If you’re a keen walker or hiker, the chances are that you already know just how amazing Wales is. From challenging mountain hikes in the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia National Park, to stunning coastal paths and gentle countryside byways, Wales has something for everyone. And whilst many people opt to strike out on a day’s walk when they’re on holiday in Wales, how many of you have considered building an entire holiday around your passion for walking? In today’s post, we take a look at a few of the best places to go walking in Wales, with some tips on how to put together an itinerary that suits your style of walking, your fitness levels and the time you have available.
When people think of walking in the Snowdonia National Park, they invariably think of the over-crowded pathways up Snowdon itself. Of course, you may well want to tick Snowdon off your bucket list of walking highlights, but the National Park has so much more to offer, for every type of walker. There’s Cader Idris, the park’s second most famous peak, and a walk on the Nantlle Ridge, or to the top of Arenig Fawr, in the south of the National Park, are just as impressive, offering incredible views for miles around.
If the thought of steep ascents and rocky scrambles bring you out in a cold sweat, there are plenty of more gentle walks in Snowdonia. The circular walk at Cwm Idwal is just a mile and half of easy going paths, but it still offers stunning scenery. Another easy walk that’s suitable for those with young children is to Aber Falls, where walkers are rewarded with the awesome views of the Rhaeadr Fawr waterfall. Another good option is the waymarked circuit around Capel Curig, which offers incredible views of Snowdon, without any challenging terrain.
More or less following the modern boundary between Wales and England, Offa’s Dyke dates back to the 8th century, when King Offa commissioned the building of a dyke to mark the border with Wales. Nowadays, it’s a popular walking destination, with many walkers completing the entire 176 miles, either in stages spread across a number of trips, or as a single longer walking holiday. At a solid 15 miles a day, this could be completed in two weeks, although you might want to extend it to three, to allow more rest days and a gentler pace. The path stretches from Chepstow to Prestatyn, and takes in towns such as Monmouth and Welshpool, with some challenging walking along the way.
Another firm favourite with keen hikers and more leisurely walkers alike, the Brecon Beacons offers walks for all abilities. Climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in the National Park, or choose an easy walk around the Usk Reservoir or along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. Whilst planning a route isn’t quite as straightforward as for Offa’s Dyke, it is possible with a little research to put together a full week’s walking – or longer – that takes in many of the best locations throughout the Brecon Beacons.
Planning your walking holiday in Wales
If you’re thinking of putting together an itinerary for a walking holiday in Wales, there are a few things to bear in mind. If you intend to take in some of the more challenging walks in Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons, do be sensible and choose the right time of year. Winter time can be extremely harsh in these environments, and the weather can change suddenly, so it makes sense to plan your trip for the warmer summer months. You should also make sure you are sensibly equipped, that you always tell someone where you are walking, and that you don’t try to push yourself beyond your personal limits.
Doing some online research before your trip can be great fun, identifying the walks you’ll cover and working out where to stay at the end of each day’s walking. That’s where the WTO search engine comes in handy – it’s easy to find the exact type of accommodation you need, in the location you’ll finish your day’s walking. We have options including bunkhouses, campsites, B&Bs and self-catering cottages, so there’s something for everyone and for every budget. Many Welsh accommodation providers are really tuned in to the needs of walkers, and can offer pick-up and drop-off services along the better-known walking routes in Wales, as well as boot rooms and drying facilities for all that outdoor gear. You can even search on WTO for accommodation with a pub in walking distance, for those who want to relax after a day’s walking, enjoying a pint and a lovely pub meal.
Why not start planning your walking holiday in Wales today?