19 Welsh seaside towns and villages you must visit (2023)

Wales is renowned for its incredible coastline, and dotted along it are some equally amazing little towns and hamlets. With one-off independent shops, stunning beaches, must-visit attractions and mouth-watering places to eat and drink, they're the perfect place to take a weekend break without having to travel too far.

So if you're planning a getaway, we've come up with a list of suggestions to choose from when you've next got some take off. Meanwhile, when it comes to accommodation throughout Wales, we've got suggestions for holiday cottages here, for holiday parks click here and for brilliant campsites click here.

Read more:The ultimate Welsh road trip that's better than any holiday abroad

1. Abersoch

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A popular former fishing port on the beautiful Llŷn Peninsula, this pretty village is a popular tourist destination famed for its glorious walks, harbour and boat trips. Property is so sought after there that even one of its beach huts sold at auction in 2016 for a record £153,000.

What to do: Get walking by following the Wales Coastal Path or try the Cim Farm Circular Walk, a 3.2-mile trek that includes some spectacular views of St. Tudwal's Islands.

Nearby Porth Neigwl is a treat for cracking surf, while the sailing regatta (August 11 this year) is when the town really comes to life.

Where to stay: There's a variety of accommodation, from campsites to guesthouses. Go to www.booking.com to find out more.

2. Aberdyfi

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Aberdyfi is one of the prettiest little seaside resorts in Wales and is where the River Dyfi meets the waters of Cardigan Bay. The village was founded around the shipbuilding industry and has sandy beaches, watersports and colourful houses

What to do: Crabbing off the harbour is a popular activity for visiting families. Buckets, crab-lines and bait are available from lots of shops in the village. You'll also find a range of water sports including paddleboarding and kitesurfing.

Keen hikers will love the beautiful coastal walks near Aberdyfi, there are miles of dunes of shorelines to be explored, as well a good variety of countryside walks.

Where to stay: Aberdyfi has a good range of self-catering cottages, guesthouses and B&Bs on offer. For superb estuary views, try Bryn Dyfi, a holiday cottage that's just a few minutes’ walk away from the local shops, pubs, restaurants and the sandy beach.

3. Conwy

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In 2015 Conwy was named one of the most beautiful places in Europe and the most stunning tourist spot in the UK by, oddly enough, the Japanese.

The medieval, cobble-stoned town won the hearts of the Far Eastern adjudicators who chose it from a list of almost 160 destinations.

What to do: Climb to the top of one Conwy castle's eight towers, squeeze inside the smallest house in Britain (Quay House, a red-painted one-up one-down that measures only 10ft by 6ft), or go back in time to the 16th century at Plas Mawr - a magnificent, well-preserved Elizabethan townhouse.

Bodnant Gardens is also one of Wales’ best horticultural hot spots and a great place to relax and unwind.

Where to stay:Little Manor - a family-friendly holiday cottage with stunning Snowdonia views, it's also an ideal romantic rural retreat just for two. The cosy open-plan living space has a log burning stove, while an indulgent bathtub offers mesmerising views across to Snowdonia.

4. Beaumaris

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This seaside town on the southeast coast of Anglesey offers glorious views over the Menai Strait - with plenty of picnic-perfect beaches - while the town has lots of places to eat and drink, hosting a well-attended food festival each September.

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What to do: Try the locally sourced lamb cutlets, pan-fried with mint and redcurrant, at Tredici Italian Kitchen - or find a different sort of inner satisfaction at Penmon Priory, parts of which date back to the sixth century.

You can also intern yourself (briefly) at the early 19th-century gaol, or enjoy an authentic Italian gelato at the Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour.

Where to stay:The Bull - either stay in the character-packed coaching inn with original beams or the trendy townhouse boutique hotel next door. But whichever you chose, you won't be disappointed - Hollywood actor Stanley Tucci even ate there once and raved about the place.

5. Porthcawl

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Famed for its yearly Elvis Festival, for which Presley imitators from all over the world descend on the south Wales coast, in its heyday this was one of the great British seaside resorts. And, to this day, it's still King for many.

