An extraordinary National Park set on the west coast of Wales, Snowdonia has a unique and diverse landscape brimming with great things to do. It's great to visit all year round, whether you choose to visit in spring, when nature is coming alive; summer, when the longer days mean more time for exploring; autumn to make the most of the spectacular seasonal colours, or winter to beat the seasonal crowds.
Boasting the highest peak in England and Wales, 823 square miles of land, quirky villages and rugged coastline, it is a fascinating place to explore. Whether you opt for a journey on the vintage steam railway or from the water in a canoe, explore Snowdonia your way with our handy guide on the best places to eat, the best spots to discover and the ultimate abode to return to at the end of the day.
Beautiful places to visit:
Portmeirion: Undoubtedly one of Snowdonia’s most famous attractions, this stunning coastal village was created by architect Clough William-Ellis between 1925 and 1976. Stunning architecture rises from exotic woodland, offering numerous walks and romantic vistas. Coincide a visit to Portmeirion with a visit to the beautiful beaches of nearby Ceredigion Bay.
Barmouth: Another extraordinary place to visit in Snowdonia. With a long sandy beach and mountain views, Barmouth can be found straddling the beautiful Mawddach estuary. The town offers everything for the perfect vintage seaside holiday with a twist. You really must see it to believe the true wonder of this other-worldly setting.
Betws-y-Coed: Often called the gateway to Snowdonia, this village has a uniquely alpine feel. As well as a mountainous landscape, the village is on the confluence of four rivers and has acres of lush green woodland, making it a hive of activity for adventure seekers. It was also home to the UK's first artists' colony and is close to the spectacular waterfall system of Swalllow Falls.
Mount Snowdon: You can't mention Snowdonia's beauty spots without including the most beautiful of them all - Mount Snowdon. Rising 1,085 metres above sea level, the views from the summit of Wales' highest mountain will take your breath away (and not just due to the effort of the hike to the top!) Enjoy panoramic views of lakes, mountains and fields before making your way back down.
Brilliant activities to try:
For the adrenaline junkie: if you’re a confident cyclist and fancy pedalling with a view, Snowdonia is packed with adventure activities and is the perfect spot for some mountain biking fun. Want to step it up a notch? Fans of water sports will love white-water rafting through the Tryweryn River or you can strap yourself in and experience the longest zip line in Europe at Penrhyn Quarry. Nothing quite beats soaring like a bird at over 100 mph!
For the perfect family day out: One of the national park's most unique indoor activities, Bounce Below in the Llechwedd slate caverns is like something from a childhood dream! In a stunning, other-worldly cave setting lie three trampolines for all the family to enjoy. And when you’re done bouncing around in the dark, head outside to the Welsh edition of Total Wipeout where you can not only burn some serious calories but laugh your way to a six pack!
For history lovers: Penrhyn Castle and Gardens, in the far north-west of the national park, is a great day out for the young, old and four-legged! This 19th century castle is straight out of a fairy tale - you can explore the decadent interiors and marvel at the architecture, kids will love the play area and dedicated trail, and even your four-legged family members can join in on the Sunday dog walks.
For those who like to take it easy: If you want to check out the views from the top of Mount Snowdon, but your legs disagree, take the Snowdon Mountain Railway instead. Running since 1896, the railway takes in the jaw-dropping scenery on the 45-minute journey from Llanberis to the summit. You'll have around half an hour to take in the views from the top before the sedate return journey. Do check the timetable, though, as this is a seasonal attraction.
For some further activity inspiration, why not check out our ’16 screen-free things to do in Wales’ blog too?
Breathtaking walks to try:
For the beginner: The National Trust's Llyn Ogwen circular walk is one of the few routes in the national park that has few hills, making it great for a gentle stroll. The 2.9-mile walk offers incredible views of Tryfan and the Glyderau, and takes in Llyn Ogwen - what is supposedly the final resting place of King Arthur's famous sword, Excalibur.
For the active: You're here, so why not take on the mountain?! There are several routes to the summit of Mount Snowdonia, but the 9-mile (there and back) Llanberis Path is said to be the easiest. Allow 6 hours in total for the walk and don't forget to pack a camera to capture the sights from the top!
For the expert: Take on this route if you dare! Few finish the almost 19-mile Rhinogydd Traverse is difficult to finish in one day but can be broken up into sections over a few days. It's well worth the effort, though, as you'll be rewarded with some of the most incredible views in the whole national park.
Exceptional places to eat:
To fuel the climb: Tucked away among mountains and valleys are Snowdonia's first-class pubs, restaurants and other places to eat. There's no shortage of eateries with a view, but it's well worth stopping at Caffi Gwynant for a meal before or after you climb Mount Snowdon. With the backdrop of Wales' iconic mountain peak, tuck into a hearty breakfast or lunch at the café, including everything from smashed avocado on toast to a full Welsh breakfast.
For fine dining and local ingredients: Signatures Restaurant is the perfect choice! Set on the North Wales coast, expect decadent dishes such as duo of Welsh beef with horseradish pomme puree, and root vegetable gratin in red wine jus, or trio of Welsh lamb with a carrot and swede parcel and fondant potato.
For traditional taste: Ty Gwyn is a former coaching inn set deep in a valley in Snowdonia. Expect local favourites such as grilled Pen Loyn Farm lamb fillet with brie, asparagus and Parma ham or fresh steam Conwy mussels smothered in garlic parsley and white burgundy sauce.
Stunning cottages to return to:
For when all the adventuring has been done, we have a stunning selection of Snowdonia cottages that are perfect for resting tired feet.
Gilar House is in 500 acres of farmland with stunning ancient woodland, mountains, lakes and unrivalled views. Close to the gateway of Snowdonia National Park you can discover waterfalls, river pools and hilltop lakes and enjoy walking, climbing, cycling and canoeing right on your doorstep. This stunning home exudes period charm with quirky staircases, exposed beams and stone filling the cosy interior. The multiple roaring fireplaces throughout this home are the perfect spot for relaxing after a day outdoors and the five bedrooms mean no family member or friend need be left behind.
The Long House is just 24 miles from the iconic peak of Mount Snowdon. Its idyllic location almost halfway down Snowdonia National Park makes it perfect for exploring the entire region. This delightful cottage can be found on the Llyn Peninsula, most appealing to nature lovers and active families. A traditional Welsh long house, it has a huge country garden to relax in, leading down to meadows and River Erch. Wind down on the super comfy sofas and tuck into a hearty home-cooked meal in the spacious kitchen.
Cappele Cottage is a stunning romantic home nestled away in a beautiful Welsh valley. Perfect for smaller groups, this two-bedroom abode is close to the adventure training mecca of Betws-y-Coed and the craft centric town of Ruthin – giving you the ability to experience excitement and culture. Close to idyllic restaurants and the fabulous Zip World Caverns there is something suitable around for all and involved and the brilliant enclosed garden means that even your four-legged friend can join you too!
If Snowdonia sounds like your perfect destination, explore all of our Snowdonia cottages to find the right break for you.