The Ultimate 5 to 7-Day Wales Road Trip Itinerary

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by Neota Langley

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Taking a Wales road trip from the majestic peaks of Snowdonia National Park (known as Eryri in Welsh) to the windswept shores of the Pembrokeshire Coast is the best way to immerse yourself in this land where breath-taking landscapes and charming towns and cities are combined.

Take 5 to 7 days in Wales to fully immerse yourself in the warmth of Welsh hospitality, sample traditional cuisine, and embark on a journey that reveals the fascinating Celtic heritage of this often underrated gem. 

Located on the windswept west coast of the United Kingdom, Wales is home to endless rugged landscapes, ancient history, and a vibrant cultural scene. This enchanting country is not to be overlooked, for it reveals a treasure trove of experiences. Perfect for those who seek to take the road less travelled. 

How Many Days in Wales?

Wales is a country in itself but it is much smaller than the likes of Ireland or Scotland. This makes it the perfect location for a week-long getaway. Although you won’t be able to explore every corner with 5-7 days, that doesn’t mean you can’t easily experience the highlights. 

With 5 days in Wales, you will be able to hit the two largest national parks, the rugged and mountainous Snowdonia and the glorious coastline of Pembrokeshire.

For the purpose of this itinerary, we begin in the north and come to a close in the south which makes this a circular road trip. This means you can experience the variation of this country in a short amount of time.

Depending on your priorities, you could easily swap out some of the more outdoorsy activities for days spent in Wales’ towns and cities. That’s the joy of exploring such a small country.  

If you have 1 week in Wales, you will be able to visit all 3 national parks. Ramble along coastal footpaths, climb mountains and visit the country’s capital, Cardiff. Discover local cuisine such as Bara Brith (fruit loaf), Lava Bread (seaweed) and the incredibly moreish Welsh Cakes.

The Celtic past and delve into the myths and legends that surround Wales. One week is the perfect amount of time to spend in this varied country but if you do have more time on your hands, we have included some additional locations at the end of this itinerary that are worth adding to your route. 

Lighthouse on Llanddwyn Island
Lighthouse on Llanddwyn Island

Getting To & Around Wales

Getting to Wales is relatively straightforward, thanks to its air, rail, road and sea connections. This itinerary is set up as a Wales road trip so, the best way to make the most out of your time here, is by car.

If you are visiting the UK and don’t have a car with you, there are several hire locations across the country where you can pick up, and drop off your hire car. You can browse to compare options.

There are public transport options if you are unable to hire a car but across the more rural parts, the timetables can be sparse. Visiting Wales is doable when relying on public transport but you will have to allow extra time for connections and there may be certain areas you won’t be able to explore. You can view schedules here.

If you are travelling from further afield, there is one major airport in Cardiff which offers flights to a wide range of destinations across Europe and beyond. There are also direct ferries connecting Anglesey and Fishguard with Ireland

Driving through Snowdonia NP
Driving through Snowdonia NP

5-7 Day Wales Itinerary

Welcome to Wales, from the mountains in the north to the golden sandy beaches in the south, this road trip whisks you away on a journey of discovery. Take the slow road and explore the hidden gems throughout this Wales itinerary. 

Day 1 – Anglesey

For the purpose of this itinerary, our road trip begins in the north and you can’t get any further north than the island of Anglesey. Known as the “Mother of Wales,” this island, attached to the mainland by the Menai Bridge, is a wild place full of ancient ruins, windswept landscapes, and picturesque villages. 

Anglesey makes the perfect day trip, although you could easily take longer to explore the coast. Start your day by driving over the Menai Bridge, an iconic suspension bridge connecting Anglesey to mainland Wales.

If you have been stuck in the car for a few hours, you will find the National Trust property Plas Newydd on the other side of the bridge. It’s the perfect place to stretch your legs, with beautiful views across the Menai Strait, especially if you have a four-legged companion. 

There are a few options for spending the day on Anglesey, depending on what you want to see and do with your time. 

