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870 miles. The Wales Coast Path stretches the entire coast of Wales, including going in and around the Isle of Anglesey in the North. One of only a few countries in the entire world to feature a coastal path like this, Wales is the perfect destination for travelers who enjoy a good, scenic walk.
Whether you’re a walking enthusiast, an avid surfer, or simply love the charm of a beachfront town, the towns along the coastline of Wales offer holiday destinations like no other.
But if you’re only looking to make a few stops, which of the many gorgeous towns in seaside Wales should you choose? Here’s a list of 11 destinations for your ultimate coastal Wales trip.
|• The official Wales Coast Path website has a ton of cool features to help you plan your trip along the coast, including an interactive map, a list of any temporary path diversions, and downloadable leaflets.|
|• The weather in coastal Wales can range from a high of 19ºC in the summer months to a low of 4ºC in the winter–and lookout for rain during any season!|
|• Many Welsh beaches have dog restrictions in place from May through the end of September. Take note if you’re planning to travel with furry friends!|
The largest resort in Wales is an obvious choice for the first on this list. Seated proudly on the North Wales coast, Llandudno is home to over 20,000 people, and known to thousands of annual travelers as one of the best seaside resorts in Wales.
Did you know that Llandudno has ties to the imaginative story of Alice in Wonderland?
Alice Liddell, the girl that author Lewis Carroll based his timeless character on, is known to have frequently gone on holiday in Llandudno with her family. Reflecting this, there are sculptures of various Wonderland characters throughout the city. There’s even an ice cream shop called The Looking Glass, and an Alice-themed Tea Room!
History buffs will enjoy the Home Front Experience, a museum which offers exhibits showing civilian life during World War II.
Check out the Great Orme Mines, the world’s largest prehistoric copper mine, and the Great Orme Summit Complex, which features a bar & cafe, a mini golf course and children’s playground, and an historic tramway.
Speaking of transportation, you can also take a ride through the brisk air on the Llandudno Cable Cars for a breathtaking view of the area.
Get ice cream on the longest pier in Wales, which stretches for 2,295 feet out over the Irish Sea.
The West Shore Beach is a quieter part of Llandudno, for those looking for a break from the crowds.
Multiple highly rated hotels and inns overlook the wide promenade, making this a popular home base for travelers in North Wales.
The Wales Coast Path in Anglesey stretches 140 miles around the entire island, offering plenty of opportunities for scenic walks.
Drive in from North Wales via bridge– or take the train, perhaps passing through Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobllllantysiliogogogoch (which, as you might have guessed, is one of the longest place names in the world).
Anglesey could easily take up a post of its own, but here are a few highlights to consider for your coastal Welsh holiday.
Llanddwyn Island is a tidal island off the west coast of Anglesey.
It is best known for the historical ruins of the church of Saint Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers who relocated to the island in the 5th century after losing her beloved, Maelon.
Thousands flock to the cherished grounds on St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh equivalent Valentine’s Day, on the 25th of January each year. But the romantic Llanddwyn Island is worth visiting any time of year.
South Stack Lighthouse, which stands on its own little island off the west coast of Anglesey, is the perfect destination for bird-watchers, who can expect to spot several varieties of winged friends, including puffins.
There is a trail of 365 steps down from the mainland to reach the island, with a stunning view of the sea along the path.
The lighthouse itself is open seasonally to visitors, who can take tours of the engine room and climb to the top of this iconic beacon.
On the southeast coast of Anglesey sits the lovely town of Beaumaris, best known for Beaumaris Castle.
Though unfinished, the castle has been described by historian Arnold Taylor as the “most perfect example of symmetrical concentric planning” in Britain. It is classed as a World Heritage Site, and features lush gardens– ideal for a picnic during this historical stop along the coast.
The shops and cafes along Castle Street near the pier are also worth a visit, and there are several castle-esque hotels to make for the perfect stay on this beautiful island!
While it isn’t known for beaches, Caernarfon is an absolute must when traveling along the Welsh coast.
Near to the beautiful Isle of Anglesey and home to Wales’ most famous castle, the town is full of history, and attracts thousands of visitors year-round.
There are plenty of eateries and interesting gift shops and clothing stores to browse during your visit to this royal town.
Due to the renowned status of the castle, Caernarfon is known to often be busy, but is a quintessential Welsh destination for anyone who’s keen to stand right in the sites of significant medieval history.
A small coastal village you just might miss if you don’t know to look for it, Porthdinllaen is seated elegantly on the west coast of the Llŷn Peninsula.
The popular Tŷ Coch Inn sits right on the beach, providing a great place to grab food and drink, perhaps fueling up before walking the lush 2.5 mile trail that overlooks the bright blue seas.
The beach itself is sandy, gently leading into clear waters, and is backed by the vivid green of the village behind it. There are rock pools to play in and gentle tides in which to swim.
For the golf enthusiast, Porthdinllaen offers a 27-hole course above the sea, with spectacular views from every tee.
Porthdinllaen is a destination you don’t want to miss.
One of the longest in Wales, Harlech Beach stretches 9 kilometers along the north coast, and features breathtaking views of Snowdonia on the other side.