What to do: There are seven beaches, an esplanade, a traditional fairground, a town museum and the Grand Pavilion theatre. And if you like the outdoors, you'll be spoilt. There are plenty of walking routes, and you can head east or west along the rocky coastline.

You can also play golf at the prestigious Royal Porthcawl, take a surfing or paddleboarding lesson or sink a pint on one of the village greens. And if you've done all that, try a trip to the Devon seaside town of Ilfracombe on The Waverley, the world's last seagoing paddle steamer.

Where to stay: It's home to the massive Parkdean Resorts at Trecco Bay, where you can stay in a caravan or lodge. You’ll get some of the best views across the Bristol Channel at the three-star Fairways Hotel (West Drive, king with breakfast from £90) from its recently refurbished orangery.

6. St Davids

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Wales' smallest city is the birth and burial place of its patron saint and has been a place of pilgrimage for around 1,500 years.

What to do: Escape from it all at the rugged beauty of St Non's Bay, sail across to the bird sanctuary of Ramsey Island, visit the city's iconic 12th-century cathedral or get arty at Oriel y Parc, a celebrated contemporary gallery.

You can also explore the spectacular Pembrokeshire coast from a sea kayak on a kayaking experience with Explore Churches. Kayak beneath towering sea cliffs, and waterfalls, and explore magical sea caves.

For fancy dining in St Davids, check out Blas, an upmarket and award-winning restaurant offering from contemporary art hotel, Twr Y Felin. Dine in the stylish surroundings of a former windmill with a menu that's influenced by season and local surroundings.

Where to stay:Roch Castle (pictured) and Penrhiw Hotel - once a 12th century Norman castle and the other a former vicarage, both were awarded the prestigious AA 5 Gold Star rating late last year.

Both properties have also received AA Breakfast Awards for their emphasis on freshly prepared local ingredients and presentation quality.

7. Laugharne

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Dubbed 'the strangest town in Wales' by Dylan Thomas - and, as its most famous son, he should know. One thing's for sure though, it's certainly charming, with a laid-back, out-of-time feel it's the perfect place to go to get away from it all.

What to do: The Laugharne Weekend literary and music festival in early spring is a great time to spot celebs in this otherwise sleepy environment, while the rest of the year offers stunning estuary walks around Thomas' 'heron-priested shores' and the town's tumbledown castle.

There's also the quirky Tin Shed Museum, the Boathouse where Dylan penned his works, Brown's Hotel (where he got sloshed) and plenty of cafes and shops.

Where to stay: The Dylan Coastal Resort is the perfect place for unwinding by the coast. Their swanky resort is home to the Milk Wood Spa, home to some of the best spa facilities in South Wales - and the panoramic bar and restaurant, Milk Wood Kitchen & Bar.

8. Llangrannog

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Famed as the destination of many a school trip - the Urdd youth camp is situated here - this charming and colourful seaside village is tucked into the narrow valley where the Nant Hawen river makes its way into Cardigan Bay.

What to do: Explore the beach, spot wildlife off nearby Ynys Lochtyn (there are also plenty of amazing wrecks to find in those waters), have a go on the dry ski slope or visit the Internal Museum of Power, which explores the history of the internal combustion and steam engine.

Where to stay: The Pentre Arms is a locals’ favourite, serving up a variety of homemade food, as well as the catch of the day and fine ale.

And Dylan Thomas - he got everywhere, that man - was apparently thrown out of the pub for helping himself to beer.

9. Tenby

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The 'jewel in the crown' of the 'Welsh Riviera', Tenby's always been a tourist hotspot - not surprising as its waters are warmed by the Gulf Stream and it's said to be one of the sunniest places in the UK.

What to do: Plenty of quirky shops to keep you occupied - it's definitely worth taking a look around Tenby High Street and St Julian's Street for some of these little gems. Elsewhere there's South Beach, a long sandy stretch that, on a nice day, can look absolutely stunning.

Tenby's cluster of tiny streets and pastel-coloured buildings hide its best restaurants and cafes down the narrowest of alleys. One of these more secluded dining finds is Plantagenet House, a warren of flagstone floors, exposed beams, and a 40ft medieval Flemish chimney. If you book early enough, you can bag a table in the fireplace itself

Where to stay: There's something for all types of getaway, but the Panorama Hotel is great a great choice. This boutique hotel is family-run and looks out over Tenby's South Beach, for details click here.

