Road cycling, more so than other forms of transport, hits that sweet spot between covering substantial ground in a relatively short space of time, while still acquiring a feel for a place.

This is especially true for those longer days out, where you can experience the flow of the landscape at a pace that suits you, with regular stops at a café. Here’s an idea of where to go.

Marchlyn Mawr, Llanberis, North Wales

For those aiming high, the only way is down from here. Above Dinorwig Power Station lies a road accessible only by bike or foot, which forks into two breathtaking climbs. One of them leads to a surge pond with spectacular views over Llyn Padarn; the second leads to Marchlyn Mawr, the highest point attainable by road bike in Wales at higher than 2,000 feet (650 metres). A 5-mile climb from Brynrefail – low gears required.

Café stop: Plenty of options in Llanberis. Pantri is always a good choice.

A bike resting on a stone wall, in front of a wide lake with people canoeing on the water.
A wide lake in a mountain valley seen from high up.

Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, North Wales

Dyffryn Clwyd, Denbighshire, North Wales

The valley characteristics of Dyffryn Clwyd (the Vale of Clwyd) - have always attracted cyclists. The so-called Horseshoe Pass has long been popular with day-trippers from beyond Offa’s Dyke, as have the short but brutal climbs to Bwlch Pen Barras, Moel Arthur and the Shelf. If you’d rather avoid the hills, you may prefer the maze of country lanes or the cycle path from St Asaph to the renowned seaside town of Rhyl.

Café stop: Refuel at Café R in Ruthin Craft Centre.

Looking down a steep, twisty road down a hillside to a valley below.

The view from Bwlch Pen Barras, Denbighshire, North Wales

Mawddach Trail, Gwynedd, North Wales

The Mawddach Trail from Dolgellau to the bustle of Barmouth over its bridge is a perfect family day out. Combined with the ascent to Cregennan Lakes awaits a fantastic route for those wanting to venture into the hills. Those after a more demanding day out may wish to continue further afield to Tal y Llyn Pass, or even to the fearsome climb to Bwlch y Groes from Dinas Mawddwy, whose other foot lies on the shores of Llyn Tegid.

Café stop: Iconic honey buns at Popty’r Dref, Dolgellau.

A remote lake in a mountain range.
A road bike resting against a post, with estuary and mountain views in the background.
Barmouth, North Wales.

Cregennan Lakes, above Barmouth and Barmouth Bridge, North Wales

Elenydd (Cambrian Mountains), Mid Wales

Even road cyclists can experience the remoteness and solitude of the Elenydd which straddle the border between Ceredigion and Powys, far away from the bustle of modern life. You can meander towards the metal mines of Cwmystwyth, climb to Teifi Pools from the Strada Florida Abbey, or tackle the slopes of Devil’s Staircase from Abergwesyn.

Café stop: A paned and a bite to eat awaits at Ty Morgans, Rhayader.

Discover more about the Cambrian Mountains.

High up view of a steep grassy and forested valley, with a narrow winding road at the bottom.
A steep sided green valley with a stream running through, viewed from a road.

Abergwesyn Valley and the Devil's Staircase, Powys, Mid Wales

Along the Tywi River, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Gems are to be found all along the length of Wales’ longest river. Its source is in Llyn Brianne, a stone’s throw away from the remote chapel of Soar y Mynydd - a symbol of holy Wales and rural Wales. Between the market towns of Llandovery and Llandeilo, both the Black Mountain and its Tro’r Gwcw (cuckoo corner) and Castell Carreg Cennen make for detours worth your while.

Test your speed at Carmarthen Velodrome, or search for beaches and castles on both sides of the estuary in Llansteffan or Kidwelly.

Café stop: The essentials and more all day, every day in Diod, Llandeilo.

Discover more about cycling routes in Carmarthenshire.

exterior of white chapel with surrounding greenery.
Aerial image of a blue lake.
A ruined castle in green countryside from above.

Capel Soar y Mynydd, Ceredigion, Llyn Brianne and Castell Carreg Cennen, Carmarthenshire

Bwlch and Rhigos, South Wales

Some of our greatest cyclists learnt their trade on this duo of climbs. Reachable from Cardiff or Swansea or anywhere in the historic county of Glamorgan, Bwlch and Rhigos each pose a similar degree of difficulty - and vast views over and beyond the Rhondda and Cynon valleys.

You may also wish to benefit from sections of the 55-mile Taff Trail from Cardiff to Brecon, most of which are traffic-free.

Café stop: Stop by the café run by cycling charity Pedal Power, next to Pontcanna Fields in Cardiff.

Cyclists on a road through green hills.
Four cyclists on road bikes tackling a mountainside road.

Bwlch Mountain, South Wales

Abergavenny, South Wales

Within touching distance of Abergavenny's bustling town centre, easily accessible by train, is The Tumble, one of the most trodden roads by cyclists from far and wide. Wales’ highest road pass, Gospel Pass, is also within 15 miles (25km); a descent into Hay-on-Wye awaits as a reward.

If you’d rather admire views of the Bannau at a more leisurely pace, opt for the disused railway lines from Llanfoist to Brynmawr, or from Pontypool to Blaenavon World Heritage Site.

Café stop: Seasonal snacks and speciality coffee just up the road in Latte-da, Crickhowell.

Aerial shot of a museum, castle and town.

Abergavenny museum, castle and town, South Wales

Anglesey, Llŷn and Pembrokeshire

Forget any assumption that the roads here are flat. Undulating roads combined with stunning coastline views offer days out with a taste of an ever-diminishing distinctly Welsh life. Go to the edge of Llŷn for views of Enlli (Bardsey Island) in Uwchmynydd, or head to Porth Dafarch on Holy Island and its crashing waves.

You may want to try out some organized rides, such as the Tour of Pembrokeshire in the spring or the Tour de Môn in the summer.

Café stop: Crwst makes Aberteifi cyclists the subject of great envy

A sandy beach in a cove, viewed from a cliff side pathway.

Porth Dafarch, Anglesey, North Wales

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