Travelling around Wales
Getting around Wales is easy - if you could travel in a straight line, our country is only about 180 miles long. Going around all the mountains, though, makes it about a 5 hour drive from top to bottom. One thing you're sure to notice is that the landscape and scenery changes quickly and dramatically.
It’s easy to get around by train, bus, car or even domestic flight. There are plenty of journeys that are wonderful experiences in their own right, see our 'Wales Way' section. We have some of the most scenic roads, railways and pathways in Great Britain.
The principal railway line in South and West Wales runs more or less parallel to the south coast, connecting Chepstow, Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire. Branch lines from Newport, Cardiff and Bridgend serve The Valleys, the Wye Valley and the Vale of Usk.
In North Wales, a main line runs right along the north coast through Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno, Conwy and Bangor to Holyhead. There’s also a branch line between Wrexham and Shotton.
There are several scenic railway lines in Mid Wales and North Wales. The Heart of Wales Line from Shrewsbury to Llanelli and Swansea cuts diagonally across the rolling hill country of Mid Wales. The Cambrian Line runs west from Shrewsbury to Machynlleth, where it meets the picturesque Cambrian Coast Line, which connects Aberystwyth and Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula. The beautiful Conwy Valley Line runs from Llandudno through Snowdonia to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Train timetables and tickets:
National Rail Enquiries
Arriva Trains Wales
First Great Western
At Blaenau Ffestiniog, you can hop onto the narrow gauge Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways to Porthmadog and Caernarfon. Other vintage railways in Wales include the Snowdon Mountain Railway from Llanberis to the summit of Snowdon, the Llangollen Railway from Llangollen to Carrog, the Talyllyn Railway from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol and the Vale of Rheidol Railway from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge. They all offer memorable journeys through impressive scenery.
National Express operates long-distance intercity coach services along the south coast from Cardiff and Swansea to Pembrokeshire; from Wrexham, Llangollen in the North and Newtown to Aberystwyth on the west coast; and along the north coast from Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno and Bangor to Pwllheli.
Megabus runs a low-cost coach service between Newport, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock.
A network of local and cross-country buses knits into the rail network to cover most towns, villages and rural areas of Wales. For occasional journeys, just pay as you board. In Cardiff, day, weekly and monthly tickets are available.
BayTrans - sustainable Travel for Swansea Bay
Bus services for walkers and cyclists operate in each of the Welsh National Parks: the Coastal Buses (Poppit Rocket, Strumble Shuttle, Celtic Coaster, Coastal Cruiser and Puffin Shuttle) in Pembrokeshire and the Snowdon Sherpa Buses in Snowdonia. They’re designed to reduce traffic in the parks.
Discounted train and bus travel for FIT and groups
An Explore Wales Pass, Ranger or Rover gives you unlimited access to Wales’ mainline train services and many bus routes, plus discounted admission to many tourist attractions. There are options covering various parts of the country, valid for either one day or eight days.
A Railcard gets you 33 percent off adult fares and 60% off kids’ fares on mainline rail services, and a Great Little Trains of Wales discount card gets you 20% off the adult fare on several narrow gauge steam railways in Wales.
Many train companies will offer discounts for groups travelling at the same time.
Getting around North and South Wales by car is straightforward. Traveling from north to south is a picturesque route that includes Snowdonia, the Cambrian Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, it’s not the fastest route but think of the views, picnic and photo opportunities.
Wales’ most scenic drives count among the best in Britain. Some favourite routes with fantastic views include the A466 along the Wye Valley, the B4574 from Rhayader to the Vale of Rheidol, the A4069 across the Black Mountain range, the A4086, A498 and A4085 around Snowdon and Marine Drive around Great Orme, Llandudno.
Also see 'The Wales Way'
There are also many options to hire a car in Wales to travel around the country.
Eastern Airways operates scheduled flights between Cardiff and Anglesey.
Rural Wales is one of Britain’s best cycling destinations. By following the National Cycle Network, you can explore some of Wales’ most appealing country lanes, disused railway lines and forest paths by bike. Sustrans, the charity which created the network, has put together a list of recommended Easy Rides in Wales. There are also three major long-distance routes:
Lôn Las Cymru (NCR 8) – Anglesey, Snowdonia, Brecon Beacons, Cardiff, Chepstow
Lôn Geltaidd (NCR 4) – Fishguard to Chepstow
North Wales Coast Cycle Route (NCR 5) – Anglesey to Chester
With the completion of the Wales Coast Path, it’s possible to walk or hike right around our country. The Coastal Path connects up with the Offa’s Dyke Path, one of the three National Trails in Wales. The other two National Trails are the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and Glyndŵr’s Way in Mid Wales.
Other popular long distance public footpaths in Wales include the Cambrian Way in the Cambrian Mountains and the Wye Valley Walk from Chepstow to Plynlimon. All of these walking routes pass through spectacular landscapes.