Thursday, 12 July 2012 11:28 AM
Home to an abundance of countryside, a long and beautiful coastline and steep mountain peaks, Wales is a great destination to visit if you want to get active on a weekend away. With so many different sports on offer, you'll want to return again and again to try something new.
Explore the outdoors
Most people who come to Wales do so to make the most of its breathtaking outdoor spaces. The nation may be small at 170 miles by 60 miles, but within this area there are tall mountains, dramatic valleys, woodlands, rolling hills and a rugged coastline.
If you're an avid walker or climbing enthusiast, it is definitely worth heading to Wales's tallest mountain, Mount Snowdon, at 1,085 m. You don't have to reach the summit, but there is a variety of activities you can take part in here, while you'll also be able to take in the breathtaking views of Snowdonia National Park.
The landscape in Wales isn't just full of jagged peaks though and, in the southern part of the country, you'll find softer slopes. Rolling hills and deep valleys fill the horizon, giving visitors the perfect opportunities to head outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.
Equestrian enthusiasts will find horse riding centres at Dare Valley Country Park and can go for a trek along a network of bridleways that lead through forests and over mountain peaks. You could feel the wind in your hair if you go mountain biking throughout the region, whizzing down the slopes of the valleys. There are also opportunities to go fishing in Llantrisant, gorge walking in Brecon Beacons and sailing on the Llandegfedd Reservoir - and if it's water sports you're particularly interested in, you should definitely make a trip to Wales's long and picturesque shoreline.
A holiday to Wales isn't complete without a trip to the seaside, especially as it boasts an impressive 750 miles of coastline. Many people flock here for clean golden beaches to sunbathe on during the summertime, while kids can enjoy building sand castles and searching for wildlife in rock pools.
However, if you want to get active, the seaside presents excellent opportunities to break a sweat and try something new. Activities such as windsurfing are extremely popular on the coast, as wide open spaces and long beaches provide excellent conditions for this sport.
If you don't fancy riding the waves but still want to head out to sea, you could go kayaking during your activity weekend in Wales. This will enable you to paddle through the sea, as well as venture into caves, to secluded beaches and bays and even on to uninhabited islands. Depending on where you go, you might also see some of Wales's interesting marine life swimming nearby, including dolphins!
For a fun day out, you and the family could go wildlife spotting aboard a tour boat. This will enable you to spot a few sea creatures, from porpoises and grey seals to leatherback turtles and basking sharks. Head to New Quay in Cardigan Bay, as this is the only place in the UK where you'll be able to see bottle-nosed dolphins during the summertime.
If you're looking for a holiday to remember, Wales could have what you need. As well as traditional - yet exciting - sports to try on a trip here, there are also alternative activities that you may never have attempted before.
You could swap your walking boots for flippers and go diving, where you can see sunken shipwrecks, disused slate quarries and marine life such as jellyfish.
Coasteering is also a popular activity in the country, having originated in Pembrokeshire during the 1980s. It involves making your way around the coastline by scrambling across and climbing up cliffs, rock hopping, jumping or diving into the sea and swimming back to the shore.
If you're feeling especially adventurous on the water, you could try kitesurfing or kiteboarding. The latter sport enables you to ride the waves attached to a small kiteboard while holding on to a kite. The wind is caught in the kite, so you can surf along the shoreline, and Wales's long stretches of beaches and windy conditions make this one of the best places to try this water sport for the first time.