There’s a certain romance about Celtic culture, isn’t there? The haunting sound of flutes, pipes, or fiddles; the image of a wild sea lashing against a rugged shore; ancient symbols of knots and ornate crosses. 

For many of us with Irish, Scottish, or other Celtic heritage, visiting the homelands of our ancestors is even more than that ― it’s a way to connect with our roots.

These are among the many reasons why places with a Celtic connection make such fantastic and popular destinations. It just goes to show that for an ancient civilization, the Celts still have a lot of pull even today!

So, where are the best places to go to connect with Celtic culture? Here are the 7 top destinations ― and some may surprise you!

Brittany, France

France might not be the first country that springs to mind when you think of Celtic culture, despite the fact that the Gauls (think Asterix!) ruled the region until conquered by the Romans. However, Gaulish culture has long since disappeared. The Celtic roots of Brittany came much later from migrants from Britain fleeing the Saxon invasions.

Setting down new roots in the north-western tip of France, the region became known as Brittany after the Britons who founded it. The Celtic language they brought with them, Breton, is still spoken today, alongside French.

The regional folk music has a distinctly Celtic flavor to it, while the language sounds similar to Welsh or Cornish. This is why Brittany is recognized today as one of the 6 Celtic nations.

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Brittany is a beautiful place to visit. Its coastline is as raw and beautiful as Ireland or Scotland, while its towns and villages have a quaint charm that is both French and yet not quite French. Make sure to visit the historic town of Saint Malo, the impressive Quimper Cathedral, and region’s scenic canals.

Plus, the crêpes are to die for. After all, Brittany was where they were invented! As France is part of the Schengen Area, remember that you may need to register with ETIAS to visit within the next few years.


The country most-associated with a Celtic identity, Ireland, or Éire, is a favorite destination for many. From its rolling green fields and rural villages to the mighty cliffs of its Atlantic coastline to the spectacular views of the Wicklow Mountains, the wild and romantic Emerald Isle has charmed its way into the heart of many a traveler.

Ireland is the homeland of the group of Celts known as the Gaels. It is no surprise, then, that this Celtic nation has the highest number of speakers of a Celtic language, with over a million competent speakers of Irish (Gaeilge).

There are many fascinating ancient sites to visit here, from the huge 5,000-year-old tombs like Newgrange at Brú na Bóinne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to the isolated early Christian settlement on the island of Skellig Michael. There are also many castles and fortresses that belonged to the Gaelic clans.

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And then there are the pubs. Even if you’re not a big drinker, you can’t miss out on the craic. When the traditional folk music starts up, tin whistles, fiddles, and bodhráns blazing, you can’t help but get swept up in the atmosphere.

Of course, Ireland is also the birthplace of Guinness and the home of many of the world’s finest whiskey distilleries. 

Top cities to visit include Dublin, Cork, and Galway, but to discover what is truly great about Ireland, you really need to head out into the countryside around the west coast. Marvel at the Cliffs of Moher, explore the hills of Connemara, get lost around the Dingle Peninsula, and you won’t be able to help falling in love with Ireland.


Another famously Celtic country, Scotland forms part of the Celtic Nations, along with Ireland, Wales, Man, Cornwall, and Brittany. 

Much like Ireland, Scotland’s Celtic heritage survives to the present day in the music and the language. There are around 90,000 speakers of Scottish Gaelic today, mostly concentrated in the Highlands and the Hebrides (the many islands on the west coast).

The sound of the Scottish bagpipes are one of the most distinctly Celtic sounds you’re likely to hear. There are plenty of traditional music sessions happening all over Scotland too, where fiddles, flutes, and singers will come together to deliver authentic and atmospheric performances.

There are also many monuments to the nation’s Gaelic and Pictish heritage that you can visit, from neolithic sites like the Callanish Standing Stones, Skara Brae, and Knap Of Howar to early Christian buildings like the beautiful Iona Abbey and wonderful Scottish castles that once belonged to Gaelic clan leaders. 


