Wales (Cymru in Welsh) is 1 of the 4 nations that make up the United Kingdom.
Wales has limited devolved government - the Welsh Assembly that meets in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales.
The name Wales is actually derived from an old Saxon word meaning foreigners or outsiders. But the name Cymru is derived from a word meaning friends or companions.
Wales is around 170 miles (256 km) long and 60 miles (96 km) wide. It covers just over 8,000 square miles (20,722 km²) - that's about the same size as Massachusetts in the USA or half the size of Switzerland.
Although a fairly small country, we have 3 national parks (Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia and Brecon Beacons) and 5 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Wye Valley, Isle of Anglesey Coast, Llŷn Peninsula, Gower Peninsula and Clwydian Hills).
Wales has a varied geography with strong contrasts. In the south, flat coastal plains give way to valleys, then to ranges of hills and mountains in mid and north Wales.
North Wales is Welsh through and through. This is a region that’s passionate about language, music and history, with magnificent castles, railways and festivals. The scenery’s superb – fine beaches, tumbling rivers and of course the mountains, lakes and waterfalls of Snowdonia.Mid Wales
With rich, rolling green landscapes of Powys and the unspoilt Ceredigion coastline, there’s fantastic walking, cycling and riding country, from the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains to the soft, rolling hills around Llanidloes.South East Wales
Home to our capital city, Cardiff, South Wales is a hub of Welsh culture, sport and entertainment. With first-class shopping, museums and sporting facilities. The Wye Valley has gourmet dining and gorgeous scenery.South West Wales
Home to our second city, Swansea. Our beaches, some of the best in the UK, are great for surfing, sailing, swimming or rockpooling. We also have some of the prettiest castles in Wales.