*Planning a tour of Wales? Want to know the best places to visit on a Wales road trip? Here are 4 itineraries that will take your breath away.
Why I DIDN'T want to plan a Wales Road Trip!
Personally, I blame Rugby.
The intense rivalry between England and Wales (that rivalry extends to pretty much all sports, in case you were wondering!) was something I grew up watching- and it just… kinda… stuck. I'll be honest- it made me a little sceptical about planning a Wales road trip.
But I did and we went and…. it was fabulous.
The weather was great (always helps) and the scenery was breath-taking. But what surprised me the most was how friendly and welcoming the people were to us. It was our very first road trip with our motorhome- and it was fantastic. We've now been several times and can't wait to go back again.
We've put together some of the best places to visit in Wales, for every itinerary. If you've only got 2 or 3 days, or a long weekend, stick to one area. If you have a week or longer to explore, you could easily do several places on this itinerary or one of them in more depth. However you plan your road trip, you'll have a fabulous time.
When is the best time to road trip around Wales?
One of the reasons we love Wales so much is all the outdoor activities it offers. For that reason, we recommend visiting Wales anytime between Easter and mid-October, to really take advantage of the highlights.
Having said that, Wales is not like Cornwall, and most places do not shut for the winter, so you could go out of season and enjoy the lack of tourists. It's entirely up to you!
Brecon Beacons – Perfect South Wales Road Trip
Suggested by Pauline | BeeLoved City
The Brecon Beacons are perfect for road trippers looking for an adventure. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK and yet so underrated. You will find beautiful wild camping spots where you can enjoy these wide-open spaces, beautiful landscapes and a sky full of stars!
The Brecon Beacons is one of three national parks in Wales. They all offer breath-taking landscapes and amazing hiking opportunities for nature lovers.
Brecon Beacon road trip- driving the highest road in Wales
The highest driving road in Wales is called the Gospel Pass- snaking over the Black Mountains from Abergavenny to Hay-on-wye on the east of the Beacons
How to get to the Gospel Pass
From Abergavenny, turn off the A465 at Llanvihangel Crucorney and follow signs for the ruins of Llanthony Priory. From Hay-on-Wye, the Gospel pass is sign-posted.
CAUTION- The Pass is 22 miles of often single track, very steep (1/4) and is rarely cleared in winter. Motorhomes might find it tough and snow chains are essential in winter.
Driving the Top Gear Road
You can also drive the A4069, to the west of the Brecon Beacons- the road made famous by Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear (no, this is NOT the same road as the Gospel Pass!) The road runs from Brynamman to Llangadog (I swear I'm not making these names up!) This is another incredible road- and most of it is 2-way you'll be pleased to know. We did it on a motorbike- it was spectacular.
What else is there to do on a Brecon Beacons road trip?
- Hiking. Lots and lots and lots of hiking
- Pen-Y-Fan- the highest peak in South Wales (on the road from Merthyr Tydfil to Brecon) Try a Beacons Horseshoe ridge walk which will take you up to the summit of Pen-Y-Fan. From there you will have a 360-degree view on the Cwm Llwch valley. This 3 to 4 hours walk is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of the Beacons.
- Waterfalls! There are some incredible waterfalls all over the Beacons. One of the most popular waterfalls is Sgwd Gwladys.
- Kayaking, rafting and bouldering are also popular
- Show Caves- visit some of the largest showcases in the UK
- Visit amazing castles such as Carreg Cennen or Brecon Castle. There are so many legends surrounding the Brecon Beacons and guided tours are a great way to discover amazing Welsh legends and stories.
- Visit cute town like Brecon, Crickhowell or Hye-on-Wye.
Gower Peninsula – Wales Road Trip idea
Recommended by Clemens | Travellers Archive
The Gower peninsula is a perfect stop on a Wales Road Trip. It's a small peninsula on the southern Welsh coast, just west of Swansea. Did you know, it was the first region in Great Britain to be recognized as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
Why should I include Gower in a Welsh Road Trip itinerary?
“The Gower”, as the peninsula is also called, is a perfect place for outdoor/ nature enthusiasts and is super popular with:
- bird watchers
- sun worshippers
- watersports enthusiasts
- campers and motorhomers
It’s a short drive from the main motorway down to Gower Island, where you'll find an idyllic scene of small shops, quaint houses and traditional pubs. Above all, it’s topped with the relaxed vibe of a surfing village – the ocean is near and so is the fresh air. It's the perfect place to relax.
Ok, so it's pretty- but what is there to DO?
You can easily spend a whole week on the Gower Peninsula.
- Start at Worm’s Head, a bizarre tidal island on the southwest tip of the peninsula in Rhossili Bay. This is one of the Gower's most famous attractions- although it's not entirely clear why!
- Definitely put in a stop at Rhossili, where you can rent a surfboard at PJ’s Surfshop and also enjoy delicious fish and chips at the ‘The King’s Head' pub.
- Gower also has several nice beaches where you can spend relaxed days in the sun. Our favourites are Caswell and Landland, where you can find everything you need for a day on the beach: ice cream, parking and shops.
- Also, don’t forget to go on a proper coastal hike. The easiest of them all is actually the hike between the two aforementioned beaches.
- The Mumbles is where we spent our very first night ‘off-grid' in our motorhome. DEFINITELY worth a visit.
Pembrokeshire Road Trip
Recommended by Suzanne | Meandering Wild
The Pembrokeshire Coast is located in the far south-west of Wales. It is easily accessible as you can start the trip from the end of the M4 at Swansea. The road follows the coast with numerous little beaches, beautiful castles and small towns. The further west the smaller the roads become and more rugged the landscape.
Highlights of Pembrokeshire- what to include on your Wales road trip?