For those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and embrace the serenity, head down to Newborough Forest. Take a peaceful stroll amidst the towering pine trees before reaching the stunning Llanddwyn Island. Explore its historic lighthouse, ruins, and peaceful beaches.

To get the best of both worlds, head to South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve, where the South Stack Lighthouse stands proudly against the dramatic coastal backdrop.

Take a stroll along the cliffs for breathtaking views out to sea. Then, in the afternoon, you will have time to explore Holyhead, the largest town on Anglesey. Visit St. Cybi’s Church and unwind beside the Holyhead Harbour. 

For the evening, return to the mainland, maybe making a pit stop a the incredible Conwy Castle or Caernarfon Castle on the north coast. For the first two nights of this itinerary, we will be based in or around Snowdonia National Park

Menai Suspension Bridge
Menai Suspension Bridge

Where to Stay Near Snowdonia National Park

Hafan Artro – This small hotel in the village of Llanbedr is a great base for exploring North Wales. They have free on-site parking, a full breakfast and a range of comfortable rooms available.

The Tilman – Those after luxury will love this 5-star hotel during their time in North Wales. They have several luxe rooms to choose from, a fab breakfast available and amenities including an on-site bar to enjoy.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Snowdonia hotels!

Day 2 – Snowdon (Eryri)

After a peaceful day enjoying the sea breeze over on the island of Anglesey, it’s time to lace up those hiking boots to head up to the tallest mountain in Wales, Snowdon (Eryri in Welsh). 

For those who love walking and want to complete the challenge of the ascent, the hike up to the summit is beautiful and accessible for most fitness levels/ages during the summer months.

For those who would rather reserve their energy, there is a train that chugs up the steep mountainside to reach the top from Llanberis. No effort required. 

If you are hiking, it’s best to set out early. During the peak season, the path can become crowded, especially later in the day. There are 6 pedestrian routes to the summit but the two that start and finish on the Pen Y Pass road are the best.

You can also create a circuit with these two routes which gives a little more diversity than the other paths. You can park your car in the Pan y Pass car park but you will need to book ahead for a spot during the summer.

Head out on the ‘Pyg’ trail and return on the ‘Miners’ – this way, you could pack your swimwear and take a dip in the Llyn Llydaw, a chilly mountain lake, to cool off on the return. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear, pack a coat and take plenty of snacks and water.

The weather can change very quickly in the mountains so it’s always best to be prepared, even if it’s a beautiful sunny day in the car park. 

You will most likely spend the entire day in the mountains, the hike takes between 6-8 hours. If you are an inexperienced hiker and prefer to go with a guide you can join a hiking tour or organise a private hike.

As you return to your car, it’s likely you will need to have a good meal to replenish your energy. There are plenty of cosy pubs offering meals beside the fire around the area, including ‘The Heights’ in Llanberis.

There is also a pizza restaurant serving the best wood-fired pizzas in North Wales called ‘Hangin Pizzeria’ in Betws-y-Coed a short drive away which is definitely worth the trip.  

View from Mount Snowdon
View from Mount Snowdon

Day 3 – Portmeirion/Mid Wales 

After spending 2 nights in North Wales, day 3 is a road trip day. We have added a few options for pit stops along the way so depending on how much time you have, you could visit one or all three.

The drive itself takes between 3-4 hours depending on where exactly your accommodation is. There is one main road down the west coast of Wales and you’re in luck, it’s an incredibly scenic drive through mountains and along the coast road. 

Our first stop is a slight detour from the main road but is well worth visiting, especially during the summer months when the sun is shining. 

Portmeirion – Is this really Wales? You’d be forgiven for confusing the village of Portmeirion with a quaint village in Italy. It defies convention with an enchanting blend of Italianate architecture and lush landscapes.

Conceived by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this colourful haven transports visitors to a Mediterranean-inspired realm, adorned with pastel buildings, cobbled streets, and exotic gardens. 

