Wales boasts a beckoning 746 miles of coastline, and as such, this astonishingly beautiful country in the UK's west is bound to be home to many a stunning beach. Offering some of the most gorgeous beaches in the whole of the UK - many of which are nestled in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - Wales has taken a great deal of care in ensuring its spectacular shores remain unspoiled for generations to come. Thus, it's truly no surprise that, in between exploring the picturesque historic towns and majestic cities of Wales and tucking into hearty and moreish Welsh dishes, travelers are tantalized by the nation of dragon's breathtaking beaches - many of which wouldn't look out of place in the Mediterranean.
10 Whitmore Bay, Barry
A beautiful sandy beach flanked by two limestone headlands is the pretty Whitmore Bay, situated only ten miles from the Welsh capital of Cardiff. Being mere miles from the city makes it a superb day trip for locals and visitors looking to escape the urban hustle and bustle, and it's easy to see why it's a favorite.
The bay boasts lots of facilities, a funfair, the much-loved Pleasure Park, lifeguards on duty, and fantastic live music and performances in summer. All in all, it's ideal for families on the hunt for a convenient and fun seaside day out without traveling too far.
9 Porth Neigwl, Abersoch
Commonly known as "Hell's Mouth," Porth Neigwl in the alluring area of Abersoch, Gwynedd, is a hive for wicked water sports, such as surfing, fishing, and kayaking. The gorgeous beach here is part pebble and part sand and offers designated sections for water sports and swimming. There's also free parking nearby, and a sumptuous snack van for hungry visitors to indulge in when tummies need refilling. Nature-lovers will also be excited by the potential to spot bottlenose dolphins and porpoises, which are often sighted from the pretty beach.
8 Freshwater West Beach, Benfro
Once a historic smuggler's spot, Freshwater West Beach is part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, boasting a pristine, wide sand beach that features undulating sand dunes and even a lovely house reef at its south end perfect for snorkeling. The Welsh National Surfing Championships are often held here thanks to the area's epic waves - but that's not the only reason this beach is so famous. Fanatics of the Harry Potter film series may recognize it as the home of Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film, and what's more, Dobby the elf fans can spot the poor-fated free elf's grave on this lovely stretch of sand.
7 Traeth Yr Ora, Dulas
People love the long, vast stretch of shimmering golden sand at Traeth Yr Ora beach, which is ripe for sandcastles, picnics, sunbathing, and playing. The richly colored sand extends to the sea, which invites beach-goers to swim in its crystal clear waters on a warm summer's day. Swimming and sunbathing aside, this seaside spot has some eerie history - it's possible to see Prisoners Island here at low tide, and legend has it that prisoners were once tied to its rocks and left to be drowned by the rising tide.
Whilst there aren't any facilities on the beach - which is only accessible by foot from the nearest car park 20 minutes away - it more than makes up for it with its crowd-free tranquillity, peace and quiet, and stunning scenery that remains unspoiled.
6 Three Cliffs Bay, Gower
Aptly named after the three sea cliffs encompassing the bay, Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower Peninsula is a popular place for dog walkers, climbers, hikers, and nature-loving explorers with a camera in hand. Although it does lack ease of access, this means it's thankfully never crowded and is in pristine condition as nature intended.
The salt marsh, towering limestone cliffs, and lovely sand dunes polish this spot up into a photographer's dream, complemented by the dramatic and enticing myths and legends - involving fairies and conflicts - surrounding Pennard Castle that remains prettily perched here.
5 Church Doors Cove, Manorbier
The part sand part shingle Church Doors Beach with its azure waters and mighty rock formations is accessed from a daring flight of stairs. Due to the rugged coastline's military significance, it wasn't always open to the public, but now, open to all, this small cove featuring two sandstone caves that resemble church doors (hence the name) is a spectacular spot to relax on, and take in the jaw-dropping scenery and landscapes that could easily be mistaken for Thailand's Phi Phi Islands on a sunny day.
4 Pendine Sands, Camarthen
Pendine Sands and its quaint coffee shops, great amenities, and interesting rock pools perfect for critter hunting are irresistible to visitors - not just for said reasons, but also because of its fascinating and extensive history. The year 1924 saw the world land speed record attempted across this seven-mile stretch of sand, and thanks to its length, it's been a frequent and ideal spot for further world record attempts ever since. The beach also holds military history, with it being used as a firing range during the Second World War. Even today, it's still owned by the Ministry Of Defence.
3 Porth Iago, Aberdaron
The clear turquoise waters and soft sands of Porth Iago in West Wales is a stereotypically beautiful swimming beach, nestled in a rocky cove and protected from much of the harsh weather and ocean conditions that sometimes batter the Welsh coast. Accessible through Ty Mawr Farm - where beach-goers can pay a small fee to park their car - Porth Iago offers a wonderful day at the seaside amidst stunning scenery and majestic marine wildlife. Visitors should keep an eye out at sea on the lookout for seals and dolphins, which are occasionally spotted frolicking in the water.
2 Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Barafundle Bay's blue ocean and gold sandy shores could rival the best paradise beaches in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, and with merit to its isolated location, it's never ever crowded. This National Trust beach is worth the journey fifty times over, for it's one of Wales's most beautiful with its stupefying cliffs and wondrous landscapes that surround the extraordinary bay. A hiker's haven and photographer's wonderland, it's no surprise that Barafundle Bay is a national treasure, and has been cited as one of the planet's top twelve beaches.
1 Rhossili Bay Beach, Rhossili
Rhossili Bay was once voted Britain’s Best Beach and even placed 9th amongst the world's top beaches by Tripadvisor. The sheer beauty of the bay dotted with historic remnants has seen it picked as a movie location many a time, and its three miles stunning sands and glistening sea - as well as views of North Devon on a clear day - make it obvious why it's such a famous favorite worthy of films.
Fascinatingly, at low tide, it's even possible to see the skeleton of the doomed Helvetia submerged in the sand, which was Norwegian oak barque that sank in 1887. And that's not all there is At Rhossili Bay for history buffs; from here, visitors can also visit Worms Head - a tidal island shaped like a snake that can be accessed by a rocky causeway. This photogenic and bizarrely shaped island's name was conjured from the Viking word ‘wurm’, meaning dragon, a coincidentally fitting name for a historic treasure of Wales - the land of the red dragon.