Ynys Gybi, Anglesey
Thousands of seabirds wheel above the cliffs at South Stack, the sea churns beneath – who’d have guessed you were only two miles from Holyhead? South Stack RSPB Reserve on this popular route gets you close to the locals – razorbills, guillemots, perhaps a peregrine falcon – and serves a cuppa before the return.
Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey
Pilgrims came to this south-eastern corner of Anglesey to venerate the holy well of St Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, whose 16th century church is a ruin on the island. What makes this the most romantic walk in Wales, however, are views to give butterflies. Stay at Llanddwyn Island until sunset and prepare to swoon.
Morfa Nefyn to Porthdinllaen
One parliamentary vote prevented postcard-pretty Porthdinllaen from becoming a ferry terminal. Now owned by the National Trust, its peninsula offers one of the loveliest ambles on the Llŷn Peninsula: views of sea and mountains, wildlife, a beach and rockpools for the kids and a drink in the Ty Coch Inn for you. Park in Morfa Nefyn.
Tresaith to Llangrannog, Ceredigion
The last car you’ll see is the one you leave at pretty Tresaith on this clifftop walk. On one side glitters Cardigan Bay. Ahead rise the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia). Conveniently located midway between them is National Trust-listed Penbryn beach for a paddle. The Cardi Bach bus runs back; check the timetable first. Head to the CardiganBay.com website for walk details.
St Davids Head, Pembrokeshire
If you only do one short walk in Pembrokeshire, make it this one. Though popular, this circuit feels as wild as anywhere in Wales, tracking a shoreline which teems with wildlife. The locals have known that the St Davids Head coastal walk was special for at least 6,000 years, if the Coetan Arthur burial chamber is any guide.
Deer Park to Marloes, Pembrokeshire
A peninsula walk with a sense of island escapism. The Martins Haven walk showcases seascapes spread almost 360 degrees, and seabirds soar off the nature islands of Skomer and Skokholm. Superb Marloes Sands are worth the extra half-mile walk and if you can stay till dusk you won’t find a better sunset in Wales.
Not as well-known as Dylan Thomas’ Laugharne across the bay, but this seaside walk has its own poetry, when the ruins of Llansteffan Castle appear. Beyond it at Wharley Point is a seascape to Devon, plus St Anthony’s Well. This mindfulness circular Llansteffan walk heals lovesickness, they say. Alternatively try a pint in the Castle Inn.
Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
Numerous competitions say this easy walk from Penmaen to Three Cliffs Bay offers one of the best views in Britain. We say it is Wales in miniature. You’ll swish down the sand dunes at Penmaen, explore a castle (ruined by fairies, according to legend) then walk across a fabulous beach towards a rock spur like a dragon’s back. Magic.
The coastal path celebrates cities as much as wild coasts and this circuit around Cardiff Bay has history, nature and action. There’s art in the Norwegian Church, architecture in the striking Y Senedd (Welsh Parliament building), waterbirds in a reserve, and whoops from the Cardiff White Water Centre.
Great Orme Nature Trail, Llandudno
The coastal path celebrates towns as much as wild coasts and this walk loops around the Orme’s 200m knobble from Llandudno’s Victorian pier. The sea views are wonderful, of course. The surprise is the wildlife: rare silver-studded blue butterflies and Kashmir goats descended from a herd given to George IV.
Wales Coast Path walks by train
You can easily reach many coastal path walks by train. The Rail to Trail website has several great suggestions using the Cambrian Coast line, the North Wales Coast Railway and the South and West Wales railway networks.