The Wales Coast Path stretches 870 miles with plenty of pretty towns and villages to explore along the way. In this post I’ve shared 8 of my favourites to date, how many have you been to?
The pretty coastal town of Tenby is a popular summer holiday destination for Brit’s looking for a staycation – and it’s easy to see why. Tenby’s colourful harbour (pictured above) is one of Wales’s most Instagrammed tourist spots, and you’re never too far away from a fish and chip shop or ice-cream parlour. The nearby beaches are also some of the finest in Europe, including the tropical-like Barafundle Bay and top stargazing spot, Broadhaven South.
10 stunning and secluded beaches in Wales (opens in new tab)
During the summer months you can catch a ferry from Tenby Harbour to Caldey Island, home to a Monastery whose residents produce and sell their own perfume from flowers grown on the island and chocolate.
Portmeirion (Porthmadog), Gwynedd
Famed for being the filming location of ’60s drama The Prisoner, Portmeirion’s unique architecture is down to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis who designed an Italian-style village near the coastal town of Porthmadog. September is a great time to visit the area as Portmeirion hosts an arts and music festival called Festival No.6.
You must pay to enter the village as a day visitor, unless you have booked a dining experience, spa treatment or overnight stay in one of the on site hotels. You can find out more information about visiting Portmeirion and book tickets online via their website.
Further reading: A day trip to Portmeirion Village in pictures
If you’re planning to holiday in North Wales and visit Portmeirion, the nearby seaside town of Porthmadog would be a great option as it’s a gateway to Snowdonia National Park and starting point for the much-loved Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway.
Holidays in Llandudno became popular during the Victorian era when train travel became a lot more accessible to the wider population. The Welsh seaside town flourished and grand townhouses sprung up along the promenade to cater to the growth in visitor numbers, many of these properties are still used today as hotels and guest houses.
In 1902 the Great Orme Tramway opened and began taking people up the nearby mountain to enjoy panoramic views of the town and coastline. A few decades on in 1969 the Llandudno Cable Car opened which follows a similar mile-long route up the mountain to the Summit Complex.
Llandudno’s Pier ticks another box for being a top seaside holiday destination in Britain where you’ll find amusement arcades, shops and food stalls selling classic treats like hot sugary ring doughnuts, ice cream and a bag of chips.
Llandudno is on the doorstep of Snowdonia National Park and the historic town of Conwy which makes it a brilliant base for exploring the stunning scenery and fortresses in North Wales.
View my guide on places to stay in Llandudno
Colourful chocolate box houses line the harbour of Aberaeron, a tranquil seaside town on the west coast of Wales. Positioned on a coastal path that joins together the entire coastline of Wales, you can take a short stroll along the seafront, a longer walk down to New Quay, or alternatively head inland to explore Llanerchaeron, an 18th century Georgian Villa run by the National Trust.
Mumbles, Swansea Bay
Even though it’s technically part of the city of Swansea, The Mumbles has a small town feel on the western edge of the city. Named as one of the best places to live in Britain, The Mumbles is full of lovely seaside shops and cafes and is the perfect starting point to explore the Gower peninsula, beginning with Langland and Caswell Bay that are just around the coast from here.
Further reading: 7 wonderful weekend breaks in Wales
Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan
The restored Victorian pier is an iconic landmark of Penarth that now hosts many local events and weddings. The attractive town is just a few miles outside of Cardiff and has become a very desirable place to live for city workers and retirees, particularly along Penarth Marina where you can walk or cycle along the barrage to the restaurant and entertainment hub of Cardiff Bay.
One of the best coastal towns in Wales for its history is Conwy which lies in the shadow of the soaring fortress built by Edward I in the 13th century. From the top of Conwy Castle or along the town walls you can soak up stunning views of the historic centre and northern edge of Snowdonia National Park. If you head down the Quay you’ll find one of Conwy’s most famous tourist attractions, the smallest house in Great Britain!
Further reading: 8 epic castles you have to visit in Wales
Aberystwyth is a thriving University town in Mid Wales that, like Llandudno, has a promenade and pier to walk along. In fact you’ll see many locals doing laps up and down here to ‘kick the bar’ at the northern end, a tradition started many years ago.
You can also take The Cliff Railway (during peak season) or walk up the Ceredigion Coastal Park for a rooftop view down over Cardigan Bay.