10. Porthgain

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With only one road in and out, this tiny coastal hamlet on the north coast of Pembrokeshire has a surprising amount to offer.

What to do: Despite its small size and handful of houses, Porthgain has an excellent restaurant, The Shed, and a cracking little pub called The Sloop, where you'll find fresh, local seafood.

If you enjoy coastal walks, you can walk from Trefin to Porthgain, the short, three-mile walk is fantastic for birdwatching and to get some beautiful coastal snaps.

There's also an art gallery showcasing local talent. The harbour was featured in the 2017 Bill Nighy/Gemma Arterton film Their Finest.

Where to stay: is located on a nearby working farm and is only a mile away from both The Blue Lagoon and Abereiddy Bay.

11. Barmouth

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Located on the west coast of Snowdonia and bordered by the Mawddach estuary, it famously spawned Savile Row icon Tommy Nutter, who once dressed The Beatles and invented the bell bottom.

What to do: The wreck of the 18th-century merchant vessel the Tal y Bont is a popular one with divers, as are the nearby sunken remains of the 19th-century ship The Diamond. Its beaches and swells also make it a haven for surfers, while a large range of shops, pubs and things to do attract lots of families each year.

Where to stay: There are lots to choose from, but five star B&B Glandwr Mill and Bae Abermaw Hotel - for its amazing sea views - get our vote. Check them both out at www.booking.com

12. Barry Island

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Made world-famous by hit TV sitcom Gavin & Stacey, one could argue that Wales' biggest town's seen better days. But it's never pretended to be Penarth and there's still a very real buzz about the old place, even if some of the paint is peeling.

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What to do: Eat chips, visit the arcades, rent a beach hut and a deck chair and take it easy or enjoy the rides at the funfair. The colourful and beautifully designed climbing wall, spelling out Ynys Y Barri Barry Island, offers a bit of free fun for the kids whilst walking the seafront, mini-golf and Quasar offer added distractions - the latter being especially useful should it rain.

Where to stay: Gail's Guest House is just a 10-minute walk from the beach and has some great reviews, or, if you don't mind being a little bit further out, a room at the Fox And Hounds in Llancarfan means you won't have far to go to bed after an evening of good grub and real ale.

Both are at www.booking.com

Read more:Wales' best seaside towns for a staycation according to Which?

13. Aberdaron

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Perched right on the tip of Pen Llŷn, Aberdaron is right out of the way of it all, which is a huge part of its charm. Also recently named among the top 30 prettiest spots in the UK by The Times newspaper.

What to do: As you head down into this beautiful Gwynedd former fishing village why not get some fish and chips from Sblash Caban Pysgod before taking a scenic stroll to Mynydd Mawr.

The Times rave review said, "From its hillside Bardsey Island is a silhouette in silvery sea — King Arthur’s Avalon, they say. At dusk that doesn’t sound far-fetched at all."

Where to stay: Whether it's Gwesty Ty Newydd overlooking the village's sandy beach or an idyllic whitewashed cottage with seas views framed by acres of lush farm land, there's plenty to choose from.

14. Aberporth

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With not one but two beaches, we reckon Aberporth is doubly charming.

What to do: At the bottom end of Cardigan Bay, with its blue waters and dramatic coastline, the mixture of historic fishermen's cottages and luxurious modern homes which overlook the headland have some pretty spectacular views - perfect for sightseeing.

There's also an impressive array of pubs, cafes and restaurants, including Crwst, a must-visit purveyor of pastries, cakes and other baked goods.

Where to stay: Just over a mile away is The Ship Inn in Tresaith which has amazing sea views, or maybe a characterful one bed coastal cottage would be more your thing. Check it out at airbnb.com.

15. Solva

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The little village of Solva looks like the sort of place that only exists on postcards and in storybooks, with its cute harbour full of fishing boats.

What to do: The port has a history dating back to the medieval period, when it became an important trading hub for lime, and the village has almost 40 listed buildings. It also has the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire., which has been weaving for more than 100 years.