Stop number two is the charming coastal town of Aberystwyth. Mid Wales is often overlooked but it is a real hidden gem, with the Cambrian mountains on one side, and Cardigan Bay on the other.

Home to Aberystwyth University, this town exudes a youthful energy, with vibrant cafes, shops, and cultural spaces. You will find the mediaeval castle ruins on one side of the promenade and the funicular railway up Constitution Hill on the other.

Aberystwyth offers endless options for exploration, from spending time on the beach, treating yourself to some authentic Welsh cuisine, hiking in the hills, to rummaging through the independent shops along the high street. If you only have time to stop once on your journey south, Aberystwyth is the place to visit. 

The final stop is the quaint coastal market town of Fishguard. This maritime town is the gateway to Pembrokeshire but also serves as a ferry port to the Republic of Ireland.

The town is famed for the Last Invasion of Britain in 1797, an event commemorated by the impressive tapestry found in the Town Hall. Take a stroll to enjoy breathtaking views from the cliff tops overlooking Fishguard Bay before exploring the winding streets lined with Georgian and Victorian architecture, uncovering local shops and cafes along the way.

For the next 3 nights on this Wales itinerary, we will be based around Pembrokeshire National Park. In terms of accommodation, selecting a central location is a strategic move and will help cut down on driving hours.  

Village of Portmeirion
Village of Portmeirion

Where to Stay in Pembrokeshire

Coach Guest House – This guesthouse in Tenby is a great base in Pembrokeshire. They have plenty of comfortable rooms to choose from and a wonderful breakfast each morning.

The Park Hotel – Situated in South Wales just outside of Tenby, this hotel is a great, peaceful getaway in the region. They have beautiful rooms (some with sea views) and a swimming pool on site.

Beachcomber B&B – This beachfront bed and breakfast is another excellent base for exploring Pembrokeshire. They have several delightful rooms to choose from along with an exceptional breakfast available.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Pembrokeshire hotels!

Day 4 – Pembrokeshire – North

We kick off day 4 in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Home to meandering cliff paths, turquoise waters and long stretches of sandy beaches, this is Wales’ answer to the Riviera.

For the purpose of this itinerary, we have split this vast area into two days. It may look like a small national park but with most of the roads being windy country lanes, it can take time to get from one location to the next. 

The unofficial capital of this National Park is St Davids, Britain’s smallest city. Despite its city status, St Davids exudes a charming village atmosphere, characterised by its stunning cathedral, historic sites, local boutiques and a backdrop of rolling hills and pristine beaches. 

Any day trip to this micro-city should start at the magnificent St David’s Cathedral. Dating back to the 12th century, this beautiful building stands as a testament to the city’s religious significance, drawing pilgrims from around the world. 

St Davids also serves as a gateway to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, a renowned long-distance trail hugging the rugged Welsh coastline. The nearby St Davids Peninsula, with its secluded coves and panoramic vistas and is within walking distance from the city centre,  giving you ample opportunity to explore its natural wonders. 

The centre of the city can become very crowded during the peak summer months and, due its size, parking can be tricky. It’s best to arrive early to make sure you bag a spot and can explore for the rest of the day without worrying. 

Pembrokeshire is a coastal paradise, so it’s only right that our next destination is a beautiful sandy beach. Framed by towering cliffs and rolling sand dunes, Marloes Sands is one of the more ‘off the beaten track’ beaches in this National Park and even during the busiest seasons, there is plenty of space to spread out and find your own slice of tranquillity.

The expansive sands reveal intricate rock formations, tidal pools, and the iconic “Church Rock,” a limestone stack rising dramatically from the sea.

The beach is also a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, as seabirds soar overhead and seals often bask on the offshore rocks. Make sure you take note of the tide times before visiting, at high tide there is little to no sand visible. 

Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Day 5 – Pembrokeshire – South

Day 5 begins in the unassuming village of Bosherston. As with most of the destinations in Pembrokeshire, it’s best to arrive early to make sure you get a parking spot.

