Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
The best things in life are free, as they say, and sometimes there is no better thing to experience in life than seeing something truly spectacular with your very own eyes. Whether you’re looking at heading off on a solo trip of discovery, taking the family on a sightseeing driving tour, or looking for the best driving roads in Wales to explore with the love of your life by your side, we want to make sure you see the absolute best of this beautiful country, which is why we’ve put together a guide to the best places to head for a Wales road trip.
From the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia, to the idyllic stop-off points along the stunning coast, to the emerald hills of the Brecon Beacons, where magical waterfalls and enchanting woodland are nestled away just waiting to be discovered; there is so much to adore about this wonderful land, and with so many properties to choose from, you can venture out and see much of it with a stay in one of our cottages in Wales!
With Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons on your doorstep, there are few better places in the world to discover glorious mountain ranges and bewitching snow-capped peaks than Wales. From the comfort of your car, you can journey through some of the most incredible landscapes that the country has to offer, bearing witness to the truly captivating scenery, and experiencing for yourself the unparalleled beauty encased within these spectacular national parks.
The Black Mountain Pass
The road – Epic vistas and tight hairpin turns come together in truly monumental fashion on the Black Mountain Pass. The unrivalled scenery and swooping route create a mammoth road trip that twists its way through the Brecon Beacons National Park, enveloping all there is to love about the region with lush hillsides, flourishing fields and wildlife scattered across every acre.
Starting from Llandovery and finishing in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, this 20-mile stretch has been featured in many a motor journalist’s glowing write up, not least BBC’s Top Gear, which catapulted the road to infamy when it was used to test drive a new Mercedes-Benz in 2011.
The jaw-dropping views are some of the finest in the UK, with ‘dragon humps’ at Pont Aber and Herbert’s Pass being two of the highlights. Weave your way through the pass dropping low and rising high, crossing paths with tractors, trucks and car enthusiasts, as well as a plethora of wildlife and delightful flora and fauna.
Stop off on route to see… – The truly incredible views that need to be appreciated for as long as possible! You’ll be hard pushed to find a more remarkable route in Wales, so be sure to stop off at some of the many viewpoints to really absorb the grandeur and spectacle of where you are.
Wales is graced with some of the finest coastal scenery in the world, from striking cliffs to dazzling beaches and crystal waters, all of which blend together for an utterly beautiful sight when the sun sets over the horizon. For more active travellers, the option of the Wales Coast Path may appeal, but for visitors on the search for a leisurely trail of discovery on four wheels, we’ve got some truly wonderful roads for you to drive during your stay, and some beautiful cottages by the sea too.
Swansea to Rhossili on the A4118
The road – The Gower Peninsula is home to some of the most exquisite beaches and coastal scenery in the UK, let alone Wales! Taking this route allows you to start off in a city crammed with amenities and cosmopolitan style, before venturing off on a journey through alluring villages and along winding bends.
Swansea itself is truly an urban utopia, with a plethora of shops and restaurants to while away the hours. From here, you’ll be travelling into the rural landscapes of the Gower, where the landscapes become increasingly beautiful, and the facilities become markedly less. Heading along the A4118, you’ll encounter the picturesque village of Nicholaston and the hamlet of Knelston to name but a few, before trundling on a little further to the utterly spectacular Rhossili Bay.
The beach at Rhossili has been named within the top ten in the world, so you’re assured a tremendous spectacle once you arrive at your end-point. Just park up, hop out, and wander this stunning stretch of sandy heaven with the sea breeze in your hair and uninterrupted views of the sapphire waters.
Stop off on route to see… – The sights and sounds of Swansea’s city life, not least the harbour where you will discover an abundance of restaurants serving delicious food, covering a huge selection of cuisines from around the world. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for shipwrecks scattered along the bays, too; there’s plenty of historical significance burrowed just beneath the surface of the sands!
Where to stay
We have some stunning holiday cottages in Wales right on the coast, just perfect for driving these breath-taking roads and admiring your enchanting surroundings.
