From centuries-old castles and cosy pubs to sandy beaches, rugged mountains and rolling countryside, the Cambrian Way showcases the very best of Wales. The country is bursting with history, culture and eye-popping scenery. The Cambrian Way takes it all in, plus more. Whether you’re got weeks to play with or a matter of days, this guide is designed to help you plan the Cambrian Way road trip you’ve been dreaming of.
The Cambrian Way, at a glance
The Cambrian Way stretches for roughly 200 miles, from Cardiff in the south to Conwy in the north. Of course, you can drive the Cambrian Way in either direction. It mostly follows the A470, though there are plenty of side trips you can add on. The route winds through the country’s mountainous interior and takes you through iconic landscapes like Snowdonia National Park.
Tagging on an extra section from Conwy to Llandudno is a popular option. Continuing on from Cardiff to Barafundle Bay is another great option if you have more time and want to throw in coastal landscapes.
How long does it take to drive the Cambrian Way?
Wondering how long you need for a road trip on the Cambrian Way in Wales? The Cambrian Way is only 200 miles long, though we recommend allowing at least five days to make the most of your road trip. This gives you plenty of time to explore charming towns and villages, immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery and enjoy well-deserved R&R.
Suggested 7-day Cambrian Way itinerary
Looking for inspiration for the Cambrian Way road trip? We’ve put together a sample itinerary that takes in the very best of the Cambrian Way. The route travels from north to south, though you could easily do it in the other direction if preferred.
Day 1 – Llandudno to Conwy
Start the Cambrian Way road trip in Llandudno, a genteel Victorian seaside town perched on the Creuddyn Peninsula. Handsome historic buildings, beautiful beaches and a picturesque waterfront promenade have earned it a reputation as the Queen of Welsh Resorts. Stay the night in Llandudno at a characterful B&B and kickstart Day 1 of your Cambrian Way road trip with a homecooked Welsh breakfast. Blood sausages are compulsory! Enjoy a leisurely morning in Llandudno before packing up the car and heading to Conwy Castle, one of the country’s most iconic strongholds.
Days 2 & 3 – Snowdonia National Park
With a footprint of more than 2000 km², it makes sense to spend at least two nights in Snowdonia National Park. Pack your hiking boots if you plan to climb Mount Snowdon or alternatively, ride the train to the summit. Whichever way you get there, the views from the tallest peak in Wales are spectacular.
The flat trail around Bala Lake takes around 1.5 hours to complete, though we recommend taking your time as the scenery is gorgeous. Even better, pack lunch and enjoy a lakeside picnic at the halfway point. Don’t forget to load up on currant-studded Eccles cakes!
Day 4 – Cambrian Mountains
On day four of the Cambrian Way road trip, you’ll venture into the towering Cambrian Mountains. Wild and remote, this section of your journey promises some of the most spectacular scenery in the British Isles. Waymarked trails meander through the mountains and take you through lush broadleaf forests.
Day 5 – The Elan Valley
Nestled in the Cambrian Mountains, the Elan Valley is dotted with mirror-like dams and reservoirs built during the Victorians era. The charming village of Rhayader is a great place to spend the night. Stop by the visitor centre to pick up trail maps or rent a bike if you want to explore the valley on two wheels. Refuel with cheese-slathered Welsh rarebit and a pint of Double Dragon at a traditional tavern.
Day 6 – Brecon Beacons National Park
Day 6 of the Cambrian Way Wales itinerary takes you to Brecon Beacons National Park. Depart Rhayader after breakfast and make a beeline for Hay-on-Wye, a tiny town with a passion for literature. Grab a midmorning coffee from a cosy café and browse the town’s adorable bookshops – there are dozens!
Next stop is Brecon Beacons, where you’ll find some of the best hiking trails in Wales. Ride the picturesque Brecon Mountain Railway and pencil in a visit to Penderyn Distillery, where you can try whisky made with local spring water.
It’s also worth staying the night in the park. Why? Because Brecon Beacons National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve and boasts some of the best stargazing in the world! We suggest staying in the pocket-sized town of Trecastle, a stone’s throw from the Usk Reservoir. Protected from light pollution, the reservoir boasts an impressive limiting magnitude of 6.4 which means the stars appear even brighter than usual.
Day 7 – Cardiff
After almost a week exploring the mountains and countryside, the city of Cardiff is a welcome change of pace. Browse boutiques along elegant Queens Street and shop for treasures in the city’s beautiful Victorian arcades. Cardiff Castle towers over the city and recalls its roots as a Roman fort and Norman stronghold.
Trendy bars, bistros and gastropubs line the waterfront district and showcase the city’s culinary flair. Shake things up with an underground tour in the nearby mining town of Pontypridd and score tickets to a game at Principality Stadium. The Welsh are mad about rugby and the sport has a huge following in Cardiff.
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