A Weekend in Wales

Wales is a place you know well, even if you've never been.  You know it from backdrops in Harry Potter, Laurence of Arabia, Clash of the Titans, Batman, King Arthur, and many more.  They obviously didn't use many special effects, either, because this country looks like a fairy tale.  Just like the Highlands are the most picturesque version of forlorn crags and foggy expanses, Wales is the the most picturesque version of rolling hills and babbling brooks.  From frosty Snowdonia (yes, its real name), to the hills of Tintern Abbey, to the sandy coasts of Portmerion, any story you  pick is as stunning as the last.  Your fairy tale weekend starts now.

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Friday: Snowdonia

Stick to the north, taking a hike up to the crags of Castell y Gwynt (now more a pile than a castle) for sunset before settling around the base for the evening.  There are several tourist-geared towns with everything you could want, but we chose a further out campsite.  Head into town for a heartwarming Welsh ale, meade, or whiskey and soak in some gossip.

Price: 5 pounds

Saturday: Along the coast  

Get started early with a peep at the fairy glen.  Amazingly, this stunning (and not unknown) spot was quiet our whole visit, providing a true oasis.

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Price: $0, but probably a lot of film

Catch the old fashioned train from nearby Ffestiniog to Portmerion.  Enjoy the scenery and buy a few treats from the pushcart to feel more like Potter and the gang.

Price: 25 pounds round trip tickets

Grab lunch in Portmerion "Village".  After paying an entry fee, you're allowed to walk through this candy-colored town that more resembles your mother's Christmas figurine set than a place anyone would live.  Take your pick between 5 mediocre restaurants- but don't miss the trails.  The seaside trail is worth every pence of the admission price.

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Price: 12 pounds entry, 5-20 pounds lunch

Mosey on down to Aberystwyth, where you'll spend the night. This bustling international college town differs from much of the rest of Wales, so take advantage of the late dinner times and head a few miles out of town to watch the sun set over the ocean. You'll have plenty of time for a Welsh meal after.

Sunday: Cardiff and Tintern

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A couple hours of driving (and, let's be honest, a coffee shop or two in sweet towns) will bring you to the Welsh capital, Cardiff.  Here, we recommend dining at Tripadvisors' "Best UK Indian" for under 15 pounds.  Then take a stroll to the cities old center and have a walk through the indoor market, open year round every day. *Pro tip, try the Welsh cakes.  They're less than a pound and amazinggg* Also hit the cheese shop for internationally awarded Welsh cheese.

Price: less than 20 pounds for the whole stop

Another hour or so of driving through the hills gets you to Tintern.  One of the oldest "standing" Cistercian Abbeys (dating back to 1131) most of the cathedral is still standing.  Now With holes where the stained glass used to be, a gorgeous Welsh countryside fills the view.  

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Price: 6.50 each

While there, why not stop for some lamb petting and wine tasting?  Stay tuned for the deets!