Location: St Clears – perfect for day trips to Swansea and The Mumbles
Sleeps four, two bedrooms, no dogs. From £370 for three nights
This lovingly restored cottage makes the ideal romantic retreat, offering sumptuous décor and elegance encased in a characterful property that has every comfort considered. The Wales Coast Path is right on the doorstep in case you’d like to take a break from driving and stretch your legs for a while, whilst the animals on the dairy farm offer a dose of rural life and homely comfort.
Location: Llandeilo’r Fan, just east of Llandovery where the Black Mountain Pass begins
Sleeps six, three bedrooms, two dogs welcome. From £467 for three nights
A contender for cutest farmhouse in all the land, this idyllic traditional property is ideal for exploring the Brecons, providing you with a practically perfect home-from-home during your stay. The low, beamed ceilings, rustic decor and cherry red Rayburn all contribute to the utterly charming atmosphere, whilst the roaring wood burner will have you feeling so cosy that you’ll never want to leave!
Not to be outdone by the mountains and the sea, the middle regions of Wales so frequently harbour many magical sights to behold. Whether it’s the awe-inspiring waterfalls, the rolling emerald hills or the hairpin bends that lead you into some of the most heavenly villages you will ever encounter, there are some truly incredible scenes to witness and roads to navigate in mid-Wales – and beautiful places to stay too!
Abergwesyn Pass, Powys
The road – Twisting and turning across green pastures and craggy rock precipices, thick woodland and nerve-jangling descents, this narrow stretch across the Cambrian Mountains is not for the faint-hearted.
Taking in the Devil’s Staircase, a tremendously steep section of roadway through desolate sections of mid Wales, you will experience areas of the country less traversed by many, with lots of secluded spots in which you can revel in the peace and tranquillity of the mountainous scenery all around you.
The breath-taking backdrop of snow-capped peaks and quaint little villages contrast each other perfectly to create an inspiring route transcending many other road trips you may have undertaken prior.
Stop off on route to see… – The Llyn Brianne reservoir. This huge expanse of water sparkles in the sunlight, the sun’s rays dancing off its surface to juxtapose the emerald shimmer of conifer trees huddled all around. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh air, appreciating just how beautiful the place is in which you find yourself.
Aberystwyth to Rhayader via the A4120
The road – The direction in which you take this magnificent road will dictate whether your journey starts or finishes on the Welsh coastline. Either way, the sea views at Aberystwyth across the Irish Sea are spectacular!
On your course across the country, you’ll encounter some of Wales’ most prominent landmarks, including Devil’s Bridge Falls and the oldest metal mine in the UK, Cwmystwyth, both of which contrast each other and the history of Wales perfectly, shifting from natural beauty to industrial distinction.
The mountain road across the captivating Cambrians and along the Elan Valley reservoir is utterly enchanting, the colours and contrast of water, wildlife and woodland offering a spectacle of nature that is hard to rival. Meanwhile, Rhayader itself is a pretty little market town that is packed with history, so you’ll have an idyllic place to pootle and explore local Welsh culture too.
Stop off on route to see… – The Devil’s Bridge falls and Rheidol Gorge. This perilous bridge overlooks the wooded gorge below, where the magical waterfall cascades down the rock face beneath. Don’t forget to take some solid footwear though, as the steps to the top can be slippery underfoot, and the sight from the top certainly isn’t recommended for those with a fear of heights!
The Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion coast via the A487
The road – Starting from the outskirts of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, it is possible to travel along this beautiful road right along the western coast of Wales, through the heart of Snowdonia and right up to Bangor and the Menai Bridge where you can cross over to Anglesey. Encompassing some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country, you will experience the finest landscapes and sea views imaginable, with many sure to leave you awestruck by their magnificence.
You’ll want to make sure you have some beach essentials packed, covering everything from towels and swimming costumes to sun cream and surfboards. The sun certainly makes this journey shine out that little bit more, but that’s not to stop you heading off with windproof jackets and scarves in the winter months when it’s quieter on both the roads and the bays.
Taking you through picturesque towns and villages such as Cardigan, Aberaeron and Aberarth, your end-point is Aberystwyth, an utterly delightful market town packed to the rafters with history and colourful houses lining the streets. Speckled all along your route are glorious secluded bays and sublime stretches of sand, just perfect for dolphin spotting in the turquoise seas or watching the sun set over the horizon.
