And if you’re keen to explore, you’ll find plenty of journeys that are wonderful experiences in their own right. We have some of the most scenic roads, railways and pathways in Britain.
The principal railway line in South and West Wales runs more or less parallel to the south coast, connecting Chepstow, Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. Branch lines from Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend serve The Valleys, the Wye Valley and the Vale of Usk.
In North Wales, a main line runs right along the north coast through Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Conwy and Bangor to Holyhead. There’s also a branch line between Wrexham and Shotton.
There are several scenic railway lines in Mid Wales and North Wales. The Heart of Wales Line from Shrewsbury to Llanelli and Swansea cuts diagonally across the rolling hill country of Mid Wales. The Cambrian Line runs west from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth, where it meets the picturesque Cambrian Coast Line, which connects Aberystwyth and Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula. The beautiful Conwy Valley Line runs from Llandudno through Snowdonia to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Train timetables and tickets
At Blaenau Ffestiniog, you can hop onto the narrow gauge Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways to Porthmadog and Caernarfon. Other vintage railways in Wales include the Snowdon Mountain Railway from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the Llangollen Railway from Llangollen to Carrog, the Talyllyn Railway from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol and the Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge. They all offer memorable journeys through impressive scenery.
National Express operate long-distance intercity coach services along the south coast from Cardiff and Swansea to Pembrokeshire; from Newtown to Aberystwyth on the west coast; and along the north coast from Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno to Bangor.
Megabus runs a low-cost coach service between Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.
TrawsCymru long distance buses are an ideal way of exploring Wales.
The TrawsCymru Weekend Saver Return Ticket covers a return journey, on any two days, between the first bus on a Friday and the last bus on a Monday. This offer is available on selected routes across Wales.
Bus services for walkers and cyclists operate in each of the Welsh National Parks: the Coastal Buses (Poppit Rocket, Strumble Shuttle, Celtic Coaster, Coastal Cruiser and Puffin Shuttle) in Pembrokeshire and the Snowdon Sherpa Buses in Snowdonia. They’re designed to reduce traffic in the parks.
Discounted train and bus travel
An Explore Wales Pass, Ranger or Rover gives you unlimited access to Wales’ mainline train services and many bus routes, plus discounted admission to many tourist attractions. There are options covering various parts of the country, valid for either one day or eight days.
A Railcard gets you 33 percent off adult fares and 60% off kids’ fares on mainline rail services, and a Great Little Trains of Wales discount card gets you 20% off the adult fare on several narrow gauge steam railways in Wales.
Getting around North and South Wales by car is straightforward. Travelling from north to south is a picturesque route that includes Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, it’s not the fastest route but think of the views, picnic and photo opportunities.
The most scenic drives in Wales count among the best in Britain. Some favourite routes with fantastic views include the A466 along the Wye Valley, the B4574 from Rhayader to the Vale of Rheidol, the A4069 across the Black Mountain range, the A4086, A498 and A4085 around Snowdon and Marine Drive around Great Orme, Llandudno.
Rural Wales is one of Britain’s best cycling destinations. By following the National Cycle Network, you can explore some of Wales’ most appealing country lanes, disused railway lines and forest paths by bike. Sustrans, the charity which created the network, has put together a list of recommended Easy Rides in Wales. There are also three major long-distance routes:
- Lôn Las Cymru (NCR 8) – Anglesey, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, Cardiff, Chepstow
- Lôn Geltaidd (NCR 4) – Fishguard to Chepstow
- North Wales Coast Cycle Route (NCR 5) – Anglesey to Chester
With the completion of the Wales Coast Path, it’s possible to walk or hike right around our country. The Coastal Path connects up with the Offa’s Dyke Path, one of the three National Trails in Wales. The other two National Trails are the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Glyndŵr’s Way in Mid Wales.
Other popular long distance public footpaths in Wales include the Cambrian Way in the Cambrian Mountains and the Wye Valley Walk from Chepstow to Plynlimon. All of these walking routes pass through spectacular landscapes.
The Wales Way
The Wales Way is a family of three national routes that lead you into the heart of real Wales.
The Coastal Way travels the west coast around Cardigan Bay, a 180-mile (290km) road-trip between the sea and mountains. The Cambrian Way crosses the spine of Wales for 185 miles (300km) between Llandudno and Cardiff, through National Parks and big green spaces. The North Wales Way leads 75 miles (120km) past mighty castles into the island of Anglesey.
We’ve also suggested loops and detours so that you can go 'igam ogam' and create your own Wales Way road-trip.