If you envisage yourself escaping into nature with little more than a backpack, Wales has a tangle of terrific hiking trails where you can do just that. Maybe you foresee a trip more focused around character development? We've got courses and classes in everything from surfing to soufflé making. Or perhaps the intended plotline involves you locking eyes with a stranger atop the romantic remains of a 13th century castle? Yes, that totally could happen...
However you see the story of your solo trip playing out, Wales will ensure it’s a classic. Here are some of the reasons why Wales is a top-drawer destination for going solo, whether it’s your first time or you’re a veteran lone globetrotter.
Meet new friends
Wales prides itself on its reputation as a welcoming, inclusive nation. This generally makes the country a safe place to travel solo, and also one where, if you so choose, you won’t find yourself alone for long. Visitors tend to have little trouble striking up a conversation with friendly locals in cosy pubs and cafes, or simply exchanging a cheery bore da (good morning) with fellow ramblers when out in the countryside.
If you need a little push into sociability, there are also a number of holiday operators specialising in group tours aimed at solo travellers. For those seeking adventure, Preseli Venture, leads small groups of lone adventure seekers on coasteering expeditions (an activity invented in Wales, best described as a cross between rock climbing and swimming) around the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, while Adventure Tours UK’s selection of wellness trips lower the intensity levels, offering week-long itineraries of yoga and meditation, with plenty of downtime to bond with your fellow camp mates.
Wales also has a number of events, societies and establishments catering specifically to the LGBTQ+ community, from Swansea Vikings, one of the country’s gay-inclusive rugby teams (which welcomes spectators during the season), to The Golden Cross, a characterful, grade-II listed pub that is Wales' oldest LGBTQ+ venue.
It’s easy (and inexpensive!) to get around
From a logistical standpoint, Wales is an easy country to get around, even without a car. The country-spanning rail network can quickly and comfortably whip you from the centre of cities like Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor into the charms of smaller-town life. Equally as convenient is the bus and coach network, which webs together most towns and cities, and is typically the cheapest way to get around Wales.
For those who prefer to travel under their own steam, Wales is blessed with 1,200 miles of National Cycle Network, including a number of winding long-distance routes that tie together different parts of the country. If you are travelling with your own car, then we have a handful of top road trips too, including the glorious Wales Way routes – a must for all motorheads.
Find creative inspiration
For generations, Wales’ landscapes and people have served as the muse of artists, poets and lyricists, and following in their footsteps could be just the thing to get your creative juices flowing.
Budding writers should make a beeline for Laugharne, where one of Wales’ most famed literary figures, Dylan Thomas, spent his final years, and where his preserved writing shed remains (to see performances of the poet’s work, time your visit with The Laugharne Weekend event). Artists, meanwhile, will undoubtedly be entranced by our selection of romantic, weathered castles. These have featured in the works of some of the greats, including celebrated British landscapist JMW Turner. Visitors can see some of his paintings in the National Museum Cardiff, which also boasts works by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir among its collection.
For a concentrated dose of artistic expression, visit one of Wales’ fantastic festivals, which also offer solo visitors a great opportunity to meet like-minded revellers. There’s Hay Festival for booklovers and Machynlleth Comedy Festival for those fancying a laugh, while Green Man, Brecon Jazz Festival and the Porthcawl Elvis Fest (the largest Elvis-themed festival in the world, don’t you know!) are just a taste of the array of options on offer for music lovers.
Enhance your wellbeing
Solo trips often take on a meditative quality, with a lot of downtime to unwind and work through stresses. Nothing quite nurtures this state of reflection like a long walk in the countryside, and Wales has some exceptional trails to choose from. For a walk with an embedded sense of achievement, consider taking a day to conquer one of the peaks of Eryri (Snowdonia) or Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons). Those really looking to push their limits, meanwhile, could go toe to toe with the epic 870-mile (1,400km) Wales Coast Path, which spans the country’s entire sea border.
For more hands-on healing, Wales is home to a number of sanative spas, where, as a solo traveller, you can stew to your heart’s content. One of the most famous is the facility on site at the five-star Celtic Manor Resort, boasting everything from scented saunas to nail salons, but St Brides Spa Hotel in Pembrokeshire wins admirers thanks to its gasp-inducing outdoor infinity pool overlooking Saundersfoot Beach.
For something more rustic, try an early morning swim and steam session at one of our beachside saunas, such as Tŷ Sawna at Oxwich Bay.
Try unique Welsh food
Fussy eating companions are a bitter pill to swallow for the food-obsessed traveller, but on a solo trip you can set out to sample as many weird and wonderful delicacies as you like – and Wales has a lot of interesting foods to choose from.
Two iconic Welsh dishes that shouldn’t be skipped are the hearty cawl, a traditional soup of lamb and vegetables, and Welsh Rarebit, a delicious take on cheese on toast we love so much we’ve given it its own day. Not quite unusual enough? How about laverbread, a type of boiled seaweed that is affectionately known as Welshman’s caviar, typically eaten with bacon and eggs at breakfast (it tastes better than it sounds!).
Timing a trip with one of our Welsh food festivals offers a great opportunity to tuck into a number of Welsh staples in a single setting (and possibly sitting). Events range from the popular, all-encompassing festivals held in towns such as Abergavenny, Llangollen and Narberth, to more niche offerings, such as Forest Feastival, which is held amidst the trees of Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve, and Conwy Honey Fair, an event dedicated to the sweet golden substance that’s considered to be one of Britain’s oldest food festivals.
Connect with nature
For urban dwellers, a solo holiday offers the chance to recharge the batteries and reconnect with the natural world. Around a quarter of all land in Wales is designated as a protected space, either as a national park or an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty', meaning any nature-starved sightseers won’t have to stroll too far until they find the chirp of birds has replaced the squeal of traffic.
It’s not just the abundance of green space that sets Wales apart, however. The diversity is magnificent too, with visitors able to behold mountains, beaches, caves and waterfalls in one trip – sometimes all in the same afternoon. As for Welsh wildlife, visitors can spot porpoises and dolphins off the coast of Ceredigion, glimpse red squirrels (now sadly a rarity in British forests) on the isle of Ynys Môn (Anglesey), and join the flock of birders waiting amidst the bluebell meadows of Skomer Island to spy puffins, guillemots and gannets; a setting that makes the office feel like a world away.
Learn a new skill
Struggling to convince friends or family to sign up to that class or workshop? Sounds like an excuse for a holiday! A solo trip can be a perfect opportunity to have a go at something you’ve always wanted to try, with the added bonus that group lessons make for an authentic way to forge connections with locals and other travellers alike.
Whatever kind of activity you’re after, Wales will almost certainly have someone ready to teach you, from riding your first wave with Adventures Wales in Porthcawl to freewheeling down your first trail at Bike Park Wales near Merthyr Tydfil. For more mental pursuits, how about a drawing class at the Ruthin Craft Centre, cooking lessons at J&R School Masterclass or even learning a few sentences in Welsh at Nant Gwrtheyrn on the beautiful Llŷn Peninsula – bendigedig! (fantastic!)
Visitors planning to stay for a prolonged period in Wales could also sign up for a volunteering placement, allowing visitors to gain new skills and meet new people, while also typically offering perks such as subsidised accommodation or meals in return. Options range from things like farm work and construction projects to checking tickets on one of Wales’ heritage railway lines.