Bosherston is a very small village, with just a campsite, a handful of houses, a pub and a cafe. The reason this quaint village is so popular is what is hidden beneath the trees beyond the car park, the Lily Pools.

These beautiful lakes are full of lily pads and if you visit in July/August, the flowers will be in full bloom. There is a circular path around the lakes but if you take a short diversion, you will emerge from the treeline onto the coast at Broad Haven South Beach.

This hidden bay is complete with golden sands, surrounding countryside and breathtaking rock formations.  

After spending the morning soaking in the best of Wales’ coastline, it’s time to head into the seaside town of Tenby. Although Tenby is a town, it is much larger than St Davids and there are plenty of ways to spend your afternoon.

The town’s three golden-sand beaches invite sun-seekers from around the world, while the mediaeval town walls surround the quirky, vibrant atmosphere of the town’s shops, galleries, and cafes. Explore the bustling harbour, where fishing boats bob on the tide, or take a short boat trip to Caldey Island, home to a tranquil abbey and lighthouse.

If you only have 5 days for your trip to Wales, Tenby is the perfect place to round off your trip. From here, you will be able to reach the M4 in just one hour or, if you are using public transport, there is a train station just outside of the walled town centre.

Make sure you grab a bite to eat before you leave, Tenby is home to some excellent up-and-coming restaurants and street food stalls such as Tap & Tan, Ultracomida and Lokky’s. 

The charming seaside village of Tenby
The charming seaside village of Tenby

Day 6 – Brecon Beacons 

If you have dedicated a whole week to exploring Wales then you’re in luck, our next destination is the rugged Brecon Beacons National Park.

A true hiker’s paradise, the Beacons are much smaller than the mountains of Snowdonia but they can be equally as beautiful and are much more accessible for every level of adventurer. Encompassing lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and ancient woodlands, this national park has it all. 

If you loved climbing to the summit of Snowdon, it’s only right that you also bag Pen y Fan, the highest peak in southern Britain. Towering over the rolling hills that surround it, Pen Y Fan stands at 886m.

The climb is moderate and is accessible to most, with an easy-to-follow, non-technical path. The journey begins from the popular trailhead at Pont ar Daf, winding through heather-clad slopes and rocky terrain. As you ascend, the panoramic views are revealed, step by step. 

Climbing Pen Y Fan is a popular choice for a day trip in the Brecon Beacons, but for a unique adventure that is a little further from the beaten path, you’ll want to head over to the other side of the National Park to discover the magical trails of Waterfall Country.

Here, a meandering path leads you deep into the ancient forest, venturing along the trails of the Mellte and Hepste Rivers. The highlight is the Four Falls Trail, a mesmerising circular route leading to four breathtaking waterfalls – Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd y Pannwr, and the awe-inspiring Sgwd yr Eira.

Each waterfall has its own unique charm but at Sgwd Y Eira, you can actually walk behind the curtain of water to the otherside. This is also a popular place to go wild swimming in the fresh Welsh mountain river. 

Last on our list of things to do in the Brecon Beacons is the Llyn Y Fan Fach circular hike. This horseshoe walk is much quieter than the Pen Y Fan horseshoe but the incredible views and dramatic geology make it a real hidden gem.

Ascent behind the lake to walk along the ridgeline then loop back around, passing another hidden lake. The real highlight is this legendary hidden valley, where the Lady of the Lake is said to have risen from the waters.

This mythological past, coupled with the tranquil beauty of the lake and mountain views, makes the Llyn y Fan Fach walk a must-do for any adventurer visiting the Brecon Beacons. Plan to spend the night in Cardiff.

Hiking Pen Y Fan
Hiking Pen Y Fan

Where to Stay in Cardiff

Parador 44 – This hip hotel is an excellent mid-range option in the centre of Cardiff. They have several modern rooms on offer, an on-site restaurant serving Spanish cuisine and a superb breakfast each morning.

