The Perfect Two Week Wales Itinerary

The Perfect 2-Week Wales Itinerary

Home to glorious mountain peaks, crumbling medieval castles, and a history stretching back millennia, even fitting the highlights into a 14-day Wales itinerary is a challenge. It’s a challenge we’ve welcomed with relish, though, as we plan the best 2-week trip to Wales, complete with national museums, national parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites, plenty of pub lunches, and perhaps even a rugby game!

Your journey begins in Cardiff, the buzzing capital of the Welsh nation (yes, Wales is a country, and don’t tell the locals otherwise!), where you can visit the first of hundreds of castles that dot the landscapes. Learn about Welsh national ambitions at the Senedd (the Welsh Parliament) before venturing along the shores of the Bristol Channel to enjoy the rugged embrace of the Gower Peninsula.

You’ll visit St. David’s, the UK’s smallest city, hear the singsong tones of Welsh in Gwynedd, and hike (or take the train!) to the summit of Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa, in Welsh) in the north, the highest mountain in Wales. You’ll uncover a history of conquest and rivalry in the Welsh borderlands, cruise along the most spectacular canal in the UK, and finally, arrive full circle back in south Wales, ready to do it all over again. 

With so much to see, you’ll need to plan your Wales itinerary to a tee, which is why we’ve put together our perfect 2-week Wales itinerary. From Cardiff to Caernarfon, keep reading to find out more!

Two Weeks in the Country of Wales

When to Visit Wales

With long coastlines stretching from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel, Wales is well-known for the windy and often rainy weather patterns that storm in from the Atlantic Ocean. Even in the height of summer, you can be hit by unexpected rain showers, so always keep a raincoat packed away, even on a summer’s day!

Given the temperate, yet unpredictable, climate of Wales, there’s no doubt that the best time to visit is in summer. This is especially important if you’re hoping to hike mountain peaks like Snowdon or enjoy a rest day on the beaches of Anglesey. Summer temperatures generally range somewhere between 10°C to 20°C, although, on occasion, temperatures can soar to 30°C if the UK is hit by a heatwave. 

In summer, all the best attractions are open, campsites are in full swing, and the hiking trails are beautiful. However, it can also be spectacularly busy in summer, especially at iconic sights like Snowdon. For that reason, you might also consider planning your 2-week trip to Wales in the shoulder seasons, in either spring or autumn. 

Although temperatures are, on average, much cooler, the unpredictability of the UK’s weather does mean that you could also enjoy summer-like days in the off-season. Outside of the school holidays (July and August being the primary ones), prices are lower, accommodation isn’t going to be fully booked, and the sights are always quieter than in summer. 

The truly brave can take this ethos to the extreme and explore Wales in the winter. From November to March, the country is typically devoid of all but the hardiest tourists. 

You won’t be able to summit Snowdon or hike the Brecon Beacons (unless you’re into mountaineering), but you’ll find the beaches deserted (if windswept) and the castles empty. You can score great winter deals in Wales, but be aware that seasonal businesses will generally be closed until the spring. 


Things to Know Before You Go

For a country with a population of just over 3 million, Wales is a surprisingly complex place to visit. For starters, you may already be asking if Wales is really a country. 

Outsiders all too often lump Wales together with England, but the Welsh are, in fact, a people older than the English. You’ll discover this (as well as Welsh legends of old, like King Arthur!) when you visit the many castles and museums around the country. 

The castles are the legacy of endless wars with England during the medieval era, which resulted in Wales effectively being conquered by the English. To this day, the Welsh are quite rightly unhappy about that, and so it pays to brush up on your history before you travel here. The Welsh language, and a Welsh culture distinct from England, has persevered over the years, though, and Welsh is even rebounding to a level it hasn’t seen in centuries. 

Of course, English is spoken all over Wales. But all signage is bilingual in English and Welsh. You’ll find many communities where Welsh is the first language, and in large parts of the north, Welsh is the dominant language – so why not try and pick up a few words along the way?

