Most visitors to the UK stick to London, the more adventurous bum around Scotland but Wales remains a blip on their radar. Why anyone would skip the unspoilt, boundless Welsh beauty is an unfathomable mystery. Wales is the ultimate green travel destination – seriously committed to nature conservation and eco-tourism, and the enviable result is miles and miles of cycle trails, a stunning coastline, sublime national parks and oodles of old-world Welsh charm.

Go Glamping in Wales

It’s definitely la-di-dah, but what a way to camp! Go glamping beneath rising Welsh mountains and alongside sweeping seas. Choose from a tipi set on wooden plinths with comfy beds and decorated with elegant Welsh patterned throws, sheepskin rugs and modern amenities. Or try a yurt with luxurious trimmings — fine woven carpets, Egyptian cotton sheets spread over a sleigh bed and a rolltop bath fed by hot piped water and stout wooden floorboards. Dome tents, bell tents, tipis, yurts — you’ll never want to stay in a boring hotel again.

Wales Travel: Glamping. Photo: Hippy-Dippy via Flickr

Glamping. Photo: Hippy-Dippy via Flickr

Take the plunge with Coasteering in Wales  

Pioneered in Wales, coasteering is a blend of rock-hopping, shore-scrambling, swell-riding, cave-exploring and cliff-jumping. Some of the best places to dive in are Holy Island, Anglesey, Llyn Peninsula, North Wales,  Abereiddy, South St Davids Head and Stackpole South in Pembrokeshire, South Gower in West Wales and Southerndown, at the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. Read more on coasteering here.

Wales Travel coasteering © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Near Rhoscolyn Holy Island Anglesey North Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Bounce on a giant trampoline suspended in an surreal slate cavern

Bounce Below is a hidden underground playground in a 176-year-old disused slate cavern. The first of its kind in the world, it’s a giant network of underground trampoline like nets in a cavern, that is twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral. The highest net is strung 180 feet up from the bottom of the cavern, linked together by walkways, tunnels and slides.

Bounce Below

Photo: Bounce Below

Work up a sweat with Mountain Biking

Wales has over 500km of purpose built singletrack, all weather trail centres, downhill tracks, freeride hotspots, skills parks and wild natural trails. From iconic routes within the Brecon Beacons, to big rocky descents off Snowdon, or down through Doethie Valley one of the longest sections of a natural singletrack in the UK, there’s something for everyone of all ages and abilities.

Mawddach Estuary. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Mawddach Estuary. Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Pedal power through 1200 scenic miles of the National Cycle Network

Go free-wheeling on a tour through gorgeous parks. Hug the coastline, visit heritage sites and fairytale castles, pedal along canal towpaths. Halt for a picnic or at a charming pub. Or choose a seascapes-and-sunsets coastal route. Some popular routes are Celtic trail (East and West), from Cardiff to Brecon Beacons, Fishguard to St Davids with views of the Pembrokeshire Coast and tons more. Also, Snowdonia has some of the most special trails in Wales.

Cyclists on Coast Path at Blackpill at sunrise with Mumbles Head in background. Swansea South Cycling

Cyclists on Coast Path at Blackpill at sunrise with Mumbles Head in background. Swansea South Cycling. Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Become an expert at bushcraft and foraging

It’s rather fashionable (and free) to be foraging for your own food these days. Bring out the hunter-gatherer in you as you go mushrooming, blackberrying, nut gathering and sloe-picking. Go on a rewarding foraging walk with an expert guide, explore the shoreline for edible seaweed and leave out a cunning crab pot. When you’re well-fed and content with a sense of achievement, camp under the dark sky purely lit by starlight.

wales travel Bushcraft

Bushcraft. Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

Break the waves in Wales

Wales is surfer heaven, whether you are looking for a beach break or reef break. From the Glamorgan coast to Pembrokeshire, from the Gower to the Lyn Peninsula, ride the waves in front of gorgeous cliffs and experience the punchy turquoise peaks.

Wales Travel: Surfer riding wave. Whitesands Bay Near St David's Pembrokeshire South © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Male surfer riding wave. Whitesands Bay. Near St David’s Pembrokeshire South. Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Experience the heady Welsh whitewater rush

On the upper River Rye expedition, the Hell Hole is the rapid with a big adrenaline hit with 4-8 feet high standing waves that could go up to 16 feet. On the Treyweryn River, Snowdonia, in North Wales, the whitewater hits are delivered via an upstream dam release. In Llangollen, experience the Serpent’s Tail where the river goes through a narrow gap and the whole front of the raft disappears. On the River Teifi in Carmarthenshire, you’re in good company with kingfishers, otters and leaping salmon.

Wales Travel: River Tryweryn Rafting. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

River Tryweryn Rafting. Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Welsh Coast Path: 870 miles of the world’s longest uninterrupted coastal route

The stunning Welsh Coast Path was opened in 2012 and offers exceptional holiday breaks along its unspoilt 870 miles. Discover hidden beaches, travel back in time with the rich Welsh history and culture, spot a peregrine falcon, discover quaint pubs, be dazzled by the rockpools and  cliffs and enjoy the rosy, romantic sunsets on the trails.

Wales travel: Signs at South Stack near Holyhead Anglesey North © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Signs at South Stack near Holyhead Anglesey North Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Ponder on the mysteries of the universe while Stargazing in Wales

Wales is emerging as one of the best countries in the world for stargazing. Brecon Beacons became the country’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012. Stargazer’s Retreat in Powys, a former pony stable, has been set up with a computerised telescope and its own observatory. The Usk Reservoir in Carmarthenshire is particularly protected from light pollution or try Pontsticill Reservoir, surrounded by hills and forests in the Taf Fechan Valley. The gorgeous National Botanic Garden of Wales near Llanarthne in Camarthenshire has become the first venue of its kind to win Dark Sky approval.

Wales Travel: Dark skies, Black Mountain Brecon Beacons Carmarthenshire Dark Skies South. © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Bannau, Sir Gaer and Fan Brycheiniog from Llyn y Fan Fach, Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons, Carmarthenshire Dark Skies South. Photo: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales

Walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter and his besties

Dobby’s Shell Cottage in Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows is set in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Think three-storey attic, shell-tiled roof and crooked chimneys — this set was built on the sandy dunes behind Freshwater West beach in April 2009 and dismantled after filming. This sand and rocky beach is a surfer’s paradise and also starred in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.

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