Wales has always had a language and culture distinct from England, despite having been controlled by the English crown, and later the British government, since the 13th century. 

The Welsh language and culture descends from ancient Celtic Britain. Over 750,000 people speak Welsh today and you’ll see Welsh on all the signposts alongside English. Traditions of music, singing, and poetry survive to the present day, notably in the eisteddfod festivals.

Wales is a great place to come to see ancient monuments and to dive into Celtic mythology. There are neolithic sites like St Lythans Burial Chamber, Dyffryn, Pentre Ifan, Pembrokeshire, and the tomb of Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey.

There are also many places with a connection to the legendary King Arthur, who may have been Welsh himself! For example, Bardsey Island is one of the proposed locations of the Isle of Avalon, the lakes of Llydaw, Dinas, and Ogwen in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park all have a claim to contain Arthur’s sword excalibur, and even Mount Snowdon itself has an Arthurian tale connected to it.

Cornwall, England

Another lesser-known Celtic Nation, Cornwall is the county that forms the south-westernmost tip of England. It has been a small holdout of Celtic culture since the Roman Empire left Britain. 

The Cornish language ― a Brythonic Celtic language related to Welsh and Breton ― has been revived from extinction in recent times and now has around 2,000 speakers. Although Cornwall is more Anglicised than the other Celtic Nations, there are still many people here who feel they have a distinct identity from the English.

Cornwall is a wonderful place to visit. It has all the charm of rural England, a picturesque coastline, and generally warmer weather than the rest of the UK. It’s also home to the Celtic standing stones of Men-an-Tol, the ruins of the Iron Age village of Carn Euny, and various dolmens and stone circles.

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If you’re staying in Cornwall, be sure to squeeze in a visit to the Isles of Scilly. These pretty islands are one of the most beautiful places in the UK and have a number of fascinating ruins, cairns, and castles to explore.

The Isle of Man

Sitting in the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man, or Mann, is not officially part of the UK, yet belongs to it. However, the Celtic culture here is closely connected to Scotland and Ireland, with a Gaelic language in the form of Manx.

The Isle of Man has had a long history, being controlled by the Gaels, the Vikings, and the Kings of both Scotland and England.

Although Mann is perhaps best-known for the tailless cats found here, this picturesque island is well worth a visit. Explore Peel Castle, visit the island’s various standing stones and burial mounds, and learn a bit of the distinctly Celtic folklore, from the sea god Manannán to the fairies that are said to hide in the ancient woods and fields.

Galicia and Asturias

There’s a Celtic connection in Spain? Really? Yes, really!

Although it is not officially part of the Celtic Nations, the rugged northern coast of the Iberian peninsula has a big claim to being part of the modern Celtic culture. The regions of Galicia and Asturias, along with parts of neighboring Cantabria, were once Celtic strongholds on the European continent.

You can still see the ruins of hill forts like the Castros of Viladonga, Coaña, and Baroña, where ancient Celts lived.

Visit the Tower of Hercules at A Coruña, and you’ll be treated to the legend of Breogán ― a Galician Celtic leader who, according to both Irish and Galician legends, sailed north and brought the Gaels to Ireland thousands of years ago.

The stories say that it was Breogán who built the original tower ― now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a statue commemorating the legendary figure, as well as a beautiful mosaic in the shape of a compass dedicated to the Celtic Nations.

Although no Celtic language has survived in northern Spain, the folklore and traditional music of the region is unmistakably cut from the same cloth as Ireland, Scotland, et al. The small town of Ribadesella in Asturias is the perfect place to discover both. The walk on the east side of the river is lined with signs detailing the mythological figures and creatures of Asturian folklore, while the town is well-known in musical circles for its incredible folk sessions.
And if there is any doubt of the Celtic connection, one of the integral parts of Galician and Asturian folk music is the gaita ― a bagpipe very similar to the ones played by the Highland Scots!


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