Wales is part of the United Kingdom, and although it has a devolved parliament in Cardiff (the Senedd), you don’t need to worry about showing your passport when you cross the border from England! You will need to make sure you meet the requirements for entry into the United Kingdom, though. 

For passport holders from the EU, the US, and countries like Australia and New Zealand, this is easy enough. You’re typically allowed short stays for tourism purposes visa-free. Other nations may need to secure a visa before travel. 

Wales uses the Pound Sterling as its currency, and you’ll find ATMs are widespread. Increasingly, businesses in the UK are becoming cash-free, so make sure you have a card that can be accepted internationally. In rural areas, you may find cash is still king, certainly if there’s no signal for a card reader to work!


Getting Around Wales

Getting Around Wales: The Perfect Two Week Itinerary

Domestically, Wales is well connected to the rest of the United Kingdom by bus, train, and domestic flights. Internationally, it’s not quite so well connected.

The country’s primary international airport is Cardiff. However, it’s a small airport that largely has links with budget airlines to a select few European destinations and other UK cities. You may also find flights arriving and departing from Bristol Airport, over the border in England, are just as convenient, while in the north, Liverpool’s airport is often easier than Cardiff. 

If you’re flying long haul, your best choice will be a London airport, however. From London, it’s around 2 hours on the train to Cardiff or 3.5 hours on the bus. From Bristol, it’s around 1 hour by train or bus to Cardiff. From Holyhead in Anglesey, you can also hop on ferries across the Irish Sea to Dublin. 

The Welsh coastlines in the south and north are well connected by rail, as are the borderlands. However, everything in between is less so, as there’s no north-south rail line in Wales. This means that away from Cardiff, you’ll need to use local buses to get around, which can often be tricky. 

Given the remote nature of some of our destinations, like the Gower Peninsula, for example, we recommend renting a car if you can and road-tripping our Wales itinerary – it will be much more fun than hanging around for the one bus of the day!


Wales Itinerary: 2 Weeks to Explore the Highlights of the Country

Cardiff – 2 Nights

2 Weeks in Wales Itinerary: Cardiff

Overlooking the Bristol Channel in southern Wales, your epic journey begins in Cardiff, the nation’s independent-minded capital. 

Cardiff Bay

2 Week Wales Itinerary: Cardiff Bay

Although it’s home to around 10% of the Welsh population, Cardiff is a surprisingly walkable city. You can explore much of the city center on foot, hopping from one museum to the next (join a guided walking tour to learn more about the city) before strolling down to the revitalized docks for views over Cardiff Bay (and perhaps a cruise, if you’d love to see Cardiff from the water).

Museums and Galleries

2 Week Itinerary in Wales: St. Fagans National Museum of History

Learn more about Welsh history at the National Museum Cardiff, where you can delve back in time to an age before humans had even moved into the Welsh valleys. Walk through centuries of Welsh history and culture at St. Fagans National Museum of History, where you can explore 40 historic buildings, including Iron Age roundhouses, traditional Welsh farmhouses, and old post offices.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle, with its imposing keep and grand grounds, is a must-visit, although, in a country with some 600 castles, it’s the first of many you’ll see. 

Senedd

2 Week Wales Itinerary: Senedd

If you’re fascinated by the idea of Welsh nationhood, a tour of the Senedd is one of the best things to do in Cardiff. If politics isn’t your cup of tea, then head to Cardiff Market instead, where you can have your first taste of local delicacies like Welsh cakes or Welsh rarebit. 

Centers and Stadium

Cardiff has a buzzing nightlife, and you can find countless pubs and bars for the evenings. For something a little more cultural, see what’s on at the Millennium Centre, or try and book tickets for a rugby game – the national sport – at the Principality Stadium.


Swansea and the Gower Peninsula – 2 Nights

Swansea

2 Weeks in Wales Itinerary: Swansea

After 2 nights in Cardiff, your 14-day Wales itinerary truly begins as you head west to Swansea. This is the second-largest city in Wales, but it’s often overlooked, given its location by the spectacularly beautiful Gower Peninsula, which is just a short drive away.

