boasts most of Wales' national institutions, including the National Museum, the appeal of a visit lies outside the towns, where there is ample evidence of the war-mongering which shaped the country's development. Castles are everywhere, from hard little stone keeps of the early Welsh princes and the mighty
to Edward I's doughty fortresses such as
. Passage graves and stone circles (such as on
) offer a link to the pre-Roman era when the priestly order of Druids ruled over early Celtic peoples, and great medieval monastic houses, like ruined
, are easily accessible.
All these attractions are enhanced by the beauty of the wild Welsh countryside. The backbone of the Cambrian Mountains terminates in the soaring peaks of
Snowdonia National Park
and the angular ridges of the
; both are superb walking country, as is the
in the southwest. Much of the rest of the coast remains unspoilt, though long sweeps of sand are often backed by traditional British seaside resorts, such as
in the north or
in the south.