Welsh cycling isn’t all mountain biking. We also have hundreds of miles of wonderful traffic-free and low-traffic routes thanks to the National Cycle Network. Many of the routes also connect with holiday areas, country parks and historic attractions, allowing you to combine your traffic-free bike ride with a Welsh sightseeing experience. You won’t always need a bike – hire is plentiful – just a free hour or two. Saddle up, easy riders.

Mawddach Trail, Eryri (Snowdonia), North Wales

The Mawddach Trail is a spectacular route from historic Dolgellau to the beach at Barmouth. On either side are the foothills of Cader Idris and the gorgeous Mawddach Estuary. Birdlife twitters in RSPB reserves. The estuary winks in the sun. All is well with the world.

19 miles return
Tarmac, traffic-free
Refreshments in Penmaenpool and Barmouth

Barmouth bridge at sunset looking towards the sea.
Bikes on railings in Barmouth, North Wales

Barmouth bridge at sunset, and bikes on railings in Barmouth, North Wales

Lôn Eifion Cycleway, Caernarfon, North Wales

Saddle up for a picture-book ride on the Lôn Eifion Cycleway through North Wales. There’s Caernarfon Castle and steam trains on the Welsh Highland Railway, then views of Snowdonia’s peaks and Caernarfon Bay, and pretty villages and crafts at the Inigo Jones Slateworks in Groeslon. Normally that’s a holiday. Here it’s one morning.

24 miles return
Tarmac or gravel, traffic-free
Cafés in Caernarfon and Penygroes

Bike hire: Beics Antur Bikes, Caernarfon

Castell Caernarfon o’r awyr gydag adeiladau, caeau a bryniau cyfagos.

Caernarfon Castle, North Wales

Elan Valley Trail, Mid Wales

Four reservoirs pooled in the hills, a smooth trail looping along the banks and buzzards overhead. The Elan Valley Trail is an ideal introduction to off-road cycling that’s like the great outdoors only without the mud. And with a handy café in the Elan Valley Visitor Centre. There are also two new downhill skill tracks for intermediate and more experienced mountain bike riders.

18 miles return
Tarmac or gravel, largely traffic-free
Café in Elan Valley Visitor Centre

Bike hire: Elan Valley Visitor Centre

photo of the river held back by the dam with a forest and mountains in the background
An aerial shot of the river held back by the dam surrounded by forest.

Garreg Ddu and Pen y Garreg dams and reservoirs in the Elan Valley, Mid Wales

Port Talbot to Afan Forest Park, West Wales

The stunning Port Talbot to Afan Forest Park route winds through the wildlife-rich Afan Forest, taking in some great artwork, including the Afan Valley Portrait Bench featuring three local icons. Your final destination is the Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre where you can visit the South Wales Miners' Museum; enjoy world-class mountain biking trails, or grab a drink and soak up the panoramic views. 

12 miles return
Tarmac, traffic-free
Refreshments in Afan Forest Park Visitor Centre

Two mountain bikers on a trail at Afan Forest Park.

Mountain bike trails at Afan Forest Park, Neath Port Talbot, West Wales

Millennium Park, Llanelli, West Wales

The last car you’ll see is the one you leave at the Discovery Centre in Llanelli. The superb Millennium Coastal Path from Llanelli to Pembrey hugs the coast, providing views of sea and hills. There’s wildlife too: nature in reserves and flamingos in the WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre

14 miles return
Tarmac, traffic-free
Refreshments at each end

Aerial view of a coastal railway and cycle path.

Views on the Millennium Coastal Path, Llanelli, West Wales

Cardiff to Castell Coch, South Wales

The Cardiff to Castle Coch cycle route offers a riverside ride along the Taff river with its own magic when Castell Coch appears like a medieval fairytale fortress. Victorian, actually, but don’t tell the kids.

14 miles return
Tarmac, largely traffic-free
Café in Castell Coch

adults and cild riding pedal bikes along a path with green leafed tress either side and behind them.
A castle courtyard with fairytale towers.

Cycling in Bute Park and inside Castell Coch, South Wales

Peregrine Path, Monmouth, South Wales

The Peregrine Path zig-zags across the Welsh-English border along the River Wye. There are canoes all the way from Hay-on-Wye to Monmouth and castles at Skenfrith and Monmouth. Pack a picnic for The Kymin then go and see The Shire Hall and you have a one-day mini-adventure straight from a children’s storybook. Ace.

10 to 16 miles return
Tarmac, largely traffic-free
Plentiful refreshments 

The bridge in Monmouth.
Skenfrith Castle, Monmouthshire

Monmouth town and Skenfrith Castle, Wye Valley, South Wales

Related stories