Cardigan Bay in wild West Wales is home to pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, intriguing rock pools and wonderful wildlife.
With ideal conditions for the largest pod of dolphins in the UK, why not try spotting some of these delightful dolphins at Cardigan Bay from New Quay, Aberporth, Mwnt or Llangrannog!
With some outstanding walks and views out to the Irish Sea, we’ve picked out our top Cardigan Bay beaches to enjoy during your activity holidays in West Wales.
Take a look at our full guide to things to do in West Wales for even more inspiring ideas.
Enjoy exploring these fantastic beaches with your four-legged friend during a stay in one of our dog-friendly cottages in Cardigan Bay, or take a look at our full range of Cardigan Bay cottages below for some lovely seaside stays.
Top 10 Cardigan Bay beaches:
New Quay, Wales, beaches
A haven for visitors and dolphins alike, New Quay has plenty to offer with its pretty harbour and three beaches.
Harbour Beach is a firm family favourite due to its sheltered spot, powder-soft sand, clear water, and safe swimming. It is also home to Cardigan Bay Water Sports Centre.
Traeth Gwyn (or Llanina Beach) is a wide sandy beach at low tide, popular for dog walking and bracing coastal walks. Dolau is a smaller dog-friendly beach with plenty of pretty pebbles to discover.
Cardigan Bay dolphin-spotting boat trips are also available from New Quay beach where you can have your chance at spotting some of these delightfully playful creatures splashing about the waters.
- Take a dolphin-spotting boat trip for your chance of seeing beautiful bottlenose dolphins and porpoises
- Enjoy New Quay’s plentiful cafes, shops and restaurants with a traditional seaside stay
- Try a spot of sailing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, water skiing and more at Cardigan Bay Water Sports Centre
Aberystwyth's elegant seafront and promenade hugs the shoreline and is a focal point for this bustling town.
Marine Terrace is home to gorgeous Georgian and Victorian-style architecture, along with a picture-perfect amusement pier and bandstand.
Enjoy a gentle stroll along the pretty promenade and enjoy spectacular summer sunsets and amazing starling murmurations later in the year.
The bandstand is home to seasonal entertainment, and you can also enjoy traditional seaside treats such as delightful donkey rides, fantastic fish and chips and sweet ice creams.
- Admire the traditional Victorian pier and amusements
- Enjoy the seasonal events at the bandstand
- Take the cliff railway up Constitution Hill and see the largest camera obscura in the world!
This sheltered sandy cove is set off the beaten track but is still a popular little gem of a spot for a well-enjoyed day at the beach.
With its unspoilt natural beauty, Mwnt paints a pretty picture with its fine golden sand and turquoise sea.
The headland here is a beautiful place for spotting dolphins and porpoises along with a host of other wonderful wildlife.
- A great beach for some dolphin spotting
- Relax in this natural unspoilt landscape
- Walk to the top of Foel y Mwnt and enjoy panoramic views over Cardigan Bay
Take in the miles of Borth’s gorgeous golden sands, one of Ceredigion's most popular beaches with families.
Water sports enthusiasts love it here too as there is plenty of room for surfers and kite surfers to enjoy the fresh sea breeze.
Walkers will also love Borth Beach as both the Wales Coast Path and Ceredigion Coast Path pass close to this bountiful beach.
Towards the south end of the beach, at very low tide, lies a landscape of ancient sunken forest and petrified tree stumps known as the lost kingdom of Cardigan Bay!
- Bathe in the clear shallow waters, ideal for families
- Discover the lost kingdom of Cardigan Bay
- Explore the trails of the Ynyslas sand dunes, part of the Dyfi National Nature Reserve
Tresaith is a lovely, award-winning sandy beach and is popular with families, surfers and sailors enjoying long beach days and adventures on the water.
Discover what lies within the plentiful rock pools and marvel at the impressive cliff-side waterfall, created by a glacier that blocked the course of the River Saith many many years ago/
‘Saith’ is Welsh for seven and legend has it that an Irish king set adrift his seven problematic daughters. They landed on the Ceredigion coast and fell in love with seven local farmers, living happily ever after. The sister’s landing point was said to be Tresaith – the Place of Seven!
This popular beach has great facilities that include a shop, cafe, pub, and toilets, all within a stone’s throw of the beach.
