Classic itinerary day-by-day
1. Day one
Arrive in Brecon
Brecon is a market town with a cathedral in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. At 4:30pm, we will meet at Brecon Canal Basin for a welcome tea and short cruise on board the narrow boat Dragon Fly along the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal, taking in a lock and the aqueduct over the River Usk. The tea will include traditional Welsh fare such as Welsh bread 'Bara Brith' and Welsh cakes.
Your overnight stay for the next 3 nights will be in Brecon.
2. Day two
Pontsticill, Pencelli and back to Brecon
Today begins with a transfer to Pontsticill. From here, we cycle along a route that is mostly either flat or downhill to Brecon, spanning the north and south boundaries of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It's a dramatic start to the tour with stunning views, forests and a chance to ride along the shores of several reservoirs. The route also takes in Pencelli and the scenic Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
18 miles (29 km)
3. Day three
Builth Wells, Hay on Wye and back to Brecon
This morning begins again with a transfer, this time to Builth Wells, a lively agricultural town on the banks of the River Wye and home to the Royal Welsh Show. From here we ride downstream to Hay on Wye, following the spectacular River Wye all the way on an old railway line. We'll stop for a coffee at the old station as well as a packed lunch... and there's plenty of time to enjoy both nature and culture. This area is known for its variety of wild flowers. Hay on Wye, with its big castle, also beckons. Famous as a book town, it features over 30 bookshops. That's a lot of browsing!
21 miles (34 km)
4. Day four
Laugharne, Saundersfoot and Tenby
Today we transfer to Laugharne (1.5 hour). This is a small town on the south Pemrokeshire coast estuary of the River Taf. Dylan Thomas lived here for a number of years. He rented The Boathouse on the estuary and used its garage as a place to write. We'll do the ‘Birthday Walk’ along the estuary shoreline, which includes a visit to The Boathouse. This is a walk Dylan loved and wrote about on his birthday in 1944 when he penned ‘Poem in October’. Plaques along the walk recount the verses. The walk was originally created in the mid-19th Century to give town folks access to the cockle beds on the marshes. The walk also leads past the derelict but imposing Laugharne Castle. We'll hop in the van once again (for 10 minutes) to the start of our first cycle ride for the day.
We'll be pedalling along the scenic Welsh coast to Amroth and Saundersfoot. Part of the route uses the idyllic old tramway line at Saundersfoot. We'll have lunch in the town and then take a short transfer to the start of our second ride which leads downhill through Tenby. This characterful port and bustling town boasts a number of sandy beaches. The route leads all the way to the hotel in the countryside outside Tenby.
12 miles (19 km) cycle; 2.5 mile (4 km) walk
5. Day five
St David's, Ramsey Island, Cardigan
This morning features a visit to the woollen mill at Solva (just an hour on the road from our hotel). This is the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire as it has been operating since 1907. In the mill you can watch the looms operating which today produce rugs and runners, some of the textiles which Wales became famous for. This family run business has an adjacent shop where you can buy their produce.
From here, hop aboard your saddle and we'll be pedalling to St Davids. This is the smallest city in the UK, but is really a vibrant village with an astounding 12th Century cathedral. After lunch in town, we'll pedal on to the nearby coast at St Justinian. From here we take a one hour boat trip around dramatic Ramsey island, half a mile offshore. The island is a protected nature reserve with awesome cliffs, grey seal colonies and an abundance of wildlife.
Back on dry land, we will transfer north to the Teifi valley (one hour) and ride a route that follows the Teifi River, in part on an old railway line to the mouth of the river at Cardigan on the Ceredigion coast. Situated on the west coast of Pembrokeshire, it's a small sleepy town with a growing alternative arts and crafts scene set amongst its jumble of historical architecture. Over dinner, we'll be treated to a performance by a small male choral group.
21 miles (34 km)
6. Day six
Craig Goch to Aberyswyth
Today we transfer to Craig Goch reservoir (1.75 hours) for a thrilling ride to Aberystwyth, through the awesome Cambrian Mountains and following the River Yswyth downstream from its mountain source. Part road and part old railway line, this is a remarkable cycle through unpopulated mountains, then sheep-clad hills and forests, and past villages and inns.
Aberyswyth is a university town on the west coast of Wales and where we will stop for the evening.
27 miles (43 km)
7. Day seven
Ganllwyd to Portmadog
Today we transfer to Ganllwyd in Snowdonia National Park (1 hour) and then cycle downstream in the highly scenic Mawddach valley to Dolgellau. From here it's a traffic-free pedal on an old railway line along the Mawddach estuary to Barmouth, where we'll stop for lunch.
After lunch, we'll transfer to Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog (45 minutes). Here you can take and underground guided walk or train ride into the slate caverns, areas of which are still being worked. Explore the Victorian village, slate workshop, sweet shop and sup the local ale at The Miner’s Arms Short stop in Portmeirion. This is an Italianate village designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 and famous as the setting for ‘The Prisoner’.
At the end of the day we'll transfer to our overnight stay in Portmadog (20 minutes).
19 miles (31 km)
8. Day eight
Circular from Portmadog
We begin with a transfer to Bryncir (10 minutes). Enjoy a traffic-free ride downhill to Caernarfon, following the Welsh Highland railway line with great views to the coast and Menai Straits. Upon arrival, we'll take a guided tour of Caernarfon Castle, which dates back to the 12th Century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lunch will be in Caernarfon and we will then transfer to Llanberis (15 minutes).
It's then a return home via the Snowdon Mountain railway to the summit of Snowdon (1085m) with viaducts, waterfalls and gorges in view.
Stay overnight in Portmadog and depart the following morning - or depart at your leisure this evening.
12 miles (19 km)
it's a thrilling ride to Aberystwyth, through the awesome Cambrian Mountains and following the River Yswyth downstream from its mountain source