Walking holidays in Wales

The Welsh dragon roars loud and proud about its credentials as a world-class walking destination – and rightly so. Glittering lakes, soaring mountains, and time-frozen villages nestled in green valleys are just a few boast-worthy mentions. Add a trio of national parks to the mix and it’s no surprise England’s western neighbour makes for a walking holiday worth shouting about. 

Hike the trails of southern Snowdonia (Eryri)

Like a jab from Welsh boxing legend, Joe Calzaghe, Wales packs a punch in the scenery stakes. The big hitter here is undeniably Snowdonia (Eryri) National Park - the largest of Wales’s three national parks. Complete with ancient woods, dramatic waterfalls, craggy uplands and plenty of jagged peaks, Snowdonia’s (Eryri) backdrop is positively Tolkienesque. In fact, parts of the park reportedly provided the inspiration for the land of Middle Earth in the high-fantasy book series, The Lord of the Rings.

Visit the heritage-rich market town of Dolgellau, climb the rugged foothills of Cader Idris, or look out over the Mawddach Estuary. Once a powerhouse of Britain’s 18th century shipbuilding industry, it’s now a haven for salmon and trout fishing.  

And while walking holidays in Wales come with awe-inspiring views as standard, little beats a trek to the summit of Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa). Standing 1,085 metres tall, it’s the highest mountain in England and Wales and the park’s namesake attraction. On a clear day you’ll be rewarded with panoramas over fjord-like lakes framed by jagged hills, and (if you’re lucky) across the Irish Sea to the Emerald Isle itself. 

Escape to Portmeirion 

Though it sits on a peninsula in the looming shadow of Snowdonia (Eryri), very little dulls the sparkle of Portmeirion. Built in the style of an Italian fishing village, its pastel-coloured buildings and enviable coastal position bring a touch of Mediterranean sunshine to North Wales. Stately mansions border piazzas complete with well-groomed gardens, while exotic plant life unfurls down the hillsides thanks to a healthy micro-climate. So surreal is this quirky Welsh village that it starred as the otherworldly setting for cult 60s TV show The Prisoner. 

Explore the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) 

The Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) fly under the radar for many; but those in-the-know are welcomed with heather-clad plateaus home to wild ponies, waterfall-splashed landscapes, and brooding peaks littered with Roman ruins.  

Our walking holidays supply a showreel of highlights in and around Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) National Park. When it comes to wide open spaces and soul-stirring views, the myth-steeped slopes of the Black Mountains are tough to beat. Hike up this cluster of grassy, heathland ridges that unfurl along the English border and you’ll be greeted by views over the Wye Valley. 

The mighty cascades of the Mellte Valley are to thank for the Brecon Beacons (Bannau Brycheiniog) being nicknamed Waterfall Country. Sgwd yr Eira steals the show here. It means Waterfall of the Snow in Welsh – and you’ll soon see why. A curtain of thundering white water falls from heights of up to 50ft and you can even stand behind the torrent. 

The park’s most popular route is up to Pen y Fan. At 886 metres, it’s the highest point in the national park and the tallest summit in South Wales. And after a hard day’s walking, there’s nothing quite like settling down with a good book. Pop into Hay-on-Wye and scour the plentiful supply of bookshops to pick up a well-thumbed copy of a literature classic or your favourite read – it’s nothing short of a bibliophile’s paradise.