The green, green grass of home
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.
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.
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