Wales – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Wales, climate, geography, population and culture.
Wales or Cymru
Wales is a country in southwestern Britain, which is an administrative part of the United Kingdom. It borders with England in the east and is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean (Bristol Bay in the south, the St. George’s Channel in the southwest and the Irish Sea in the northwest). Wales is the smallest of the administrative and political units of the island of Great Britain, which has its own character, culture and way of life.
Wales is a region with a rich history and amazing natural beauty. The country has an authentic Celtic culture, which is different from the culture of England and Scotland. Wales attracts many tourists with its remarkable castles and stunning scenery of mountains and sea coast.
Flag of Wales
Useful information about Wales
- Population is more than 3 million people.
- Area: 20,779 km².
- Currency: pound sterling.
- Language: English and Welsh.
- Time – UTC 0, +1 in summer.
- The United Kingdom is not a member of the Schengen Agreement. Visas can be obtained by visiting in person at accredited visa centers, which are located in Moscow, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg.
- Wales is one of the safest areas of the United Kingdom. The greatest danger is Welsh people drinking too much alcohol (especially after a sporting event). But tourists are very rarely the target.
Geography and Nature
Wales is a mainly mountainous country, occupying the south-western part of the island of Britain. It has land borders with England and more than 1,000 km of sea coast with dozens of islands on its shores. The most populated south of Wales, where the largest cities are located. In the north-west lies the mountain range of Snowdonia, where the highest point of Wales is Mount Snowdon (1085 m). To the south lies the Brecon Beacons mountain range, and in the central part are the Cambrian Mountains.
The Mountains of Wales
The wildlife of Wales is typical of Britain. Although there are some differences. Because of the long coastline there are many bird colonies in Wales. Large mammals are almost non-existent in Britain. Wild goats, weasel, ermine, otter, and marten are preserved in Wales. Welsh rivers and seas are rich in fish.
Wales has a temperate maritime climate. The weather is usually mild, windy and wet. Throughout the year, westerly winds prevail. The rainiest period is from October to January. In the mountains the climate is a little harsher.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Wales is between May and September. It’s quite warm during this time, and the long daylight hours will allow you to cover everything as much as possible. The highest season is July and August.
The first written accounts of Wales date from the Roman era. At that time the west of Britain was inhabited by Celtic tribes (the most numerous were the Ordovician and Silurian). The Romans built several forts and fortresses here. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire fell into decline. The Romans left the territory of Britain. In the early 5th century the territory of modern Wales was inhabited by the Britons, who united into several small kingdoms. In the early Middle Ages the Welsh were overrun by the Anglo-Saxons, whose kingdom in the 8th century built an earthwork on the border with Wales. It was during this period that the beginnings of Welsh culture and national consciousness began.
The name of the country comes from the English word “Wales,” which most likely came from the name of the Celtic tribes (the Volk). The Welsh name of the country is Cymru, which translates from the Brit language as “countrymen.
The Coast of Wales
In the 11th century (after the Norman conquest of Britain), Wales began to gradually come under the rule of the English crown. In the late 13th century, the English finally conquered the whole of its territory. They then built several mighty castles there. Wales was finally integrated into the English kingdom in the 16th century and since then its history has been inextricably linked to that of England.
Before the Industrial Revolution, Wales was a sparsely populated country, with most of its population engaged in agriculture. But coal deposits and industrial construction in its south caused the economy and population to grow rapidly. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Wales became an important industrial region. And its largest cities (Cardiff and Swansea) were among the centers of Western Britain.
The territory of Wales is divided into 22 counties, among which 9 counties, 3 cities with city status and 10 county towns.
Regionally, Wales can be divided into three regions:
- North Wales – mountainous terrain with provincial rural areas.
- Middle Wales is a sparsely populated region of mountains, heathland, forests, broad river valleys and sea coast.
- South Wales is the most urbanized region with stunning seascapes.
The Coast of Wales
The main airport is located in Cardiff. It has regular connections to other cities in Britain and some major cities in Europe. To get to South Wales you can use Bristol Airport, to Central Wales use Birmingham, to North Wales use Liverpool or Manchester. The capital of Wales is connected by rail to London and other major cities in England.
