Jumping on a bike is an eco-friendly way of seeing some of Wales’ beautiful landscapes and improving your fitness at the same time. Thankfully, the cycling revolution is truly underway here in Wales with more cycle paths, mountain-bike routes and cycling tours being developed across the country.
We’ve got a selection of lush biking routes for your to try in Wales so that you can explore some of our lovely landscapes by bike.
Each bike route has different challenges, distance and ability requirements, so whatever your level, you’ll be well catered for. Many of the routes have great facilities along the way, too, including cafés and toilets.
Read more: Beautiful places to canoe and kayak in Wales
There are hundreds of miles of traffic-free trails to explore in Wales, which take in some of the country’s finest scenery and attractions.
(Image: Portia Jones)
The National Cycle Network in Wales has a huge network of cycle and walking paths in Wales to explore.
Coordinated by the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, the National Cycle Network is a growing network of walking and cycling routes that enable people throughout the UK to make healthy, low cost and safe walking and cycling journeys.
Founder of Roam Bikepacking, Joe Armstrong, has some tips for aspiring cyclists and says that bikers should head to the quieter parts of Wales for a peaceful ride.
He said: “Head to the quiet lanes of Wales, take your time and plan an interesting route, not a long route. I’d say 20 – 30 miles a day, loaded up, is plenty.
“Quiet roads are absolutely key, there’s nothing worse than riding down the main road with endless traffic flying past. The small country lanes or gravel tracks are way more relaxing to ride and will lead you on much more rewarding adventures.”
Joe thinks that bikers should also aim to challenge themselves and ride the epic hills and undulating landscapes of Wales.
“Don’t shy away from some hills. It’s easy to think that a flat ride will be more enjoyable, but I don’t think that is the case at all. A long climb might make you sweat a bit at the time, but it’s so satisfying getting to the top, it’s where the great views are, plus you get to freewheel down the other side.”
From hardcore cyclists to families and biking beginners, there’s never been a better time to start discovering what’s on your doorstep on two wheels.
Here’s our round-up of some of the best biking routes in Wales.
The Taff Trail
(Image: WalesOnline/Rob Browne)
The Taff Trail is an incredibly popular biking and walking route that runs for 55 miles, from the Welsh capital of Cardiff to the small town of Brecon.
The trail is named after the River Taff, which the trail follows. It’s a very well-known National Cycle Route, used by families, dog walkers, bikers and joggers, who sometimes vie for space on the path in more residential areas.
Bikers can attempt the whole route, or break it up into smaller sections depending on ability and time constraints. The trail can be joined from any point, though most people riding the whole route start in Cardiff Bay, where the route officially starts.
From the pretty marina area of Cardiff Bay, the Taff Trail soon leaves the cityscape behind for parklands, wooded areas and muddy paths as you progress onwards to Brecon.
Make sure to stop for a brew and a delicious toastie along the way at the secluded Forest Tea Rooms in Tongwynlais. It’s a family-run business in a gorgeous forest setting that even has the odd peacock roaming around.
Elan Valley Trail
(Image: Portia Jones)
The beautiful Elan Valley is a popular biking hub in the Cambrian Mountains in Wales, with a variety of trails suited to a range of abilities. One of the best-known routes is the largely traffic-free Elan Trail, which follows the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway.
The nine-mile Elan Trail offers beginner bikers and families an easy route around the glorious Elan Valley, though there are some steep gradients and sharp corners that require a reasonable level of fitness.
Jennifer Newman, Visitor Experience Manager at Elan Valley, said: “Set amongst a spectacular backdrop of Victorian dams and reservoirs, open hills and old railways, Elan Valley has an extensive network of trails that weave in and out of woodlands, over rugged mountains, round glistening lakes and through sweeping valleys, providing an exhilarating, exciting and breath-taking riding experience for mountain bikers of all abilities.
