Epic 5-Day Wales Itinerary

I’m a local from Wales, and I want to share with you an amazing 5-day trip through some of the most beautiful places in my country.

Imagine castles that touch the sky, mountains that reach the clouds, and beaches where the sand sparkles like diamonds.

  • We’ll visit Conwy and Caernarfon, where big, old castles stand.
  • We’ll explore the Brecon Beacons, a place full of hills and valleys.
  • We’ll see Cardiff, our fun capital city, and the Gower Peninsula in Swansea, where you can see Three Cliffs Bay, one of the prettiest
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If you have the time, you can easily extend your trip to seven to ten days in Wales, depending on what the main sights you would like to see in the country are. For anyone who is short of time, you may just want to stick to one area, such as North Wales, on your trip to avoid rushing around.

Tip: Bookmark the best South Wales Hotel Deals (via booking.com) and the best low-price deals for North Wales (also via booking.com)

💡 Tip: Check out our Wales season guide further below and the 7 essential travel quick tips for Wales at the end of this article!

Why Wales?

Wales is amazing because it’s filled with breathtaking landscapes, from the high mountains to the sparkling beaches, that make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale. Also, it’s home to friendly people and a rich history, where every stone and street has a story to tell, making every visit unforgettable.

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Our perfect itinerary covers Conwy, Caernarfon, the Brecon Beacons, Cardiff, Gower Peninsula in Swansea (Three Cliffs Bay), and other mesmerizing places in Wales:

Day 1 | Conwy

We recommend starting your trip in Conwy, which is easily accessible from Manchester and nearby areas if you are entering Wales that way.

Conwy is known for its 13th-century castle and medieval walls. You can enjoy walking around the walls that enclose the town, which offer some of the best views in the area.

Getting There
  • Conwy is about 1.5 hours drive from Manchester. Trains are also available, providing a scenic route into Wales.
  • Parking can be limited in Conwy, especially during peak tourist seasons. Consider using public parking areas outside the town walls.
Conwy Castle
  • Must-Visit: The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss exploring the towers for panoramic views of the town and harbor.
  • Hours: Check the opening times before you visit, as they can vary by season.
  • Ticket Tips: Buying tickets online in advance can save time and possibly money.
Medieval Walls
  • Free to Explore: Walking the town walls is free and offers stunning views. The full loop is about 1.3 km.
  • Best Time: Early morning or late afternoon can be quieter and offer softer light for photos.
Local Eats
  • Try some Welsh specialties in local cafes and restaurants. Welsh rarebit and Conwy mussels are must-tries.
Shopping
  • Conwy has charming shops where you can buy local crafts, Welsh cheese, and other souvenirs.
Nearby Attractions
  • Bodnant Garden: Just a short drive from Conwy, these beautiful gardens are worth a visit, especially in spring.
  • Conwy Mountain: For the more adventurous, a hike up Conwy Mountain offers breathtaking views and is not too strenuous.
Practical Tips
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be doing a lot of walking, especially on the castle grounds and town walls.
  • Weather can be unpredictable. Bring a raincoat or an umbrella, just in case.

Day 2 | Caernarfon | Snowdonia National Park

From Conwy, you’ll want to continue on to Caernarfon, which should take only about thirty minutes in the car. During your journey, you’ll pass by Bangor, which is the oldest city in Wales. Stop in Caernarfon to enjoy the castle this morning, which is a popular UNESCO site in the area.

After this, spend lunchtime at Snowdonia National Park. If you are particularly keen on hiking, you may want to add an additional day here to allow you to hike to the summit.

Alternatively, ride the train up to Snowdon’s summit for incredible views from the top. An optional fun activity this afternoon is visiting Portmeirion, where you could even opt to stay for the night. This is an Italian-themed village which is like nothing you would expect to see in Wales.

Driving to Caernarfon
  • The drive from Conwy to Caernarfon offers scenic views and takes around 30 minutes.
  • Consider making a quick stop in Bangor to explore the oldest city in Wales.
Visiting Caernarfon Castle
  • Caernarfon Castle is a must-see UNESCO World Heritage site. Plan to arrive early to avoid crowds.
  • Check the opening hours and ticket prices online before your visit.
Exploring Snowdonia National Park
  • Snowdonia is perfect for nature lovers and hikers. Consider spending a full day if you plan to hike to the summit.
  • The Snowdon Mountain Railway offers a less strenuous way to get to the top, with tickets available online.
Enjoying Lunch at Snowdonia
  • Pack a picnic for a scenic lunch in the park, or visit one of the local cafes or restaurants.
  • Remember to carry water and snacks, especially if you’re hiking.
Visiting Portmeirion
  • Portmeirion, an Italian-themed village, is a unique experience in Wales. It’s great for an afternoon visit or an overnight stay.
  • Check accommodation options in advance if you plan to stay the night.
Additional Tips
  • Wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes for exploring castles and national parks.
  • The weather can change quickly, so bring layers and waterproof gear.
  • Buying tickets in advance for attractions like Caernarfon Castle and the Snowdon Mountain Railway can save time.

