I moved to Wales in 2018, after graduating from university. One of my favourite things about living here is definitely the outdoorsy feel to the country and the variety of hiking trails on offer. There are many hiking routes that are reachable by train. But having a car does open up more hiking opportunities.
My favourite time of the year to hike is the spring/summer because you’re more likely to find a clear warm day where the views will be…viewable. Hiking in the autumn is also enjoyable but you’re more likely to experience wet, windy weather. And there may not be much of a view when you get to the top because of all the mist and fog. However, the autumn and winter period is the easiest time to catch the sunrise since you don’t have to wake up as early. Since it rains a lot in Wales, it’s worth getting used to hiking in this weather so you can stay active all year round. Many mountains in Wales are covered in snow in the winter too. Though if you hike in the winter, make sure you’re prepared for the weather conditions! I am yet to do a snowy hike in Wales.
A few of my favourite hikes below!
Garth Hill was my first hike in Wales. This small hill is just outside Cardiff and easily reachable by train or bus. Take the train to Taffs Well station and hike up from there. If you drive over, you can park further up to shorten the route. This hike is perfect for beginners (I’ve been up there four times now!) From the top, there are views of Cardiff and the Bay. See if you can spot Castell Coch too! On the way back down, feel free to stop at the Gwaelod y Garth pub.
The Blorenge is a mountain near Abergavenny. You can take the train to Abergavenny and then walk through the town and then up to the mountain. This one is quite steep! But has amazing views of rolling green hills. I’d recommend going up the Blorenge on a Saturday. I did this hike on a Sunday and by the time I got back down, most restaurants and shops were closed. Going on a Saturday will give you the chance to properly explore Abergavenny too.
This hike is also in the Abergavenny region and easily reachable by train and car. It is the smallest of the three mountains surrounding Abergavenny. Managed to get up this one on a clear day in August!
The Sugar Loaf is the highest mountain surrounding Abergavenny. Again, reachable by both train and car. If you want the hike to be shorter, drive to the car park and hike up from there instead. I can’t really comment on the views because both times I went up, it was very foggy and wet! But it was still worth the hike up.
Llyn y Fan Fawr and Llyn y Fan Fach
This is a very beautiful hike, located in the Brecon Beacons. It’s only accessible by car and it’s quite a scenic drive into the Brecons. I started by summiting Waun Lefrith first and then going down Fan Brycheiniog. If you want more of a challenge, do this route in reverse. Pack some food and have a lunch stop at the top. And take plenty of water – this is a long one!
Fan y Big
Fan y Big is not as high as Pen y Fan but it’s still an enjoyable hike. Since it’s less popular than it’s neighbouring Pen y Fan, it can also be quieter. This hike is only really reachable by car. There is a bus that goes to Brecon from Cardiff but this stops on the main road at the foot of Pen y Fan. Fan y Big is a little further back so driving to it will be easier. For more of a challenge, you could hike up Pen y Fan and then Fan y Big in one day.
Caswell Bay to Langland Bay
This walk is in the Gower. Park in Caswell Bay and then walk along the Wales Coastal Path to get to Langland Bay, and back. It’s a scenic, coastal walk, perfect for warm summer days. I’ve done this walk on a rainy day too and it was very windy!