Lonely Planet votes Coastal Wales 'world's best region' for 2012

Ruth Doherty
Lonely Planet votes Coastal Wales 'world's best region'
Lonely Planet votes Coastal Wales 'world's best region'

Views of Pembrokeshire from the Coastal Path. Photo: Rex

The All Wales Coastal Path has been voted the world's best region in a 2012 travel guide.

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012 has rated it in its seventh annual collection of the best places to go and things to do around the world for the year ahead.

The path will take tourists and walkers around the full breadth of the country's coastline, and is set to open next year.

There are, however, objections from local travellers in the area who are complaining the path will invade their privacy.

The Lonely Planet praises the idea as a 'wonderful thing', adding: 'How better to truly appreciate the shape - and soul - of a nation?'

Pembrokeshire is cited as a 'show-stealing starting point' while the town of Port Merrion is described as 'part Italian Riviera, part wedding cake, part surreal spy-thriller'.

Lonely Planet's Tom Hall told the Independent: 'As well as the novel ability to walk its entire coastline, the region comes out top because of its wildlife, great surf, castles and fantastic spots such as Barrafundle Bay and St David's.

'Now that Wills and Kate have set up home in the area it has also received the royal stamp of approval.'

Environment Minister of Wales, John Griffiths, told Aol Travel: 'This recognition of the Wales Coast Path from the Lonely Planet is fantastic news. When the Path is officially opened on 5 May 2012, Wales will become the first country in the world to have a formal trail the whole way around its coast.

'Many people from around the world already visit Wales to enjoy its spectacular coastal scenery. We hope that this recognition from Lonely Planet will encourage many more to visit our coastal resorts and walk along our Coast Path.

'The Path will open just before the world's eyes will be on the UK for the Olympics and we hope many of the extra visitors coming to London for the Games will take time to visit Wales and its coast.

'Since this project began in 2007 we have created over 130 miles of new path and improved more than 330 miles of existing pathway. When it opens the Path will provide a real boost to local economies around Wales' coastline.'

Wales' coast is the only UK region to feature in the guide's top ten regions. It ranked higher than places such as northern Kenya, Sicily and the Maritime Provinces in Canada.

London also gets a shout out as the best city in the world, with tourists being reassured not to worry about 'overpriced hotel rooms', saying there's room for all.

Other UK events and attractions touted by the guide include Douglas in the Isle of Man as one of the best places to take a tram ride, and the Royal Opera House for its free lunchtime concerts in Covent Garden, which is named among the world's best 'freebies'.

And the top must-visit country in the world? Uganda, followed by Burma in second place.

Sign up to our weekly newsletter
Follow us on TwitterBecome a fan on Facebook