- Caldey Island
- Pembroke and Pembroke Castle
- Manobier Castle
- Skomer Island (puffins!)
- St David's- the smallest city in the UK
Pembrokeshire road trip itinerary
Tenby is one of the small seaside towns in Pembrokeshire and has beautiful golden beaches. In the summer months you can take a short boat ride to the monastic island of Caldey Island. This is the perfect escape and you can walk to the lighthouse as well as try the chocolate made by the monks.
A short distance from Tenby is Pembroke. This is one of the larger towns and has a spectacular castle that sits overlooking the river that flows through the town. Pembroke Castle is impressive, but even more impressive is the nearby Manobier Castle that looks over a small bay perfect for surfing.
If seeing puffins is on your bucket list then visit Skomer Island. In the summer months this small island is home to thousands of puffins and it's practically guaranteed to see them. The boat trip runs in good weather and cannot be booked in advance. You will need to arrive in St Martins Haven very early to get a ticket for the boat.
The final place to visit in Pembrokeshire is St David’s. This is the smallest city in the UK and has a beautiful cathedral and small winding streets- as well as one of the best pasty shops we've ever found!
How long should you plan for a Pembrokeshire road trip?
A road trip around Pembrokeshire needs at least three days to really explore, but the longer you can spend there the more you can see. In the summer months it is busy but the weather is better- especially for the beaches. In the winter it is wild and desolate but attractions are empty.
Wales Road Trip- driving the coast from south Wales to North
As with anywhere, there are plenty of routes to drive from South to North. However, in this instance we highly recommend the coastal route around the west coast of Wales.
Head up from Anglesey, you can enjoy the magnificent views of
- Cardigan Bay- famous for frequent sightings of bottlenose dolphins
- Fishguard- a pretty harbour and village
- Strumble Head lighthouse
- Aberystwyth- an ancient market town and home of the National Library of Wales
- Snowdonia National Park- this requires at least 3 days to do it justice, but if nothing else be sure to visit Mt Snowdon- Wales' highest peak
- Whilst in Snowdonia, be sure to visit Swallow Falls- the single highest continuous waterfall in Wales
Isle of Anglesey, North Wales Road Trip
Recommended by Sophia | The Wanderful Me
Featuring unbelievable hikes, gorgeous green rolling hills, endless seaside coastlines, cool castles, beautiful beaches and cute little Welsh villages (filled with delicious food!), you should definitely include Anglesey on your Wales road trip itinerary.
Best Things to do in Anglesey
Anglesey is regularly mentioned as one of the best places to visit in Wales. Here are some of the highlights you can include in your Wales road trip itinerary:
- Coastal hikes — there are SO many to choose from and all will deliver incredible views over the sea.
- Parys Mountain — an abandoned copper mine that now looks like the surface of Mars.
- Beaumaris Castle — built during the late 13th century and considered to be the most technically perfect castle (its symmetry is incredibly accurate)
- Visit a lighthouse — dotted all across the coastline of Anglesey, you’ll find a number of beautiful lighthouses. You can even stay in one!
How long should an Anglesey road trip take?
Since Anglesey is pretty small, a road trip shouldn’t take too long! It could easily be done in 1-2 days (especially if you’re not a big hiking fan). Of course, you could slow down and take a few days to see all this island has to offer.
Does it cost money to get to Anglesey if it's an island?
No- there's a suspension bridge (the Menai bridge – although sometimes called the Telford Bridge by locals), and it's free to cross. Cars and motorhomes can get across no problem.
When is the best time to plan a road trip to Anglesey?
Wondering what time of the year is best for a visit? Though summers are blissful on Anglesey, it’s incredible packed at this time with UK vacationers and families. Thus, I recommend either doing an Anglesey road trip in the fall or spring, when it’s not too cold or overrun with visitors!
Want more places to visit in Europe in Autumn? Here are some of the best!
Wales Road Trip Map- plan of our Welsh itinerary
This is the entire map of our itinerary. Doing it ALL in a week might be a struggle, although you can if you drive a lot and don't stop often during the day.
We recommend at least 10-14 days to do the entire route. If you have a shorter time, just pick an element of it and come back for the rest later!!
On your way back from Anglesey, there are plenty of incredible places to visit:
- Caernarfon Castle (right up near Anglesey)
- Llangollen Canal – we hired a narrowboat from here for a few days to go over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
- Dinas Bran Castle (near Llangollen)
- Chester- one of my favourite cities; right on the border between England and Wales- we visited as part of our epic England Road trip
- Chirk Castle- a National Trust property well worth a visit
- Conwy- we stayed here for several nights on a yacht MANY years ago and it was beautiful.
Useful things to know for your Wales Road Trip planning
Do they really speak Welsh?
Yep. All signs will be in Welsh, then English. Nearly EVERY person in Wales speaks English, and certainly everyone who deals with tourists. If they're refusing to, they're being difficult. Move on to someone else.
Do they take £/ GBP?
Yes, Wales do NOT have their own currency. They use pound sterling, just like the rest of the UK
Do they drive on the left or the right?
In the UK, they drive on the left everywhere.
Is it easy to find camping spots for motorhomes/ campervans?
Yes- if you don't go in high summer. We went in the Easter holidays a few years ago and had no problems finding a campsite, but I've heard in the summer they get VERY booked- especially near the sea.
Is wild camping legal in Wales?
It's tolerated, as much as wild camping is anywhere in the UK. Stay away from the main tourist areas and you should be just fine. Having said that, we were in Wales when it all went a little wrong- watch the video below:
I hope this post has helped you find incredible places to visit and enjoy. Been already? Where's your favourite Wales Road trip? Let us know!