Think about taking your next European vacation in Wales, where the scenery ranges from rugged mountains to picturesque seashore, where the hills harbor ancient castles and the people have a famous talent for singing.
It takes just a few Web sites to get the lay of the land and make some plans.
For example, what and where are Llangollen, Lleyn and Carmarthen? Take a look at Wales Calling -- www.wales-calling.com/ -- for an interactive map that will take you brief descriptions of the main regions and important towns. Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, it says, is Welsh for "church of St. Armon the valley of the River Ceiriog."
Visit the Wales Tourist Board's Croeso i Gymru, or Welcome to Wales -- www.visitwales.com/ -- and click on All Visitors for a menu full of stuff from special deals to Regions. Don't ignore View of Wales, which has suggestions for tours arranged by history, scenery, beaches, mountains and things for kids to see. And there's a section on Places to Stay; the category called "Serviced" includes hotels, bed & breakfast inns and farms.
If you want to do your touring on foot, but want a little help, look for Walking Wales to find links to tour companies. The tourist board also has sections on fishing, golf and cycling.
According to Castles of Wales Web site at www.castlewales.com/home.html, this is sometimes called the Land of Castles. Set aside some spare time to explore this site's photos, maps, links and history. There's even a Castle of the Month, and Castle Accommodations describes places where you can spend a night.
Give your feet a rest and visit a little history on wheels. Great Little Trains of Wales --www.greatlittletrainsofwales.co.uk/ -- has information on narrow-gauge steam railways, some more than a century old.
The Welsh are famous for their music, and the town of Llangollen is the site of the annual International Musical Eisteddfod festival -- www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk/ -- held in July.
Fans of the enigmatic TV program "The Prisoner" will recognize Portmeirion, the little resort community where the series was filmed. Visit the village -- www.portmeirion-village.com/ -- to learn about its accommodations and shops, and try out links to "Prisoner" Web sites.
Travelers who don't want to find their own way can hire guides. The Tourist Guide Association -- www.blue-badge.org.uk/WOTGA.html -- will tell you which ones have passed the tests and been certified by the Wales Tourist Board.
Got time for more? Go back to the Wales Tourist Board Web site and look for Links. There's enough there to keep you busy for hours.
Try www.stayinwales.co.uk/ for accommodations.