Dominated by the impressive Snowdonia mountain range, a visit to this park reveals picturesque villages, fast-flowing waterfalls and a coastline of fine sandy beaches.
With the largest mountain in Wales, wooded valleys, historic villages and endless trails to walk, Snowdonia National Park is a truly amazing landscape. Go hill-walking on the trails, follow some incredible mountain biking routes or take a leisurely ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Departing from Llanberis station, the train climbs 1,085 metres to the summit of Yr Wyddfa – Mount Snowdon. The national park takes its name from the imposing mountain and the dramatic ranges around it, which are incredibly popular with climbers, hikers and cyclists.
Climbing to the highest peak in England and Wales is challenging, but it's also hard to resist. In addition to the rugged mountain landscapes there are numerous rolling green valleys, packed with woodlands, streams and waterfalls, and 60 miles of spectacular coastline. On the west coast of Wales stands the formidable 13th-century fortress of Harlech Castle, looming proudly over the picturesque golden sands of Harlech beach. The castle is one of four in North Wales that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site, alongside the grey stone castles and town walls of Caernarfon, Conwy and Beaumaris.
Snowdonia is also a place for adventure, as you can zoom over Penrhyn Quarry on a zip line at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour at Zipworld, tackle Olympic-grade rapids on the Tryweyn River near Bala, or test your nerve on a caving trip at GoBelow. Cycling and riding routes criss-cross Snowdonia, with cycle hire available from a range of locations including Llanbedr, Caernarfon, Betws-y-Coed and Beddgelert.
Getting to Snowdonia
Direct train services to North Wales run from London and most other parts of Britain, while the Conwy Valley Line runs through Snowdonia National Park, providing inland services to Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Transfers via road from the international gateways of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham take less than two hours via the M56 and A55. An alternative is the Explore Wales Pass, a ticket which provides access to all of the mainline train services in Wales and to the vast majority of bus services.
The picturesque seaside resort of Llandudno with its Victorian pier and funicular railway can be found to the north of Snowdonia National Park, while the Italianate fantasy village of Portmeirion is just to the north of Harlech. If you’re keen to explore, the Wales Coast Path follows coastal routes around Wales, offering spectacular scenery and wildlife watching opportunities, while the North Wales Way is a 75-mile route along the north coast of the country that takes in mighty castles, golden beaches and the mysterious island of Anglesey.