You can eat freshly caught sea food, including delicious crab and lobster at 35 Main Street, or you can visit the Gwadn, a nearby secluded stone beach, and take a picnic with you.

Where to stay: Cosy three- star digs at local pubs like The Ship come with a free breakfast, as do the country style rooms at The Cambrian Inn.

Or you can go to Airbnb and rent out a cute Grade II cottage like Y Bwythyn Gwyn which comes with its own log burner and plenty of charm.

16. Nefyn

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In the top left corner of the Welsh coast is a stunning peninsula within the county of Gwynedd which is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.

What to do: Surrounded by the sparkling clear waters of the Irish Sea on one side and Cardigan Bay on the other, if a holiday abroad is based on quiet sandy beaches, luxury and intriguing places to visit then this area is a perfect UK equivalent. Just hope the weather is kind.

There are remains of Iron Age Forts, magnificent castles and islands to discover, sweeping stretches of sandy beaches and plenty of cute coastal villages and historic sites to visit.

Plus. there's Llŷn Maritime Museum and Nefyn's headland golf course, not to mention the lure of the coastal path.

Where to stay: The local area has an array of cosy, comfortable and charming places to stay, including Ednyfed Apartment, Ty Isa cottage and Gwesty Nanhoron Arms Hotel - all in and around Nefyn.

Nearby there are a myriad of cottages to hire, glamping and camping opportunities, B&Bs such as Yr Hen Felin, The Old Mill and further afield the rural retreats of Tan-y-Chapel Hideaway near Ceidio.

17. Saundersfoot

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One of the most popular coastal towns in Pembrokeshire, Saundersfoot offers pretty cottage-lined streets winding down to the beach, all of which are a joy to visit.

What to do: Very much a classic Welsh seaside resort, here the perennial appeal of ice cream, deckchairs, and fish and chips refuses to give way to the millennial penchant for surfing, beach yoga or adventure sports.

You'd be hard pushed to beat standing on the beach's imposing rocky outcrop of Monkstone Point and staring out to the distant outline of Worms Head on the horizon - some say the constantly shifting light means it never looks the same twice.

On a clear day they can even see the tops of the north Devon coastline.

Where to stay: Water Edge is a small block of apartments complete with panoramic views across the beautiful Saundersfoot beach and Carmarthen Bay. A balcony with seating brings them into their own, however. Renting one will give you your own parking space and a short walk to much-loved beach at Coppet Hall.

Click here to find out more.

18. Llansteffan

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A cute estuary village on the River Tywi - one inlet east from Dylan Thomas' Laugharne - Llansteffan is a lesser known treasure.

What to do: Walking and exploring, running around the castle or simply lazing on the beach eating chips, there's a mix of options if you want to feel the sand on your toes or trek the meandering woodland paths.

Where to stay: The village has a mix of listed buildings, cottages and places to lay your head, including the Inn at the Sticks pub which has a great beer garden and pub grub menu. It's also been voted one of the best places in Britain for a Sunday lunch. Fancy something fancier? Head on up to the Georgian Mansion House where you can stay or just dine at the two AA Rosette Moryd Restaurant where coracle-caught sewin is often available.

19. Llandudno

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Named Wales' most beautiful coastal town to visit, according to research released last year, this resort in Conwy was among a number of destinations highlighted by data specialists who looked into areas offering a "winning formula for a relaxing getaway."

What to do: It scored highly for its 10 walking trails, two beaches, eight museums and galleries. At the time the data came out there were more than 300,000 tagged posts about it on Instagram, so it's clearly very picturesque.

There's also a National Park close by.

Where to stay: The Lawton & Lauriston Court Hotel was recently named the second best in the UK in the Tripadvisor Traveller's Choice Best of the Best awards - even beating world famous five-star Mayfair hotel, Claridge's. The restored family-run Victorian townhouse has 35 rooms and luscious sea views of Llandudno Bay.

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What is the prettiest coastal town in Wales? ›

The best seaside town in Wales has been revealed. Aberaeron, in Ceredigion, took the top spot in Wales in a Which? magazine's survey of the UK's best seaside destinations. The town scored 82% in the customer score category, making it the top rated of 11 Welsh seaside towns included in the top 100 in the UK.

