Wales is nothing if not diverse. In fact, this small country has something for every kind of traveler, from historic castles and fortresses and beautiful mountains and gorges to unique local culture and customs. Discover Wales, with our pick of its 15 must-see destinations.

Waterfalls galore at Snowdonia National Park 

Woman and child by a lake with a waterfall.

Wales is world-renowned for its natural beauty. To see the Welsh landscape at its best, head to Snowdonia. Snowdonia National Park has a wide network of rivers and streams and simply stunning waterfalls. Make sure to visit all-time favorites like Swallow Falls, Dolgoch Falls, and Rhiwargor Falls. Don’t miss the chance to take a dip in the park’s unspoiled streams. 

Betws-y-Coed – beautifully rustic 

Cozy stone houses on the shore of a brook, water stream, water course.

Still in Snowdonia? Then make your way to the little town of Betws-y-Coed. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you wander cobbled streets lined with rustic stone-brick cottages. Stroll around the town and get immersed in the local culture. Browse specialty shops, buy artisanal souvenirs, and stop for a bite at one of the charming village pubs.

Locomotive love at the Conwy Valley Railway Museum 

Woman with her little daughter excited seeing the steam locomotive train setting off the station.

Whether you’re young or old, you’ll know that old-fashioned trains hold a special charm. Stoke your enthusiasm for locomotives with a trip to the Conwy Valley Railway Museum. You’ll see authentic historic trains of every type on display. Even better, you’ll have the chance to drive a train on an actual circuit. All aboard!

Explore Llandudno’s castles and seas 

Lovely wooden pier with benches near a beach and the cliff.

Make your way to Llandudno Pier, where you can take a relaxing walk and bask in the sea breeze while you watch fishing boats in the harbor. Or, soak in some history. Head over to the Great Orme and visit St. Tudno Chapel, which has stood since the 12th century. In nearby Conwy, you can visit a perfectly-preserved historic walled community. You can also trek around the quarter-mile wall circuit and make your touch-down at the impressive Conwy Castle.

Brecon Beacons: stunningly beautiful 

Explorers into the wild. 3 friends hiking through the hinterland. Scenic spot in the highlands overlooking plateaus.

Get some of the best views in Wales at Brecon Beacons. Brecon Beacons National Park is known as a hiker’s paradise because of its easily accessible routes, and dramatic scenery. Make sure to visit Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in the country. And for breathtaking views, make your way to Black Mountain. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a panorama of valleys, gorges, and open fields. Up for something that requires a bit more adrenaline? The park has plenty of options for rafting, paddling, and canoeing. 

Get beachy at Pembrokeshire 

A climb that's worth. Woman with a camera resting after having climbed a high rock by the seashore for a wonderful sight of the beach.

If you’re a beach-lover, then Pembrokeshire is paradise. Pembrokeshire’s long coastal areas are brimming with award-winning beaches. If you’re looking for the best beaches for swimming, head over to Barafundle Bay, which is famous for its clear waters. For a lazy day of basking in the sand, find your favorite spot on the long, sandy stretches of Rhossili and South Gower Coast. Surf? Hop on your board and conquer the waves of Freshwater West. 

Ride your way through Cardiff 

The secrets of the perfect photo. Woman using a vertical log as support to take a picture with her phone.

The capital of Wales, Cardiff is a bustling city that’s full of sights. Get the lay of the land on a double-decker bus tour through the city landmarks. If you’re a fan of rugby, you won’t want to miss the Millennium Stadium, which is the home of the National Rugby Union in Wales. After old castles and churches? Head to the famous Cardiff Castle and the picturesque Norwegian Church.

Strike gold at the Royal Mint 

Group of children and adults being entertained by a guide by a glass display showcase during a visit.

Have you ever wondered how coins are made? Plan a trip to Cardiff’s Royal Mint and see how ordinary metal becomes transformed into money. Once you see how they get the Queen’s likeness onto coins, you’ll never see loose change the same way again. Wander the family-friendly interactive exhibits at your own piece. And if that’s not enough, you’ll also get to touch a gold bar that’s worth so much it’s practically priceless. 

TV shows and theme parks in Barry 

People bathing at a long beach on a sunny day.

If you’re a fan of the show Gavin and Stacey, you’ll have a blast in Barry. Ever wondered where Stacey’s house is located? Now’s your chance to take a selfie by its doors. You’ll also get a chance to sit on the seat in the arcade where Nessa works. Remember the episode where Nessa almost married Dave? Visit the church where it happened. When you’re done geeking out on Gavin & Stacey, you can head to Barry Island Pleasure Park and test your nerves on their high-velocity, gravity-defying rides.   

Gastronomic adventures near Cardiff Castle 

Sharing is caring. Couple having a burger. Guy offering his girlfriend a bite of his cheeseburger.

Traveling can make you hungry. Luckily, there are plenty of great dining spots around Cardiff Castle. In fact, Cardiff’s food scene is booming. There are great restaurants to discover, all over the city. Make sure to try local specialties like Welsh cakes and Cawl, the famous lamb casserole that the locals love. Discover the very best of Welsh produce at the iconic Victorian-era Cardiff Central Market.

Time travel in Wye Valley 

A walk in the woods, forest vibe. 2 people strolling through the woods with dry leaves on the ground. Autumn, fall.

There’s no better destination for history-buffs than Wye Valley. This region sits between Wales and England, and it’s rich in royal history. Head to Monmouth and see where King Henry V was born. You’ll also have the chance to explore the Forest of Dean, where kings of England used to hunt. Interested in visiting the oldest Norman Castle in Britain? Head to Chepstow and see it in person. You’ll feel history come alive when you step inside.

Canal cruising in Llangollen 

Narrow boats parked and secured in a canal in the countryside.

Head to Llangollen to see the Pontcysyllte Canal Aqueduct. Originally built in the early 1800s, the aqueduct is equally awe-inspiring today. It’s a true feat of engineering. Experience the aqueduct up close, by hopping on one of its narrow boats for a short ride. You’ll cruise the short canal that’s suspended high up by 18 arched monolithic pillars. At this altitude, you’ll also enjoy stunning views of the surroundings.

Intergalactic battles in downtown Cardiff 

People walking in at the entrance and front wall of the Cardiff castle. Middle ages construction style.

Visit the sites where the hit sci-fi show Dr. Who shot their famous scenes. If you’ve been following the show, you’ll be enthralled to follow in the doctor’s footsteps. Remember that episode when Danny Pinks died? Or the one where Danna Nobles had an ill-fated wedding? Relive them all here in the heart of Cardiff. You’ll also get to explore the locations where the intergalactic and terrestrial scenes took place. A must-do for Whovians!

Castle trekking in Caerphilly 

Entrance of the Caerphilly Castle. High rounded stone walls.

Britain is known for castles, and Wales is no exception to the rule. Head to Caerphilly to tour the fascinating Caerphilly Castle. First built in 1268, Caerphilly showcases the best in medieval defensive architecture, from imposing towers and gatehouses to intricate water defense systems. You’ll be charmed by Caerphilly’s south-east tower. Thanks to historic gunfire it now leans at an even sharper angle than its counterpart in Pisa.

Cruising the Cardiff Bay 

Couple walking their dog getting some rest at the pier overlooking the sea.

Get to see more of the country’s capital while cruising down Cardiff Bay. Hop on a boat and sit back as you cruise past various landmarks. Pop out that camera—this is one video-worthy ride. As you sail, you’ll spot famous sights like the Barrage and its lock gates, the Old Docks, the Wales Millennium Centre, and the Welsh Assembly.

Get travel tips and inspiration straight to your inbox. Sign up to the newsletter.