Day 3 | Hay-on-Wy | Brecon Beacons National Park

Moving on this morning, you’ll travel to Hay-on-Wye, which is located by the Brecon Beacons National Park. This is a popular destination with book lovers, and it contains the largest second-hand book shopping area in the world.

After wandering around here in the morning, you’ll want to head out into the Brecon Beacons this afternoon. Choose a trail depending on your fitness level and to suit your preferences this afternoon.

Traveling to Hay-on-Wye
  • The drive to Hay-on-Wye introduces you to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Wales.
  • Hay-on-Wye is known as the “Town of Books,” ideal for those who love to read.
Exploring Hay-on-Wye
  • Don’t miss the chance to explore the numerous bookshops that make this town famous.
  • Look out for the Hay Festival if you’re visiting in late May to early June, a world-renowned celebration of literature and arts.
Heading to Brecon Beacons National Park
  • The Brecon Beacons offers trails for all levels of hikers, from easy walks to challenging hikes.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go and plan your trail accordingly.
Choosing a Trail
  • The National Park visitor center can provide recommendations for trails based on your interests and fitness level.
  • Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, offers rewarding views for those up for the challenge.
Additional Tips
  • Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots to comfortably navigate the terrain in both Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons.
  • Pack water, snacks, and a rain jacket to be prepared for your day out, especially if you plan to hike.

Visiting Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons National Park offers a unique combination of cultural and outdoor activities.

Whether browsing through stacks of books or taking in the breathtaking views of the Welsh countryside, this part of your journey promises memorable experiences for every traveler.

Day 4 | Cardiff

This morning, you’ll head on to Cardiff, which is somewhere many visitors to Wales choose to start or end their trip if arriving by train.

There’s plenty to keep you entertained for a few days here if you like, including watching a performance at the Millennium Centre, shopping, or visiting the National Museum. If you haven’t seen enough castles yet, Cardiff Castle is another great stop on your journey.

For Filmfans
Arriving in Cardiff
  • Cardiff is well-connected by train, making it a convenient entry or exit point for your Wales adventure.
  • The city center is easy to navigate on foot, but public transport options are available for longer distances.
Entertainment at the Millennium Centre
  • The Millennium Centre is known for its stunning architecture and world-class performances. Check what’s on during your visit.
  • Book tickets in advance for shows to avoid disappointment.
Shopping in Cardiff
  • Cardiff offers a mix of high street stores, independent boutiques, and historic arcades for a unique shopping experience.
  • Don’t miss the chance to explore the Victorian and Edwardian arcades, which house some of the city’s most charming shops.
Visiting the National Museum
  • The National Museum Cardiff is free to enter and offers a range of exhibits from art to natural history.
  • Allocate a few hours to fully enjoy the museum’s collections.
Exploring Cardiff Castle
  • Cardiff Castle is a must-see with its rich history and beautiful grounds.
  • Consider a guided tour to learn more about the castle’s past and get access to exclusive areas.
Additional Tips
  • Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll likely do a lot of walking around the city’s attractions.
  • Cardiff can be busy, especially on weekends and during special events, so plan your visit accordingly.

Cardiff is a vibrant city with a mix of historical sites, cultural venues, and shopping opportunities. Whether you’re here to soak in the arts, explore history, or simply enjoy city life, Cardiff offers a fitting conclusion or an exciting start to your Welsh adventure.

Day 5 | Southwest Coast

While some individuals might decide to finish their trip in Cardiff, we encourage you to move on to the southwest coast for your final day.

Here, you can enjoy hiking a segment of the Wales Coast Path and admire the stunning coast in this part of Wales. Enjoy local seafood and relaxing by the shore on your final night in Wales.

Traveling to the Southwest Coast
  • The journey from Cardiff to the southwest coast offers scenic views and charming towns along the way.
  • Consider renting a car for this leg of the trip to explore at your own pace.
Hiking the Wales Coast Path
  • Choose a section of the Wales Coast Path that matches your interest and fitness level. The path offers everything from leisurely walks to challenging hikes.
  • Don’t forget to bring comfortable walking shoes, water, and sun protection.
Admiring the Coast
  • The southwest coast of Wales is known for its breathtaking views, rugged cliffs, and beautiful beaches.
  • Take time to stop at lookout points for photos and to simply enjoy the scenery.
Enjoying Local Seafood
  • The coastal towns offer some of the best seafood in Wales. Look for restaurants and cafes serving fresh, local catches.
  • Try traditional Welsh dishes like laverbread made from seaweed.
Relaxing by the Shore
  • Spend your final evening in Wales watching the sunset by the shore for a peaceful end to your trip.
  • Beaches in the southwest coast are perfect for a relaxing stroll or just sitting back and listening to the waves.
Additional Tips
  • Check the weather forecast and tide times if you plan to walk along the beach or coastal paths.
  • Book your accommodation in advance, especially during the summer months when the coastal areas can get busy.

