The 40 best beaches in Wales including Pembrokeshire, Gower and full coastline

Wales' coastline is amongst the most beautiful in the world and it boasts more than 150 beautiful sandy, stony and picturesque beaches. Whether it's a summer day out, an autumn stroll or a seasonal dip there's so many beaches to choose from and we've hand-picked the best for you to visit this year.

From Pembrokeshire's stunning coves and bays to the Llŷn Peninsula, it's not easy deciding which area you should head for. Here are some of the public's favourites to check out, too and for all our latest beach content, click here.

So to help you out, we've picked out 40 of the best sandy shores that shine a little brighter than the rest and that we think should be on your list - whether you're booking a half-term holiday or looking for inspiration for your next day out.

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Meanwhile if you're after campsites by the sea or in amongst the Welsh wilderness then click here.

Let us know in the comments below which is your favourite beach...

1. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Barafundle Bay

The golden sand of Barafundle Bay is often voted one of the best beaches in the world - on a hot day, it can feel like your basking on one of Greece's white sands - and it is not hard to see why. There are no facilities on the beach so remember to take everything you want with you. To find out which other locations in Wales rival that of the tropics, click here

2. Rhossili Bay, Rhossili

Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsular from Worms Head
Rhossili Bay, Gower Peninsular from Worms Head

The three miles of sandy beach and the famous Worm's Head sees Rhossili Bay often top the awards of best beaches in the UK and worldwide.

3. Three Cliffs Bay, Gower

Three Cliffs Bay
Three Cliffs Bay

With its imperious three cliffs (as the name would suggest) cut by the sea from 300 million-year-old carboniferous limestone, it comes complete with powder sand beaches, a medieval castle, salt marshes and a sparkling river.

4. Broad Haven South, Pembrokeshire

Broadhaven South
Broadhaven South

It is an open, west-facing bay with a large sandy beach and has been one of Pembrokeshire’s most popular leisure spots since around 1800.

5. Castle Beach, Tenby

Castle Beach in Tenby was named by The Sunday Times as Beach of the Year in 2019
Castle Beach in Tenby was named by The Sunday Times as Beach of the Year in 2019 -Credit:Welsh Government

Lonely Planet has named this beach the best for island hopping. But with two hilltop ruins over-looking the beach, the views from the beach are just as glorious. At low tide, you can even walk to St Catherine's Island and explore the 19th-century fort for yourself. Read more on the beaches featured on Lonely Planet's list here

6. Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire
Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire

The National Trust beach offers plenty of options from walks, sunbathing and watersports all with spectacular geology. It's perfect if you want a quiet beach day, but remember to bring comfy shoes as its one you can only get to on foot. Discover more secluded beaches in Wales here.

7. Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire

Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire

Great for surfers and experienced swimmers. The beach is wide backing onto dunes and is famous on the big screen, appearing in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

8. Mwnt, Ceredigion

A gloriously secluded beach in the shadow of Mwnt's famous cliffs. It is one of several sites managed by the National Trust in the area. Mwnt is an ideal place to spot bottlenose dolphins, basking sharks and porpoises. Feeling peckish? You must visit this beach cabin serving the best toasties and coffees by the sea.

9. Caswell Bay, Gower

Sunset at Caswell Bay
Sunset at Caswell Bay

Caswell Bay's sandy beach is easily accessible and not far from Mumbles for shops and dining. The beach is also popular, weather permitting, for surfing.

10. Whitesands, Pembrokeshire

Whitesands beach, Pembrokeshire
Whitesands beach, Pembrokeshire

The white sands, hence the name, of the Pembrokeshire beach overlook Carn Llidi and are not far from the Cathedral city of St David's.

11. Tresaith, Ceredigion

Tresaith beach
Tresaith beach

Tresaith - The Town of Seven - is named after the folk tale that an Irish king sent his seven daughters off on a boat to marry men from seven local families. Whether the story is true or not doesn't matter, what does is that this a great beach.

12. Freshwater East, Pembrokeshire

Freshwater East
Freshwater East

A stream runs through the golden sands and with the tide out it is a perfect spot for games. There are also the remains of an old Iron Age fort at East Cliff.

13. Poppit Sands Beach, Pembrokeshire

Poppit Sands
Poppit Sands

The sandy beach is backed by sand dunes is best visited at low tide to enjoy the huge beach.

14. Newgale Sands

The two miles of sandy beach is backed by a huge pebble bank that was formed by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age. This stunning sandy beach is popular for kitesurfing and regular surfing.

15. Langland Bay, Gower

With its seaside beach huts, plus the cafes, restaurants and shops, Langland Bay is a popular spot for families.

16. Skrinkle Haven, Pembrokeshire

Skrinkle Haven is south east of Manobier and accessed via long flight of steps, but once reached is well worth the effort.

17. Southerndown, Bridgend

Southerndown is a popular beach in Wales and offering stunning views with the spectacular cliffs around it
Southerndown is a popular beach in Wales and offering stunning views with the spectacular cliffs around it

The rocks and sand beach is surrounded by spectacular cliffs offering views along the coast.

18. Rest Bay, Porthcawl

Angeline Smith, from Bridgend, has pictured her favourite place - between Rest Bay and Sker Beach.
Angeline Smith, from Bridgend, has pictured her favourite place - between Rest Bay and Sker Beach.

One of the top surfing spots in the UK, with schools ready to teach you the waves, and beautiful sandy spaces. Post-surf, stay for an utterly divine sunset.

19. Porth Iago, Aberdaron, Gwynedd

The white sands and clear blue waters of Porth Iago are popular with both swimmers and water sport enthusiasts. If you're a fan of fishing, the rocks on the northern side of the bass make the perfect spot for catching bass.

