan­beris. Else­where in Snow­do­nia’s rugged moun­tains are rarely trod­den ar­eas per­fect

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