Llyn y Fan Fawr, Wales © Blisco
For such a small country, Wales has a lot to offer. With dramatic mountains, spectacular seashores, tumbling rivers, fresh green valleys and Europe's largest concentration of medieval fortresses, Wales is a real gem that is often overlooked by tourists.
With a name that springs from the Anglo-Saxon term waleas, meaning 'foreigner', it is hardly surprising that the Welsh have a unique culture, language and heritage that distinguishes them from the English, Scots and Irish, though as part of the United Kingdom, Wales is still subject to its laws and regulations. Although best known for their unpronounceable place names, roaring men's choirs, and fierce rugby teams, this is a friendly and hospitable nation.
Though its largest city, Cardiff, has only about 350,000 residents, cities in Wales are home to interesting urban atmospheres that retain a certain historical quaintness while providing all the modern amenities one could ask for. Cardiff, especially, has in recent years emerged as one of the hippest cities in the UK. Resort towns like Llandudno, Swansea and Tenby provide elegant seaside escapes, and medieval fortifications such as Caernarfon and Conwy offer glimpses into Wales' thousand-year-old history.
Wales is a land of nature and legend with stunning, unspoiled natural scenery that is protected by a series of large National Parks. Headline attractions include majestic parks like Brecon Beacons and Mount Snowdon, and scenic seaside communities tucked into craggy shorelines. For wilderness enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors, Wales is the ideal UK holiday destination.