Wales is dominated by two geographic features: its 1,680 miles of coastline (the country is surrounded by water on three sides) and the mountains that dominate the interior. As a result its beaches are legendary, boasting some of the finest stretches of sand in the UK. And it’s mountains, rivers and waterfalls, especially in the iconic Snowdonia region, are world famous.
This country of 3.1 million people may be part of the United Kingdom but it retains a powerful sense of national identity, not least because of the Welsh language, which remains the most widely spoken of all the Celtic tongues. Its red dragon flag is a reminder of the mythology underpinning the idea of Wales as separate and special.
The north is the country's most ‘Welsh’ region and it's where you are most likely to walk into a shop or pub and overhear a conversation in the native language. Yet, ironically, this is where you will also find some of the most magnificent fortifications constructed some 800 years ago by the English to keep the Welsh at bay. Caernarfon and Conwy castles were built by King Edward the First to cement his control of Wales, and they still dominate their towns today. And, by the way, they are just two of the more than 600 castles still standing in Wales today.
Moving south, we come to the rolling green landscapes of Powys and the 520 square mile Brecon Beacons National Park. Bordered by the Black Mountains, this is one of the most beautiful parts of Wales. Here you can also see the remains of Wales’ once thriving slate mining industry. Many of the narrow-gauge railways that used to serve the mines have been restored and re-opened, with 10 ‘heritage’ lines providing access to some of the most popular tourist landmarks.
To the west and further south are the stunning beaches of the Pembrokeshire and Gower peninsulas. Perfect for surfing, windsurfing, sailing, swimming or just poking about in rock pools. And when you reach the south coast, you’ll find yourself in the capital city of Cardiff, the hub of Welsh culture, sport and entertainment.
Read more about other travelling to Celtic Regions:
READ MORE ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK IN THE OTHER CELTIC REGIONS:
- Cornish Food and Drink
- Breton Food and Drink
- Irish Food and drink
- Scottish Food and Drink
- Manx Food and Drink
- Welsh Food and Drink