“All the trails are graded to provide mountain bikers with an idea of the challenge ahead of them. There are a range of red, blue and black loops ranging from an easy 9kms to a more enduring 60km, depending on your skill and endurance. There really is a trail for any ability.”
Good biking accommodation can be found at Mid Wales Holiday Lets in Rhayader, they have a decent selection of group holiday apartments available for self-catering short breaks with bike storage facilities.
Millennium Coastal Path – Llanelli to Pembrey
This scenic four-mile route is on the National Cycle Network and runs from Llanelli to Pembrey Country Park. If you need to rent a bike, you can do the route in reverse order hire bikes from the Pembrey Ski & Cycle centre, located in the park. You will definitely need to call ahead and make a booking, as they have a limited number of bikes available.
You can start your cycle adventure at the Discovery Centre in Llanelli and then make your way towards the site of the old Duport Steelworks, which is now the picturesque Sandy Water Park with its impressive lake and birdlife.
Continue through Ashpit Ponds Nature Reserve and the new marina at Burry Port before reaching the Pembrey Forest, one of Britain’s rare sand dune forests and home to much rare botanical wildlife including 35 species of butterfly, migrant songbirds and birds of prey.
Make sure to spend a few hours exploring the gorgeous Pembrey Country Park, it’s one of Wales’s top visitor attractions, with a unique blend of coast and countryside.
(Image: Marianna Lutkova on Unsplash)
The Ogwen Trail (Lon Las Ogwen) is the first section of the National Cycle Network’s Route 82. It runs from Bangor in North Wales and enters the Snowdonia National Park at Bethesda.
This charming route is well signposted and mainly follows the old railway line that brought slate down the valley from the Bethesda slate quarry to the coast, where it was shipped around the world.
As you cycle along you’ll experience impressive mountain scenery and get a glimpse into the industrial and social history of the Ogwen trail.
If you are biking this trail in a large group, you can find group accommodation at Ogwen Valley Bunkhouse. It’s a newly converted chapel providing accommodation for up to 14 people in three bedrooms.
Swansea Valley Trail
(Image: Jonathan Myers)
This urban route gives bikers the chance to explore Swansea Valley’s industrial past and heritage sites. It’s a seven-mile trail that begins at Swansea Waterfront near the Sail Bridge and follows the River Tawe. On your ride, you’ll pass swanky waterside developments Liberty Stadium and remains of industrial copperworks.
If you want to have lunch before your cycle, you can grab excellent coffee and food at Coast Cafe in the marina. It’s an independent coffee shop and wine bar with a chilled atmosphere.
After crossing the river the route continues towards Clydach and towards Coed Gwyllim Park, home to Clydach’s Heritage Centre. there are plenty of places to stop for a rest and a scenic picnic along the way. Head onwards, cycling past a canal, the town of Pontardawe and towards the impressive scenery of the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Peregrine Path Monmouth
(Image: Portia Jones)
The Peregrin Path is a newly developed 5.5-mile ride that straddles the Wales/England border as it follows the winding and salmon-rich River Wye from Monmouth in Wales to Goodrich in Herefordshire.
It’s a scenic and largely traffic-free ride with plenty of points of interest along the way and places you can stop and visit, including Goodrich Castle and the Symonds Yat Rock.
The route features a gorgeous picnic spot in the nine-acre pleasure grounds of The Kymin, which offers superb views of the Wye Gorge. If you fancy a pup lunch, pop into the historic Saracens Head, a waterside inn at Symmonds Yat.
The Lôn Las Cymru Trail
(Image: Julian Cram/ Sustrans)
Up for a challenge? The Lôn Las Cymru runs for over 250 miles down the whole length of Wales from Holyhead to Chepstow or Cardiff.
It’s one of the toughest of all the long-distance routes on the National Cycle Network and can also be broken down into shorter, traffic-free and challenging sections.
With over 250 miles of quiet lanes and family-friendly traffic-free cycle paths that take you over three distinct mountain ranges and two national parks, Lon Las Cymru takes in some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the British Isles.
