It is often the overlooked itineraries that keep in store the best of surprises, the most unforgettable memories and not to mention, some pretty rad vacation photos. Wales, the smallest component country of mainland Britain is home to castles, arcades, historic sites, breathtaking gardens and vintage railways as well. Greet ‘sut mae’ (Hello in Welsh) to start up a conversation with ever-friendly locals and get comfy in your English adventure of Wales. By Shubhanjana Das
An absolute no-brainer when visiting Wales, Snowdonia’s mesmerising range of mountains and hills in the county of Gwynedd consists of 14 major peaks, with the highest towering to 3,450 ft., the tallest in Wales and England. From the coast of Bala Lake extends the Snowdonia National Park, famous amongst the British lot for hiking and climbing trails.
2. Caernarfon Castle
While the Welsh landscape is dotted with more than 500 castles big and small, old and (relatively) new, Caernarfon Castle is definitely one of the more famous ones, besides Snowy Castle which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town around Caernarfon used to be a Roman town, which was later held by Welsh Princes after which it went on to become a fortress for the Norman invaders. This is to say that Caernarfon Castle exemplifies all the history and glory that Welsh castles hold and are anything but ordinary. It has 13 towers and two gates, and has hosted its share of royalty.
3. Brecon Beacons National Park
The Welsh lifestyle is a lot about the outdoors and revolves around nature. No wonder the second must-visit destination in Wales is another national park — the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is bordered by two different sets of Black Mountains, one known for its wild ponies while the other being the source of River Usk. This 520-square-mile is considered paradise for hikers as the height barely goes any higher than 2,000 ft., keeping the altitude gentle. Don’t forget to visit the Henrhyd Falls at Coelbren, one of the many on this trail.
Perhaps the most impressive of this lot is Anglesey — this isle is populated by small fishing villages and is separated from the mainland by the mile-wide Menai Strait, connected by the Menai Suspension Bridge. The smaller Salt Island offers some great scope for bird watching while Holy Island is a popular holiday resort. The town also houses the world’s longest place name for a village that is way too small for it: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Why go there? For the photo ops, especially that of the railway sign board, bearing the name of the village.