Saturday, October 27, 2012

Overlooked Wales

Hidden between England (to the East) and the Atlantic Ocean/Irish Sea (to the West), Wales is often an overlooked travel destination.  For many reasons, planning a trip to Wales is never a consideration.  Travelers will plan trips surrounding countries, such as, Ireland, England, and Scotland but they never want to include Wales.

When I ask, why are you not going to Wales during your time in Europe?  I often hear back that they don’t know much about Wales.  In fact, outside of Cardiff, most people can’t name another single city, town, or attraction in Wales.  This is really shame, but Wales does very little self-promotion compared to its neighbors.  Ireland, only 70km away, is the benchmark for self-promotion.  Millions of tourists flock to the island yearly.  However, the lack of promotion could be on purpose.  Maybe residences don’t want their roads over run with buses, their beautiful landscape spoiled, or their local destinations overrun.  Regardless of the reason, Wales is an undiscovered pocket of Europe. 

The best way to see Wales is by car.  Although there are trains and buses that service the country, renting car is your best option.  Driving through the countryside of Wales will allow you to discover the quaint towns and dramatic landscrape of Wales.

Popular attractions include:

- Snowdonia National Park
- Village of Portmeirion
- Caernarfon Castle
- St. Davids Cathedral
- Tintern Abbey
- Cardiff Castle
- Tenby Harbor
- Conwy Castle
- Millennium Stadium
- Hay on Wye

PT Tip – Portmeiron is the site of the famous TV show The Prisoner. 

Also if you are interested in a little more excitement you can always go surfing at the Gower beaches, bog snorkeling, or coastseering.

Much like everything else in Wales, the food is another hidden secret.  When in Wales be sure to check out traditional dishes such as:

- Tatws Pum Munud (a stew with potatoes, vegetables, and bacon)
- Bara Brith (a sweet bread with dried fruit)
- Cawl (a lamb and leek strew)
- Cockle (a small type of clam, usually steamed). 
- Crempog (a Welsh pancake)
- Welsh Cakes (small cakes baked on a bakestone)

TP Tip – The Welsh love their Cider (alcoholic cider).  Take the opportunity to try brands of cider than cannot be found anywhere else.

This article is only intended to give you a taste of what Wales has to offer.  When planning a trip to Europe, be sure to consider Wales an option.  Unlike its neighbor to the West, Ireland, Wales gets very little attention.  However, Ireland has nothing on Wales.  It’s only a matter of time before Wales is discovered as a must see.  I suggest you get there before the rest of the world finds out how much Wales has to offer.  

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