What makes Wales so special?

Holidays Ideas - 29/02/2024

Posted by William, 04th March 2024

 

The 1st of March is a special date for the Welsh, being St. David's Day, the celebration of the patron saint of the country. I love Wales, having lived there for 3 years as a student and having walked across its beautiful mountains and along its vast sandy beaches on countless occasions. So, here are a few reasons why you should consider visiting Wales this year:

 

1- Put on your walking boots

 

Wales is a particularly rural and wild country with three national parks and well-preserved beautiful coastlines, where you can find many top walking spots. For example there are 300km of trails on the Pembrokeshire coast alone where you can explore sandy beaches, impressive cliffs, colourful harbours, and hidden coves. Further inland, discover the Brecon Beacons and its splendid mountains, covered in bluebells in spring. Last but not least is the famous Snowdonia National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Britain, let alone Wales. On our signature trip 'The Luxury of Adventure: the finest landscapes of England and Wales,' you can marvel at its high peaks, the calm of Bala Lake, as well as it's beautiful beaches, and indulge in active activities such as hiking, canyoning or cycling to see the best of Wales from the ground and from the water.

 

2- The Land of Myths and Legends

 

Wales is the land of castles and dragons. Much of the Welsh culture is based on myths and legends. You have probably already seen one of their mystical figures: Dinas Emrys! Indeed, this is the name of the red dragon appearing on the Welsh flag. Its story is intertwined with one of the figures of Celtic legends: the famous sorcerer Merlin. There are also endless castles to discover in Wales, with more than 600 to stroll around or marvel at, including such wonderous monuments as Caernarfon, Conwy, Cardiff and Pembroke Castles. Let your imagination run wild and invent new magical tales.

 

3- Rich Biodiversity

 

The Snowdonia National Park and Brecon Beacons are both known for their mountainous landscapes. Here, where the mountains and valleys were shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age there are the remnants of this glacial period with rare arctic alpine plants. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a haven for animal lovers, offering a chance to see rare birds, Atlantic grey seals giving birth on the coastlines, dolphins, and porpoises playing in the waves. If luck is on your side, you may witness basking sharks, orcas, blue sharks, sunfish, various jellyfish, turtles, and Risso's dolphins. In the Parc Slip Nature Reserve in South Wales, look out for native protected reptile species such as sand lizards and slow worms.

 

4- Star Gazing

 

You don't need to be an astronomer to admire the night sky, just wrap up warm, step outside, and look up. In Wales, the lack of light pollution means several locations have been awarded International Dark Sky Reserve status, making the country one of the world’s great destinations for stargazing. Brecon Beacons National Park, Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, and Elan Valley Estate are the three best places to enjoy the starry sky and the Milky Way, especially during winter and autumn when the nights are darkest. If you desire to "wish on a shooting star", plan your trip to Wales during August, November, or January when you can spot up to 150 per hour!

 

5- Gastronomy

 

Did you know Wales is home to award-winning cheeses, from strong and creamy cheddar to goat cheese? Other delights worth tasting on your visit to Wales include local sausages (made with cheese and leeks – the latter being the national symbol of Wales, by the way), Welsh cakes (preferably served directly from the hot plate), laverbread (based on algae), and cockles. Wales is also known for its craft beers, which go hand in hand perfectly with the tradition of great pubs. Throughout the year, food festivals and markets celebrate Welsh produce and culinary talent, embodying the culture's emphasis on quality and tradition, welcoming food lovers and visitors from around the world.