Wales, despite existing slightly under the shadow of its neighbors England and Scotland, is a region with a deep identity and unique natural beauty. If images of cloud covered castles, knights fighting dragons, and druidic rituals come to mind when thinking of Wales, you are not entirely far off. Our trek through Wales focuses on the stunning coast, where the Welsh mountains run to a dramatic and windswept coastline. The contrast between the white sand beaches, gray water, and emerald, green mountains is particularly striking. With over 600 castles dotted across the Welsh landscape, the local history is a key part of this trek, and we aim for the experience to feel like a journey into the medieval past, supported by modern amenities of course.


Ryder-Walker’s journey along the Welsh coast begins in the sleepy hamlet of Penmaen. Here we explore the Three Cliffs Bay which Pennard Castle overlooks before continuing to St Davids. St Davids is the smallest city in Wales, a designation it likely achieved through its impressive cathedral, known for its stunning stained-glass ceilings. Our destination on the trek is Portmeirion a colorful folly village. Follies are a longstanding UK tradition, where some eccentric Lord or local will construct an anachronistic, such as medieval style watch towers built in the 1800s. An entire folly village, however, is truly unique and charming both in its silliness and character.

Hiking in Wales

The hiking along the trek focuses largely on the rugged coastline, however we take the opportunity to summit a handful of the most famous peaks in Wales as well. These peaks aren’t huge, but they provide beautiful overlooks from which to survey the countryside. Along the tour we visit multiple AONB’s or Areas of Natural Beauty – a particularly British designation as well as multiple natural parks. Of these, the most notable are the Gower Peninsula, which was the first AONB and the massive Eryri National Park. The stark nature in these regions is home to all sorts of sub-arctic sea birds, with puffins even nesting along the coast from time to time.
The Welsh culture is a treasure in itself. Pockets of Wales still speak the Welsh language, which when written proves to be nearly inscrutable to most Americans. Because of the charm of the local history, we make a point of visiting multiple cultural landmarks such as a variety of castles, cathedrals, the gorgeous Bodnant Gardens, a coal mining museum, and bone caves. While Wales may have more resident sheep than citizens, the locals are sure to leave an impact. Wales has throughout time has been the least developed of the countries in the United Kingdom, with a history that has been as antagonistic to the English as Scottish History. Today, rural Welsh citizens live off the land in similar ways to their ancestors through shepherding and fishing. The villages themselves are a cheerful contrast to the landscape, with welcoming pubs, heartfelt B&Bs, and a variety of uniquely Welsh curiosities.

Food and Cuisine

Wales has a culinary culture that has developed parallel to the English and Scottish culinary traditions, although Welsh food is unique in many ways. Welsh cuisine focuses largely on stews, cheeses, and baked goods like savory pies and cakes.

Some of the most classic Welsh foods include: The Welsh Rarebit, the Rarebit is essentially an open-faced grilled cheese using traditional Welsh cheddar cheese combined with a flavorful mixture such as mustard, ale, or beer, or even Worcestershire Sauce. The dish itself is unique in part because of its etymology, as it is not involved with rabbit at all, and some historians think that the origin of the name is from an English joke at the Welsh’s expense.

The national dish of Wales is Cawl, a delightful lamb and vegetable stew. Known for its high-quality lamb, you’ll find many other dishes featuring this flavorful meat. Other classically Welsh dishes include: laverbread – a seaweed dish that is often served with bacon and eggs as a traditional Welsh breakfast or as an accompaniment to other seafood.

In terms of drink culture, the Welsh are most famous for their beer, which is competitive with the Scottish and Irish breweries in terms of both quality and quantity. Wales is also recognized for its appreciation of whiskey, with Penderyn being a favorite, celebrated for its smoothness, unique character, and distinct flavor profile. Additionally, there is a growing popularity for perry (fermented pair juice) and cider (apple juice) in Wales.