The Coastal Way Road Trip Adventure
Running along the entire sweep of Cardigan Bay, from Aberdaron in the north to St Davids in the south, the 180-mile/290km Coastal Way is one of three Wales Way national touring routes. Rather than a rigid set of directions, each ‘Way’ is a jumping-off point for exploration, with plenty of opportunities to venture off the main path and create your very own personal journey.
This three-day itinerary outlines some of the adventures and activities to be found on and around The Coastal Way, including wild watersports, stellar cycling and unique subterranean experiences.
Start your journey with a splash of aquatic adventure at Abersoch on the lovely Llŷn Peninsula. It’s a mecca for all sorts of watersports, including surfing, bodyboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. Once you’ve dried off, make your way to Dragon Raiders Activity Park near Criccieth, where you can indulge your inner action hero on the paintball range, explore trails by Segway and quad bike or learn how to live in the wild at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy.
Then it’s time to go underground at Zip World in Blaenau Ffestiniog, where former slate mines house a vast playground of zip wires, rope bridges and trampolines. You can also explore Llechwedd caverns and surroundings on a ‘deep mine tour’ and off-road quarry tour. Or dive downhill on Antur Stiniog’s rocky mountain biking trails.
Drive via Machynlleth and the A487 to the seaside resort of Aberystwyth. Enjoy some easy, largely traffic-free bike riding on the Ystwyth and Rheidol Valley Trails, or test your off-road mettle on bone-shaking singletracks at Bwlch Nant yr Arian (you can hire a bike at Summit Cycles in Aberystwyth if you haven’t brought your own).
Stay on the A487 as it hugs the coast to the pretty harbour town of New Quay, where you can take to the waves with the help of Cardigan Bay Watersports Centre and go windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding, waterskiing and wakeboarding. Or take a wildlife boat trip with A Bay to Remember (based in Cardigan with three different local departure points) and look out for the dolphins and porpoises that play in the bay’s crystal-clear waters.
Suggested overnight: Cardigan.
From Cardigan take the minor road through St Dogmaels to Moylegrove and Ceibwr Bay. Tucked in amongst tall cliffs, it’s the location for some superlative sea kayaking past rocks folded into unusual geological textures and the spectacular sea cave of Pwll-y-Wrach (The Witches’ Cauldron).
Return to the A487 towards Fishguard and make your way to the Gwaun Valley Trail. Found just off the B4313 Fishguard to Narberth road near Llanychaer (see cyclepembrokeshire.com for location details) this 6-mile/9.7km loop through an idyllic wooded river valley carved out at the end of the last Ice Age is an easy way to experience Pembrokeshire’s hidden, green countryside.
Finish your journey at Whitesands Bay, an arc of soft sand in the shadow of Carn Llidi. It’s one of the UK’s best surfing beaches, perfect if you’ve already got the surfing bug but also the ideal location to learn with surf schools resident on the beach.
Suggested overnight: St Davids.