20. Manorbier, Pembrokeshire

A stream runs through the huge - depending on tide time - beach that is ideal for games and surfing.

21. Aberporth, Ceredigion

Aberporth beach
-Credit:Collect unknown

The beach of the beautiful village six miles north of Cardigan used to be a port for cargoes of salt, coal, and limestone. Read more about it here.

22. Penbryn, Ceredigion

This National Trust beach is around one mile in length. There is a cafe and a shop, plus a wooded valley a short walk from the bay in Cardigan - what more could you want?

23. Aberdovey, Gwynedd

Where the mountains meet the sea, this harbour resort is within Snowdonia National Park, and there are plenty of activities for visitors.

24. Porthselau Beach, Pembrokeshire

A sandy bay at the end of Whitesands Bay, access is possible between the two at low tide, and it is easily accessible from the coastal path.

25. Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire

Cefn Sidan Beach in Carmarthenshire
Cefn Sidan Beach in Carmarthenshire

Adjacent to Pembrey Country Park with a cafe and toilets by the beach entrance. The seven miles of sandy beach backs onto sand dunes.

26. Watwick Bay, Pembrokeshire

One mile south of the village of Dale. The beach is surrounded by a low sandstone cliff and is especially good for windsurfing and sailing.

27. Traeth yr Ora, Anglesey

On the north east coast of Anglesey, this beach was last year named as the country's most secluded beach.

28. Presipe, Pembrokeshire

Presipe, near Tenby, Pembrokeshire
-Credit:Colin Park/Creative Commons

Backed by stunning sandstone cliffs, Presipe Bay, near Tenby, is another beach that is a true hidden gem. Only accessible via the Pembrokeshire Coastal path, its one that is dependent on tides and is worth a visit during low tide. Popular with surfers.

29. Tywyn, Gwynedd

Approximately five miles long, the sandy beach at Tywyn is popular for all kinds of watersports and harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins can be spotted off the coast.

30. Ogmore-By-Sea, Bridgend

A rock and sand combination, the River Ogmore runs into the sea here and is thought of as one of the cleanest beaches in the area. You can look out to Tusker Rock, which is a popular place for diving and was named after the Danish Viking who colonised the area many moons ago.

31. Barmouth

Barmouth beach

Close to the popular harbour of Barmouth, the large beach benefits from the nearby cafes, restaurants and shops. Just a bit further down the coast, inbetween Barmouth and Harlech, if skinnydipping is more your thing, visit this beach during your trip.

32. Saundersfoot

Saundersfoot beach is a classic for when you're in West Wales
-Credit:Janet Baxter

Small, but popular and the home of the The World Cawl cooking championships. Sit and enjoy the simple beach-time pleasures of ice-cream, deckchairs and fish and chips. Did you know that last year, the entire beach was up for sale? Read more on that here

33.Traeth Llanddwyn, Anglesey

Stroll through Corsican pines, with red squirrels scurrying up trees and the sea shimmering in the distance, you could forgive yourself for thinking you were somewhere on the west coast of the USA. As you walk on, the wide open sandy beach unveils itself in front of your eyes while the towering mountains of Eryri can be seen in the distance, taking your breath away. Read more on this wonderful place here.

34. Port Eynon Bay, Gower

Sunset at Port Eynon
Sunset at Port Eynon

A car park a minute from the beach makes it easily accessible, but that does not mean it is not a beautiful spot. With three quarter's of a mile of incredible golden sand overlooked by the rolling sand dunes, safe swimming waters (but keep out of the slipway) and the village of Horton just up the beach, you can have a splendidly sand-filled day out.

35. Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

The hugely popular destination on Barry Island has been boosted by the revival of the Pleasure Park. Grab some fish and chips from Boofy's (though there are plenty of other chippies to try - see here) and a coffee from Marco's and head to the sand to see the waves lapping on the shore.

36. Abersoch Beach, Abersoch

The main beach in Abersoch, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, boasts adorable multicoloured beach huts
-Credit:Western Mail

With rainbow coloured beach huts and crystal waters, this beach, which is only a stonesthrow away from Snowdonia, is not only perfect for lounging on the golden shores, but is the perfect setting for a spot of watersports.

37. Llangrannog Beach, Cardigan Bay

If you went to school in Wales, you'll have probably visited Llangrannog on a school trip at least once (read more on that here). But its sights, sea and surfing are just some of the wonderful things to enjoy about this stunning Blue Flag beach.

38. Aberffraw Bay, (Traeth Mawr), Anglesey

The sweeping shoreline of Traeth Mawr, Aberffraw Sands, is simply stunning
The sweeping shoreline of Traeth Mawr, Aberffraw Sands, is simply stunning

Traeth Mawr in Welsh means big beach, and this beach situated near the Aberffraw dunes, offers rolling sands and a long bay.

The beach has been described as a "natural beauty" and is highly rated on TripAdvisor - though it has some of the fewest reviews (read more on the most beautiful places in Wales that few people visit here). It is also dog friendly all year around.

39. Porth Wen, Anglesey

The pebbley beach at Porth Wen, Bull Bay features gorgeous old ruins
The pebbley beach at Porth Wen, Bull Bay features gorgeous old ruins

Arguably one of the most unique beaches in Wales, discover an incredible hidden gem in the old brickworks overlooking the sea below and standing empty on the shoreline since it closed during World War I.

See more Welsh vistas here.

40. Pen-y-Banc, Porthmadog

Pen-y-Banc in Porthmadog
Pen-y-Banc in Porthmadog

This winding shoreline houses a number of secret sandy coves, tidal pools and rocky islets and is an undeniably beautiful stretch of beach. But beware of the strong currents out in the estuary.