Opened in May 2012, the Wales Coastal Path is a fascinating coastal area that extends for over 870 miles across dramatic landscapes, local wildlife, and remarkable habitats. The trail has already gathered thousands of walkers enthusiastic about getting to know Wales a bit better, while enjoying “value luxury” treats such as historic B&B’s, rustic pubs, and local beers and comfort foods.
Like many tourism “trails,” the path is designed that you can walk it in its entirety (phew, although a relatively easy trail, that’s quite a walk), or just enjoy a portion of the path nearest to the area you are staying. Let’s explore 10 of most scenic spots on the Wales Coastal Path to give you a bit of an overview and help you decide where to spend your time.
(Note – we’re heading from west to east in somewhat of a counterclockwise direction.)
1. North Wales Coast & Dee Estuary
Located at the northernmost part of the Welsh Coast, the North Wales Coast & Dee Estuary offer visitors the most beautiful beaches with a welcoming sandy landscape. The inland portion of this area consists of several scenic attractions including Conwy Mountain which contains several walking paths – Wales has always been a great country for hikes, so throughout the path you’ll find inland trail connections.
A unique characteristic about Conwy Mountain is its color change during the summer, which turns purple due to the large blooms of bell heather and other associated native plants from the area. A nearby elegant town of Llandudno has three scenic summit trails, which all provide wonderful views across the coastal area.
2. Isle of Anglesey
Anglesey encompasses an entire county located on the northwestern part of the Welsh coastline. Crystalline water and sandy beaches make this isle among the most beautiful, scenic spots on the entire path. Visitors can take a short walk throughout the north coast and experience the gorgeous views of Point Lynas and Parys Mountain, which are in very close proximity to Anglesey. About 10 miles south of Anglesey, you’ll hit the Four Mile Bridge to Treaddur, a path that begins at the shore of the coast and runs all the way to the woodlands, in which you can appreciate rocky inlets, steep climbs, sandy coves and striking cliffs with spectacular weather and scenery.
3. Snowdonia National Park
Going further south on the All Wales Coastal Path, you’ll hit the in-love-at-first-sight Snowdonia National Park, perhaps the nation’s most well-known outdoor attraction. Contrast the snow-covered peaks to the small fishing villages, estuaries and several miles of sandy beaches, all with a wonderful reflecting sunlight.
4. Porth Dinllaen
Porth Dinllaen is another relaxation spot to encounter captivating views from the east to west direction along the Llŷn Peninsula’s northern coast. Your chances of meeting a seal are very high, since this area is frequently visited by many species of seals who call this area home.
There are very few places in this part of the world where tourists are able to find stunning beaches, seaside towns, dolphins, porpoises and seals along with magnificent views that take your breath away. One of these places is Ceredigion, located around the mid-portion of the Welsh coastline. Some of the paths in this part of the trail are more challenging, but consider it a warm up to reap the rewards after an arduous journey.
6. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Wildlife lovers will find this protected area along the Wales Coastal Path as one of the most memorable spots in Great Britain. The area and park consist of over 58 beaches, 14 harbors, small towns and villages and the smallest city in the United Kingdom (which is St. Davids). Parks, recreation, dining facilities and wide attractions are in abundance within this region, making this a top choice for a Wales Coastal path vacation.
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7. Carmarthen Bay
Carmarthen Bay consists of a wide range of habitats including, but not limited to, salt marshes, sand dunes, pine forests and incredible scenic views as the path climbs slightly in altitude. It’s such a diverse set of scenery in a short stretch of coast.
8. Marros Coast
The most precious asset of Carmarthenshire coast is the Marros Coast, a quasi-hidden beach and coastline that encompass a beautiful submerged forest that consists of large tree trunks that have been preserved in gigantic layers of peat.
9. Swansea Bay
Walking along the promenade of Swansea Bay is not only a magnificent way to capture the essential rich history of the area, but also the inherent beauty that surrounds the entire area. Views from this area are directed towards Mumbles Head. Catching a glimpse of the natural habitat as well as the breathtaking views are a great way to spend your day in the area.
10. South Wales Coast & Severn Estuary
At the southern part of the Wales Coastal Path lies the last most scenic spot in the entire coastline, not far from the city of Cardiff, one of my European favorites. Mainly composed of beautiful landscapes, village life and great views, the South Wales Coast will take your breath away with miles of scenery. The Severn Estuary itself holds more than 100,000 wading birds and offers an excellent wildlife habitat, guaranteeing never a dull moment.
In summary, the entire Wales Coastal Path is something that you’ll definitely want to explore next time you visit the UK. Magnificent views, wildlife, habitats, recreational activities and beautiful scenic landscapes are now all connected in a single journey, and no matter which part of the whole you choose – or should you want to brave a walk down the entire path – it is guaranteed to be a fantastic trip.
Flickr CC Photo Credits: Steve J O’Brian, Ancient Brit, nevalenx, Richardson Fosters, Dave Hamster, RogueSoul, RichardSz, mags d, Ashley Coates