Wales Tourism

Continent: Europe

Region:


Ideal duration:

Currency: British pound sterling (GBP)

Best time: Summer (June-August) (Read More)

Budget: Expensive-Very Expensive

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"The land of coasts"

Wales Tourism

With so much to offer, Wales gives its tourists a well-rounded experience with beautiful coasts, magnificent mountains and rolling, green fields. ThereÕs never a boring moment in the country. One can go scuba diving, bird watching, indulge in water sports and take a tour of the remarkable "Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty" or enjoy some wonderful meat dishes and drink exquisite whisky by a roaring fire in of the delightful pubs in Cardiff or Swansea.

Regions in Wales

North Wales: majorly a rural area with some of the highest mountains of the United Kingdom; offers great staying options near the coast. South Wales: Eastern-half houses most of the population whereas the western-half is mostly coastal and hence, scenic; most urbanised and populated part of Wales. Mid Wales: offers delightful natural beauty with a magnificent coastline near the Irish Sea and wide river valleys as well as huge mountains and moorlands; population is sparse.

Best time to visit Wales

Summer (June-August) is the best time to visit Wales

>Weather is warm and pleasant > Events and Festivals are happening everywhere >Flowers are blooming; rare species of butterflies and birds can be spotted > Outdoor activities like horse riding, trekking, hiking can be opted for

Holidify's Opinion

  What's Great?

>Beautiful, spectacular views >Lots of beaches; best coastal experience >Outdoor activities in abundance >Best sheep meat >Very unique cultural festivals

  What's not so Great?

>Largely conservative; Welsh people are not known to be friendly >Expensive and remote >Language barriers

For Whom

For more experienced, off-beat travelers who are willing to explore distinct, remote parts of the UK.

More on Wales


Visa, MasterCard and Bank of America cards are widely accepted in many locations; some small cafes and shops may accept American Express. Always have some cash handy incase cards donÍt work. Cards with chips have replaced the common swiping cards throughout the country so some people, especially Americans, may have trouble. They might have to sign for a new chip card. British pound sterling is the only acceptable currency in the country. No other currency, including Euros, is accepted. It has to be exchanged into GBP to become usable.

While exchanging currency in your own country beforehand is the best option, it can also be exchanged at local banks, travel agencies and post offices (mainly the Royal Post Office).Travel stores such as Thomas Cook and ThompsonÍs also provide this service. However, most of these places do not accept coins so make sure you have spent those beforehand. The exchange rate at these locations is generally reasonable. Further, ATMs are easily accessible to obtain local currency.

Cardiff and Swansea are the major centres of Wales when it comes to nightlife, offering a lovely range of pubs, nightclubs and bars. Cardiff: For pubs and bars, St. MaryÍs Road is the go to place; for larger venues playing dance, RÍnÍB and EDM, head to Greyfriars Road; Mill lane also has a wide selection of bars; for lip-smacking food, Brewery Quarter and Eastside in St David's are the ideal spots. Swansea: All pubs, bars and nightclubs can be found in these areas - Wind Street and The Kingsway. Bangor, Newport and Wrexham are popular university towns which means they also have an abundant range of bars, pubs and nightclubs for the student population.

Popular Welsh Souvenirs and gifts include: wooden lovespoons and objects like key-rings and baseball caps featuring iconic Welsh symbols such as daffodils, lambs, the Welsh lady, the red dragon and major Welsh attractions like Caenarfon Castle, the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff Castle. Famous places to go shopping: high street shops in Cardiff; independent shops selling vintage clothes and crafts as well small cafes and restaurants in the Victorian and Edwardian Arcades in Cardiff; local markets that sell local produce and handmade goods (such as the Swansea Market - the largest indoor market in Wales offering fresh food and a variety of other goods); Hay on Wye for rare, collectable or bargain books; and out- of- town retail outlets for a range of items.

