Wales is the smallest part of Great Britain and is located in west of England. Hilly mountains and large areas are typical for this region with green meadows as pastures for flocks of sheep.
The capital of Wales, Cardiff, should be familiar to many from teaching English. In fact, the welsh residents also put great emphasis on their Celtic background.
Wales not only inspires with its dreamlike landscape to dream, but also has all kinds of cultural attractions to offer tourists: the Snowdonia National Park welcomes visitors with a breathtaking beauty.
Rugged, steeply sloping coasts form an impressive contrast to the inland. Definitely worth seeing in Wales is Harlech Castle, with a view of the Snowdonia Mountains, the medieval ruins of Tintern Abbey, and the traditional harbor district of Swansea with its own beach promenade to stroll and linger. Wales gives the feeling of a very special fairy tale world.
Wales is closely linked to Great Britain not only geographically, but also culturally and historically. The British influences are unmistakable, but Wales was able to develop a completely independent culture. The people of Wales value the cultural differences to England. An important criterion for this is the language. The Welsh language is part of the English language group, but it sounds different. It is spoken mainly by the residents in the north and west of Wales. The literature benefited from the independent cultural development. Numerous famous poets and writers have come from Wales of great importance not only to Wales but to the whole of Wales World literature.
Wales is said to be the creative heart of Britain when it comes to pop music. Many famous bands like the Manic Street Preachers or singers like Tom Jones and Bonnie Tyler come from Wales.
Best time to visit Wales
Wales is interesting any time of the year, most of the time visitor, however, come in the relatively dry summer (June to August). Most rain falls in autumn and early winter, the heaviest rainfall mostly between October and January. The winter days in Wales are short and dark, with many of the smaller sights, tourist information offices and accommodations closing from October to Easter.
From January the rain subsides and the temperatures rise. The rugby and football season in Wales is now coming to an end and is attracting a large number of spectators accordingly.
July and August are high season for Wales, coinciding with the UK summer holidays. Sights, accommodation and access roads are overloaded with visitors. The prices are now higher than in the low season. However, summer is the best time to attend one of Wales’ many festivals or hiking in the Welsh mountains.
To avoid the crowds, May and September are very good times. There are far fewer holidaymakers in Wales, the weather is relatively good and the landscape is bathed in spring or autumn colors.
Wales – how to get there
Airplane: There are direct flights to Wales between Cardiff and Prague, Lorient, Amsterdam and Geneva. About Bristol there flight connections to Prague, Rome, Venice, Faro, Alicante, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Palma, Nice, Paris, Toulouse, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Krakow, as well as Brussels and Frankfurt.
The following airlines offer flights to and from Wales: Aer Arann, Air Soutnwest, bmibaby, Eastern Airways, Excel,KLMUK, Thomsonfly and Zoom. Most international airlines fly to the London airports. So traveling via London may be a good alternative for visitors to Wales.
Airports: Wales’ largest international airport is Cardiff International Airport. Scheduled flights from some European cities as well as England, Scotland and Ireland land there. The airport is also used for charter flights from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Caribbean.
Directly across the border in England is Bristol International Airport, which is also important for travelers to Wales. Also have the airports of Manchester and Birmingham via international connections and are quickly accessible, especially for travelers to and from Central and North Wales.
Ship: all direct ferry connections to Wales depart from Ireland. There are four direct routes from Dublin and Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, Rosslare to Pembroke, Rosslare to Fishguard and Cork to Swansea. Companies that operate ferries between Ireland and Wales are Irish Ferries, Stena Line and Swansea Cork Ferries. Depending on the season, day of the week and time of day, the ferry tariffs differ considerably. Combined round-trip tickets are often cheaper than single tickets. It is also worth looking out for special rates.
In addition, there are a large number of ferry connections between England and continental Europe that ultimately take you to Wales, including from Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Rail: all rail connections from European countries to Wales run via London. The Eurostar high-speed train connects London with Paris and Brussels. Cheaper rail connections include a ferry trip across the English Channel.
There are fast train connections between Wales and England and Scotland between Cardiff and London (Paddington), Bristol, Birmingham, York and Newcastle. From London via Birmingham there are also train connections to Central and North Wales. Stops are, for example, Welspool and Machynlleth or Llandudno, Bangor, Holyhead, Porthmadog or Pwllheli.
Trains in Great Britain are privately owned and quite expensive compared to other European countries. National Rail provides timetables and tariff overviews.
Bus: it takes longer to travel from England and Scotland to Wales by bus compared to rail, but is often much cheaper and covers a wider range of travel destinations. National Express is the largest national bus network and offers regular connections between most of the major cities. The company Megabus offers inexpensive connections between Cardiff and London.
Bus trips from continental Europe to Wales are offered by Eurolines and Busabout (via London), for example. The journey, however, takes a long time and is relatively expensive compared to air travel.