The 11 Best Hikes in Wales for Outdoor Lovers!

The 11 Best Hikes in Wales for Outdoor Lovers!

From the high mountain peaks of the Brecon Beacons to dramatic coastal scenes on the Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales is a land that was made for hiking. 

Crisscrossed by a dense network of footpaths and national trails, the best walks in Wales combine spectacular outdoor scenery with a history stretching back millennia. Uncover old Roman roads on the Sarn Helen Trail, hike along King Offa’s 8th-century dyke, and explore crumbling monasteries and towering Norman castles in the borderlands. 

With so many potential hiking routes, you might not know where to start. That’s why I’ve compiled my list of the best hiking trails in Wales for you. Try these unique and adventurous hikes and you’re going to have an exceptional time walking around Wales!

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The 11 Best Hikes in Wales

1. Offa’s Dyke Path

Hikes in Wales: Offa's Dyke Path

One of the best hikes in Wales is Offa’s Dyke, a long-distance trail that cuts through the English-Welsh borders on its 177-mile route from Chepstow, in the south, to Prestatyn on the Irish Sea.

This is one of my favorite history-focused hikes in Wales because the path follows the trail of Offa’s Dyke, a great feat of engineering built by a Mercian king in the 8th century AD to separate the fledgling English and Welsh nations. 

A monumental border that still scars the landscapes today, you don’t have to walk all of Offa’s Dyke Path to appreciate its importance. Some of the best sections can be completed in a day, with my top picks being the tough walk over the Black Mountains to Llanthony Priory and Hay-on-Wye, or the hike from Knighton north into Shropshire along the original remnants of the dyke itself.

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2. Mount Snowdon (Yr Wydffa)

Hiking Trails Wales: Mount Snowdon

Rising to a lofty height of 1,085 meters above sea level, Mount Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales (and the highest peak in the UK that’s south of the Scottish Highlands). It’s also one of the best hikes in Wales, offering adventure travelers the opportunity for a tough uphill climb and fantastic panoramas – as long as the visibility holds out!

Part of the larger Snowdonia National Park, there are six well-trodden routes leading to the summit. The six paths range in length from 3 to 4 miles each way, with the Watkin Path considered the toughest and the Llanberis Path being the longest but gentlest way to the top.

The Llanberis Path follows the equally spectacular Snowdon Mountain Railway, which you can take one way if you’re feeling worn out. Snowdon is one of the busiest destinations in Wales, so plan your stay in advance if you’re traveling here in peak season. Get up the mountain as early as possible to avoid the crowds, and book your accommodation ahead of time!

3. Glyndŵr’s Way

At 135 miles long, Glyndŵr’s Way weaves through history as it follows in the footsteps of one of the great Welsh medieval heroes. Owain Glyndŵr was one of the last native Welshmen to claim the title of Prince of Wales, and his exploits against the English are legendary.

Glyndŵr roused rebellions, sacked border towns, and tried, in vain, to fight for Welsh independence in the early 15th century. He disappeared in 1415, after a final failed rebellion, but his legacy has been resurrected in the form of one of the best national trails in the UK. 

Glyndŵr’s Way traces the exploits of the Welsh national hero through the borderlands of England and Wales, west into Powys. Starting in Knighton (where it joins with Offa’s Dyke), the trail courses through the countryside and past ruined castles to Machynlleth, where Glyndŵr was crowned Prince of Wales, then back east to Welshpool. 

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4. Chepstow to Tintern Abbey (Wye Valley Walk)

Best Hiking Trails in Wales: Wye Valley Walk

The best walks in Wales aren’t always long multi-day hikes, and some of the most gorgeous routes can be completed in just a few hours. Chepstow to Tintern Abbey is a walk I’m happy to tackle time and time again, and at 6 miles each way, it’s certainly doable in a day!

This walk starts in the border town of Chepstow, where a large Norman castle guards the entrance to Wales. You’ll hike north, following the trail of Offa’s Dyke and the Wye Valley Walk, until you reach the crumbling ruins of Tintern Abbey, a place made famous by romantic poet William Wordsworth. 

5. Landsker Borderlands Trail

Wales Hikes: Landsker Borderlands Trail

Get off the beaten track and away from the busy coastal destinations in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire when you walk the Landsker Borderlands Trail.

This 60-mile circular trail follows the route of the Landsker Line, a linguistic divide separating traditionally English-speaking areas of Southern Wales with Welsh-speaking regions to the north. Landsker is a Norse word, meaning “borderland,” and the trail takes you into “Little England Beyond Wales,” where you’ll uncover Norman castles and mysterious Celtic stone circles. 

