Wales is a wonderful country, offering a stunning coastline, welcoming towns and delicious local produce. With so much to see and do, it can be hard to know where to stay.
From a literary gem to a colourful seafront, we have found you the best towns to stay in Wales. Whether you are looking for a relaxing break complete with top food and cosy cafes, or a more active getaway to blow away the cobwebs, there will be a town to meet your needs.
Best for: Family adventures
Looking out of the Menai Straits, Bangor is one of the most popular destinations for family breaks in West Wales. With a great selection of visitor attractions, beaches and local shops and restaurants, it’s the perfect spot for a family holiday to remember.
The neo-Norman Castle at Penrhyn is hugely popular and offers discounts for groups and families. Ballyholme and Helen’s Bay beaches are also nearby and both offer dramatic views out to sea with plenty of space for the kids to play.
If looking for something a little different, Portmeirion is under an hours drive away. This unique and striking village is where the show ‘The Prisoner’ was famously filmed and the architecture of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis that still dominates the landscape is weird and wonderful in equal measure.
Best place to drink: The Antelope Inn is a family-friendly pub with family offers that are hard to beat. With a discounted menu for the kids and a great selection of drinks for adults, it’s no wonder that this spot is so popular with visitors and locals alike.
Best place to eat: Whistlestop on the Pier may be small, but there is a good reason that it’s been voted the best traditional restaurant in Wales. There may only be space for eight inside, and twenty on the seats outside but it’s worth waiting to sample the local seafood chowder, mussels and traditional Bara brith cake.
Best for: Natural beauty
Surrounded on all sides by the Brecon Beacons National Park, Brecon is a wonderful place to stay. If you’re looking to enjoy the great outdoors, the helpful staff at the Visitors Centre are on hand all year-round to ensure that you enjoy the best walking and cycling from your front door.
In the town itself, the 11th Century church is a popular visitor attraction and the nearby Llangorse Lake is a great spot for enjoying watersports and some of the best fishing Wales has to offer.
This market town still holds an amazing market every second Saturday of the month, where you can find a wide variety of goodies and there are plenty of things to do for all the family. With so much on offer, Brecon is rightfully regarded as one of Wales’ best holiday destinations.
Best places to drink: With fantastic views over the National Park, the Old Ford Inn is the perfect spot to unwind after a day’s walking. The centuries-old family-run pub has character by the bucket loads and a fine selection of wines, spirits and local beers to enjoy.
Best places to eat: In the heart of the Black Mountains, the charming Honey Cafe is under 15 minutes away from the centre of Brecon and the perfect spot to pop in for some delicious home-made cooking. Specialising in Mexican-inspired food, the cafe also offers a classic all-day English breakfast and Gluten-free and veggie options.
Best for: Seaside charm
Best known for its beautiful harbour, Tenby is a star of the Welsh coast. Once you’ve enjoyed soaking up the sea air, you can learn about the region’s rich history at the many fantastic visitor attractions in this seaside town.
You can step back in time at the Tudor Merchant’s House, or enjoy the dazzling collection of local artefacts at the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery. The Gallery is the oldest independent art gallery in Wales and many of the artists on display have been inspired by the sights and sounds of the historic fishing village.
You’ll also be well placed to explore some of Pembrokeshire’s best beaches from Tenby and if looking to enjoy a day trip, St David’s, the smallest city in the UK, is just an hours drive away.
Best place to drink: With its boat-shaped bar and nautical themed decor, the Lifeboat Tavern is the perfect seaside spot for a drink. There is a generous beer garden and a great selection of drinks, all served with a warm welcome that the Welsh are famous for!
Best places to eat: The menu at the Salt Cellar brings a contemporary European approach to some of the finest local Pembrokeshire produce. If you’re celebrating a special occasion you can enjoy a fantastic Welsh lamb kofta and if you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Terrace restaurant serves a range of classic dishes.
Best for: Sightseeing and attractions
As the largest town on the Isle of Anglesey, Holyhead is a vibrant place to stay and explore this wonderful area of north Wales. From fishing to shopping, watersports to history, there is so much to see and do here.
The South Stack Lighthouse and St. Cybi Church are both popular visitor attractions in Holyhead but both are large enough to never suffer from overcrowding. Once you’ve done some sightseeing, there are a great range of places to enjoy a drink and dinner in the evening.
If you need a respite from the hustle and bustle, Breakwater Country Park is only a short drive away. Here you can enjoy some fantastic birdwatching and enjoy breathtaking views out across the Irish sea.
Best place to drink: The Paddlers Return is a great spot to kick back after a day out at sea. The rustic bar, with its eclectic decor and friendly staff, is nestled between the mountains and the sea and has a relaxed and welcoming feel from the moment you step through the door.
Best place to eat: As its name suggests, Simply Street Food and Grill takes inspiration from street food around the world. From Mexico tacos to Korean bao buns, via a classic hamburger and sticky chicken wings, the menu here is a real treat!
Best for: Walking and cycling
Nestled in the Snowdonia National Park, Dolgellau is a great spot for enjoying some of the outdoor activities in the whole of Wales. There are fantastic local spots such as Mawddach Trail and the village is also well located for travelling out to the coast.
Dolgellau Cycles have everything you need to explore the surrounding landscape on two wheels and are happy to recommend the best local routes. If wanting to catch some sea air, you can also travel out to Barmouth along the foothills of Cadair Idris, along Mawddach estuary, in under an hour.
Just 8 miles from Dolgellau lie the wooded valleys of the Coed Y Brenin Forest. There is a great Visitor Centre to introduce you to the trails and the friendly staff will be happy to let you know what local wildlife to look out for.
Best place to drink: The bar at the Gwin Dylanwad Wine Shop offers some of the best quality wine from around the world. This modern and relaxed spot couldn’t be further from the image of a traditional country pub but is worth dusting your boots off to enjoy a glass!
Best place to eat: The restaurant at the Torrent Walk Hotel has a wide menu and a range of delicious daily specials to choose from. The hearty meals on offer are sure to help you re-energise after cycling or walking.
Best for: Book worms
This charming small town sits on the English-Welsh border and is well known for its ten-day literary festival. Even if you don’t visit in time for the festival it is still a lovely place; surrounded by gorgeous Welsh countryside and some fantastic visitor attractions.
The ‘town of books’, as it is also known as, has over twenty bookshops, where you can leaf through the pages of some of Wales’ most famous literary sons and daughters. Whether you’re a fan of Kate Roberts, Dylan Thomas or Roald Dahl, you’ll be sure to find something to keep you inspired long after you’ve visited Wales.
Hay Castle is also nearby and there is some fantastic walking to enjoy across the Black Mountain. For the adrenaline junkies, there are also some fantastic outdoor and adventure activities to enjoy, including from kayaking to paragliding.
Best place to drink: The Old Black Lion is a historic coaching inn that is full of character. You can enjoy settling down to enjoy a book with a local Ale or a wine from the carefully selected menu without being fussed here, or if looking for a livelier evening swing by on Friday to enjoy the live jazz.
Best place to eat: The Salad Project is a great place to pick up some top quality grub to enjoy during your day out. Chef Tom cooks one hot dish a day, from curries to Middle Eastern treats, which are then served with a selection of fantastic salads of your choosing. While you can sit inside, all dishes are served in compostable take-away containers.