Other points of interest in this historic Welsh seaside resort include the Harlech Castle, the internationally-renowned Royal St. David’s Golf Club, an indoor rock climbing wall for all ages, and plenty of eateries and shops!
A university town on the midwest coast of Wales, Aberystwyth is a seaside getaway with beaches that boast of breathtaking sunset views.
Gorgeous Georgian and Victorian style buildings line Marine Terrace, which faces the dark sands of North beach.
The promenade makes for a welcoming stroll, and isn’t far from the town centre, which is bustling with charming local shops and eateries, as well as several familiar chains.
On the quieter South Beach, check out the ruins of a seaside castle.
The Gothic architecture of the seaside Old College makes it an iconic historical building, and be sure to stop by and see if they are hosting any community events during your stay in this beautiful town!
7. New Quay
Located 19 miles southwest of Aberystwyth is New Quay, a traditional fishing town that has become a popular seaside resort.
With its large sandy beaches and beautiful harbor, the village is the perfect place to stay during your trip along the west part of the Welsh coast.
Marine enthusiasts will enjoy dolphin spotting boat trips, fishing, sailing, and kayaking.
The highly rated Bluebell Deli & Bistro offers a lovely view of the coast, and there are plenty of other eateries in equally picturesque locations.
Check out The Shell Shop, which, you guessed it, sells a variety of seashells, making it the perfect place to pick out a souvenir on your seaside holiday.
Camping and caravan sites nearby make this village the prime choice to pitch camp for adventurers along the Welsh coast.
8. St Davids
Full of charm and rich with history, St Davids is located in the county of Pembrokeshire. Don’t let the fact that it’s the smallest city in the UK fool you.
Named for the patron saint of Wales, St Davids draws in thousands of tourists each year.
With plenty of activities such as picturesque walking trails, climbing, sea kayaking, and surfing, St Davids is an obvious choice for the outdoor enthusiast.
The gentle waters of Caerfai Beach make it an ideal destination for families with small children.
There are also plenty of rocks and caves to fuel the explorative soul in this magnificent little cove.
For the surfers, the busy beach of Whitesands Bay is a must!
St Davids Cathedral, founded all the way back in the 6th century by Saint David himself and built in the 12th century, is rich with history, and a popular tourist site.
The church is still active, with at least three services every day of the week, which are open to visitors.
Nearby, the ruins of the Bishop’s Palace are something to marvel at.
Also in the vicinity is Saint Davids Head, a lovely peninsula where walking enthusiasts can find stunning views.
Located proudly on the western coast in Pembrokeshire, Tenby is one of the most popular seaside towns in Wales.
Though it has a population of only just under 5,000, it attracts two and a half million visitors per year!
Surrounded by iconic medieval walls dating back as far as the 13th century, history buffs will appreciate the rich history of Tenby, with attractions such as the 15th century St. Mary’s Church, the Tudor Merchant’s House, and, of course, the Tenby Castle, whose sole surviving tower stands on the highest point of the headland overlooking the sea.
Visitors can park at the Five Arches Car Park, then walk under the Five Arches Gate and into the town’s colorful shopping center.
In the summer, the streets are closed to traffic during the day, providing peace of mind while walking around the town.
In 2019, Tenby’s Castle Beach was rated the best beach in the UK by the Sunday Times. The other three beaches in the town are also highly rated and known to be some of the cleanest and most popular beaches in Wales.
If traveling in the summer, check out Caldey Island, where Cistercian monks welcome visitors to their tranquil island, which has been designated a conservation area.
Other nearby attractions include the Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, Manor Wildlife Park, Tenby Dinosaur Park, and Heatherton World of Activities, all of which provide plenty of outdoorsy fun for the entire family!
And while you’re staying in one of the best beach towns in Wales, also check out Carew Castle, which is just 6 miles away!
On the south coast of Wales sits Porthcawl, a popular seaside getaway just 25 miles west of the capital city of Cardiff.
With as many as seven beaches to choose from in the area, there’s something for everyone in Porthcawl.
Perhaps most notable is Coney Beach Pleasure Park, which is modeled after Coney Island in New York. The seaside attraction features amusements for all ages, from thrill rides to children’s rides.
Those looking for a peek into the past will enjoy Porthcawl Museum, which is located inside of an 1870s police station and features exhibits that include a glimpse into the Victorian era, as well as education on military history.
There are three golf clubs to choose from for those looking to tee up.
The promenade is lined with diverse dining options, as well as seafront hotels and bed & breakfasts, where guests can wake up to breathtaking views of the coast.
11. Barry Island
One of the last stops along the Wales Coast Path is Barry Island.
Just ten miles from the Cardiff city centre, and only 4 miles from Cardiff International Airport, Barry Island is a prime coastal location for those visiting South Wales.
Families will enjoy the Barry Island Pleasure Park, an amusement park on the beachfront.
Throughout the town there are also several other amusement centers with games that bring fun for the whole family.
The town is rich with charming cafes and bakeries, many of which are housed in handsome brick buildings just a short walk from the bright, sandy beach.
In addition to gorgeous sands and an elevated, bricked promenade, Barry Island Beach offers brightly colored beach huts that you can purchase for the day as a base to store your things and change while you spend the day in the area.