In Wales, we have a Welsh word – Hiraeth – that has no direct English translation, but to us it means a nostalgic longing for our homeland.
To me, it beautifully encapsulates how many of us feel about the glorious place we live that has the most extraordinary beauty as well as a rich heritage of myths and legends and Celtic history.
It’s easy to fall in love with Wales, with its unique mix of towering mountains, medieval castles, thriving cities, historic market towns and the roar of passionate rugby crowds singing Calon Lan.
Wales is special to many people, for so many reasons, more than I can possibly capture in short prose. As a starting point, here are some of my favourite things about Wales that have captured my heart – and why I’m backing Wales in the nationwide poll to find the UK’s Favourite Place run by our sister staycations recommendations site 2Chill. Don’t forget to cast your vote.
We have the best flag in the world
We have the best flag in the world
Our beloved flag is the perfect symbol of a country that’s brimming with legends and mythology. Show me a better flag than one with a mythical, fire breathing dragon on it. I’ll wait.
Wales Coast Path
Traverse the rugged coastlines of Wales on the arresting Wales Coast Path. It’s a long-distance, coastal; footpath that passes through blue flag beaches, nature reserves, fishing towns and secluded bays that offer hikers sweeping views of the coastline.
The route is also the first of its kind in the world to cover an entire country’s coastline and was opened to much fanfare in 2012. Walking sections of the route is an exciting way to explore the coves, marinas, beaches and towns of Wales whilst having a low, environmental impact on our beguiling landscapes.
The Welsh language
“Cenedl heb iaith cenedl heb galon” roughly translates as “a nation without language, is a nation without heart”. Our historic and poetic language is bound to win hearts and minds with soothing words like ‘cwtch’, ‘hiraeth’ and ‘bendigedig’.
There’s nothing more joyous than hearing a lyrical Welsh conversation in a cosy café and knowing it’s a language that has survived not just the test of time, but countless failed attempts to quash it.
READ MORE: Four-star recommendation of Elan Valley Visitor Centre
More than a fifth of the population of modern Cymru can speak or use Welsh and you’ll hear it spoken over steaming cups of tea, in busy shopping streets and passionately sung at a Wales rugby game.
Welsh is an ancient language that overflows with history and heart. It may have been written down as early as 600AD, so each word spoken today connects us to our ancestors and to our long, Celtic heritage.
Our delicious landscapes
We have outstanding natural beauty here in Wales
We have outstanding natural beauty here in Wales, from towering ridges, pristine lakes and sandy beaches that are just waiting to be explored. From the rocky crags of Snowdonia to the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons, we have an impressive range of National Parks and ANOBs.
Wales has also managed to successfully capitalise on our natural playground and offers exciting hiking and biking trails, kayaking, outdoor swimming and word-class outdoor attractions that showcase our alluring landscapes.
READ MORE: Four-star recommendation of National Trust Goldmines
Alongside tourist hotspots like Snowdon and Pen Y fan, we have an impressive range of lesser-known beauty spots and mountains such as the remote Pumlumom Fawr.
The panoramic views from the summit of Pumlumon Fawr are nothing short of utterly extraordinary. You can see as far as Cadair Idris, Snowdon and Aran Fawddwy to the north. The full sweep of Cardigan Bay can also be seen, from Pen Llŷn in the north, right down to Pembrokeshire in the south.
Welsh arts and culture scene
Michael Sheen as a cult preacher in Apostle, Gareth Evans’ previous film for Netflix
Wales has an exceptional arts and culture scene with many icons hailing from our fair land, including legendary poet and writer Dylan Thomas and extraordinary actor and Welsh activist Michael Sheen We are the land of poetry, art and song with cultural hot spots, live music venues, galleries and thriving creative industries.
Chapter Arts Centre is a fine example of a dynamic art space in Wales that’s community-led. This innovative, social space and arts venue in Cardiff is home to local and international art, live performances, grassroots comedy and indie film screenings.
Do you agree with Portia? Visit 2Chill to vote for your favourite place in the UK.