Wild and pictureseque youth hostels
Want an alternative to renting out an enormous country house for a special birthday – book out dorms or rooms in one of Wales' many youth hostels or bunkhouses. A number are in truly wild and picturesque locations in Wales, such as the Brecon Beacons National Park and the shores of the Snowdonia National Park. They're much better than they used to be, too – think proper showers, tidy communal areas and all the mod cons. Start your search with Youth Hostels Wales.
Farming has been an important part of Welsh culture and rural communities for centuries, and it remains a vital part of the economy today. You can stay at dozens of working farms throughout the country. Some have bed and breakfast options while others are self-catering, but all provide a great base for further exploration. Staying on a farm gives you special insight into the industry, not to mention the freshest milk and eggs known to mankind.
Spend a night under the stars in one of a kind accommodation. There are gypsy caravans set beneath our mountains for a romantic getaway, safari lodges at Llechwedd Slate Caverns for daredevil glampers and family-friendly countryside yurts and tipis for an alternative camping break.
We love Welsh wildlife, forests and our epic scenery, and with so many natural wonders to enjoy and explore it's no surprise that Wales has plenty of eco-friendly accommodation options. These include the multi award winning, solar-powered Bryn Elltyd Eco Guest House in Snowdonia, the super sustainable Preseli Venture Eco Lodge in the heart of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and quirky but cool crog lofts and geodesic domes at Fforest farm, near Cardigan.
Now for some really different options. At the award-winning Willows campsite on North Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula, you can stay in a fully insulated Hobbit Tent that resembles a circular wooden tube. Family-run Penhein Glamping in the beautiful Wye Valley offers Persian 'alachighs' – tents with high domed ceilings, comfy beds (proper ones) and wood-burning stoves to keep you cosy.
At Fforest Camp near Cardigan and Manorafon, there is a bewildering array of accommodation including tents inspired by traditional Dutch and Swedish structures and a dome based on a British cavalry design of the 1850s. Of course, if that's not fascinating enough, you could stay in a cottage built of straw (yes, for real) the walls are made of straw bales coated with lime mortar inside and out. The roof insulated in sheep’s wool and covered with cedar shingles. The Straw Cottage is positioned in an idyllic spot of Ty Gwyn Farm in Radnorshire, surrounded by woodland, meadows and a stream, forming a comfy escape from the modern world.
A taste of the Med
Fair point, it's not always tropical in Wales, but we have been known to have some beautiful summer sunshine over the last few years. With the Wales Coast Path making waterside access possible, you can easily find a lovely spot to stay along a seafront, cliff top or overlook beside Wales' blue waters.
Portmeirion is a colourful and ornate Mediterranean village perched on the edge of the beautiful Dwyryd estuary near Porthmadog, on the north west coast of Wales. Let the peacocks, exotic flora and fauna and characterful cottage accommodation transport you to. Alternatively, St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot overlooks the harbour and beaches of Carmarthen Bay, providing a rural retreat in the heart of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. If the spa treatments don't whisk you away, the marine hydro pool with an infinity edge should do the trick.