Wales is a Celtic country in the United Kingdom. Known for its friendly locals, rugged coastlines, beaches, castles, and national parks, this is a great place to see something different.
Committed to preserving its history, Wales has a number of fascinating medieval castles waiting to be explored.
Add in natural wonders like caves, flower gardens, waterfalls, mountains, and lakes, and it makes a perfect trip for fans of the outdoors. There are many things to do and see here.
This Wales travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
- Power: Power voltage is 230V at 50 Hz.
- Currency: The official currency is the Pound Sterling and 1 Pound Sterling is equal to 1.22 USD.
- Getting Around: The best way to get around is by car. You check for great prices here.
- Entry Requirements: You do not need a visa to enter, just a U.S. passport valid for 6 months after your departure date.
- Sim Cards: 02, Vodafone, Three, and EE are the main mobile providers and a SIM card can be purchased through any of them by visiting their official stores or local supermarkets and kiosks.
- Tax: The sales tax rate is 5.1%.
- If you are traveling for a short time, we use KnowRoaming International SIM for all our travels.
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Budget: You can find a number of budget hotels and B&Bs for 15- 50 pounds per night. Enjoy private rooms, free breakfast, en-suite bathrooms, and Wi-Fi, and central locations. Many of these hotels come in 17th-century-style buildings, adding extra charm to the place.
Mid-Range: For mid-range hotels, expect to pay between 65-110 pounds per night. Amenities include sea views, free breakfast, hotel restaurant and pub, and free Wi-Fi.
High-End: Upscale hotels will range from 120-230 pounds per night. Take in the best with polished rooms and suites featuring HD TVs and espresso makers, spa services, fine dining, and prime locations.
Popular staples in Welsh cuisine include lamb, cabbage, leaks, mutton, potatoes, and fish. Bacon, eggs, laverbread, and cockle is a typical breakfast here.
Cawl (meat broth, typically lamb or beef) is the national dish. Vegetarians can look for the Glamorgan sausage, which contains no meat.
While you can find street vendors throughout Wales, many feature more international cuisines instead of Welsh food.
To sample more of Welsh cuisine, head over to a local café, pub, or restaurant. In total, expect to pay around 15-20 pounds per meal, depending on where you go.
Getting to Wales: The Cardiff Airport is the main airport in Wales and is 12.5 miles from the city center.
Flights: You can check for the best flights to Wales on Skyscanner.
Train: Trains are a fast way to get around, especially between larger cities. Take a train from Cardiff to Swansea, for example, in about an hour and pay just 5-7 pounds.
Note that tickets get cheaper the further you book in advance.
Buses: Buses are a good way to get around, either for shorter trips or between cities. You can find a variety of buses that run frequently, though many routes take Sundays off.
The best way to get a bus is to wave it down and pay when you board. A typical fare is 3 pounds.
Taxis: Taxis are an alternative way to get around. In larger areas like Cardiff, the taxi fare starts at 2.5 pounds and increases 1.12 to 2.75 pounds per kilometer.
A typical fare from the airport to the city center, for example, will cost around 30-45 pounds.
Car Rental: To rent a car, you must be at least 21 years old and have a U.S. license, though purchasing an International Driver’s License is recommended.
Prices for car rentals average around 30 pounds per day.
Uber: Ubers are an alternative option and can be found especially in major cities.
July and August are peak season in Wales and accommodation will have to be booked well in advance.
Shoulder season” (May, early June, September, and early October) is a more preferable time to travel.
Crowds are smaller and the weather is pleasant. Just note that it can get cool in the mountains so dress appropriately.
- Raincoat: Make sure to pack a raincoat so you can be prepared for rainy days.
- Walking/Hiking Boots: Bringing a pair of sturdy boots will keep you dry and comfortable as you explore Wales.
- Power Adapter: As the voltage is higher than the US, bring an adapter to make sure you can charge your electronics properly
See our packing tips: packing list for smart travel.
When to Go
March through May is considered the best time to visit Wales.
During this period, flowers are blooming, the weather is warm, and you can find many festivals to attend.
This is also an excellent time to find lower prices on hotels. A popular period to visit is between June and August, as exotic flowers and rare birds can be seen, and the weather is at its hottest (around 60 degrees Fahrenheit).
Things to Do
- Coasteering in Wales: It's a thrilling adventure of a lifetime! Imagine jumping off cliffs into the freezing Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the UK while being slugged in the face with crashing waves.
- Bounce Below: Wales has an amazing adventure infrastructure with a lot of adventure activities like zip lining
- Steam Train or Hike up Mt Snowden: Take the historic steam train up to the summit or enjoy a 3 hour hike to the peak. It's the highest point in all of Wales and offers incredible views of Snowdonia.
Not to Miss
- Top places to visit in Wales: Get your adventure on, we're rounding up the top places to visit in Wales that will make you want to pack your bags right now.
Places to Stay
Park Plaza Cardiff: A favorite among travels is this four-star hotel located right in the center of Cardiff. Enjoy numerous amenities, including air-conditioned rooms and suites with minibars and flat screen TVs, a restaurant with a special diet menu, a nightclub, spa services, a fitness center, a heated pool, and express check-in and check-out.
When you’re ready to explore, Cardiff’s many attractions are just minutes away.
Towers Hotel & Spa: Stay inside this beautiful Victorian tower hotel in Swansea. Enjoy views of the Swansea Bay from your room while taking in the hotel’s other amenities, including a pool and hot tub, spa, complimentary breakfast, room service, a fitness center, and the hotel’s restaurant.
Swansea Bay, Swansea city center, and the National Waterfront Museum are all just a short trip away.
The Priory Hotel & Restaurant: When in Newport, stay at this unique hotel that was once a 12th-century Monastery. Located in the historic town of Caerleon, the Priory is a great relaxing getaway.
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies.
We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It is usually the has the cheapest prices, not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation.
Air BnB: Airbnb is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs. I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world's largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Europe you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.