Future Inn Cardiff Bay – This luxe hotel is wonderful for those after a plush stay in Cardiff. Located within easy walking distance of Bute Park and Cardiff Castle, there is a wonderful restaurant on-site along with amenities like room service to enjoy.

The Spires Serviced Apartments – These pet-friendly apartments are perfect for those looking for a self-catering option in the Welsh capital. They have several furnish flats to choose from and a great location for exploring the city.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Cardiff hotels!

Day 7 – Cardiff 

Seeing as we are rounding off our trip to Wales in the south, it would be a shame to miss out the country’s capital, Cardiff. This city blends its rich history with a modern day vibrancy, there is plenty to see and do whether you want to discover the castle, spend the day shopping or immerse yourself in Wales’ favourite sport, rugby. 

The city’s iconic skyline is dominated by Cardiff Castle, a mediaeval ruin nestled in the heart of the bustling metropolis.

Take a stroll through Bute Park, a natural oasis perched along the River Taff, before immersing yourself in the cultural delights of the National Museum.

It’s also worth making a short detour to visit the recently modernised waterfront of Cardiff Bay which houses the Wales Millennium Centre and a plethora of shops and restaurants.

If you are a night owl, you will find plenty to do in the city centre as the darkness draws in. From mysterious cocktail bars to thumping nightclubs, this is a university city which really comes alive after dark. 

Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle

Have More Time?

The Gower

If you have more than one week to spend exploring Wales, there are a few additional stops along the way that are worth adding to your itinerary. The first being the coastline just beyond the city of Swansea, known as The Gower Peninsula. 

Designated as the UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Gower is home to iconic spots like Rhossili Bay, with its sweeping sands and the famous rocky outcrop of Worm’s Head. The peninsula is dotted with mediaeval castles, such as Pennard Castle, overlooking Three Cliffs Bay.

A true haven for water enthusiasts, the Gower offers world-class surfing at Llangennith, and opportunities to discover secluded coves by paddleboarding and kayaking.

Wye Valley / Offa’s Dyke

On the border between Wales and England, you will find Offa’s Dyke, an ancient earthwork tracing this historic frontier built by King Offa in the 8th century. Spanning 177 miles, it weaves across diverse landscapes, from rolling hills to woodlands.

Today, the dyke serves as a long-distance trail for hikers and nature enthusiasts, revealing remnants of history along the way, including ancient forts and Roman ruins. 

You can explore this trail the entire way down the spine of Wales but the section that runs through the Wye Valley is the most breathtaking and is well worth taking a day to explore. Carved by nature, this UNESCO-listed Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty follows the river Wye, bordered by ancient woodlands and towering limestone cliffs.

Climb up to Symonds Yat Rock, a scenic viewpoint above the village, offering breathtaking vistas of the river winding through the valley. Don’t forget to visit Tintern Abbey, a Gothic masterpiece, founded in 1131. Its soaring arches and weathered stone walls stand as a thought-provoking testament to centuries past.

Llyn Peninsula

Another destination that is a little further from the beaten path is the rugged Llyn Peninsula. Often forgotten in favour of Snowdonia and Anglesey, this coastal haven juts out of north Wales into the wild Irish Sea.

Renowned for its rugged landscapes and picturesque villages, the peninsula boasts enchanting beaches like Porth Neigwl and Porth Oer. Aberdaron, a charming coastal village, marks the far western tip, with its quaint charm and the historic St Hywyn’s Church.

The Llyn Coastal Path meanders along the shoreline, offering panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and Snowdonia.  If you want a peaceful holiday away from the crowds, even in the high season, the Llyn Peninsula is the perfect destination. 

Llyn Peninsula
Llyn Peninsula

Wales may be a small country but with hidden valleys, towering mountains, golden sands and mystical waterfalls, it really does have everything. With ample opportunities to discover hidden gems, Wales is one of those destinations that will always leave you wanting more. 

Are you planning to visit Wales? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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