What is the best seaside town in North Wales? ›

Rhyl Beach, Rhyl

Rhyl is best known for its seaside charm, which is no surprise given that its beach and neighbouring promenade stretch the length of the town – roughly two miles from Clwyd Estuary to Splash Point.

Which is nicer north or south Wales? ›

North Wales is home to the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes, offering plenty of opportunity for outdoor pursuits, whilst South Wales is the perfect escape for that picturesque coastal getaway.

Where is the Welsh Riviera? ›

A newly-created beach in North Wales has been dubbed the 'Welsh Riviera' - as beachgoers don their swimsuits. People have been out enjoying the sunshine and making the most of the new high tide beach. The beach has been created in Rhos on Sea.

What is the oldest town in Wales? ›

Bangor. Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and one of the smallest cities in the UK. It was officially given city status by Queen Elizabeth II in 1974, but the cathedral site dates back to 6th century. The city is situated in Gwynedd in North West Wales, near the beautiful waters of the Menai Strait.

What's the biggest village in Wales? ›

At the 2011 Census, the population was 3,107, of whom 71% could speak Welsh. It is the sixth largest settlement on the island by population.
Principal areaIsle of Anglesey
Ceremonial countyGwynedd
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
16 more rows

What's the smallest village in Wales? ›

Llanwrtyd claims to be the smallest town in Wales but there's almost nothing you can't do here if you visit during the Alternative Games (Aug 11-27; worldalternativegames.com).

Is prestatyn a nice area? ›

Prestatyn is among the top 10 safest small towns in Clwyd, and is the 25th most dangerous overall out of Clwyd's 142 towns, villages, and cities. The overall crime rate in Prestatyn in 2021 was 85 crimes per 1,000 people.

Is prestatyn a seaside town? ›

Prestatyn /prɛˈstætɪn/ is a seaside town and community in Denbighshire, Wales. Historically a part of Flintshire, it is located on the Irish Sea coast, to the east of Rhyl. At the 2001 Census, Prestatyn had a population of 18,496, that increased to 18,849 at the 2011 census.

Is Llangollen worth visiting? ›

Is Llangollen Worth Visiting? Yes, it is a great little town to visit for the day, or for a few days. You can also base yourself here, and explore the surrounding area.

What is the most visited place in Wales? ›

Snowdonia National Park

The region remains one of the most popular vacation destinations in the UK, attracting some four million visitors a year. When you're here, it's easy to see why the area has featured so heavily in local legends, including those based around King Arthur, who locals will insist was Welsh.

Where is the warmest place in Wales? ›

As scorching temperatures are felt across Wales, it's Hawarden which recorded the all time high once again, but why? The north Wales village set the new record-breaking temperature during the heatwave at 37.1°C.

Where is the sunniest place in Wales? ›

Sunshine. The south-western coast is the sunniest part of Wales, averaging over 1700 hours of sunshine annually, with Tenby, Pembrokeshire, its sunniest town. The dullest time of year is between November and January and the sunniest between May and August.

Where is nice in Wales live? ›

Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire

Ranked 1st in Wales and 5th in the UK, Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire has topped the list. Famous for its castle dating back to the 12th century, the town scored highly for its natural beauty and quality of life.

What is the richest part of Wales? ›

The research found the Benar Headland in Aberscoch, the Llŷn Peninsula village where the local school closed for the final time this week and which is often held up as the text book example of Wales' housing affordability crisis, is Wales's most expensive address with an average price of £2,152,000.

Is abersoch worth visiting? ›

Abersoch is a bustling seaside village full of trendy shops, cafes, restaurants and bars – a must-visit whilst on the Llyn Peninsula and a mecca for many water sport enthusiasts. It is home to the very popular annual wakeboarding festival Wakestock.

Is the Mumbles in Pembrokeshire? ›

The distance between Mumbles and Pembrokeshire is 44 miles. The road distance is 59 miles. How do I travel from Mumbles to Pembrokeshire without a car? The best way to get from Mumbles to Pembrokeshire without a car is to bus and train which takes 2h 34m and costs .


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