You could say I’m biased about Wales. You wouldn’t be wrong either. Wales is an absolute beauty and having lived there for so many years, I’ve gotten to know and explore this beauty first hand. Indeed, some of the best hikes in Wales once completed will leave you equally as biased as I am about Wales’ beauty!
If you’re looking to hike in Wales you’ve actually got so many options. We’re talking coastal hikes, moderate hill climbs right up to more strenuous mountains jaunts.
Some of the best hikes in Wakes last about an hour or two while others involve rather arduous slogs over several days.
Long story short, when it comes to hiking in Wales, there’s something for everyone. With that said, let’s jump right into the very best hikes in Wales you absolutely need to experience.
1.) Dolgellau to Barmouth
Now, while there’s no official hike name for this beautiful Welsh hike, the route from Dolgellau to Barmouth is on the signed route of the Mawddach Trail and is an easy 9 mile hikes here.
It is also possible to do this route by cycling and, as it is very flat, it’s really suitable for all ages and abilities.
There are good views except for the few stretches when the route is closed in by trees, which has its own separate appeal – not to mention, providing respite on a sunny (or perhaps even rainy) day.
A major highlight of this route is crossing the railway bridge as you approach Barmouth with its sweeping views over River Mawddach. If you’re knackered by this point, there are regular buses at Barmouth that can take you back to the start point.
This is actually a fairly easy one! At just under 3,000 feet high it is the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
This probably makes you think it’s gonna be a harder one to hike but fret not, it’s a summit that attainable even if you don’t want a strenuous hike.
It is worth noting that in addition to the ‘easy’ route, there are also some difficult routes up this mountain so if you’re looking for a challenge, you’ll definitely find one here too.
To do the easiest route, start by leaving your car at the Storey Arms (although it sounds like it, it’s not actually a pub). Do not use the first trail as that is more strenuous.
Instead, walk another 400 metres along the road to what is called by local climbers as the ‘granny trail’ that is the easy route and suitable for families or hikers looking for a less strenuous climb.
Suffice to say, this is easily one of the best hikes in Wales for such a wide range of abilities.
It is very important to note that the weather at the top can change very quickly. More than likely, it can also be much colder at the top so be prepared with the right clothes and gear before you set off.
3.) Pembrokeshire Coastal Path
This is very easily one of the best hiking routes in Wales, possibly in all the UK. The full length of the hike is 180 miles so I am not suggesting you do it in one go!😆
Some people have but most do it in stages. For beginners, take the section from Tenby to Saundersfoot, it is full of spectacular views with many little detours to secluded coves and viewpoints.
It will take 2-3 hours but could easily be completed faster if you spend less time to take in the views. Personally, I’d stop to take in the views, they’re so worth it and probably one of the biggest reasons why you’d go on this hike to begin with.
At 3560 feet above sea level, Mount Snowdon is the highest point in Wales and on a clear day, you can see as far as Ireland across the Irish Sea! The climb up the mountain, while long is actually easily done.
There’s a very clear path all the way. It is about 6 or 7 miles and you should allow yourself about 6-7 hours for the trip.
You can ride back down on the Snowdon Railway for some spectacular views if you are too tired to walk back down or, what I’ve found to be my new personal favourite, ride up on the train and then hike down.
5.) Llanberis to Cwm Idwal
On this hike, you can begin with a visit to the National Slate Museum in Llanberis to see the importance the industry once held in this part of Wales.
Of course, totally understand that you might be keen to start your hike straight away but it’s worth popping in, even if just for a few minutes to understand the geography of the area and how it shaped the economy of the local area.
Once you’re done there, or indeed, if you decide to skip it altogether, you can start the 4 miles hike up to Cwm Idwal, passing the eerie but fascinating former slate quarries on the way up (ergo why you should have popped into the museum first 😉).
It should take you no more than 3 hours as you view a fantastic hanging valley, created during the Ice Age.
6.) Chepstow to Tintern Abbey
This hike is just inside Wales, as you walk up the first section of the Offa’s Dyke long-distance footpath that continues all the way up close to the Wales/England border to where you meet the sea in North Wales.
Begin in the old town and then on leaving Chepstow you quickly enter the forest as you climb high above the river. On the way, you will pass caves, discover ancient steps and eventually find yourself in the village of Tintern.
In Tintern, you really should take the time to visit the Abbey here! It is amazing and so worth the visit.
Heading back, you can easily catch a bus from Tintern, taking you back to your starting point. Expect the hike to take around 3-4 hours on this moderate hike of around 6 miles.
7.) Ceredigion Coastal Path
Having spent many a summer in Ceredigion, this is easily one of my favourite hikes in Wales! My first experience of it was actually driving past this coastline and always been amazed by it before deciding to tackle the hike.
You could hike the complete route in about 5 days although a less strenuous option is the walk from Aberaeron to New Quay. (The fish and chips in Aberaeron is amazing – if you can be sure to treat yourself to some). It is about 7 miles, well marked and a little steep in places.
Care should be taken as it can be very slippery in wet weather. The views are worth the effort of those steep climbs and if you are lucky you may see dolphins in the sea.
8.) Marloes to Broad Haven
This is an undulating coastal hike of around 10 miles that begins in the village of Marloes and takes you across sandy beaches, onto cliff top paths and around small inaccessible bays as you make your way along the north Pembroke coast.
9.) Llyn Peninsula
This is a pretty hike along the coast of Mid Wales through an area owned by the National Trust. One of the best parts as of this hike is the amazing views of the sea and mountains, local wildlife, beaches with rock pools!
It’s also one of the more flexible hikes, making it one of the best hikes in Wales for hikers of all abilities, not to mention how there’s something of interest for people of all ages along this hike. Even a brief jaunt along it will show you why it’s such an easy favourite for families.
To get started, you can park your car in Morfa Nefyn and walk to Porth Dinllaen. It is about ten miles there are back. At the midway point, you can reward yourself with a well-earned drink at the Ty Coch Inn before carrying on your scenic hike.
10.) Llangollen to Prestatyn
This hike is actually the final northerly leg of the Offa’s Dyke long-distance trail though don’t be fooled – this section will probably take two days to complete.
For your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with epic views of the Clwydian Range with pretty little towns like Ruthin to stop off in and rest before carrying on your hike.
If you book ahead, several of the hotels and guest houses in Ruthin will meet you at the trail to save you walking into the village.
If you’re looking to treat yourself here, book into the Ruthin Castle hotel. Fun fact – it’s where Prince Charles stayed in before his investiture as Prince of Wales the next day at Caernarfon Castle.
On the second day, this hiking route will take you past ancient Iron Age hillforts before your descent to the seaside at Prestatyn.
11.) Glyndwr’s Way
This long-distance hike (it is 135 miles in total) connects the Brecon Beacons to Snowdonia through Mid Wales.
Suffice to say, it’s not only one of the best hikes in Wales but one of the longer ones which perhaps makes it best tacked in sections.
A relatively easy section for you to try, it is a loop beginning and ending at Knighton. The route of this 12-mile loop takes you over moors and farmland, along mostly empty trails and gives you a good introduction to the longer route of the Glyndwr’s Way.