These are historic counties used for geographic purposes. Due to the large populations of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire they are divided into twelve local authorities namely Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Merthyr Tydfil.
Pennard at Pennard, Swansea - the ruins of Pennard Castle overlook Three Cliffs Bay
Picton near Haverfordwest
Swansea - the ruins of Swansea Castle are in the city centre
Weobley at North Gower, Swansea - the castle offers views over the Loughor Estuary to Carmarthenshire
South Wales is a very mixed area. There is stunning pastoral scenery in many parts of South West Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan near Cardiff and the Wye Valley in the historic county of Monmouthshire. Wales' two largest cities, Cardiff and Swansea, are both located in the historic county of Glamorgan and offer an excellent selection of stores, restaurants and entertainment opportunities. The coast around Pembrokeshire and the Gower Peninsula in Swansea, in particular, have stunning coastal paths and sandy beaches, and the area boasts an abundance of castles. In addition, South Wales has a proud industrial heritage, with Port Talbot being a major steel processing town, while the valleys in central Glamorgan were once the center of the Welsh coal mining industry. Since the 60s, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been very popular with people involved in alternative and counter culture; consequently South West Wales has become home to many communes and organic farms.
Welsh is commonly spoken is Carmarthenshire, North Pembrokeshire and parts of west Glamorgan, but it is used much less in South Pembrokeshire, most of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. English is spoken throughout the region.
Picturesque small towns/villages - Llandovery, Tenby and Oxwich, Port Eynon and Rhosilli on the Gower Peninsula.
Amroth Castle, ☎ 01834 813217, . A unique and spectacular holiday destination, Amroth Castle occupies spacious, green grounds right where the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park meets the sparkling sands and inviting waters of Amroth Beach. The castle itself is a grand 18th century house built on the site of Amroth's original Norman fortress.
Work on organic farms - Wales is home to many communes and organic farms, and WWOOF  can arrange for volunteers to work for free at some of these places in exchange for room and board. It is an excellent way to experience life in the Welsh country-side, make friends and, at the same time, learn a little about organic farming.
Dylan Thomas Festival, Swansea An annual event held between 27 October and 9 November (the dates of the poet's birth and death) to commemorate the works of Thomas. In addition, the festival hosts the awards' ceremony for the winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize - a biannual writing competition for most outstanding literary talent in English, aged under 30.
Dylan Thomas Fringe, Swansea. . Compliments the main events at the Dylan Thomas Festival and is held at various venues throughout the city.
Swansea Bay Film Festival, Swansea. . The UK's largest international indie film festival.
Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, Swansea. . An annual (October) three week bash of culture at various locations in Swansea, and the second largest such festival in the UK.
Laver bread is a puree made from seaweed and eaten for breakfast. It is a specialty of the Swansea area.
Cardiff, Swansea and Newport offer the greatest number and best quality of restaurants.
Cardiff, Swansea and Newport have a multitude of bars and cafes.
South Wales does not have a high crime rate, though like anywhere is in the UK, caution is required, especially in urban areas.