Snowdonia attractions

Top Snowdonia sights

Snowdonia, in North Wales, has huge appeal. The hiking opportunities are its main draw, but there’s more to the area. Head to Gwydir Castle for a lovely day out and enjoy its tasty local cuisine to name a few.

  1. Hike up the Snowdon mountain
  2. Wander through Betws-y-Coed
  3. Visit the exciting Fairy Glen
  4. Enjoy looking out to Conwy Falls
  5. Discover the twinkling Swallow Falls
  6. Head to the beautiful Gwydir Castle

The mountains of Snowdonia present Wales at its grandest - a fantastic landscape of glacial valleys and ridges as sharp as dragon’s backs. Such is its grandeur it comes as a surprise to learn that the tallest peaks only just top 3500ft. It’s not just about hiking, though, Snowdonia has some other fantastic attractions too.

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Rough Guides

1. Hike up the Snowdon mountain

Thousands of hikers arrive every weekend to walk up Snowdon massif (Eryri) over steep and constantly varying terrain. Several of the ascent routes are superb, and you can also take the cog railway to the summit café from Llanberis. But the other mountains are just as good and far less busy, giving unsurpassed views of Snowdon. The Glyderau and Tryfan - best tackled from the Ogwen Valley - are particular favourites for more experienced walkers.

Best for: Hikers

While you’re there: Don’t forget a visit to the Snowdonia National Park!

2. Wander through Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed (pronounced “betoos-e-coyd”), sprawled around the confluence of the Conwy, Llugwy and Lledr valleys, overlooked by the conifer-clad slopes of the Gwydyr Forest Park , and centred on the low cataract of Pont-y-Pair Falls, is almost totally devoted to the needs of holidaymakers. Walkers and mountain bikers are the focus - there are a lot of outdoor gear retailers, but no decent grocery shop - but the town has the best choice of accommodation in the region and most visitors use it as a base. Serious mountain walkers, however, might want to head west instead to Snowdon and the Glyderau range. For everyone else there are delightful, easy strolls to the local beauty spots of the Conwy and Swallow falls.

Best for: Mountain walkers

While you’re there: Note that Ogwen Valley and triple-peaked Tryfan, are perhaps the most demanding mountains in the area.

3. Visit the exciting Fairy Glen

Southeast of town, after negotiating a series of rapids, the waters of the Conwy River follow a staircase of drops and enter Fairy Glen, a lovely cleft in a small wood; it is named after the Welsh fairies, the Tylwyth Teg, once believed to live here. Bring your swimming costume in summer - the narrow gorge is idyllic when waters are slow, especially in a pool where two rivers meet. This is a top Snowdonia sightseeing experience.

Best for: Water babies

While you’re there: If you’re looking for more adventure, head to ZipWorld Velocity for the world’s fastest zip wire.

4. Enjoy looking out to Conwy Falls

South of Betws-y-Coed the river plunges 50ft over the Conwy Falls into a deep pool. After paying the fee, you can view the falls on the right and a series of rock steps to the left. These were cut in 1863 as a kind of primitive fish ladder so spawning fish could swim up the waterfall, but are now superseded by a tunnel through the rock on the far side. On the hunt for Snowdonia holidays? We’ve got plenty of choices for you

Best for: Those who love water

While you’re there: There’s also a café nearby for a drink after all your exploring.

5. Discover the twinkling Swallow Falls

Swallow Falls is one of the region’s most visited sights. You can pay to view or catch a glimpse from the Llugwy Valley Walk (3 miles; 400ft ascent; 1hr 30min), a forested path from the north side of Pont-y-Pair Falls which follows the twisting river upstream towards Capel Curig. Along the way you pass the steeply sloping Miners’ Bridge, below which are a series of plunge pools, perfect for swimming.

Best for: One of the top Snowdonia tourist attractions

While you’re there: After head to Bistro Betws-y-Coed for food. The seasonal dishes have a Welsh bias and showcase regional produce.

6. Head to the beautiful Gwydir Castle

Former home of the powerful Wynn family, descended from the kings of Gwynedd, Gwydir Castle is actually a low-slung manor house begun around 1490 with later additions. Its core is a three-storey solar tower, whose windows relieve the gloom of the great halls, each with enormous fireplaces and stone-flagged or heavy timber floors. Most of the original fittings and Tudor furniture were sold in 1921, and much of the rest of the house was ruined in a fire a few months later. The subsequent restoration was kept simple - tapestries cover the stone walls, a few pieces of furniture are scattered about and there’s some fine painted glass. Some of the original furnishings have been tracked down, as has the Dining Room, reinstalled after it was bought and shipped Stateside in 1921 by American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Snowdonia attractions make a wonderful getaway.

Best for: A historical great hall

While you’re there: The Dutch Garden outside is Grade I-listed, with peacocks and a fine cedar dating to 1625.

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