Cities in Wales
– The capital and largest city of Wales, as well as a major tourist, cultural and industrial center of Western Britain.
- Swansea is the second largest city in Wales and a major port.
- Aberystwyth is a university town in the county of Ceredigion.
- Carnarvon is a historic town with a well-preserved medieval castle.
- Conwy is another Welsh town with an impressive medieval castle.
- Llandudno is the largest resort in North Wales.
- Wrexham is the largest city in North Wales.
Attractions in Wales
St David’s Cathedral
St. David’s Cathedral is a magnificent medieval Gothic church founded in the 12th century and dedicated to the patron saint of Wales.
Conwy is an impressive medieval castle in beautiful Snowdonia. This mighty fortress was founded in 1283 at the mouth of the river of the same name.
Carnarvon is a massive castle with 13 towers and two gates, which is considered one of the most impressive and well-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. The castle was founded in the 13th century and is one of the largest of its kind in Britain.
Llangollen Aqueduct and Canal
The Llangollen Aqueduct and Canal is a magnificent example of civil engineering and construction and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an 18-arch bridge, built of stone and cast iron, that crosses the valley of the River Dee.
Snowdonia is a beautiful ridge of low mountains and hills that is considered one of Britain’s most picturesque places.
Brecon Beacons is a national park and one of the most beautiful parts of Wales, famous for its wild ponies and red sandstone mountains.
Pembrokeshire is on the coast of the Pembrokeshire Peninsula, which is washed by the Irish Sea. The place is famous for its picturesque cliffs, pretty fishing harbors and villages.
Wales is quite popular with tourists because of its beautiful nature. Finding accommodation (if you do it beforehand) shouldn’t be a problem. In the countryside, small hotels are combined with pubs.
Welsh cuisine is characterized by simplicity and does not cause associations with any particular dish. It is a popular traditional food:
- Roast lamb, served with mint sauce and vegetables.
- Cawl – broth of lamb.
- Bara brith – sweet bread with dried fruit.
- Welsh Rarebit – a dish of melted cheese, seasoned with onions, ale, and herbs, served in toasted bread.
- Laverbread – seaweed scones.
Wales is known for quality whiskey, excellent beer and apple cider.
Excursions of interest
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The top 20 Welsh attractions
The principality of Wales is one of the four administrative areas of Great Britain. In ancient times there was a commonwealth of Celtic kingdoms on its territory. Architectural monuments from those times can still be found in Wales today.
Situated in the southwest of Britain, the principality is picturesque and has a mild climate that is very pleasant to travel through. A lot of medieval castles which sprang up here in the XIII century during the English domination are also a great peculiarity of Wales.
Tiny towns and villages of Wales preserve the spirit of medieval and Victorian England. Numerous national parks and gardens offer visitors the beauty of local nature and culture.
What to see in Wales?
The most interesting and beautiful places, photos and brief descriptions.
Powys Castle and Garden.
The majestic dark-pink Powys Castle, built in Wales about a thousand years ago, is famous all over England not only for its ghost of the “Lady in Black”, but also for its picturesque garden, laid out in the Italian style. Terraces carved into the rock, hedges, moss-covered trees, an apple orchard, and a tropical greenhouse make a fitting frame for the medieval structure.
St. David’s Cathedral
St. David’s Cathedral was founded in 1181. The architectural appearance of the building was formed over several centuries. In the XIII century the Cathedral of St. David suffered considerable damage after an earthquake, in the middle of the XIV century – the Bishop’s palace was added to it, in the early XVI century the Chapel of the Holy Trinity appeared.
Situated on the two banks of the river Taff the Cardiff City Park of the capital of Wales was laid out in 1873 as a garden area of the local castle, owned by the Marquises of Bute. The main attractions of the park are the ruins of a monastery, Leith Mill and the local Arboretum. The recreation area is decorated with wooden, stone and metal sculptures.
The North Welsh town of fifteen thousand people is rich in historical sites. There is a medieval castle of the same name built in the late 13th century by order of Edward I, Aberconwy monastery, residential buildings of the 14th and 16th centuries and the smallest house in England, measuring 3.05 x 1.8 meters.
