The United Kingdom is the most popular international destination for American travelers in 2023, with a 145% increase in flight bookings from the United States to the United Kingdom compared to last year.
Most American travelers are going to London, which is the most popular international destination of the summer.
Though London takes the lead, other travelers will venture elsewhere in England or head north to spend some time in Scotland.
But far fewer travelers will venture to Wales, another country that is part of the United Kingdom. There’s so much more to the UK than just London, and Wales is one of those under-the-radar destinations.
Despite its proximity to London, Wales remains an underrated gem in the UK.
Here’s why this part of the United Kingdom should be on your travel wishlist this year:
1. It’s Less Crowded Than England
England is the most-visited destination in the United Kingdom, but Wales receives comparatively fewer tourists. The majority of tourists to Wales are day-trippers from England, so if you spend a few days to a week exploring the country, you aren’t likely to contend with extreme tourist crowds.
This makes for a much more pleasant experience. Rather than waiting in long queues and elbowing your way through crowds at popular tourist landmarks, you can enjoy solitude and tranquility in Wales.
Wales is full of underrated beaches, national parks, and cities that see far fewer crowds than neighboring England.
2. It’s More Affordable Than London
Wales is also more affordable than London (and the rest of England.) Although London is the most popular international destination for American travelers, it’s notoriously pricy.
According to the travel planning resource BudgetYourTrip, the average cost of a hotel room in London, England is £247 (approximately $317 USD) per night.
However, in Cardiff, Wales, the average cost of a hotel room is only £186 ($238 USD) per night, which is around 25% cheaper.
Overall, you can have a much more affordable vacation in Wales than you can in England. The cost of living is lower, and everything from food to activities to transportation is cheaper in Wales.
3. Wales Is Full Of Natural Beauty
One of the biggest reasons to visit Wales this year is because of its unspoiled natural beauty.
For hikers and outdoor adventurers, Wales has several national parks to explore. Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons National Parks are known for their mountains, while Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has wild and rugged beaches.
Wales is full of surprisingly beautiful beaches, dotted with colorful fishing villages and ancient castles.
Cities like Cardiff and Swansea are also worth a visit, but the real highlights of Wales lie in the country’s great wealth of natural beauty and scenic landscapes, as well as its quaint and picturesque small towns.
4. It’s Easily Accessible From London
Getting to Wales is not difficult. In fact, it’s a very quick journey from London, which is the main travel hub of the United Kingdom.
Although Wales has an international airport in Cardiff, there are very few direct flights from abroad and none from the United States.
Instead, you can get from London to Cardiff by train in just 1 hour and 50 minutes. While it’s possible to visit Cardiff on a day trip and possibly squeeze in a couple of other sights, it’s really better to treat Wales as a destination in its own right.
With limited time, two or three days would allow you to see some of the main highlights of this fairly small country. If you have a full week, you can thoroughly explore Wales’ mountains, coastline, and cities and towns.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com