The 22 Most Beautiful Towns in Wales

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Gethin Morgan

Content and CRM Executive

There are countless picturesque little towns and villages dotted across Wales that offer jaw-dropping vistas, friendly local communities and incredible sandy beaches, not to mention ancient castles and mountain towns draped in folklore. Here are 22 of the most interesting or beautiful places to visit to get a real feel for the beauty, history and sense of community that Wales has to offer.

1. Beaumaris

Natural Feature

Beaumaris castle in wales. A lovely place to be.
Gabriel Kiener / Unsplash

The northern island of Ynys Mon (Anglesey) is home to several lovely villages – Cemaes, Rhosneigr and, of course, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – all of which are worth visiting, but none are quite as impressive as Beaumaris. The remarkably symmetrical Beaumaris Castle, a Unesco World Heritage site, looms over the village and looks out over the calm Menai Strait. The village itself boasts a wide variety of well-kept historical architecture that house a range of cafes, restaurants, craft shops and pubs. Meanwhile the surrounding area, known by some as the Anglesey Riviera, has a number of excellent unspoilt beaches. It’s also well worth taking a cruise to Puffin Island, where you can spot seals, dolphins and, you guessed it, lots of puffins. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

2. Llanrwst

Natural Feature

Tu Hwnt Ir Bont, Llanrwst, Wales
Colin Jones / Unsplash

On the eastern border of Snowdonia National Park is the small market town of Llanrwst. It’s most notable for a beautiful three-arched stone bridge, built in 1636 to give access to Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, a manor house-turned-National Trust property that does an excellent afternoon tea. History hides in every corner of town, from Llywelyn the Great’s coffin in Gwydir Uchaf Chapel, to Gwydir Castle, one of the most haunted buildings in Wales. Even Gwydir Forest is a place full of Robin Hood-style folktales – we recommend wandering the Lady Mary Walk, a gentle woodland hike that passes Gwydir Chapel en route to two lakes, Llyn Geirionydd and Llyn Crafnant, both of which are rarely visited and lovely for wild swimming. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

3. Llangollen

Natural Feature

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Station Road, Trevor, Llangollen, Wales
Neeraj Pramanik / Unsplash

This magical northeastern town offers adventurous opportunities for travellers slow and fast. Hop on a steam train and journey the Llangollen Heritage Railway, a breathtaking 10mi (16km) route that meanders through the verdant Dee Valley. Then there’s Llangollen Canal, an equally beautiful passage that blends natural beauty with engineering excellence, typified by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the largest navigable aqueduct in Britain. Harrison Ford has been spotted on the canal in the past, so it’s good enough for us. Explorers looking for more of an adrenaline rush can enjoy white-water rafting, gorge scrambling, rock climbing and axe throwing. The town itself is home to a range of charming country pubs, cafes and boutique shops. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

4. Solva

Natural Feature

Boats in Solva harbour, Pembrokeshire Wales
John-Mark Strange / Unsplash

The River Solva juts into the Pembrokeshire coast and through the quaint village that shares its name. A small harbour lies in between two vibrant green headlands sprinkled with pastel-coloured buildings, which include B&Bs, art galleries, pubs and restaurants. It almost feels entirely cut off from the rest of the world, like a West Walian version of the Cinque Terre. Fishing, sailing and canoeing are all on the cards, while its location towards the Western tip of Wales places you in the perfect position to explore the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

5. Beddgelert

Historical Landmark

Stone bridge in the pretty mountain town of Beddgelert, Snownonia, Wales
Korng Sok / Unsplash

This enchanting little stone-built village is our pick for a base if you’re planning to hike up the highest mountain in Wales, Yr Wyddfa. The place is as historic as it looks – its name translates to Gelert’s Grave, Gelert being the legendary dog of ​​Llywelyn the Great. You’ll learn plenty about the canine folk hero in the many quirky shops and traditional pubs that populate the village, and you can visit the grave itself at the end of a short but scenic walk. The surrounding area is full of rich woodland, dramatic hiking routes and mountain lakes. Highlights include Aberglaslyn Pass to the south, Nant Gwynant to the east and, of course, the mountain itself to the north. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

6. Aberaeron

Natural Feature

Colourful houses on the harbourfront of Aberaeron, Wales
Andy Newton / Unsplash

Take a scenic coastal trip south of Aberystwyth and you’ll come across the postcard-ready harbour town of Aberaeron. The multicoloured houses, keeping a watchful eye over bobbing marina boats, almost look like something from a children’s TV show. The town, which is sleepy in winter and buzzy in summer, hosts a bustling annual carnival and seafood festival. Grab an ice cream from The Hive, fish and chips from New Celtic, or treat yourself to a delicious meal at Harbourmaster or The Cellar. Unsurprisingly, the seafood is excellent at both. If you’re looking for a sandy beach then head south to the equally pretty New Quay, also home to a number of outstanding restaurants. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

