Located southwest of Great Britain and with an area of only around 8,023 square miles, Wales is undeniably a small country; however, no matter its size, its staggering beauty speaks volumes throughout the world! In fact, Lonely Planet has recently ranked North Wales as one of the best regions to travel to this 2017 — a recognition that I wasn’t actually surprised about.
You see, I haven’t been to the UK yet, but whenever I travel, I would often meet people who would not only urge me to visit Ireland but that of Wales too. I’ve seen the images online and you bet that I am aiming to visit this country sometime soon!
So when I found out that Tom, one of my fellow travel bloggers, was born in Wales, I just had to reach out to him so that he could share with me (and to us!) the top 10 things that we should know about his picturesque home country.
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Hi guys, my name is Tom Rogers. I am half of travel blog Adventure In You and together with my partner, we are traveling the world while working online. I have been on the road for over 3 years and on a mission to have as many adventures as I can. (You can follow our adventure on Facebook and Instagram).
I was born and have lived in Wales until I was 21. Sure, Wales may be small, but it definitely has a lot to offer, and below are some of the things that you must know about my country!
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#1: Wales is in the “Top 10 Places to Visit in 2016” list – Year of Adventure
Rough guides recently named Wales as one of the Top 10 Places to Visit for 2016, and this is not the first time Wales has been named as one of the finest adventure playgrounds in Europe.
Coasteering, which was Pioneered in Wales, is a mix of rock climbing, cave exploring, and cliff jumping and it is slowly growing into the fastest adventure sport in the United Kingdom. If you fancy trying out coasteering, it is often done along the coast of Pembrokeshire.
#2: Fact: Our flag is the best flag in the world
Ok so I might be biased but I mean come on… our flag has a dragon on it! How cool is that?
The flag consists of 3 colors, green, white and red and is often claimed to be the oldest national flag still in use. There are many legends around why there is a dragon on our flag that originated from historic battles. The flag is called, “Y Ddraig Goch” which means… you guessed it: “The Red Dragon”.
#3: You can surf in Wales
It might not be like surfing in Olon, Ecuador or Hawaii but yes, you can surf in Wales.
The Gower Peninsula is home to some of the best beaches in the world and best surf breaks. I learned to surf in one of the top spots, Llangennith, but Wales also has other breaks in Porthcawl (suitable for beginners), Pembrokeshire, Anglesey and more.
#4: There are more sheep than people!
Yes you heard me! Wales has a population of around 3 million people but there are estimated to be over 11 million sheep in the country — that’s more than 3 sheep to 1 person!
#5: The Welsh government has a legal duty to promote sustainable development
30% of Wales is made up of protected lands as it’s one of the only countries in the world to have this sustainable legal duty. That being said, long hikes through the countryside or along the coast are both stunning to do while in Wales.
#6: The national sport of Wales is Rugby
Photo from Shutterstock
Welsh boys and girls are brought up to follow the Rugby. We are passionate and proud when it comes to watching the 6 Nations, Rugby world cup and even small local games. The rivalry between Wales and England is, still to this day, very real when it comes to Rugby.
#7: Wales has over 600 Castles
After a few days of walking around Siem Riep in Cambodia you will get, “Temple’d out”. Only people who have traveled around South East Asia will understand that joke.
Well the same goes for Wales, but this time, it’s with castles! Big, small, maintained or half destroyed, whatever type of castle you want to see we have it. The biggest castle in Wales is named Caerphilly Castle and believe it or not, it leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
#8: It will rain when you visit Wales
I fondly remember meeting another Welsh person when I went diving in Komodo, Indonesia and the both of us couldn’t get over the how beautiful the weather was compared to back home.
Sorry to break it to you but unless you are very lucky, it will most likely rain when you visit Wales. Not the romantic “let’s go for a walk” type of rain but the type that makes you want to stay in bed for the whole day. We have 4 seasons in the UK and some people swear sometimes that you can experience all 4 seasons in 1 day.
#9: The Longest Town Name in Europe is in Wales
I am so happy I get to write this and don’t have to try and say it. The longest town name in Europe is in Wales and it just so happens to be called…
Whew! What a tongue twister! There is not much to do in this town though, apart from taking a photo with the train station sign.
#10: Only around a 5th of the Population in Wales speak Welsh
It’s a sad but true fact that Welsh is not spoken as much these days. Today, it is spoken more in the North than the South. It is a common myth that Welsh language has no vowels but it actually uses more than the English language.
…and there you have it! Hopefully this article has given you some fun and enjoyable facts about my home country. In all of my travels, I have been to so many places but no matter what, to quote The Wizard of Oz, there is no place like home.
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If you’re from Wales like Tom, do you agree with the 10 points that he wrote about the country? Maybe you have something to add too?
Anyhow, if you’re like me who hasn’t been to the UK yet, I bet you will see by now why Wales is worthy to be included on your 2017 travel bucket list. Here’s to hoping that we all get to see its beauty soon!
NOTE: This series will happen monthly so keep an eye out for the next country that I’ll be featuring.