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Cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff – a magical journey through Wales

clogette (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff – a magical journey through Wales

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

4-9

days

3-6 h

/ day

264 mi

15,700 ft

15,600 ft

From the magnificent Welsh mountains to medieval castles, and picturesque coastal towns to historic canals: this Collection guides you through the stunning heart of Wales. Following the National Cycle Route 8 from Holyhead to Cardiff, you will explore some of the best cycling routes the UK has to offer.

Spanning 257 miles in total, this multi-day adventure is a dream for cyclists. As the majority of the route follows traffic-free trails and bike paths such as former railway lines like the Lon Las Menai, Lon Eifion, the Mawddach Trail and the Taff Trail, you are able to fully enjoy the vast Welsh landscapes as you ride.

This Collection is known to be one of the toughest cycling routes in the UK so try to fit in some extra training before you go. You will climb over 4,790 meters during the course of seven days into the stunning wilderness of two national parks: Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. As some parts are off-road, we recommend leaving your slick racing tires at home in favor of a hybrid or touring bike with thicker tires.

Ranging in length from 30 to 50 miles (50 to 80 kilometers), the routes in this Collection are manageable for any rider with a good level of fitness. If you are looking for an even heftier challenge, you can combine some of the routes. Each day finishes in a town or city with plenty of good accommodation options: whether you prefer to stay in hotels, B&Bs, or campsites.

The route starts in Holyhead, the largest town on the island of Anglesey and one of the most northerly points of Wales. Situated on the coast, Holyhead is a bustling port town, with regular ferries running to Ireland. It also has good rail connections with the rest of the UK with direct trains to London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff.

For information about visiting Wales, visit: visitwales.com
For train tickets and timetables, visit: thetrainline.com/stations/holyhead

On The Map

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Lôn Las Cymru — National Cycle Route 8, from Holyhead to Cardiff

254 mi

14,900 ft

14,925 ft

Last updated: November 25, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    04:00
    39.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,675 ft
    1,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Day one of your cycling adventure takes you through decades of history: from medieval churches to 19th-century architectural wonders and Roman forts.

    

    The first day of cycling is a gentle introduction to the cycling adventure. The road falls and rises gradually but you will not climb higher than 330 feet

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    03:21
    33.1 mi
    9.9 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This section of the route takes you to enchanting Roman castles, through meandering country lanes and to legendary fish and chip shops in sleepy coastal towns.

    

    Beginning the day from Caernarfon, the first 12 miles (16 kilometers) of the route are a gradual climb up to 490 feet (150 meters) along the

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    04:55
    42.1 mi
    8.6 mph
    3,925 ft
    3,700 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Day three is one of the most challenging days of cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff. You will cycle 42 miles (68 kilometers) and gain 3,930 feet (1,200 meters) in elevation. But, the hard work is worth it: amazing landscapes and sweeping views of the Snowdonia National Park await.

    

    Leaving Penrhyndaudraeth

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    03:17
    29.7 mi
    9.0 mph
    2,525 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Enchanting waterfalls, magnificent mountains, layers upon layers of green hills: today you will enjoy the stunning landscapes of Snowdonia National Park.

    

    The day begins with a gentle descent into Machynlleth, a historic town that claims to be the “capital of Wales” as it was the seat of Owain Glyndwr

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    03:55
    36.8 mi
    9.4 mph
    2,275 ft
    2,375 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Day five of cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff gently leaves the Snowdonia National Park, following the River Wye as it meanders towards the luscious Elan Valley.

    

    Leaving from Llanidloes, the route begins with the longest climb of the day to the village of Llangurig, a small village lying on the River

    by komoot

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  • Difficult
    05:01
    47.6 mi
    9.5 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting from Builth Wells, day six will take you deeper into the heart of the Wye Valley before climbing into another of Wales’ scenic national parks - the Brecon Beacons. With 48 miles (78 kilometers) to cover, this is the longest section of the seven-day cycling route.

    

    The day begins with a flat and

    by komoot

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  • Intermediate
    03:16
    35.0 mi
    10.7 mph
    925 ft
    2,000 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Your final day of cycling is a gentle route along the Taff Trail. Having left the mountains of the Brecon Beacons behind, you will descend 2000 feet (610 meters) with only 920 feet (280 meters) of ascent.

    

    The day begins with a long downhill stretch along the Taff Trail, a former railway line which follows

    by komoot

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    264 mi
  • Duration
    27:45 h
  • Elevation
    15,700 ft15,600 ft

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Cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff – a magical journey through Wales

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