Introduction to Wales

Part of the United Kingdom, Wales is on the east coast bordered by England and just across the sea from Ireland. It’s a country with dramatic landscapes, friendly locals and fascinating and diverse culture and also admirable environmental credentials. In recent years, the art, films and music coming out of Wales has shaken up stereotypes of the country being a place you just go to have tea and collect decorative wooden Welsh love spoons. The capital Cardiff has also shaken up its image, now overflowing with hedonism, gourmet kitchens and gastropubs and hip hotels.

In Wales, no one lives more than an hour from the coast, so it’s no surprise the Welsh cherish their coastline. In fact, the Welsh adore it so much, a 1,400-kilometre coastal path winds around every inch of the Wales coastline – the longest, continual coastal road in the world and the first of its kind. The coastal stretch is split into 8 sections including a marine reserve, national parks, nature reserves, marinas, heritage landscape sites and beaches. It’s just one of the many reasons Wales is known as an incredible outdoors location with wicked diving, kitesurfing and bodyboarding opportunities.

If you like to hike or bike, head to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to take on its epic coastal trail and take in its breathtaking scenery. Or if you want to hit the surf and check out some pretty spectacular limestone cliffs, head to the Gower Peninsula. After all the outdoorsy good times, you’ve probably earned an ale or three, so get comfy in a cosy coastal pub. Make sure you check the chalkboard to see the fresh catch of the day – lobster, sea bass or crab. In Samphire, you can even pick your own mussels or head out on a mackerel boat to catch your own supper.

In Wales, they don’t mind a party or two. There are also all kinds of music festivals and events for writers, readers, talkers, druids, dancers, thinkers, surfers, DJs or bog snorkellers. There’s also events for crab-catching, town-crying, stone-skimming, knitting and feasting. So, whether you’re seeking white-knuckled adventure or weird and wonderful festivals, don’t look past this seriously underrated destination.

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