Founded at the end of the 13th century at the base of the Cradyne Peninsula, the town became a seaside resort in the 1860s. This was facilitated by the significant rebuilding of Llandudno by the architect J. Felton. At the best resort in Wales, you can not only relax but also visit the Museum of the history of the city and plunge into the tale of “Alice in Wonderland”.
Portmeirion tourist village
The original Italian-style village was created by architect C. Williams-Ellis on the site of a former foundry in the 1920s. Most of Portmeirion’s buildings have an unusual, unlike anything else “folly” look. They are mostly hotels souvenir stores, cafes, and restaurants.
Cardiff National Museum.
Founded in 1912, the National Museum of Cardiff is part of the larger National Museum of Wales, which opened five years earlier. The museum collections, which include archaeological, botanical, geological, and art exhibits, are housed in the Cardiff Central Library building.
Located in northeast Wales, the navigable Pontkysillte Aqueduct was built in the early 19th century by engineer T. Telford. It was not by chance that Walter Scott described it as the “finest work of art”: the grandiose edifice is still the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain.
Rossely Bay and Beach
The picturesque Rossy Bay and its namesake beach are among the top ten holiday destinations in the world. Romantic cliffs, clear waters, hospitable locals and a quaint cottage once home to a parish priest make Rossy an unforgettable holiday.
Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s favorite vacation spot is just off the northwest coast of Wales. Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The first humans settled on the island nine thousand years ago. Even today you can still see traces of their presence in the form of stone monuments in Anglesey.
Built about 2,000 years ago on the ruins of an old Roman fortress, the castle was used for city purposes for a long time, first as a fort and then as a court. Over time, Cardiff came into the use of the Marquises of Bute. Today the castle houses the Historical and Archaeological Museum.
The trail along the Val-Offa
The two hundred and seventy-kilometer trail along the rampart of Offa, which has been the conventional border between Wales and England for about a thousand years, is a great attraction for tourists who like to hike. It takes an average of eleven days to cross it. The route winds through the beautiful Welsh countryside.
St. Fagans National Historical Museum
Opened in 1948, the Cardiff Open Air Museum at St. Fagans Castle takes visitors on a cultural and architectural journey through Wales from the Celtic Age to the present day. Here you can see round Celtic houses and medieval chapels, a classic English post office building and the most ordinary pigsty.
Great Orme Point
Cape Great Orme towers over the town of Llandudno. You can get there by streetcar from the edge of town; you can get there by cable car or on foot. Cape Great Orme offers a picturesque view of the city’s waterfront and the bay. On the hills is the Local History Museum and the Open Air Museum, formed from ancient mines.
Snowdonia National Park.
One hundred lakes, ninety mountain peaks, a huge number of beaches and heathland in north Wales make up one huge Snowdonia National Park. The remains of Roman fortifications and medieval castles attract lovers of the past, while the mountain ranges and lakes attract fans of outdoor activities.
Up until World War II, Cardiff Bay was used exclusively for industrial purposes – to export coal mined in the South Valley. In 1999, it was modernized and turned into an entertainment area surrounded by a twelve-kilometer long waterfront with shopping complexes, bars and restaurants. In the waters of Cardiff Bay you can do water sports.
Brecon Beacons National Park.
“Brecon Beacons National Park is a unique national park that includes not only natural but also architectural attractions in Wales. Located on four mountain ranges, its territory includes mountain rivers and waterfalls, wooded valleys and heathland, tiny towns and ancient villages, Bronze Age relics and Celtic menhirs.
Built in the late 13th century on the orders of Edward I, the castle was intended to be a symbol of English rule over Wales. The massive walls, built in the shape of an irregular figure eight, and polygonal towers were topped with statues of eagles and contained bands of different colors. Only the exterior parts of Carnarvon have survived; only the foundations remain of the interior components.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Located in the west of Wales, the National Park was opened in 1952. Today, there are several self-contained national and marine reserves in its wooded estuary and rocky cliffs. Pembrokeshire Coast’s beaches have won the most prestigious awards every year for being the cleanest and most adapted for recreation.
Lord Aberconway’s family seat was enclosed in a magnificent garden way back in 1875. Since 1949 the blooming grounds have been protected by the National Trust. The upper part of the Bodnath has the appearance of Italian terraces, the lower part consists of intricate paths and thickets of exotic and European fruit and berry plants and flowers.
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