What to see in Wales?

Great Britain is located on the European continent, and is made up of the territories of Scotland, England and Wales; the latter with a territory of about 20735 square kilometers; the least extensive of Great Britain. All this territory is also called United Kingdom. Wales has always been associated with the Celtic culture, myths, legends of dragons, druids, wizards and knights of medieval times, such as King Arthur of Camelot.

But it is not the only thing it is known for. It is also a land with beautiful vegetation, deep valleys and many important tourist places to visit; for example, it has 3 beautiful national parks, some 640 castles, 230 beaches, exuberant gardens, original villages, excellent gastronomy, among others.

The National Parks of Wales:

It can be said that the culture of Wales has been formed by a mixture of the peoples who have lived in those lands, such as the Celts and the Romans, later acquiring its own identity; including the Welsh language, which has been gradually replaced by English; that is why most of its inhabitants consider themselves bilingual. Next, we will mention some places to visit in Wales.

Snowdonia National Park:

To the north of Wales is located this park, which consists of 2170 square kilometers. It is also ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities, hiking or mountaineering, since it has 13 different summits over 900 m high. The reserve was founded in 1951 and was named after Snowdon Mountain, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom.

But, in addition to the walks on foot you can also climb the mountain by funicular, enjoying the beautiful views, the landscape and nature of the place. Among the natural sites we have the gorge of Nant Francon Pass, Llyn Mymbyr and Llyn Ogwen lakes, among others. The park is also home to Caernarfonlas Castle and some ruins of Dolbadarn Castle.

The Brecon Beacons Park:

We are talking about the mountain range towards the south of Wales, the Brecon Beacons; one of the 3 important and national parks of this country. The park has 1350 Km, and where you get many hiking trails, caves, beautiful waterfalls and wildlife; in the Zip World Adventure you can enjoy practicing with the zip line over an old quarry. 

At 7 km from Llanddeusant is located a spectacular glacier, the Llyn, as well as the Fan Fach. Also, there are the caves of Dan-yr-Ogof, and the plains of Pen and Fan for hiking; you can finish the tour along the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at Crickhowell level.

Some of the castles of Wales:

Caernarfon Castle:

It was built in 1283 by King Edward I of England for the conquest of this Welsh territory, and since then it has survived different sieges and captures. However, despite the time it is considered one of the best preserved fortifications on the continent; including the 640 castles located in Wales. 

The castle is inspired by the Byzantine style of the Crusades, elongated with walls surrounding the central courtyard. In addition, it was built as a military town and has also served as a government and royal palace. In 1969 the royalty used it for the appointment of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.

Cardiff Castle and its wall of animals: 

This castle is located in the heart of the city of the same name and was built on a Roman fort, founded in 1091 by the Normans and later in 1404, reconquered by the English. It continued to pass through other owners until 1865 when new works began to convert it into a Gothic palace. Then Count Bute donated it to the city. 

The palace has the Norman Tower from the 11th century, as well as the clock tower, with beautiful details of the planets and astronomy. Of course, also the rooms of the internal part, of great luxury and splendor, such as the Arab hall, the banquet hall, the library, the chapel, among others. Of course, we must mention the gallery of animals carved in stone on its walls, which call the attention; such as lions, bears, seals, hyenas and wolves.

We will also mention some villages in Wales:

The beautiful town of Hay-on-Wye:

Also called the town of books, it is located right next to the river Wye and at the level of the border with England; with a population of about 1500 inhabitants it is a very typical Welsh village. In the 60’s a young Oxford University student from a wealthy family decided to open a second-hand bookstore in the old fire station, which eventually became a book center.

In addition, bookstores began to proliferate throughout the city, which are open all the time. At the end of May and beginning of June, during 10 days, the Hay Literary Festival is celebrated, the most important in the town and in the world; where thousands of fans and authors from different countries attend.

The village of Portmeirion, on the Italian coast of Wales:

It really is a tourist village that has been built in the Italian style, inspired by the village of Portofino during the twentieth century, between 1920 and 1970; it is located towards the northwest of Wales, in the county of Gwynedd. In this little piece of Italy, 283 square kilometers, there is an atmosphere that goes between reality and fiction. It is the reflection of a mixture of exotic elements with European design.

So, Gothic towers coexist with a pagoda-like gazebo, a castle with 18th century cannons, Burmese deities, a Buddha and more, all strategically located among its streets, low buildings and houses reminiscent of the famous fairy tales, but in an Italian riviera.

The village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllllllantysiliogogogogoch:

Relax, we didn’t get the name wrong. That is the longest place name of a town in the UK and the 2nd longest on the planet; second only to New Zealand. This is a small town towards the northwest of Wales and was first known as “Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll”. 

But, thanks to an idea of a local tailor, it was extended as a strategy to attract tourists in 1860, by the railway. This goal was achieved and continues to attract thousands of tourists annually, to take a picture next to the name. If we make the translation it means: “Church of St. Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fast whirlpool of Llantyilio of the red cave”.

Other tourist places to visit in Wales:

Llandudno Resort:

This is the most popular and largest resort on the North Wales Coast, also called “The Queen of Welsh Resorts.” City located next to Cape Great Orme, where, in addition to hotels, restaurants and cafes, you can also climb to the top of the city in a funicular; from where you can better appreciate the pier and the whole city.

You will also discover the 3,000 year old copper mines of Great Orme. They also offer chairlifts to reach the nearby artificial ski slope. In the month of May, Llandudno celebrates the Victorian-themed carnival; of great splendor.

The modern Principality Stadium:

Originally known as the Millennium Stadium, it is said to be the most modern stadium in the United Kingdom and the national stadium of Wales. It is there where rugby matches are played, even at international level. Likewise, soccer matches, motorcycling events, boxing tournaments, conventions and even concerts are held there.

It has capacity for more than 70,000 people, and one of its advantages is its location, since it is very close to Cardiff’s railroad station, which makes it very easy to get there comfortably.

Botanical Garden Laburnum Arch:

This arch that is formed of hanging flowers is 8 m long and was planned by Henry Davis Pochin in 1875. Happening best observed in the spring season; beautiful golden yellow flowers sprouting from the trees and forming a tunnel with this blanket of blossoms.

Some call it “Golden Rain”, because the petals fall on the ground. It is a spectacle that lasts only a short time, between late May and early June. But the rest of the months, although it is not in bloom, the tunnel is still maintained by the leaves of the trees. 

Posted in Europe, United Kingdom.