Popular Festivals in Wales: Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye (May-June): A literary and cultural festival involving talks and lectures by famous intellectuals. HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, Hay-on-Wye (May-June): The world's largest philosophy and music festival. Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea (Oct-Nov): held annually to commemorate the works of Dylan Thomas _ a famous Welsh poet and singer. Faenol Festival, August Bank (August): musical celebrations. National Eisteddfod, North and South Wales (August): one of the oldest cultural festivals of music, song and poetry in Wales. Sesiwn Fawr, Dolgellau (July): World Music Festival with 6 different stages. Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, Swansea (October: An annual bash of culture at various locations in Swansea. Wakestock, Abersoch (July): is a music festival combined with a wakeboarding contest.

An independent Celtic nation initially, Wales came under EnglandÍs jurisdiction after the invasion of 1066. It was granted autonomy initially but was assimilated into EnglandÍs system of laws and parliamentary representation after the acts passed by Henry VII came into existence. Initially a sparsely populated country dependent on local agriculture and trade, it underwent an industrial revolution due to the discovery of large amounts of coal in the South Wales valleys. The population expanded and WalesÍ economy grew. While coal mining and heavy industries in Wales have declined in the recent years, the countryÍs spectacular sceneries and rich history has given way to a thriving tourism industry as commerce and industry continue to flourish in Cardiff and Swansea. These two areas are attracting positive attention, large investments and increased political power due to their steady progress.

Wales is largely a clean country with hygienic food and water supply for its inhabitants. Tourists need to be cautious with regards to the weather and the landscape of the country. Weather in Wales is largely unpredictable and changes rapidly. Tourists may get caught in thunderstorms and blizzards without any precautionary preparation. Every year, many have to be rescued from Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons and some even die due to falls and exposure. Therefore, those opting for more adventurous activates in the wild must carry adequate clothing and materials to keep safe. Similarly, since the landscape is hard to navigate, with rough narrow roads in certain areas, it is advisable to drive slowly and carefully in order to avoid accidents. A lot of times, tourist-driven vehicles run into wild animals, hurting themselves and innocent animals in the process. Hence, awareness and caution is necessary and speeding and over-taking should be avoided.

Customs: >Wales is still largely conservative and homosexuality is still frowned upon outside of Cardiff. So be cautious to avoid discrimination and anti-LGBT violence. >Do not refer to Welsh people as English, this is largely condemned. > A lot of Welsh people support the idea of an independent Wales while others are against this so itÍs better to avoid pointless debates and steer clear of the tropic. >The term 'Taffy' is perceived as a slur and is considered offensive.

Tips: >Emergency numbers: 999 or 112 to call for police, fire department, mountain rescue, coast guard or an ambulance; 101 for any police station anywhere. >Some alcohol-related violence is prevalent so tourists should avoid large, crowded areas on weekend nights or during a sporting event. >Rural roads are narrow, twisty and not marked very well. Take caution when driving through these. > The weather changes within seconds so one should be prepared for a blizzard, storm or fogs at all times. Always carry a map and phone-charger with you.

Despite being a part of the United Kingdom, Wales has managed to retain its own distinctive culture by having its own language, holidays, customs and music, even making contributions to the politics and culture of the UK. King Henry VII, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and poet Dylan Thomas are among some of the famous personalities of Wales. Known as ñthe land of songî, Wales is popular for its harpists, male voice choirs and a number of solo musicians. The annual festival of poetry and music is called the National Eisteddfod. Traditional music and dance in Wales is huge and widely supported by many socities. The biggest religion in Wales is Christianity but thereÍs also a strong tradition of non-conformism in the country including Methodism. The Church in Wales is the major religious body and is self-governing. The national language of Wales is Welsh but English is widely spoken throughout the country, making it easier for tourists to travel. Common words in Welsh - Bore Da (Good morning), P'nawn da (Good afternoon), "Os gwelwch yn dda" (Please) and Diolch (Thank-you).

While Wales does not have any specific ingredients (except sheep meat), a number of unique dishes can be found here: Roast Lamb (as the meat is high quality); Welsh Rarebit (spicy, melted cheese dish served on bread); Laverbread (seaweed pur_e rolled into bread); Bara brith (similar to fruitcake); Cawl (lamb broth) and Welsh ice-creams and cakes (award-winning and popular worldiwide). Welsh whisky is also famous for its superior quality and taste.


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