Cardiff Bay Trail
(Image: Portia Jones)
This easy, mainly traffic-free, circular trail runs for just over six miles around Cardiff Bay and across to the seaside town of Penarth, via Pont Y Werin
It is designed for bikers and walkers and is a perfect trail for families and bikers looking for an easy ride around the waterfront. This relatively flat trail is also a great way to explore Cardiff Bay’s fantastic array of attractions and iconic sights.
Along the trail, you’ll see some of the historic and modern landmarks of Cardiff, such as the Norwegian Church, Wales Millennium Centre, the Senedd and the Pierhead building.
There are plenty of places to stop for refreshments, the vibrant waterfront area has lots of cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from.
For a lush sugar hit to pick you up, try a delicious cookie and cream cappuccino from Coffi Co on the way. Guaranteed to perk you right up.
The Celtic Trail
(Image: Julian Cram/ Sustrans)
Running across Wales at its widest point, the Celtic Trail takes in St David’s, Britain’s smallest city, the spectacular Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, dramatic castles in Haverfordwest, Pembroke and Kidwelly, the magnificent Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park and the wide sweep of Swansea Bay.
There is plenty of eating and drinking options on the way as Pembrokeshire is enjoying a growing reputation for fresh produce and coastal cuisine, supplied by an emerging wave of independent producers and dining establishments. Look out for locally sourced lobster, hand foraged seaweed, craft gin, crab sandwiches and locally reared beef.
This route takes you along miles and, miles of the most beautiful and varied scenery in south and west Wales.
The Celtic Trail is made up of two routes – National Route 4 which goes via the coast and National Route 47 which is an inland route.
Read more:The most beautiful short coastal walks in Wales
Lôn Cambria Trail
(Image: Portia Jones)
This route takes you on a fantastic, challenging journey through the spectacular scenery of Mid Wales. Lôn Cambria crosses the heart of beautiful Mid Wales through the Cambrian Mountains, tracing a picturesque 113-mile route from the coast at Aberystwyth to the historic border town of Shrewsbury.
Leaving behind the Victorian seaside resort of Aberystwyth the route follows the River Ystwyth along the valley floor then climbs steeply through Pont-Rhyd-y-Groes to join a spectacular and remote mountain road east of Cwmystwyth.
This in turn leads to a wonderful descent on the traffic-free Elan Valley Trail alongside the beautiful Elan Valley reservoirs down to Rhayader.
National Route 88 of the National Cycle Network is a proposed coastal route between Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend and Margam Country Park.
This six-mile route travels between Port Talbot and the gorgeous Afan Forest. The area is a haven for all sorts of wonderful wildlife and has world-class mountain bike trails.
Starting at Aberavon Seafront the route winds northwards, conveniently linking up with Port Talbot Bus and Train stations, the Shopping Centre, and on to a pretty woodland riverside path skimming the old mining communities of Cwmafan and Pontrhydyfen and the start of Afan Forest Park.
(Image: Agnieszka Mordaunt on Unsplash)
For those wanting a short but sweet ride, this is a great option. Taking you along the old Ruabon to Barmouth railway line from the historic town of Dolgellau to the popular seaside town of Barmouth.
You’ll be utterly wowed by the picturesque views of the Mawddach estuary and the towering Cadair Idris.
This trail starts right from the heart of the charming grey stone town of Dolgellau, which sits below the magnificent mountain of Cadair Idris.
The area is also a haven for wildlife – it’s abundant in birdlife and if you are lucky you may even spot a seal. There is an RSPB reserve at Penmaenpool where the old signal box is used as an observation centre.
Stop off at the quaint George III Hotel at Penmaenpool for refreshments and take in the breathtaking views to Snowdonia National Park.
Continuing along the trail, you cross the famous Barmouth Bridge that stretches for over half a mile across the mouth of the beautiful River Mawddach.
The old Victorian town of Barmouth, with its bustling promenade, is an ideal place to rest and enjoy the views of Cardigan Bay.
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