From the summits and ridges of the Brecon Beacons to high cliffs and wide, sandy shores, Carmarthenshire's verdant valleys are lined with quiet country roads and guarded by ruined castles.
These diverse landscapes are rich in cycling routes, varying from gentle, traffic-free trails to lung-busting climbs. Along each route lies a succession of attractions: mighty castles, spectacular gardens, even a Roman gold mine – as well as outstanding places to eat and drink, attractive market towns and bike-friendly accommodation providing ideal bases for two-wheeled adventures. And that’s the best way to explore Carmarthenshire – in the saddle.
This region of Wales has been loved by British cycling enthusiasts for years, almost like a well-kept secret within the cycling community. The international spotlight fell this way in 2018, when Carmarthenshire hosted the Tour of Britain’s opening stage, and again in 2019 for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.
Thousands watched Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome power from Pembrey Country Park – and today the same lanes and landscapes tempt leisure cyclists and endurance riders to explore for themselves.
The county has over 20 mapped out road cycling routes perfect for all fitness levels, including a 15km meander or ways to clock up 100km at a faster pace with the steeper climbs over the Black Mountain. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely jaunt or a challenging day-ride, there’s a tempting array of routes.
Castles, culture and cake
Inject some culture to your cycling break with a visit to literary Laugharne, the last home of Dylan Thomas where his Boathouse sits above the estuary. To truly experience Carmarthenshire stroll along the longest beach in Wales - Cefn Sidan - and drink in epic views from the western flank of the Brecon Beacons.
Explore the ancient castles and glorious gardens in the Tywi Valley. You'll be spoiled for choice with the remote ruins of Carreg Cennen, Dinefwr and Dryslwyn Castles. The Tywi Valley Tour of the Castles route ticks most of the county's castles off in one (or two!) goes.
If you need some tea-room action on your ride, head to the splendid National Trust-owned Dinefwr Park. The National Botanic Garden of Wales and the stunningly restored Aberglasney Mansion and Gardens are within in miles of each other, while Llyn Llech Owain Country Park is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There's actually a designated 'Cake Trail' circular ride to follow for serious cake fans.
Or vary the terrain by taking to the mountain biking trails of Brechfa Forest or the gravel lanes up in the Cambrian Mountains. If intense mountain biking is more your scene, check out Discover Carmarthenshire's two day itinerary linking up three top MB trails in the area.
The traffic-free cycling trails are perfect for families. There’s a fabulous route between Llanelli and Burry Port with flat pedalling and plenty of stops for coffee and ice cream to encourage reluctant little legs along. Take a chilled out ride around the colourful market town of Llandovery, the gateway to the Brecon Beacons National Park. Or, go coastal at Ferryside, following the River Tywi before hoping on the ferry to Llansteffan and ending the day at Pendine Sands. There's loads more family friendly routes on the Discover Carmarthenshire website.
Everyone is assured a warm welcome. You'll hear Welsh spoken at the local pubs, refuel on delicious local food, sleep well at cosy cottages, bed and breakfasts or a boutique coastal hotel.
Find out more about the county and its epic cycling routes on the Discover Carmarthenshire website.