The backpacker’s guide to Wales

North Wales

All of the countries that make up the United Kingdom are rich in history and culture, and Wales is no different. Wales has a distinct culture, language and feel that makes it obviously different from the rest of the UK, and stunning landscapes, wide open spaces and national parks dotted with exciting towns and cities, so it’s no surprise that thousands of visitors are attracted to Wales each year. Wales is also eminently fitting for backpacking, because most of its most interesting gems can be discovered by chance, when one simply wanders through the most unlikely places. There are lots of reasons for choosing to backpack in this amazing country, and if you are prepared to tackle a journey like this, here’s a backpacker’s guide to Wales.

Transport

Wales is known for its vast open spaces, so it’s difficult to avoid transport, unless you don’t mind cycling for long hours (although in  decidedly beautiful scenery). Hitchhiking is a great way to see the country, and above all it is a lot of fun. You might need a bit of patience to hitch a ride in Wales, but drivers tend to be very friendly. There aren’t too many motorways, but there are lots of roundabouts on roads, which make perfect places for hitchhiking. Traveling by train is also a good option, as Welsh trains tend to be fast and efficient, but between certain cities (like from Cardiff to Swansea) it is quicker to take a bus of coach (Cymru Shuttle service is affordable and dependable).

Accommodation

Since Wales is a hotspot for tourists, there is a wide range of accommodation to choose from, but that doesn’t mean that it is always affordable. Especially in peak season, it can be difficult to find a cheap room at a hotel. Larger cities like Cardiff and Swansea have a good selection of hostels where you can stay in dorm-style rooms, and these a generally quite reasonably priced. More information about Welsh hostels can be found here. Camping is also an option if you don’t mind sleeping in a tent – there are lots of camping ground especially in national parks. Trailers can also be rented at some camping grounds, but it will cost you more, although it’s still reasonable compared to some hotel rates.

Budget eating

If you can get away with hitchhiking and staying in camping grounds or cheap hostels, you can see much of the country for very little money. Budget eating is also not very difficult in Wales, especially in cities where cheap eateries abound. Cafes are great for simple hot meals like soup or heated sandwiches, but if you want something more gourmet, you should visit farmer’s markets where you can find all sorts of local specialties for affordable prices. The backpacker’s guide to Wales would be too long if we were to mention all the great places to eat in Wales, but here and here you can find a list of cheap places to eat in Cardiff and Swansea.

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