With a good 20,000 square kilometres, Wales is the smallest part of Great Britain. It borders the Irish Sea to the north, the St. George Canal to the west and the Bristol Canal to the south. Steep coasts and extensive beaches stretch for more than 1,200 kilometres and are populated by countless seabirds. The interior of the country is characterised by meadows, moors and rugged mountains. The highest mountains are in the north. The Yr Wyddfa (1,085 meters) is protected by the Snowdonia National Park. The capital is Cardiff on the south coast, a Roman settlement that became the world's largest coal port during the Welsh coal boom.
Mountain viewpoint with sea view
The Welsh seaside resort with 11,000 inhabitants is located on Cardigan Bay. The locals often shorten it's name to “Aber”. On the top of Constitution Hill is a park with restaurants, arcades and a camera obscura. From up there you have the best view of the city and along the coast, which already inspired the painter William Turner. A meandering walkway to the top was created as part of the project. You can also take the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, city cable car of 1896. The three-kilometer-long beach promenade is dotted with cafes.
Moors, mountains and dense forests
The Brecon Beacons (Welsh: Bannau Brycheiniog) are a mountain chain in southeast Wales. The name refers to the medieval mountaintop beacons used to warn of marauding Angle Saxons. The mountain chain forms the center of Brecon Beacons National Park, which covers nearly 1,400 square kilometers and is probably the most beautiful of the three Welsh national parks. Just west of the Beacons lies Fforest Fawr, a large dense forest that has been declared a UNESCO Geopark. The national park is a great place for hiking, biking, horseback riding, sailing, windsurfing and canoeing.
From the border fortress to the Renaissance castle
The medieval castle on a steep rocky outcrop on the Severn River changed hands several times during the border wars between England and Wales. It once belonged to a dynasty of Welsh princes. Their last representative, Owain ap Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, renounced the title in 1286 and swore loyalty to King Edward I of England. Thus the castle was not destroyed and was inhabited without major interruption. The showpiece of the castle are the Italian-style terraces on the south-eastern side which were created around 1660, animated by stone balustrades, stately vases and lead statues.
National Trust Touring Pass
Splendid half-timbered houses in the shadow of the castle
The village in the south of the Clwyd valley consists of magnificent half-timbered houses from the 14th to 17th centuries. The houses are grouped around a hill on which a mighty castle is enthroned. It was built in the 13th century from the red sandstone of the surrounding area. The building was preserved until the 17th century. It has recently been partially restored and is now one of the most luxurious hotels in Wales, known for medieval banquets with harp music.
Picturesque ruins on the River Wye
Among graceful hills between England and Wales stands one of the most beautiful ruins of the British Isles: Tintern Abbey on the west banks of the meandering river Wye. The abbey was founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks. After the dissolution of the order under Henry VIII., the abbey fell into disrepair. Its picturesque remnants have inspired famous landscape painters such as William Turner. Nearby is Caerwent, the most important and best preserved Roman city in Wales.