Hotels in Portmeirion
Portmeirion is a wonderful combination of Italian-inspired architecture and lush, temporary Welsh woodlands, and was pioneered by the eminent architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. Between 1925 and 1975, he designed this unique Italian village, which is one of Britain's most photogenic communities and, funnily enough, does feature numerous exotic plants thanks to its predominantly mild winters.
A fine example of post-modern architecture
The village, now maintained by a chariSEOSITE_LEVEL_DESCRIPTION trust, even has a Mediterranean-style plaza (square), and comprises quaint cottages and hotels that attract visitors from all over the globe. Portmeirion also overlooks the picturesque Dwyryd Estuary, and commands fine views over the scenic peaks of the Snowdonia National Park.
Besides differences in climate, probably the main difference between Portmeirion and a quintessential Italian village is that there are actually no residents here; most of the buildings are in fact used for tourist accommodation or for business purposes.
Black Rock Sands
This vast golden sandy beach is next to a series of impressive sand dunes, which are now a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Black Rock Sands is an ideal day trip destination if you're pushed for time, because, unlike most British beaches, you can even take your car onto the sand.
Although rather small compared to many other Welsh castles, Harlech Castle is in a remarkably good condition, despite being more than 700 years old, and is a short drive from Portmeirion hotels. The building offers splendid panoramic views of the surrounding Snowdonia landscape and coastline, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Harlech's historic town walls.
Further afield: Mount Snowdon
You can either take the convenient Snowdon Mountain Railway from Llanberis to reach this spectacular 1,085m high peak, or hike from Pen-y-Pass on a breathtaking ascent of more than 700m. Whichever method you choose, you'll be spoilt with extraordinary panoramic views of Snowdonia, weather permitting.
Where to stay in the village and the surrounding area
For a traditional Welsh experience and good quality accommodation, choose the friendly and affordable Brynllydan Country Guest House in nearby Penrhyndeudraeth, or consider the elegant Aberdunant Hall Country Hotel in nearby Prenteg. Another excellent choice is the The Portmeirion Hotel & Castell Deudraeth, which offers wonderful views and first-rate hospitality.
Dine at the Castell Deudraeth Brasserie if you're after some delicious French cuisine in a laid-back atmosphere, or choose the Restaurant at the Hotel Portmeirion for other excellent international dishes. Other highly rated local restaurants include the Thai Harbwr, the Welsh, British and seafood-themed Castle Cottage Restaurant, and the British-inspired Ship Aground.
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