Stop off on route to see… – New Quay just off the main road way. This picture-perfect seaside town is home to a plethora of vibrant, coloured houses, its harbour sprinkled with multicoloured boats, offering delightful photo opportunities before heading back on your journey and stopping at a handful of the many isolated bays for blissful relaxation on the sand.
Where to stay
Stay central to the beauty of the country in a holiday cottage in mid-Wales nestled amongst the valleys. With a choice of directions to head and awe-inspiring spots to uncover, we have some beautiful properties that could be your perfect match.
Location: Llandrindod Wells – Head up to Rhayader and take the A4120 to Aberystwyth
Sleeps four, two bedrooms, two dogs welcome. From £390 for three nights
A seamless blend of contemporary chic and thoughtful creative touches make this cedar-clad lodge an utterly gorgeous choice of accommodation for your break. Positioned in the most serene of environments surrounded by lush fields and valleys, you can choose whether you want to sink into the sumptuous bed, curl up by the wood burner, or huddle around the fire pit admiring the sparkling night skies above. Whichever you choose to do, you’ll be guaranteed total blissful relaxation in between your sightseeing and road trips.
THE NOMADIC NORTH
Betws-y-Coed to Holyhead via the A4086 and Llanberis Pass
The road – Be captivated by the sheer beauty of North Wales and Snowdonia by taking this phenomenal road trip. Detour from the main route along the A5 to take the A4086 via Llanberis Pass, and you’ll soon discover the world of wonder that awaits.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the journey to note is that you will drive right by the peak of Snowdon itself; this great phenomenon is sure to take your breath away, even from within a car! And don’t forget before leaving Betws-y-Coed to bear witness to the ethereal sight of Swallow Falls, one of Wales’ most stunning waterfalls.
Driving alongside lochs and lakes, their waters glistening in the light, you’ll certainly feel a world away from day to day life on this trail. Tight bends and sweeping straights take you through tiny hamlets and through dramatic valleys, creating a road that is not only a joy for passengers, but for the driver too.
Once you’ve experienced the raw natural beauty of Snowdonia and got out the other side at Caernarfon, head along the A487 to catch the North Wales Expressway in Anglesey to finish with a flourish by the beautiful coast.
Stop off on route to see… – The mind-blowing magnificence of Mount Snowdon. Far too extraordinary to simply continue driving past, give your legs a little exercise and leave your eyes to do the fixating as you explore the lower reaches of this truly remarkable landmark.
Where to stay
Nuzzled amongst the mountains and valleys, we have some truly sublime properties off the beaten track just perfect for you to rest weary feet and heads after days of exploring the winding roads of the region.
Location: Ysbyty Ifan – a quaint historic village on the eastern fringes of Snowdonia
Sleeps four, two bedrooms, no pets. From £528 for three nights
Perfectly snuggled in a Welsh valley on the eastern fringes of Snowdonia, right between Bala and Betws-y-Coed, this wildly romantic abode offers boundless beauty both inside and out. A combination of contemporary craftwork and delightfully vintage touches offer a holiday home fit for romance and wonder, with spectacular views across the valley both from the super-king-size bed, and the gorgeous bathtub!
Location: Pwllheli – journey down to the Ceredigion coast
Sleeps four, two bedrooms, no dogs. From £332 for three nights
Utterly crammed with all the rustic charm you could imagine, this pretty little cottage is nestled within the gorgeous Llyn Peninsula, encompassed by a plethora of beautiful beaches and quaint villages along its coastline. The thick stone walls of the house help create a true sense of warmth and tradition, with the cosiest of log fires ready to burn away and keep you toasty of an evening. The bedrooms in the eaves of the cottage offer a snug space to rest your head after a day of exploring, so you wake up feeling totally refreshed and ready for more magical discovery.
From the snaking mountainous roads of Snowdonia, to the glorious coast roads and infamous Welsh valleys, there is so much you can discover from just hopping in the car and winding the window down. and setting off on a road trip of exploration on one of our scenic drives. We’ve got some simply stunning luxury cottages in Wales for you to rest your head, so why not take a look at our collection and start planning your adventure today.