Fedor Tot takes a look at some of the best places to go for a weekend break this Easter, both in Wales and overseas.
With regular flights from Cardiff Airport, Pablo Picasso’s birthplace makes for a beautiful culture-vulture spring weekend break. April-time may be a bit too cool for a beach trip, but it’s just ideal for walking around the compact, flat Andalusian city, filled with museums (over 30!) and restaurants. The Patio 19 Hostel has dorm beds from £10/night, with private ones from £33, so it’s not overly expensive either.
With cheap flights from Cardiff by FlyBe, Bavaria’s capital is not nearly as overwhelming or high-energy as Berlin, but it remains a vital cultural and historic centre in the heart of Europe. You can walk around the town’s gorgeous old centre on foot, brimming with intricate Gothic architecture, whilst the night-time plays host to a fast-changing landscape of cutting-edge clubs and bars.
The southernmost and largest of the English Channel Islands is easy to get to thanks to direct flights from Cardiff Airport. It might only be nine miles in width and five in length, but there’s a lot to see. Take in the island’s unique heritage, a mix of continental charm and British bonhomie, whilst also drinking in the sights of Elizabeth’s Castle, surrounded by sea at high tide, reachable by land at low tide.
Aberystwyth’s understated charm and unassuming good looks have the potential to impress many a visitor. Its Victorian Beachfront promenade is a sight to see in all weather, whilst the camera obscura that sits atop Constitution Hill is the largest in the world. A student population that rivals the town’s permanent population means that Aberystwyth’s small size belies a sizeable nightlife; it has the highest density of pubs per square mile in the UK!
For somewhere quieter and more contemplative, look no further than the Pembrokeshire Coast for a weekend break. With over 950km of walking trails, it’s unlikely any human would be able to cover all there is to see in one weekend break, but it would be admirable to try. The stunning coastlines and sheer cliffs of the National Park are one of Wales’ many great natural wonders, whilst the numerous small towns dotted around the area provide ideal places to rest for the night.
Situated at the northern edge of the Brecon Beacons, Brecon provides easy access to the grand vistas of the national park it calls home. With Pen Y Fan, the largest peak in South Wales nearby, amongst other excellent walks, it can be easy to forget that Brecon is itself a fine town to visit, bustling with cafes, restaurants, and things to do. A day trip to the brewery in Penderyn on the southern side of the Beacons is also on the cards for any visitor here.
Situated on the north-western coast of Wales, Caernarfon is one of the most storied towns in the region. The straits dividing Caernarfon from Anglesey have always been rich in resources, with the town a prosperous settlement since prehistory. In the 13th century, the Welsh Kingdom of Gwynedd refused to pay tribute to Edward I, prompting the King to invade and construct the town’s now-famous castle. With a medieval political history to rival a Game of Thrones plotline, Caernarfon provides an exciting weekend visit for any history buff. Reachable by bus, train or car, there are also flights from Cardiff to the nearby airport on Anglesey.
For those looking to get away from it all and find some isolation for a few days, there’s the Elan Valley, in the very heart of Wales in the middle of Powys. With a series of beautiful dams and reservoirs dotting the area, the region is not one to create distractions for its visitors, with small villages and homely cafes the norm. That isolation also means that, should you be lucky enough to endure clear night skies in Wales, you’ll also be treated to some of the most incredible night-gazing in Europe.