Ever pictured yourself on a road trip, the wind blowing through your hair as you drive a top-down convertible through winding roads, a mountainous backdrop on one side and crystal-blue waters on the other?
If so, you’ve probably dreamt of driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Australia’s Gold Coast or any of the Hawaiian Islands – but you can get it all much closer to home, in North Wales.
A trip along the Welsh coast can see you take in mountains, valleys, moorland, waterfalls, quaint villages and unique towns.
And then there are the fantastic beaches and superb surfing spots.
So forget about getting your kicks on Route 66, come alive on the A55…
Start in Snowdonia
There can be few better ways to kick off any road trip than driving through the stunning Snowdonia National Park.
Betws y Coed is as good as any starting point and you can while away a couple of hours perusing this picturesque town or take a short walk up to Llyn Elsi or down to Swallow Falls.
If you’ve packed your mountain bikes, head to the mountain biking centre at Blaenau Ffestiniog to take on its slate-mined moon-like landscape or, if you’ve got the kids in tow, a trip to Beddgelert offers more sedate cycling.
If that’s not enough of an adventure, take a trip to Zipworld, an extreme-sporting hub set across three locations that not only houses Europe’s longest and the world’s fastest zipwire, but treetop canopy nets, slides and trampolines set in underground caverns and much more to keep your adrenaline levels topped up.
After all that activity and fresh air you’ll want to slow the pace down a little and a trip to quirky, dreamlike, Italianate Portmeirion Village is the perfect way to do just that.
To get the most of your trip to this most unique of UK towns, stay to watch the watch the sun set over the estuary and behind the mountains then stay the night in a hotel or one of the many self-catering cottages.
The Llyn Peninsula
With a good night’s sleep under your belt, it’s time to get out and about once again and the Llyn Peninsula has dozens of beautiful beaches and secluded coves spread across close to 100 miles of stunning coastline.
The north-westerly coasts are rugged and the water can get quite wild, while the peninsula’s south coast, Abersoch in particular, is the place to go if water sports are your thing. It’s also worth stopping off at historic Caernarfon along the way, and take a trip to Porth Oer to hear the ‘whistling sands’ which squeak as you walk them, one of just two beaches in Europe that offer this unique experience.
If historic Caernarfon whetted your appetite for the local architecture, take a trip to the medieval walled town of Conwy, before carrying on along the coast to Great Orme where you can take a tram or cable car to the headland’s summit for some stunning views over Llandudno and, weather permitting, as far along the North West coast as Merseyside.
And if you’ve still some fuel in your tank, take a trip to the Welsh Mountain Zoo at Colwyn Bay to see everything from red pandas to Sumatran tigers.
Where’s your favourite road trip destination? Let us know in the comments…