Exploring the southwest coast of Wales offers a serene and picturesque conclusion to your journey. From hiking along the Wales Coast Path to enjoying the freshest seafood and relaxing by the shore, your final day in Wales is sure to be memorable.

Optional: Day 6 | Gower Peninsula in Swansea

If you have an additional day to spare, enjoy stopping on your way back to Cardiff at Tenby, which has a stunning castle and Victorian homes to tour.

Finish your trip by stopping at Gower Peninsula in Swansea, where you won’t want to miss Three Cliffs Bay.

You’ll enjoy admiring the incredible views here and toasting to a wonderful trip exploring Wales. From here, you can head back to Cardiff the following day to continue your journey home.

Wales Seasons | Weather

For your perfect five days in wales, it’s important to know which month and season to choose.

Winter

It is usually cool, wet, and windy in Wales in the winter months from December to February. The coldest days in Wales occur in January and February, especially along the coast.

Precipitation is quite high in winter, but snow is rare (except in the mountains). Towards the end of winter, rainfall and windy weather decrease significantly. At the beginning of the winter, however, there is often the highest precipitation of the year.

The mountains of Wales are among the coldest places in the UK in the winter, and snow can always fall.

Spring

In spring, from March to May, it is usually cool but relatively dry compared to the winter months. The Atlantic Ocean has lost much of its warmth over autumn and winter. Also, in spring, the mountain regions in Wales are among the coolest areas in the UK.

Summer

In summer, from June to August, it is also somewhat dry, but rainfall is always possible in Wales. Nevertheless, Wales surprises with many hours of sunshine. However, there are some valleys in the south of Wales, which don’t get much sunshine.

Autumn

It is usually very unpredictable in autumn from September to November because cool air masses meet here again and again with warm air masses over Great Britain. Also, in autumn, the mountainous regions of Wales are among the coolest regions in the UK.

7 Essential Wales Travel Tips

1. Catch the Heartbeat of Welsh Language

Wales, or Cymru as it’s known in Welsh, is a proud nation where the national language lives and breathes. Even if you only learn a few phrases, the effort is warmly appreciated. Give it a go! Start with “Bore da” (Good morning), “Diolch” (Thank you), and why not “Cymru am byth” (Wales forever) for the big finish.

2. Get Off the Beaten Path

There’s more to Wales than Cardiff. Have you heard of Pembrokeshire Coast? This National Park offers some of the UK’s most jaw-dropping seaside landscapes. Or visit Snowdonia, an adventurer’s paradise with its craggy peaks and quiet valleys. Trust us, your Instagram will thank you!

3. Tap into the Magic of Welsh Castles

No visit to Wales is complete without stepping into the medieval world. With over 600 castles, you have plenty to choose from. A hidden gem is Castell Dinas Brân, perched high on a hill with views that will steal your breath away. Remember, the best way to explore is to hire a local guide – their stories will make the stones come alive.

4. Savor the Taste of Wales

Wales boasts a delicious culinary scene that often goes under the radar. Be sure to try Welsh Cawl (a hearty stew), Bara Brith (fruitcake), and for the adventurous foodie, Laverbread – not a bread, but a unique seaweed delicacy. Visit local farmers’ markets to experience Welsh produce at its freshest.

5. Embrace the “Welsh Weather”

In Wales, they say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Be prepared for the elements with waterproof clothing and good walking shoes. But don’t let a bit of rain dampen your spirits – the dramatic skies and misty landscapes make Wales all the more enchanting.

Embarking on a journey to Wales is stepping into a world of vibrant culture, breathtaking nature, and rich history. Follow these tips to immerse yourself in all that this wonderful land has to offer. Happy travels or, as they say in Wales, “Daith hapus!”

6. Tap Your Feet to Welsh Music

Welsh music is a beautiful blend of tradition and contemporary. Wales is known as the “Land of Song” after all! Be sure to catch a Male Voice Choir performance, a deeply emotional experience, and an integral part of Welsh culture. For contemporary music lovers, Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion is a must-visit for its eclectic mix of artists and stunning seaside location.

7. Navigate Like a Local

Public transport in Wales is reliable but can be sparse in rural areas. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. But remember, the locals drive on the left side of the road! Also, rural Welsh roads can be narrow and winding, with occasional free-roaming sheep. Embrace these moments as part of the Welsh charm.

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