Yesterday, I returned home from a short trip to North Wales, which is one of the most magical places I've ever seen. I don't travel to more naturey places very often, so I was really excited to get away from the noise and pollution of London. We stayed in a tiny town called Betsw-y-Coed, which is in Snowdonia National Park. The countryside is gorgeous with lots of hiking adventures, as well as quaint little towns.
1.) All the towns have unbelievably unpronouncable names.
Even though only a small proportion of the population actually speaks Welsh, all the street signs have Welsh names that are seemingly impossible for an English speaker to read. North Wales is also home to the town with one of the longest names in the world - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Can anyone pronounce that?
2.) The hiking is amazing.
I'm not even a particularly hikey person, but it was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle. We hiked Mt. Snowden, which my boyfriend had convinced me was the "Mt. Everest of Europe," so I had set out thinking that we were out for an exhausting day. Turns out, the hike isn't too difficult. You can take a train to the top and back down again for 20 GBP. It takes about 2.5 hours roundtrip with time to stop and climb the summit. The weather when we went was horrible, so we opted to take the train up and hike our way back down for our safety. It was about a 2.5 hour hike down on the easiest trail (we took about 3 hours so I could chase some sheep and take photos). The views were amazing even though it was so foggy that most of my photos turned out horrible. To learn more about Mount Snowden, click here.
3.) It has the smallest house in Great Britain.
I mean.... come on!
The man who ran our B&B, David (shoutout to Mary's Court Guest House for being amazing) recommended that we visit the town of Conwy to explore. We headed there and to our surprise, it was a small town within the confines of a castle wall. We climbed the castle and got stunning views of the city. As well as Conwy, we came across so many different castles just driving through the countryside.
5.) Amazing food.
I don't eat red meat, and Wales is known for their red meat. My boyfriend, Patrick, tore up the red meat scene, but even I had luck with incredible food during my stay. Props to Amelie's Cafe and Restaurant for feeding me until I couldn't walk anymore.
6.) It has an adorable little Italian village.
There's a town of Portmeirion, a little further south from where we were staying. It has colorful Italian style architecture and it's right on the water. The grounds are very well kept with flowers and guesthouses. It was fun to wander around and explore for a little bit.
7.) The drives.
I've wanted to visit Wales ever since I was in high school and I became randomly friends with a Welsh kid on Facebook (?). He would always upload photos of the Welsh countryside and it seemed like a dream to me. Once I moved to the UK and my dream became a little more tangible, I decided I wanted to take a road trip instead of just taking the train. Obviously, I can't drive in the UK due to the minor details of driving on the other side of the car slash road slash manual. So I begged my boyfriend for a year to take me, and he finally came. I am so happy I waited to take a road trip because the drives are stunning.
If you can visit Wales, I highly recommend it. While my time was short, it was full of activities and exploring that I will remember forever.
Been to Wales before? Have any recommendations? Share them in the comments below.