Set in the center of southern Wales, Brecon Beacons National Park is recognized as a European Geopark because of its exceptional geological features.
Brecon Beacons begins 28 mi/45 km north of Cardiff and is crossed by two mountain ranges, the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, and also includes the remote uplands of Black Mountain and Fforest Fawr in the west.
The mountains provide a varied setting for the park's caves, rivers, waterfalls and forests. Some of the roads in the park are among the most beautiful in all the U.K. Don't hurry, though—take your time to do some walking, bicycling or horseback riding—and stop for a pint of beer at one of the many roadside pubs.
It's also fun to take the Brecon Mountain Railway, a narrow-gauge train that makes a 2-mi/3-km jaunt through mountain scenery (closed in winter).
The market towns of Abergavenny (see the historically significant St. Mary's Church and its medieval tombs) and Brecon (which hosts a jazz festival in August) make good bases for exploration.
A visit to the lonely, ruined priory of Llanthony can be haunting, especially on a foggy, gray day. There's a small, but quaint hotel and a bar in the priory. Other area sights include the pretty waterfalls near the unpronounceable town of Ystradfellte, the charming town of Crickhowell, and Tretower Castle and Court, two examples of medieval home sites. There are also interesting cave formations at Dan-yr-Ogof.
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