Step Into A Real-Life Italian Fairytale With A Visit To The Tourist Village Of Portmeirion In Wales

Wales is a relatively small destination in terms of landmass, but it's a place that's certainly filled with charming landmarks for visitors to enjoy. According to Travel Trade Wales, the dimensions of the entire country span no more than 180 miles long by 60 miles wide. Within these parameters, Wales hosts stunning countryside and no less than 600 castles testifying to a rich Celtic heritage.

The most recent census in Wales reported the country has just over 3 million residents to its name. Among this residential population, around 20% speak Welsh as a first language, according to Travel Trade Wales. Making the country that much more fascinating, between the many mountains and coastlines of Wales, the country is also home to four UNESCO World Heritage sites (per Visit Wales).

Top tourist destinations in Wales such as the National Museum Cardiff, Snowdonia National Park (aka Eryri National Park), and Conwy Castle often round out visitor itineraries. However, those adventurers who are looking for something to experience with a little magic included will find it waiting for them in the tourist village of Portmeirion. This unique stop brings the essence of an Italian fairytale to life for visitors, right in the unexpected heart of Wales.

A whimsical destination inspired by Italy

Stepping into the village of Portmeirion today, visitors will find themselves surrounded by an undeniably colorful and captivating scene. From the pastel facades of stone cottages to the looming towers and impressive domes, it's not hard to feel transported right out of Wales and into an Italian landscape reminiscent of places like Portofino. Village designer and creator Clough Williams-Ellis wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

According to the village of Portmeirion's history page, this one-of-a-kind tourist village was constructed by Clough Williams-Ellis in two parts between 1925 and 1973. He was a Welsh architect dedicated to the idea that nature and synthetic design could enhance one another if paired properly. His vision for Portmeirion included a central piazza, awe-inspiring Italian architecture throughout, and colonnades. These designs would be partnered up with rugged cliff sides, palm trees, and gardens of wildflowers for guests to enjoy.

Much to the delight of those who visit today, Portmeirion is a stunning replica of the designer's vision. The village exists exclusively as a tourist attraction, but the fact that it doesn't host residents doesn't keep it from being a bustling destination. According to the village website, around 200,000 visitors make their way through this whimsical location each year. Many are looking to experience the fairytale aesthetic for themselves.

What to explore when visiting Portmeirion

Purchasing a ticket to Portmeirion offers guests access to 120 acres of land according to the village website. This includes Portmeirion Village and 70 acres of surrounding woodland. There's also an estuary to be enjoyed here while the Welsh coastal landscape provides an inspiring natural backdrop for visitors to admire.

Within the village, there are a variety of boutique shops to explore. There's also an array of restaurants and cafes to enjoy. The colorful cottages can be toured while time spent admiring the architecture is often a highlight of a village visit.

Visitors can choose to stay in the Hotel Portmeirion or Castell Deudraeth when they're hoping to enjoy village access before and after tour groups arrive daily. The website describes the Hotel Portmeirion as being the first building to open in the village in 1926. Today, it hosts 14 rooms as well as on-site dining, a bar, and a swimming pool.

In addition to the restaurant at Hotel Portmeirion, visitors can enjoy a meal at the Brasserie at Castell Deudraeth. When guests have a sweet tooth to satisfy, heading over to the village's Caffi'r Angel is the answer. Here, visitors can savor a variety of authentic Italian gelato selections.

The village's Mermaid Spa is another place on-site that provides restorative moments for guests. After a session, there are plenty of options to stroll pathways through the gardens. No matter how visitors spend their day, a visit to Portmeirion is always designed to inspire.