7. Betws-y-Coed

Architectural Landmark

Betws-y-Coed, Wales
Colin Jones / Unsplash

Regarded as the gateway to Eryri (Snowdonia), this charming old village sits prettily at the foot of Wales’ largest mountains. Surrounded by dense forestry and watched over by craggy mountain peaks, whoever first established this community certainly picked a scenic spot. The town itself is notable for its charming high street, dotted with excellent eateries and ice cream shops, as well as an array of accommodation options and adventure supply stores. This is very much a popular base for those exploring the national park, so expect a real buzz around town in peak seasons. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

8. Chepstow

Architectural Landmark

Chepstow Castle, Wales
Krisztina Papp / Unsplash

Chepstow lies in Monmouthshire, not far from the border with England on the River Wye. It was here in the Wye Valley that “picturesque tourism” began in the 1780s, when the writer William Gilpin wrote his Observations on the River Wye and coined the term. The ‘Wye Tour’ emerged soon after and was popular with wealthy travelers who started up the river at Ross-on-Wye, sailed past sites like Tintern Abbey and Goodrich Castle, and finally came into Chepstow. There they were confronted with the magnificent Norman castle ruins on the cliffs above the river, the medieval town walls and gates, and the old Benedictine Priory. Today the town is still dominated by the castle, with plenty of handsome Georgian townhouses in the centre. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

9. Laugharne

Architectural Landmark

Welsh estuary with single boat in Laugharne, Wales
link bekka / Unsplash

Laugharne on the Taf Estuary is famous for its connection to Dylan Thomas, the poet, and for its setting on the south coast. The town was once known as Abercorran; its castle built originally by Welsh princes before being rebuilt in the 13th century. During the Civil Wars of the 1640s, the castle was held by Major General Rowland Laugharne for the Parliamentarians before switching to the Royalists, with the town taking its name from the General. Laugharne is still administered by its medieval corporation, with its own law courts and one of only two remaining open-field systems of farming in the UK. Dylan Thomas based Llareggub in his play, Under Milk Wood, on Laugharne and wrote in his writing shed above the Taf. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

10. Caerphilly

Architectural Landmark

Caerphilly Castle viewed from above, Wales
Nick Russill / Unsplash

North of Cardiff in the valley of the Rhymey River lies Caerphilly, a town whose origins go all the way back to the Roman period. The name Caerphilly means ‘the fort of St Ffili,’ the common Welsh word caer meaning fort or citadel, the equivalent of the English suffix –chester. Caerphilly is dominated by its castle, which was built from the 1270s onwards by Gilbert de Clare during his conquest of Glamorgan and is the largest in Wales and second largest in the UK after Windsor. The town developed south of the castle very slowly and remained small until the 19th century. Today, it is surrounded by country parks and forests. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

11. Hay-on-Wye

Architectural Landmark

Shopfront in Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Wales
Yukon Haughton / Unsplash

Hay is right on the Welsh border with England, with the next village being part of Herefordshire. The unspoilt country town is famous for its status as the first book-town of the UK, with an economy now largely built on second-hand bookshops, and has been the home of the Hay literary festival since 1988. Hay lies perched at the northern tip of the Black Mountains; an important strategic position during the Middle Ages. The 12th-century castle stands right in the middle of the town and is partly in ruins, with the grounds and outbuildings being used, inevitably, as second-hand book stalls. Back in the 1970s, Hay declared its ‘independence’ led by Richard Booth, the man who started the second-hand book trade in town by venturing to America to buy up discarded library stock. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

12. Caernarfon

Architectural Landmark

Caernarfon, Wales, view from the castle
Callum Parker / Unsplash

The most famous of Welsh castle towns, Caernarfon stands on the shores of the Menai Strait looking across to Anglesey. Once a Roman town, it was later held by Welsh princes before becoming a fortress for the Norman invaders and a huge castle site built by Edward I during his conquest of Gwynedd. The medieval walls of the town form part of a Unesco World Heritage Site with the castle and others across North Wales. There are many other historic buildings still in the city, including the haunted Black Boy Inn that dates back to 1522, close to the town walls. It was in the castle that Prince Charles was invested with his position as Prince of Wales in 1969. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

13. Portmeirion

Architectural Landmark

Portmeirion, Wales
shawnanggg / Unsplash
Portmeirion is one of the strangest places in all of Wales; it’s not your typical town and is run specifically for visitors. It lies on the north coast just inland on the River Dwyrd and was the brainchild of the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. Built over the course of half a century from 1925 to 1975, Portmeirion pays homage to the architecture of Italian fishing villages on the Mediterranean. Expect lots of domes and cupolas, pleasure gardens and piazzas, inventive gables and brightly coloured facades. It’s all designed to be light-hearted, romantic and eminently picturesque. And, famously, it has been a favorite of TV producers over the years, especially in the case of the 60s show, The Prisoner, which was filmed here. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

14. Pembroke

Architectural Landmark

Pembroke Castle, Pembroke, Wales
Holly Hoare / Unsplash

Pembroke, on the southwestern tip of Wales, is amongst the most historic of Welsh towns. Formerly the county town of the picturesque Pembrokeshire region, it’s famed for its huge castle standing at the centre of the town overlooking the Pembroke River. It was here in the 15th century that Henry Tudor, later Henry VII and the founder of the dynasty that took his name, was born. Wildlife, including otters and kingfishers, can often be seen along the riverbanks. The town, with its ancient walls and Norman castle, has often been used as a location for TV adaptations of Shakespeare’s works plus it was the backdrop for the film, The Lion in Winter, starring Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.


