At 73 miles, the River Teifi is one of Wales’ longest rivers, trickling down from the Cambrian Mountains and winding its way through the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Start your tour of the Teifi's source at Llyn Teifi, a beautiful lake which forms part of the Teifi Pools.
The river then flows through the Teifi Valley, becoming a route of passage for salmon and wild trout, cascading over the falls at Cenarth and through the bridge of Cardigan Castle.
What to see
Teifi Pools, Cambrian Mountains
The source of the River Teifi is found in the so-called 'green desert of Wales', known as the Cambrian Mountains. Llyn Teifi and the Teifi Pools sit in a mass expanse of open valley, the perfect place to escape the busy bustle of town or city life. You can take a six-mile walk between and around the lakes, and there are plenty of spots to sit, breathe, and take it all in. Take a map with you, as many of the walking routes aren’t signposted. To get there, head towards Llanwrthwl on the A470, turn off and take a single track road through the Elan and Claerwen valleys following signs for Llyn Teifi.
Salmon leap at Cenarth Falls
The River Teifi is a fly-fisherman’s paradise, rich in salmon and wild trout. In autumn, salmon can be spotted leaping Cenarth Falls by the Old Mill, a building that has overlooked the Teifi since the 13th century. For hundreds of years, the migration of fish in the river has provided income for local Welsh fisherman, and there are plenty of spots in Cenarth and nearby Newcastle Emlyn to try some for yourself – best served with a side of proper chips and mushy peas.
What to eat
The delicacies of St Dogmaels
Downstream from Cardigan, in the heart of St Dogmaels village, just a mile into Pembrokeshire, you will find a famous local produce market. Farmers, fishermen, bakers, butchers, and cheese makers from local lands bring their finest foods every Tuesday morning from 9am to 1pm to this market, overlooking the working watermill and pond. You can even buy bread made from the stone ground flour.
While you're there, grab a picnic and head to St Dogmael's Abbey. These extensive ruins now host a visitor centre and museum, so perfect for finding out some local history. Or find a spot in the 13th century ruins to contemplate your next adventure.
Pizza from Pizza Tipi, Cardigan
In Cardigan, at the mouth of the Teifi, you’ll find a young Welshman flipping homemade dough with the mastery of a Neapolitan pizzaiolo. He’ll be cooking margaritas to perfection in a hand built, wood fired oven, and serving the finest pizzas around from a tipi on the riverbank. Pizza Tipi is an inspired little place, open every day from 12pm – 9pm, and in summer you can enjoy a drink on the quay while you wait for a crisp slice of mouth-watering goodness.
What to drink
Welsh ale in a smwglin
Before the turn of the 20th century, there were more than 50 licensed premises in Cardigan… and a few hidden bars known only to locals as ‘smwglins’, where beers was brewed and sold in secret. While Cardigan’s Tafarn Smwglin isn’t exactly the best kept secret, it’s still one of the best places in West Wales to hideout and sup craft beers from Welsh breweries, poured straight from the barrel.
Coffee and cream at Conti’s
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll want to stop your journey in university town Lampeter. Italian Attilio Conti opened Conti's Café here in 1933 and the Harford Square spot is well worth a special trip. Conti’s stocks Segafredo’s iconic espresso blend, perfect for a refuel along the river, and its ice cream, which still uses a secret recipe created by Angelo Conti in 1946, is among the best in Wales.
What to do
When the Teifi is in full flow, there really is no other way to travel than in an inflatable raft, with your friends, at speed. You can book rafts through various outdoor activity providers – Cardigan Bay Active offer a 10km whitewater route for teams of up to eight people – and it’s suitable for youngsters over the age of 10. Or try whitewater tubing between Llandysul and Henllan Falls with Adventure Beyond.
Fish for your supper
Commonly known as the ‘Queen of the Game Fishing Rivers’, the Teifi gives experienced and first-time anglers a wealth of shallow waters, waterfalls, and pools to cast their rods in. You’ll need to be accompanied by a licensed fisherman before you start catching salmon or trout, but there are plenty of companies providing river guides or fishing trips – a good starting spot would be the Teifi River Guides, the Teifi Trout Association, or the Llandysul Angling Association.