This trip covers the best of Wales from the south, central, and north destinations. Begin by exploring a historic abbey before discovering the Brecon Beacons. Then, get acquainted with the fantastic castles in Central Wales. Next, tour the northern coast, ride an iconic railway, and visit a Middle Age castle before discovering the history of Conwy and ending with a toast at a craft beer experience in Chester, England.

Highlights

  • Tour the beautiful Tintern Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks in the 12th century
  • Discover the grandeur of the Brecon Beacons mountain landscape
  • Visit historic castles like Caernarfon, Conwy, Powis, and Llandovery
  • Ride the magnificently scenic route on the Snowdonia Mountain Railway

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cardiff, Tour Tintern Abbey & Transfer to the Brecon Beacons Brecon Beacons
Day 2 Discover the Brecon Beacons Brecon Beacons
Day 3 Explore Central Wales & Castle Visits Llandudno
Day 4 Tour the Northern Coast, Snowdonian Mountain Railway & Caernarfon Llandudno
Day 5 Conwy Tales with a Lady of Wales Trail, Craft Beer Tasting & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cardiff, Tour Tintern Abbey & Transfer to the Brecon Beacons

Tintern Abbey
Discover the romantic ruins of once-thriving Tintern Abbey

Welcome to Wales! Once your flight lands in Cardiff, find your driver, and transfer to your hotel to settle in before it's time to explore Tintern Abbey. Cistercian monks founded Tintern Abbey in 1131; all that remains now of this once-thriving monastery is a romantic ruin lost in time. Discover the Abbey's Gothic arches, a testament to pre-Reformation monastic wealth and power. The finest features are the ornate tracery, which once contained windows. The remains of cloisters, the infirmary, chapter house, refectory, latrines, and a complex system of drains and sewers are all visible and easy to explore and understand.

Following the tour, spend more time around Monmouthshire, which happens to be a beautiful place for scenic walks. Consider the Devil's Pulpit, which takes you up on the valley edge and offers spectacular views of Tintern. You can also reach this point via Offa's Dyke Trail, a north-to-south route on the old Welsh-English border. Or, perhaps go for a nice hike along a wooded bank colored with vibrant wildflowers beside the River Wye

Visit a pub in Rhayader for dinner before heading to your accommodation in the Brecon Beacons to get some rest.

Day 2: Discover the Brecon Beacons

Castell Carreg Cennen
Explore the tunnels with a flashlight beneath Carreg Cennen Castle

Today's tour is about the Brecon Beacons. Begin the journey traveling toward the Epynt and then onto Pen y Crug Hillfort above Brecon. From there, take in a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Usk Valley. Then, travel to the largest hillfort in South Wales, Hillfort of Garn Goch, with a staggering internal area of 28 acres (11 ha) surrounded by massive stone walls. Though most have collapsed, they're still imposing—the considerable burial cairn is one of the main features.

Then, drive and explore Pen y Crug, a thriving community that once lived in round mud huts with thatched roofs. Only a few miles away are the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle standing on a limestone knoll. The castle boasts a spectacular location overlooking Black Mountain in the western corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The castle is believed to have been built by the Welsh Prince Rhys Ap Gruffydd in the 12th and 13th centuries. If you're feeling adventurous, explore a tunnel that takes you under the castle. Remember to take a flashlight! 

The Brecon Beacons are an excellent setting for outdoor activities. If you're interested in getting more out of these surroundings, spend time in nature following your tour. You can go kayaking, cycling, riding, geocaching, gliding, rock climbing, or fishing. 

Day 3: Explore Central Wales & Castle Visits

Powis Castle
Stroll the medieval fortress and gardens of Powis Castle

Today you're off to explore Central Wales. Start by passing Wolf's Leap, home to three Irish-inspired bridges and the famous Devil's Staircase. Take a slight detour to Soar y Mynydd Chapel, which is said to be the most remote in all of Wales. Then, walk along an impressive boardwalk and on to Twm Sion Catti's Cave (the Welsh Robin Hood). 

Next, drive to Llandovery through the picturesque countryside before stopping to admire the Llandovery Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. View the ruin on top of a rocky hillock overlooking Afon Brân. Next, have some lunch before heading to Powis Castle, a medieval Welsh fortress with gardens, a parkland, and a deer park. Inside Powis is the Clive Museum, home to a collection of Indian and Far East artifacts. The drive north into Snowdonia National Park is laced with stunning forests, mountain passes, and deep valleys.

The rest of the day and night is at your leisure in Llandudno.

Day 4: Tour the Northern Coast, Snowdonian Mountain Railway & Caernarfon

Explore the beautiful Anglesey coastline
Explore the beautiful Anglesey coastline

Today, get ready to explore Anglesey and the northern coast, where many castles reside. As for the coast, there's a reason that Llandudno has been crowned the "Queen of Welsh Resorts." Its upscale appeal starkly contrasts the wild edges of the Isle of Anglesey, where the waves crash along the South Stack and the breezes eddy around clifftop barrows. This part of Wales offers plenty of opportunities for surfing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, kitesurfing, powerboating, paddleboarding, walking, and birdwatching. So whether you're interested in watersports, scenic strolls, or nature, you'll want to seize the day.

Next, take a two-hour, once-in-a-lifetime adventure on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which has been described as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. Trains depart from Llanberis Station and begin their climb up Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa, a journey experienced by some 12 million travelers since 1896. Its stunning scenery and awe-inspiring views make it quite a memorable afternoon activity in North Wales.

The last stop of the day is a tour of Caernarfon Castle, recognized worldwide as one of the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages. This fortress-palace on the River Seiont has been grouped with Edward I's other castles at ConwyBeaumaris and Harlech—as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In terms of the sheer scale and architectural splendor, Caernarfon reigns supreme. After the eventful day, the evening is yours to enjoy back in Llandudno.

Day 5: Conwy Tales with a Lady of Wales Trail, Craft Beer Tasting in Chester & Depart

Conwy Castle
Follow the lady in a black hat and tour Conwy Castle

The trip's grand finale begins with a 1.5-hour "Conwy Guilded Trail with Tales with a Lady of Wales." This historical tour covers the conquests and river crossings, made interesting with plenty of stories. Your guide is a lady in traditional Welsh costume—tall black hat and all. See the main attractions in Conwy, including Conwy Castle, Plas Mawr Elizabethan townhouse, the Church of St Mary & All Saints, the Town Walls, the quayside, and much more. Hear of the town's rich history and past and present inhabitants, real and ghostly. 

Then, cross over to Chester in England for a 2.5-hour craft beer tasting experience at Chester Brewhouse & Kitchen. Your group expert will welcome you to the brewery and provide background information on each of the eight samples. Find out how to distinguish between your hops and your malt and discover distinct flavors like citrus, apple, and mango. Throughout the masterclass, there are nibbles to pair.

Following your farewell toast, it's time to catch your return flight home. Safe Travels!

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Map

Map of Best of Wales: Cardiff, Brecon Beacons, Llandudno & Conwy - 5 Days
Map of Best of Wales: Cardiff, Brecon Beacons, Llandudno & Conwy - 5 Days