A stunning seaside road trip
Explore the Coastal Way
Get to know the Welsh coastline by taking a road trip along our new Coastal Way.
It’s part of the Wales Way, a recently launched family of three national routes – the Coastal Way, the Cambrian Way and the North Wales Way – that guide you through some of our country’s most striking scenery. Each touring route is designed to introduce visitors to the best of Wales. They’re packed with suggestions on things to see and do as you travel, giving you the local knowledge to venture off the beaten path and create your very own Welsh adventure.
The Coastal Way runs in an unbroken sweep along Cardigan Bay through the counties of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Gwynedd. It’s a stunning seaside road trip with serious star power. Stretching from the miniature city of St Davids in the south to Aberdaron on the tip of the wild Llŷn Peninsula in the north, it’s an epic coastal journey through two National Parks, protected Heritage Coast and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Along the way, you’ll encounter an unmistakably Welsh landscape of sandy beaches, pretty harbour villages, sublime estuaries, hidden coves and mighty castles.
The Coastal Way in Pembrokeshire
Here we’re featuring around 60 miles of the Coastal Way – the stretch between St Davids and Poppit Sands near the historic market town of Cardigan. It lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the UK’s only totally coastal National Park. Every step of your journey will take you through a rich, diverse and timeless landscape – in Welsh Gwlad hud a lledrith, the fabled ‘land of magic and enchantment’ – that has inspired everyone from artists to Celtic saints, medieval pilgrims to today’s travellers.
It’s a route studded with highlights. Here are just a few, from west to east.
For really wild adventures, a visit to Ramsey Island is a must. Take a trip from St Davids to this nature reserve, home to teeming colonies of nesting seabirds, porpoises and breeding grey seals, for world-class wildlife spotting.
St Davids has cast a powerful spell for centuries – ever since medieval times, when two pilgrimages to its cathedral (a site founded by Wales’s patron saint) were declared equivalent to one to Rome. It’s Britain’s smallest city (population 2,000) with, we reckon, the largest concentration of art galleries and studios per head.
It’s just a short hop from here to Porthgain, where the rugged, rock-bound north Pembrokeshire coast gives way momentarily to a sheltered harbour with a unique, oddball charm. Porthgain is a great place to get a taste of the sea, either by exploring the coast in a kayak or sampling some of the fresh local crab landed on the harbour every day.
Fishguard’s Lower Harbour is another textbook north Pembrokeshire location, while Newport attracts a fashionable crowd.
In between the two lies the quirky Gwaun Valley. Carved out during the last Ice Age, this steep-sided vale runs from the coast up towards the Preseli Hills, where the National Park ventures inland to encompass grassy uplands dotted with compelling prehistoric sites.
North Pembrokeshire finishes with a flourish along the Teifi Estuary and Poppit Sands, a big, breezy beach close to another saintly spot, the historic village of St Dogmaels.
Onwards along the Coastal Way
Pembrokeshire is at the southern end of the Coastal Way, which then runs through Ceredigion to Snowdonia Mountains and Coast (in the county of Gwynedd) in the north. Don’t miss out. Follow it all the way.
Get to know the Coastal Way
There’s so much to see along the Coastal Way it’s difficult knowing where to start. To point you in the right direction we’ve created a series of themed itineraries showcasing the best the Coastal Way has to offer. From week-long odysseys to short two- and three-day breaks, these guided tours take in the sights, sounds and tastes of our spectacular shorelines.
For more information download our compact guide to The Coastal Way
Enjoy the trip.