This Cove In Northwestern Europe Is An Uncrowded, Secret Destination For A Relaxing Beach Day

When nothing sounds more refreshing or fun than a day on the sand, there are spectacularly scenic beach towns to explore all along the U.K.'s coastline. North Wales is a trendy place for sun-seekers to enjoy when there's time to spare for shoreline adventures. While the beaches of Abersoch and Criccieth are well-known locations among vacationers, the lesser-known coves of North Wales offer the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences.

If you're looking for a place to relax that's not only beautiful but also uncrowded, you'll find it at Porth Iago. This hidden-away cove isn't necessarily easy to reach, making it less popular among day trippers than some neighboring beaches. For those willing to make the journey, Porth Iago is a place to linger, enjoy a day on the sand at your own pace, and spend uninterrupted time in the water.

Located about 16 miles west of the town of Pwllheli by car, Porth Iago enjoys a place on the Llyn Peninsula. Because the cove is enclosed, you won't have to contend with strong winds during your beach day, and the waters are relatively calm. If you stick around until the sun goes down, you'll be treated to delightful sunset views over the coast from this vantage point.

Enjoy a hidden-away gem that's well worth discovering

Porth Iago is one of those under-the-radar destinations that is worth the effort it takes to reach. Some unsuspecting visitors are mistakenly deterred from visiting because the path leading to this cove runs directly through private farmland. As soon as you come across the private property sign on the road, you'll be tempted to turn around — don't. Instead, venture onward, and soon enough, you'll see a hilltop overlooking the cove where you can park at designated posts, letting you know you've found the right place.

The parking area is privately operated by the farmer who owns the land. While the beach is public domain, you'll need to pay your parking fee at the machine next to the farmhouse. Proceeds support operating costs for the landowners who willingly allow visitors to travel through their property to reach the beach and enjoy a day on the sand.

Once you've parked and paid, you'll begin your trek down the steep slope to reach the cove below with beach gear in hand. The path to the shoreline is sandy and can be difficult to traverse in beach sandals. If you're worried about this portion of your outing, it may be worthwhile to pack a pair of hiking boots for the descent and the challenging return trip up to the car at the end of the day.

Beach activities that are bound to inspire

Before you arrive, it's important to note that the amenities at the Porth Iago beach are rather limited. There are restrooms on-site for visitors to use year-round and a food truck serving savory bites to beachgoers exclusively during the summer months. Having the bare essentials available in terms of amenities emphasizes the area's natural beauty. It also allows beach guests to focus on the outdoor fun instead.

This cove is wide open and without much shade, making it an ideal sunbathing destination. When you've had your fill of the heat, and you're looking to cool off, the blue waters are picture-perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Many visitors head this way with an inflatable, kayak, or paddleboard to take advantage of time out on the calm waters.

If casting a line is more your style, you're more than welcome to enjoy fishing at Porth Iago. There are rocks situated on the northern edge of the sand that often have anglers reeling in exciting catches. The variety of species that call this area home include pollack, huss, codling, plaice, bass, wrasse, coalfish, gurnard, and whiting. Visitors looking forward to enjoying a scenic stroll during their cove visit will be thrilled to find out that Porth Iago also has a direct access point linking up to the iconic Wales Coast Path.