We’re home to 200 miles of coast and more than 45 beaches, as well as one of the most spectacular stretches of the pioneering Wales Coast Path, a world’s first.
Given the prominence of our mountains, it’s not surprising that our coastline can sometimes fly under the radar. But take the time to investigate and you’ll discover beguiling places like the Llŷn Peninsula’s squeaky clean Porth Oer, also known as Whistling Sands. It’s a geological oddity where the beach audibly squeaks beneath your feet, a phenomenon that occurs in only a handful of places worldwide.
Shell Island near Harlech is famous for … guess what? For a sense of the Sahara go to endless Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog, Barmouth or Dinas Dinlle near Caernarfon. And if small and seductive resorts are your coastal cup of tea, you’ll love places like Aberdyfi and Abersoch.
Here’s a quick run-down, from north to south, of some of our coastal highlights:
Land’s end at its most idyllic. This fishing village was the last stop for pilgrims on the way to Ynys Enlli, the ‘Isle of 20,000 Saints’ otherwise known as Bardsey Island, now a National Nature Reserve renowned internationally for its birdlife. Celebrated poet RS Thomas lived in a cottage within the beautiful grounds of Plas yn Rhiw, a small National Trust manor house. Call into the National Trust’s new interpretation centre, Porth y Swnt, for an insight into Llŷn’s special landscapes, seascapes and rich cultural heritage. And be prepared to get blown away by the awesome coastal views from Mynydd Mawr headland.
Llŷn’s ‘capital’ fills many roles - seaside resort with fine blue banner beach, busy market town with art galleries and very popular sailing and watersports centre with one of the best modern marinas in the UK. Hafan Pwllheli gives access to the inviting sailing waters of Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea. See the wildlife – seals, seabirds and dolphins – on coastal cruises. Excellent leisure centre to keep the kids entertained, along with activity-packed Glasfryn Parc. Penarth Fawr medieval house nearby.
Popular – and very fashionable – seaside resort and sailing/watersports centre, with fine beaches and sheltered harbour. Busy bistro life, plus a good choice of accommodation and attractions including pony trekking, boat trips and crafts centre.
Charming little seaside village with superb beach and possibly the most famous – certainly the most photogenic – line of beach huts in Wales. Home to Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, a leading arts centre and gallery. Well located for walking. Also in the area is a shooting school, for beginners and seasoned shooters.
Village set in a landscape full of interest. On Yr Eifl mountains there’s Tre’r Ceiri, an astonishingly well-preserved prehistoric village occupied until about 2,000 years ago. Nant Gwrtheyrn, the Welsh Language and Heritage Centre, is nearby.
Popular north coast seaside village with harbour, a Maritime Museum and graceful crescent of sand leading to picturesque Porthdinllaen. Its headland golf course is not for the faint hearted – it’s like playing off the deck of an aircraft carrier.
How perfect can you get? Not much more than Porthdinllaen, a much-photographed coastal hamlet with quaint houses and waterfront inn set above a beautiful half-moon of sands. Village and beach are owned by the National Trust - access on foot only.