We recommend the best of both worlds, using Swansea as your base to explore the Gower Peninsula, which was the first place in the United Kingdom to ever be protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Maritime Quarter

2 Week Wales Itinerary: Swansea Maritime Quarter

But first, Swansea, a surprising coastal city that’s home to the ruins of (you guessed it!) a 12th-century medieval castle. Head down to the Maritime Quarter, where you can visit the Swansea Museum before delving into Wales’ industrial past at the National Waterfront Museum and getting cultural at the Dylan Thomas Centre.

Mumbles

2 Week Itinerary in Wales: Swansea Mumbles

From the Maritime Quarter, you have around 5 miles of the waterfront to explore, with the marina, a long promenade, and even a lido (save that for summer!) stretching along the coast of Swansea Bay. If you’re up for a longer walk, you can make it all the way to the Mumbles, where you’ll find a charming seafront village with an old Victorian pier extending outwards into the bay. 

The Gower Peninsula

The next day, you’re off to the Gower Peninsula. If you’re driving, you can take it slow and stop off in the hidden bays and secluded beaches that ring the peninsula (you can also join day tours from Swansea). 

You can’t miss Rhossili Bay Beach, where a long stretch of golden sand extends along the coastline. Worm’s Head, Oxwich Bay Beach, and Three Cliffs Bay are all equally spectacular, and we guarantee you won’t want to pack up and move on from the Gower!


St. David’s and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park – 2 Nights

St. Davids

2 Week Wales Itinerary: St. Davids

But move on you must, and we hate to say it, but you’ll soon have forgotten all about the Gower Peninsula when you reach the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to the west. 

You can base yourself in colorful seaside towns like Tenby or Milford Haven, and you can’t miss a trip to St. David’s, the home of Welsh Christianity (St. David is the patron saint of Wales) and the smallest city in the United Kingdom (population: 1,600) even if it’s just for a few hours (which admittedly, is longer than you need!). 

Skomer and Caldey Island

You’re really here for nature, though, and when it’s puffin season, you’ll want to catch a boat straight over to Skomer Island for the day. Puffin season is between April and July, and the island – where the birds flock to nest – is literally swarming with these little flying critters. If it’s not the right season, catch a boat over to Caldey Island instead, where a small community of Cistercian monks eke out a remote living on a holy island.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park covers a vast area of some 240 square miles and is a real playground for outdoor enthusiasts. You can join tours along the rocky cliffs, learn how to forage with an expert on the windswept headlands, or just find a secluded beach and set up camp for a day doing nothing at all.  


Caernarfon and Snowdonia – 3 or 4 Nights

Caernarfon

Now, it’s time to head north. There’s lots to do in North Wales and you can pick and choose your activities as per your interests and your level of fitness. 

North Wales is where the Welsh language is most prolifically spoken, where Welsh nationalism is strong, and conversely, where the English monarchs also built the largest castles. We recommend basing yourself in Caernarfon, an old market town overlooking the Menai Straits where King Edward I built the largest and most technologically advanced castle of the day. 

Caernarfon Castle still dominates the town, and it’s where the Prince of Wales – the next in line to the throne – is invested with their title (Prince William is the current Prince of Wales). With Caernarfon as your base, you’re perfectly located to explore the best sights in North Wales. Cross over the epic Menai Straits Suspension Bridge and you can visit Beaumaris Castle, walk coastal paths, and discover hidden beaches along the coastline of Anglesey, the largest island in Wales.

National Slate Museum

Inland, you’re just miles from Wales’ newest UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales is a dark, brooding, yet dramatic region of manmade quarries and mining communities that tell the tale of the region’s industrial past. Visit the National Slate Museum at Llanberis to learn more, or head to Penrhyn Quarry to see how Welsh workers shaped the mountains forever more. 

Porthmadog

2 Week Itinerary in Wales: Welsh Highland Railway

Ride the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to the coastal town of Porthmadog, and you’ll be awed by the elevated scenery on this 25-mile-long scenic journey. Change lines in Porthmadog, and you can continue deeper into the highlands on the 13-mile-long Ffestiniog Railway.

