Why Snowdonia should be your next big adventure
Covering an impressive 823 square miles of natural beauty, Snowdonia, known locally as Eryri, is Wales' largest National Park. There's an almost ethereal quality to its diverse landscapes and craggy coastline that are infused with Welsh legends and Celtic culture.
Here, you can connect with nature and history and explore over 150 attractions and outdoor adventures, including hiking, biking, surfing and swimming.
Alongside mountainous landscapes, Snowdonia has plenty of small towns and villages, packed with independent cafés and restaurants along with boutique shops and historic high streets where you can experience a small slice of Welsh life.
Getting to Snowdonia: discover the different types of Snowdonia tours you can take with Just Go! Holidays* and start planning your summer holiday in Wales today.
Hike to the summit of Snowdon
Towering 1,085m above sea level, Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa, is the highest mountain in Wales and a wildly popular hiking spot.
For adventure seekers, there are six main paths to the summit of Snowdon, each with its own set of challenges and natural features. The Llanberis Path is one of the easier routes and recommended for hikers who are new to Snowdon or are less experienced.
Once you reach the summit, you'll be rewarded with a sweeping panorama of the rocky ridges and summits of Crib Goch, Crib-y-Ddysgl and Y Lliwedd.
One of the unusual aspects of Snowdon is that visitors can also hitch a ride up the mountain on the narrow-gauge Snowdon Mountain Railway. Often described as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, this tourist train has been operational since 1896 and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Note: at present, the train only goes as far as Clogwyn Station, which is approximately 75% of the way up or an hour's walk to the top. Track repairs are taking place until spring 2023.
Discover whimsical Portmeirion
On a bracing coastal peninsula in Snowdonia lies a uniquely constructed village featuring charming Italianate buildings that are curiously devoid of residents. Thoughtfully constructed between 1925 and 1976 by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis,Portmeirion was inspired by the bright colours and architecture of the Italian Riviera.
Ahead of the travel curve in the early 20th century, Williams-Ellis understood the value of tourism to the Welsh economy and carefully designed an appealing visitor experience with touches of whimsy.
Today, it remains a popular attraction in Snowdonia with added hotels, restaurants, shops and a boutique spa. Hours can be spent wandering the cobbled streets exploring the grand porticoes, pastel-coloured houses, manicured gardens and stylish piazza.
Ride the tram up the Great Orme
Long regarded as Queen of the Welsh Resorts, Llandudno is a grand seaside town where Victorian splendour and an expansive promenade await. Explore 19th-century Llandudno Pier, hike along the coast path and embrace slapstick fun at Britain's oldest Punch and Judy show, which has been performing to crowds since 1864.
Water sports are also popular in Llandudno, with swimmers and kite-surfers flocking to the quiet and sandy shores of West Shore Beach. Paddle boarding is possible in Llandudno as well thanks to the small and sheltered bays of the coastline providing calmer conditions for SUP enthusiasts.
Nearby, you'll find Llandudno's mini-mountain, The Great Orme, a huge chunk of limestone headland rising 207m out of the Irish Sea. The flower-rich and wild headland can be reached by foot, cable car or via the historic, cable-hauled tram that climbs 1,500m up the Great Orme Country Park and Nature Reserve from the town centre.
Visit the alpine village of Betws-y-Coed
Sitting on the confluence of four surging rivers and surrounded by dense forest and glacial valleys, the alpine village of Betws-y-Coed has a strong mountain resort vibe.
Amongst the charming stone churches and historic bridges, you'll find a range of independent cafés, proper pubs and outdoor kit shops selling high-quality gear for epic Snowdonia adventures.
Despite its small size, Betws, as it's affectionately known, has a surprisingly diverse amount of retail offerings, from crafts and Welsh homeware to dog outfitters and galleries.
Stock up on artisan gifts and goods and call in for a post-shop coffee and cake at the hip, dog-friendly Alpine Coffee Shop, which amusingly offers a 'sausage loyalty card' for dogs.
Outside of shopping and dining, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails in and around the village to explore. Pretty Swallow Falls is a two-mile walk from Betws and is a must-visit in the area. Pay a small admission fee to see the River Llugwy cascading and churning down a rocky, tree-lined gorge to become a frothy waterfall.
Step back in time at Caernarfon Castle
Built to challenge and suppress Welsh princes in the Middle Ages, this commanding medieval fortress occupies a strategic position in North Wales, allowing for sea access on the wild Welsh coasts.
Caernarfon has stood for over 700 years as a symbol of the long struggle for power between England and Wales and now acts as a historic tourist attraction under the care of CADW and the Welsh Government.
Inside the defensive walls are informative exhibitions and displays, a gift shop and a café. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum is also located within the castle and entry is included in the castle entry ticket price.
Hike the Wales Coast path in Conwy
Take a hike around the Medieval Conwy coastline and drink in landscapes brimming with Welsh history and heritage. The long-distance Wales Coast Path runs through Conwy and hikers can attempt smaller sections of this 870-mile coastal trail.
The Conwy to Deganwy section of the coast path is three miles long and is an ideal short walk for visitors seeking bracing coastal scenery, marina views and Welsh heritage. Highlights of this scenic section include the smallest house in Britain, Conwy Quay and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Conwy Castle.
Conwy is also worth exploring and proudly holds the accolade of being one of Britain's best-preserved medieval towns with ancient walls and attractive cobbled streets. Foodies will love the range of independent cafés and restaurants serving Welsh classics and locally sourced Conwy mussels.
Wander in Bodnant Garden
Grade I-listed Bodnant Garden offers a historic, horticultural experience in Snowdonia unlike any other.
The carefully cultivated botanical collection includes over 80 acres of pristine foliage, flowers and plants from around the globe and features the famous Laburnum Arch which dates back more than 100 years.
Cakes, bakes and brews can be found at the Pavilion and Magnolia tearooms, or dine al fresco at the takeaway riverside kiosk when the Welsh weather is being particularly kind.
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