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6. Pen y Fan (Beacons Way)

Hikes in Wales: Beacons Way

When it comes to hikes in Wales, the Brecon Beacons (or Bannau Brycheiniog in the Welsh language) is home to some of the best, including tough mountain summits like Pen y Fan.

Standing some 886 meters above sea level, Pen y Fan is the highest peak within the Brecon Beacons National Park, a wild area of south Wales that’s studded with tall mountains. Pen y Fan is also the highest peak in Britain, south of Snowdon, so for budding mountaineers, it’s a must-visit. 

The peak itself is on the long-distance Beacons Way, but there are several routes you can take to the summit if you want to go there and back in a day. The most famous route departs from the Storey Arms (an outdoor activity center below the mountain), following a well-worn trail past memorials and viewpoints to the summit. Expect this 5-mile round-trip hike to take 3 hours if you’re in good shape! 

7. Pembrokeshire Coast Path

Hiking Trails Wales: Pembrokeshire Coast Path

If you’re looking for wild, windswept walks along Welsh clifftops, look no further than the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Stretching for 186 miles, this long-distance coastal hike is one of the best in Wales.

Attempt the entire route, and your journey either begins or ends in St. Dogmaels. This is the northern stretch of the path, and from here, it follows a tumultuous up-and-down route west into the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. 

The elevation gain is significant (despite the fact you’re walking along the coast!), and there are steep up and downhill battles to reach secluded beaches and beautiful cliff-top views. You’ll pass through famous seaside locations like St. Davids and Tenby, before the walk draws to a close at Amroth, in the south. 

8. Heart of Wales Line Trail

Best Hiking Trails in Wales: Heart of Wales Line Trail

Some of the most unique hiking in Wales can be found on the Heart of Wales Line Trail, which crosses from Shropshire (in England) west into Powys and down to Swansea.

Starting at Craven Arms in the Shropshire Hills, this hike is a little different because it’s largely designed to follow the Heart of Wales Line, meaning there are train stations at the end of almost every section of the trail. 

For lazy walkers like myself who might prefer a nice hotel to a campsite, it’s perfect, and you can explore incredible sections of the Welsh countryside with ease, including Offa’s Dyke at Knighton and the towering mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

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9. Dylan Thomas Trail

Wales Hikes: Dylan Thomas Trail

If you’re a fan of the Welsh writer and poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote acclaimed poems like “Do not go gentle into that good night” in the 20th century, then the Dylan Thomas Trail is easily one of the most interesting hiking trails in Wales.

A great lover of the Welsh outdoors, the 25-mile-long Dylan Thomas Trail connects destinations in the west, in Ceredigion, that inspired the writer’s works. Starting on the coast by Llanon, the trail weaves its way inland, and back down to the Ceredigion coast again, finishing up in New Quay. 

10. Sarn Helen

Hikes in Wales: Sarn Helen

Sarn Helen is another one for the history-loving hiker, as this 230-mile trail follows the rough route of a Roman road network thought to have once existed in west Wales.

Starting in Carmarthen in the south, the trail winds its way north until it finally reaches Aberconwy. Archaeological evidence is sparse, but that’s part of the appeal, and you’ll uncover a mix of fact and legend as you hike northwards on challenging trails that weave through the Welsh countryside. 

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11. Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

Hiking Trails Wales: Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

Anglesey is the largest island in Wales, and it’s a place steeped in myth, legend, and early morning mist. This was where the ancient Druids of old made their last stand against the Romans, and in more recent centuries, the island has always been a holdout of the Welsh language and culture. 

Today, myth and legend combine with outstanding natural scenery to offer some of the most exceptional hiking in Wales, and the 122-mile-long Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path is the best way to explore. Starting and ending in Holyhead, just over the Menai Strait, the trail is part of the much longer Wales Coast Path – just in case you fancied continuing your hike back on the Welsh mainland!

There you have it! The 11 best hikes in Wales. What’s your favorite place to go hiking in Wales? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author:

  • Richard Collett

    Richard is an award-winning travel writer based in Southwest England who’s addicted to traveling off the beaten track. He’s traveled to 75 countries and counting in search of intriguing stories, unusual destinations, and cultural curiosities.

    Richard loves traveling the long way round over land and sea, and you’ll find him visiting quirky micronations and breakaway territories as often as he’s found lounging on a beach (which is a lot).

    When he’s not writing for BBC Travel, National Geographic, or Lonely Planet, you can find Richard writing for the Wandering Wheatleys or updating his off-beat travel blog, Travel Tramp.

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