Snowdonia

Wales Two Week Itinerary: Snowdon Mountain Railway

And we’ve saved the best until last. You can’t visit Wales without summiting Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa), which, at 1,085 meters tall, is the highest mountain in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands (and the highest mountain in Wales, of course). If you’re feeling fit, you can hike to the summit in around 6 to 8 hours. You’ll welcome the sight of the cafe after the long slog to the top, which is rather conveniently placed by the summit!

If you’re feeling lazy, you can take the equally convenient Snowdon Mountain Railway, which goes right to the summit. Just sit back and enjoy the scenery passing by outside the carriage, then enjoy leisurely views over Snowdon National Park from the top of the mountain.


Wrexham and the Llangollen Canal – 2 Nights 

Wrexham

2 Weeks in Wales Itinerary: Wrexham

From North Wales, it’s time to head east toward the border with England. The next stop on your Wales itinerary is Wrexham, a quirky destination that’s fast becoming a Hollywood hangout.

A.F.C Wrexham

2 Week Wales Itinerary: A.F.C Wrexham

Until very recently, Wrexham was a little-known border town with an industrial past and a struggling football team. Then Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney swooped in out of nowhere, buying A.F.C Wrexham, one of the oldest football teams in the UK, and bringing the town to Hollywood stardom with a dedicated Disney show about the endeavor. 

The pair worked their magic, and now Wrexham is hitting the big time. The town was even granted city status in 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, meaning you’ll be visiting the newest city in Wales. 

When the football season is on, you’ll want to catch a game at A.F.C. Wrexham. But visit any time of year, and the new city is a refreshing change from other tourist destinations in Wales. Visit the local market, the Wrexham Museum, the church, and the nearby Erddig National Trust property to learn more about Wrexham.

Llangollen

From Wrexham, it’s an easy drive to Llangollen, a lovely town on the edge of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Above Llangollen sits the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran, a castle that once belonged to the Welsh princes of old.

The town is a short stroll from the Llangollen Canal, which runs for some 46 miles through Wales and England. This section of the canal is best known for the startlingly dramatic Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which crosses the River Dee at a height of some 38 meters. Take a cruise along the canal for spectacular views, but only if you can handle heights. 


Hay-on-Wye and the Brecon Beacons – 2 Nights

Hay-on-Wye

2 Week Itinerary in Wales: Hay Castle

Now you’re traveling south through the borderlands as your 2-week trip to Wales draws to a triumphal close. If you’re driving, you’ll love the winding roads that weave in and out of England. Heading south, you can stop on either side of the border, exploring the Wye Valley or visiting famous cities like Hereford or Gloucester. 

Don’t tarry too long, though, because your next destination is Hay-on-Wye, an eccentric town that sits right on the border between England and Wales. A unique Norman castle looks over the town, and inside, you can find out all about Richard Booth, an eccentric secondhand bookseller who once declared himself King of Hay-on-Wye in the 1970s.

2 Week Wales Itinerary: Wales Hay on Wye

Booth brought books to this sleepy little Welsh town, and many years after his death, Hay-on-Wye became home to the largest number of secondhand bookshops in the UK. The town also plays host to the annual Hay Festival, which celebrates literature and writing. 

The town sits on the banks of the River Wye, while the Black Mountains loom large over Hay-on-Wye. There are countless hiking trails leading from Hay-on-Wye, but we recommend venturing a little further afield if you’ve still got the energy.

Brecon Beacons National Park

Wales Two Week Itinerary: Brecon Beacons National Park

Just a half-hour drive from Hay-on-Wye is the Brecon Beacons National Park (which recently reverted to its Welsh name: Bannau Brycheiniog), one of the most epic places to visit in Wales.  

Home to the highest mountains in the UK south of Snowdonia, this truly is an epic place to end your Wales itinerary.

2 Weeks in Wales Itinerary: Pen y Fan

At 886 meters high, the crowning peak is Pen y Fan, which has a steep but relatively short 4-mile circular trail from the Pont ar Daf car park. You can literally celebrate the end of your journey on top of a mountain!

There you have it! That’s our perfect 2-week Wales itinerary. Where will you be traveling on your 2-week trip to Wales?


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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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