This picturesque seaside spot in the midwest is surrounded by some of the best stretches of sand in the whole country. The expansive main beach stretches 3mi (4.8km) from the Dyfi Estuary right up to the neighbouring town of Tywyn. There are water sports galore, with sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing all popular hobbies in Cardigan Bay, while south of the river is the surfing hotspot of Borth, and the majestic sand dunes of Ynyslas. Meanwhile there’s also a championship golf course, a range of excellent hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses, as well as some delightful restaurants that take full advantage of the area’s rich fishing culture. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.


OK, calling Abereiddi a town, or even a village, is a bit of a stretch. The reason it makes this list is simple – the Blue Lagoon. Where there was once a slate quarry, active until 1910, now sits one of the most beautiful bodies of water in Wales. The quarry wall was blasted away, and the sea flooded in, but the minerals from the slate give the water a hazy aqua-blue tint. The lagoon is popular for snorkelling, kayaking and diving – the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series made its UK debut here in 2012 – while the surrounding craggy cliffs are renowned for coasteering. There are countless holiday cottages and a couple of campsites nearby, and down the road is St Davids, one of the smallest cities in the world. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

Devil’s Bridge

Another place named after a folktale, albeit a slightly less plausible one, is Devil’s Bridge. The tale involves an old lady separated from her cow by water. Satan shows up and offers to build a bridge in exchange for the soul of the first living creature to cross it. Needless to say the old lady outwits Lucifer and, as legend goes, the Devil never returned to Wales. Anyway, the bridge is an iconic spot set among the glorious Cambrian Mountains, near Mynach Falls, an extraordinary 300ft (91m) waterfall that’s well worth risking a dance with the Devil to see. You can also treat yourself at Sarah Bunton Chocolates, explore the nearby Hafod Estate for lush woodland, or head 12mi (19km) west to the lively town of Aberystwyth. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.


Criccieth is where the two biggest draws of North Wales are best combined. Look one way and you’ll see epic vistas of Snowdonia. Turn around and you’ll find yourself staring at the hypnotic Cardigan Bay horizon. Luckily, for a resort town so perfectly placed on the coast, there’s a fairly laid-back atmosphere here. The two beaches are peaceful – perfect for a morning or evening stroll – and separated by a headland castle steeped in history. Nearby you’ll find excellent hiking trails, exciting adventure sports and easy access to the quirky town of Portmeirion. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.


On the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd, the North’s answer to Pembrokeshire, are a number of the finest beaches in Wales. One is Porth Neigwl, also known as Hell’s Mouth, but just down the road is Aberdaron Beach, a mile-long stretch of sand, rock pools and caves that are perfect for exploring, as well as a nicely curved bay that will have water sports enthusiasts running for their wetsuit. The village itself is small but well-equipped for a coastal retreat, while the surrounding coastline is spectacular. We also recommend taking a boat ride out to Ynys Enlli, a remote island with a rewarding hiking trail populated by a rich variety of wildlife. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.


Dale is a focal point for water sports, thanks to the mile-wide sheltered bay on the Milford Haven waterway, perfect for sailing and kayaking. There’s also a water sports school in town that can take you paddleboarding or surfing. For sand and seclusion, head across the bay to Marloes Sands, while further along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path is Martins Haven, where you can hop on a boat across to Skomer Island, an incredible hub for wildlife, most notably a large puffin colony. After a day of exploring, head back to The Griffin and grab a pint of Welsh ale and some delicious seafood-heavy pub grub. From there, make your way to the roof terrace, where you can gaze out at the spellbinding Milford Haven as the sun gently slides behind the sea. Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

St David’s

St David’s is the smallest city in the UK and has the feel of a small town. It’s located deep in Pembrokeshire close to the coast on St David’s Peninsula. The small town is where St David, the patron saint of Wales, was buried and where he founded a monastery in the 6th century that grew into the cathedral. It became a major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages, bringing kings and paupers here to see the relics of the saint. Today, the town is centered on the 12th Cathedral and the huge ruins of the Bishops’ Palace next door. The south-eastern tip of Ireland sits just across the Irish Sea from it. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.


The small town of Crickhowell, in the Brecon Beacons National Park, sits on the road from Abergavenny to Brecon on the River Usk. Tourists come here in the summer months for hillwalking and fishing in the nearby countryside, and to explore the unspoilt town. Famously the bridge at Crickhowell, built in the 18th century, spans the river over 100m from bank-to-bank, and has 12 arches on one side and 13 on the other. Crickhowell Castle, built by the Turberville family, leading generals of Edward I, and later held by the Mortimers, is now in ruins high above the valley of the Usk. Recommended by Matthew Keyte.

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