- Families can enjoy the sheltered bay, safe swimming, and rock pool adventures
- Sailors will enjoy this fantastic beach and bustling sailing club with seasonal racing on most Sundays
- Enjoy a meal overlooking the beach at the traditional seaside pub, The Ship Inn
Bustling Aberporth is a charming seaside village on Ceredigion’s captivating coast. Enjoy some delicious, locally caught Cardigan Bay lobster and crab here.
Aberporth’s pretty beach is split by a headland with Dyffryn Beach on one side and Dolwen Beach on the other.
Overall, this sheltered beach is ideal for a memorable family holiday with rock pools to explore at low tide and safe seasonal swimming.
Enjoy a picturesque clifftop walk to neighbouring Tresaith and breath in the fresh sea views. Keep an eye out for the beautiful bottlenose dolphins that can be found in Cardigan Bay.
- Dolphin spotting along the lovely clifftop walk
- Enjoy the fresh local seafood
- The Dyffryn part of the beach is dog-friendly all year round
This mile-long, award-winning unspoilt stretch of sandy shore is abundant with powder-soft sand and shallow water, an ideal spot for splashing around.
Discover the delights of the rock pools or enjoy a change of scenery with the wonderful woodland walk, bursting with life in springtime.
Sheltered by wooded slopes and with its very own smugglers' cave, Penbryn makes for a diverse day out on the Ceredigion coast.
Meander down to this glorious beach through whimsical woods and discover majestic cliffs and spectacular views across Cardigan Bay, a truly magical day out.
- Explore the Wales Coast Path
- Enjoy the lovely woodland walk
- Take in the fantastic views across Cardigan Bay
Voted as one of the UK’s prettiest towns, Aberaeron is a picturesque Georgian town adorned with colourful houses that stand out like jewels in a beautiful crown.
Spot some Cardigan Bay porpoises from Aberaeron Beach while enjoying spectacular coastal views. Find experienced surfers and bodyboarders enjoying the water at the southernmost section.
Stroll around the pretty harbour and take in the wonderful views before heading to explore the independent shops and craft centres.
Enjoy a refreshing bite to eat with amazing local seafood from Y Seler, one of Aberaeron’s highly rated restaurants. Snap up some classic fish and chips and homemade honey ice cream from The Hive.
- Stroll around the pretty harbour
- Explore the local independent shops and galleries
- Spend an evening enjoying the delicious dining options
Sitting pretty below a series of craggy cliffs, Llangrannog Beach is one of Ceredigion’s best-loved beaches.
Families and surfers love this golden stretch, and you will happily spend a day here relaxing and watching the world go by.
Grab a bite at one of the brilliant cafes or pubs. Dine overlooking the sea or enjoy some delicious homemade ice cream at the beach cafe.
Stroll along the Ceredigion Coast Path for some amazing views. The path winds its way into Llangrannog village from Penbryn, dropping right down to the beach.
- Enjoy dining out at the fantastic local eateries
- Gaze out at the amazing coastal views
- Relax and watch sailors catching the fresh sea breeze
This pristine dune-backed beach offers stunning views of Cardigan Bay. Poppit Sands is an ideal spot for bathing and exploring the start or end of the Pembrokeshire coastal path that will take you 186 miles around the beautiful coastline to Amroth.
Poppit Sands is Cardigan's closest beach and a seaside holiday here will also allow you to explore this historic harbour and pretty market town. Discover a creative arts scene, gorgeous Georgian buildings and a bustling market.
Back at the beach, adventure seekers can enjoy kite buggying, landboarding, kitesurfing and power kiting. There is plenty of wide-open hard sand for buggiers and boarders to play about on.
Enjoy a relaxing day on the main beach with access to a handy cafe and shop that sells all the essential beach items like beach balls, buckets and spades, body boards and wetsuits.
Map of Cardigan Bay beaches
Enjoy a day at the seaside and plan your route to these top Cardigan Bay beaches.
Stay in Cardigan Bay
Our Cardigan Bay holiday cottages are perfectly positioned for some wild West Wales adventures.
Choose from a variety of self-catering stays including coastal cottages with amazing sea views, dog-friendly cottages in Cardigan Bay and luxurious holiday cottages packed with five-star features.
Take a look at our wider range of Ceredigion cottages or our full range of West Wales holiday cottages for even more holiday inspiration.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.