Sand, Surfing And Secret Spots: Your Guide To Beautiful Wales Beaches

Forget sunning yourself abroad; there's a range of places with water sports, golden sands and blue waters all across Cymru. But with so much coastline to choose from, spanning sheltered bays and rugged cliffs, how do you know you're hitting up the top spots? While we can't guarantee the weather will hold out, we've still rounded up the 11 best beaches in Wales.


Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsular 

Rhossili Bay beach not only promises striking vistas and was nominated by The Times as the UK's number one dog-friendly beach, but is a must for surfers thanks to the Atlantic swells coming into Gower. At low tide, there's a huge expanse of sand and it's even possible to walk to Worms Head - a famous headland named after the Old English word 'wyrm', meaning 'sea serpent'. And if you just can't get enough of beach trips? Nearby Three Cliffs Bay with the fourteenth-century Pennard Castle is one of Gower's most photographed locations.

Rhossili Bay Best Beaches In Wales For Surfing | DesignMyNight

When only the best beaches in South Wales will do, this beauty has your back.

Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

A favourite among the best beaches in Pembrokeshire, and often described as the 'Jewel in the Crown', Barafundle Bay has some of the clearest waters along the Welsh coast (move over Caribbean). The golden sands, which are backed by dunes and pine trees, are part of the Stackpole Estate and managed by The National Trust. It's only accessible by the coastal path, making it a half-mile walk from the car park - more than worth it for refreshing dips in the sea here. Plus, the nearby fishing town of Tenby and its smaller neighbour Saundersfoot are very sought-after places to stay too.

Barafundle Bay Best Beaches In Pembrokeshire | DesignMyNight

This one's also vowing for the title of cleanest beach in the country.

Aberffraw (Traeth Mawr), Anglesey

Aberffraw Beach, a great pick of dog-friendly beaches in Wales, is where to head if 'unspoilt' is top of your agenda when deciding on a destination. Here, you'll uncover a wide, arcing bay, Special Area of Conservation dunes teaming with wildlife, and the Anglesey coastal path in both directions. While  Aberffraw village's amenities and the nearest car park are only a walk away across the dunes, you'll find this place is rarely busy. The rural escape is perfect for both walks and wet outings with your pooch.

Aberffraw Best Beaches In North Wales | DesignMyNight

This quiet landscape offers a tranquil destination.

Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

Beach holidays come into their own in Pembrokeshire - and with fantastic all-rounders like Marloes Sands on the cards, it's easy to see why. Explore rock pools former by strata on the bay's west side, clamber over volcanic crags or go for a swim through the sheltered waters. Another National Trust-run pick, the whole of Marloes Peninsula is considered somewhat of a hidden gem on the county's western edge. Keep your eyes pealed for seals while making the most of the area's walks, as well as the prop shaft of a ship wreck at low tide.

Marloes Sands Best Beaches In Wales For Swimming | DesignMyNight

You'll find something to please everyone here.

Taeth Benllech, Anglesey

A top choice of the best North Wales beaches, Benllech has the ideal combo of Blue Flag waters and fine, golden sand. Usually a picture of calm, this Anglesey destination is one for those after lazy shoreline strolls and is especially gorgeous at sunrise - since it faces east. While popular with families, the beach's windsurfing, sailing, shore fishing and a sun-bathing opportunities will also keep the grown-ups happy.

Benllech Anglesey | DesignMyNight

Expect serene scenes at Benllech, one of the best beaches in Wales for families.

Llangrannog Beach, Ceredigion

Sitting pretty on the Ceredigion coast path between Cardigan and Ynys-las, Llangrannog is a quaint cove framed by boats, craggy cliffs and fishermen's cottages. Nab ice cream from the cafe on a warm day, explore the caves or have a wander around to the adjacent Cilborth Beach at low tide. It's more than picture perfect.

Llangrannog Beach | DesignMyNight

Seas the day by taking a trip to this coastal highlight.

Porth Iago, Llŷn Peninsula

This hidden gem on the Llŷn Peninsula is bringing you a remote location, an ancient hill fort and the opportunity for a spot of wild camping. A secret cove for going off the beaten track, Porth Iago makes the most of its undisturbed surroundings. While a little tricky to find with its car park being on private land and down country lanes, it's more than worth it. Better yet, this baby is west-facing, so watching the sun set on a clear evening is a must.

Porth Iago | DesignMyNight

This secret spot awaits.

Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire

Recognise this one from the big screen? Backed by Broomhill Burrows dunes and boasting a huge stretch of sandy shore, Freshwater West has featured in everything from Harry Potter to Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. While the shell cottage of the Wizarding World has been taken down, you can still see the grave of beloved house-elf, Dobby. The beach faces south-west for maximum sun and has some of Pembrokeshire's best waves but only for experienced surfers and strong swimmers, given the strong rip tides.

Freshwater West Best Welsh Beaches | DesignMyNight

Beaches don't get much better than this for Potterheads.

Pen-y-Banc, Borth-Y-Gest

Just outside Snowdonia National Park, a stone's throw from the hotspots of Porthmadog and Portmeirion, Pen-y-Banc is Borth-Y-Gest's stunning tidal estuary with views for days - and it's super accessible from the village. Thanks to a unique mountain backdrop, tidal pools and it being a haven for seabirds, there's plenty to explore while ogling the surrounding beauty. Although you should always pay mind to the strong currents here.

Pen-y-Banc Borth-Y-Gest Beaches | DesignMyNight

Water you waiting for? Get Borth-Y-Gest beaches on your bucketlist.

Pendine Sands, Carmarthen Bay

Pendine Sands is a seven-mile stretch of Carmarthen Bay on the south coast, famous for D-Day Landing practises, car racing and a 1920s land speed record. Rent kite buggies or visit the museum to pay homage to this legacy on your visit. For something else a little different once the evening rolls around, you can also go to neighbouring Ginst Point at Laugharne Sands - a shell beach managed by the Ministry of Defence that's only open between 4pm and 8am.

Pendine Sands | DesignMyNight

After the best beaches in Wales for swimming? Pendine Sands also ticks that box.

Mewslade and Fall Bay, Gower Peninsular 

When it comes to the best Gower beach in Wales, Mewslade and Fall Bay have to be some of the finest on the peninsular. Why? The two connect at low tide, making for amazing seafront walks, and the remote location is equal parts beautiful and rugged - with ancient sea cave shelters and popular surf to match. To get to Fall Bay, you'll have walk just over 2km from the car park at Rhossili, admiring Worms Head island as you go. There's the Giant’s Cave too, which is popular with climbers, and a promontory fort on your way to Mewslade.

Fall Bay Gower Beach Wales | DesignMyNight

This unspoilt beach is worth the walk.

For more Welsh outdoor destinations, take a look at this low-down on Wales' National Parks. Then sign up to our newsletter to hear all the latest.