There’s no two ways about it, Wales truly has some of the best road trips in the UK.
I mean I am slightly biased because I lived there for three years whilst at uni, but still – I’m right!
It’s quiet, picturesque, has three ginormous national parks and it almost always has incredible weather…
Okay, that last one was a lie, but the first three points are true.
You can go from driving through mountain ranges and forests one second to driving on a coastline the next; where else can you do that in the UK (except maybe Scotland, but you get the idea 🙃)?
Anyway, let’s get into it!
Here’s my pick of Wales’ best road trips…
5. Black Mountain Pass
Right then, starting things off in fifth place we’ve got Black Mountain Pass.
Now I will admit that a road trip that takes just 45 minutes to go from one end to the other barely constitutes as a road trip at all, but what the route loses in length, it certainly makes up for in views.
As you climb, wriggle, dive and twist your way along the A4069, you’ll get to see the Brecon Beacons National Park at its absolute best and get an awesome view of mountains, forests, rivers and lots and lots of sheep 🐑.
You’ll also get to do some pretty cool things along the route too…
Like wandering around the national park itself and seeing the mountains, forests and rivers up close or walking behind waterfalls; the best waterfall being Sgwd yr Eira which is a part of the Brecon Beacons waterfall walk (top tip: get here super early – ideally before 10AM because the car park fills up super fast).
I’d recommend 45 minutes for the drive, but you could easily spend a day or two exploring Brecon Beacons itself.
Location: South Wales.
Recommended Duration: 1 hour.
Distance: 15 miles / 24 km (45 minutes total driving time).
Best Highlight: Brecon Beacons National Park.
Route: Black Mountain Pass (hit link for full route on Google Maps).
4. The North Wales Way
Next up we’ve got the North Wales Way, which believe it or not, takes you around North Wales.
I know, shocking 😱?!
Starting on the Welsh side of the border near Chester, you’ll make your way West over to Anglesey, taking in three ginormous Welsh castles towards the end of your drive: Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Conwy Castle.
Not only that, you’ll also get to see lighthouses, beaches, some more castles (there are a lot of castles in Wales in case you hadn’t noticed by now), a mountain zoo and you can make a couple of detours into Snowdonia towards Mt Snowdon if you like too.
It’s a short-ish road trip, so 2-3 days will probably be enough, but it depends how many detours you’d like to do and how long you want to spend exploring some of the finer things that the route offers.
Location: North Wales.
Recommended Duration: 2-3 days.
Distance: 75 miles / 120 km (5 hour total driving time).
Best Highlight: Conwy Town and castle.
Route: The North Wales Way (hit link for full route on Google Maps).
3. The Dragon's Spine
In third place we have The Dragon’s Spine.
This route takes you all the way up the centre of Wales (hence the name) via the A470.
It’s one of my favourite road trips in Wales because you start the drive off in the busyness of the Welsh Capital in the South and finish up in the more chilled Conwy in the North, taking in not one, but two National Parks; Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia, giving you plenty of opportunity to kill your calves with some incredible hikes.
You’ll also get to see beaches, forests, rivers and even ride the longest zip wire in Europe if you like too, courtesy of Zip World Velocity 2 in Snowdonia.
I’d recommend a minimum of 4-5 days for this one, but as is the case with the other’s that I’ve mentioned on this list, you could easily extend it out over a week or 10 days.
Location: Central spine of Wales.
Recommended Duration: 4-5 Days.
Distance: 180 miles / 290km (4 hour total driving time).
Best Highlight: Mt Snowdon.
Route: The Dragon’s Spine (hit link for full route on Google Maps).
2. The Best of Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire is perhaps my favourite region of Wales because there’s just so much to see and do in such a small space:
- Ramsey & Skomer Island coastal trips
- Castles (Carew Castle is probably my favourite)
- Dolphin & whale watching from the shore
- Sand beaches
- St David’s (smallest city in the UK)
- Elegug Stacks
- Blue Lagoon
All of this, as you can imagine, makes Pembrokeshire a great place to road trip around, especially during the summer months where you can usually guarantee the weather (although it is Wales, so nothing is guaranteed let’s be honest).
There’s no specific route; it’s more a case of you choosing what you want to do and making the route yourself, but I’ve got a rough one that you can use below which will help you hit most of the major sites.
Luckily as it’s such a small region you won’t need to spend endless hours on the road driving from one destination to the next, which is why I’ve put it at number two because it’s nice to chill out and get out of the car every once and a while, despite it being a road trip 😊.
Location: South West Wales.
Recommended Duration: 2-3 days.
Distance: Depends on your route.
Best Highlight: Dolphin & whale watching around Ramsey Island.
Route: Pembrokeshire (hit link for full route on Google Maps).
1. The Coastal Way
Coming in at number one we’ve got the Coastal Way, which takes you up (or down) the Welsh Coastline.
Starting in St Davids in the South, you’ll drive 175 miles up the coast to Aberdaron in the North, hitting dozens of beaches and popular Welsh seaside towns like Aberaeron, Aberystwyth and Barmouth.
You’ll also get to see lot’s of Pembrokeshire (maybe extend this road trip to include the best of Pembrokeshire?) and you’ll also get the chance to climb Mt Snowdon towards the tail end of your drive, the tallest mountain in Wales.
For other’s this might not be their favourite, but for me it’s just the right mix of nature (two national parks in this one road trip) and towns, which is what I like!
Time wise, I’d probably do it in 3-5 days, but again you can extend it out if you fancy spending more time on the beach getting that famous Welsh tan.
Location: West Wales.
Recommended Duration: 3-5 days.
Distance: 175 miles / 280 km (5 hour total driving time).
Best Highlight: Aberystwyth
Route: The Coastal Way (hit link for full route on Google Maps).