Wales is a great place to visit as a solo traveller – it’s safe, the people are friendly and hospitable and there’s plenty to see and do which doesn’t require a travel partner. Read on if you’re thinking of going to this beautiful country alone.
Wales has two official languages: English and Welsh. Pretty much everyone speaks English but Welsh is still alive and well, with plans to increase the number of speakers. Currently around 19% of the population speak it. Welsh is called Cymraeg in Welsh, and you’ll see it on road signs (along with the English) and hear it spoken, especially in certain smaller villages. It is a phonetic language, so once you know the rules, you can learn to pronounce it relatively easily. Learning a few words of greeting and making sure you pronounce place names correctly will go down very well with locals but you can certainly get by with only English.
Wales is a very safe country in which to travel and you’re unlikely to experience any problems. As with travelling anywhere alone, you might want to avoid walking around certain areas at night and keep an eye on your belongings but ultimately you shouldn’t need to take any special precautions above those you’d take elsewhere. One thing which may shock the more faint-hearted is a night out in the capital on a weekend. Cardiff is the ‘binge drinking capital of the UK’, and walking down one of the busier streets such as St Mary’s can definitely get… lively, especially after a big rugby match at the Millennium Stadium. The atmosphere is mostly good natured however, and definitely not something to avoid if you love the sport.
There’s plenty of accommodation to choose from in Wales, from boutique hotels to budget options. Where you stay can increase your chances of meeting people if you fancy some company on your solo trip. Hostels in particular are a good place to get chatting to other travelers and a stay at an Airbnb will automatically put you in touch with a local who will most likely be happy to share information about the area. If you plan on travelling through the countryside you might want to consider camping. There are lots of campsites in incredibly picturesque locations and if you have a tent it can be a cheap and rewarding way to see Wales.
Wales doesn’t have the best transport infrastructure but there are trains and buses to most of the major destinations, although you may need to hire a car to reach some of the natural attractions, such as the world class but wild and secluded beaches. Buses are the cheapest form of public transport: see Megabus or National Express for cross-country trips, and there are local bus services too. Arriva Trains Wales is the Welsh train service but UK-wide services cover many of the same routes. Booking your trains in advance will reduce the price, often significantly. Try Trainline for cheap deals.
If planning how you’ll get around and see things isn’t your strong point then a tour could be perfect for you. With lots of tour companies in Wales and almost all of them accepting individual travellers, it can be a way of meeting people, efficiently seeing the sights and benefitting from the expertise of guides. See Wales Tours offers, for example, guided day tours out of Cardiff, day excursions and daily walking tours around the city. Longer trips are available from the likes of BusyBus, which does minibreaks with several different stop-off points.