When in Wales: What to Do & Where to Go Around Snowdonia

When in Wales: What to Do & Where to Go Around Snowdonia

It’s time to put the spotlight on the UK’s underrated gem.

When I mention the United Kingdom (UK), most people would only think about London, Manchester, or even Edinburgh. But no one really knows about Wales, even though it is one of the four countries in the UK.

Wales’ natural wonders are amazingly beautiful, and the country is definitely an underrated gem in the tourist hotspot that is the UK. Imagine this: the English coastline coupled with the Welsh landscape — untouched mountains and valleys with lush greenery.

Image credit: Jun

Oh, and it’s also home to the town with the longest name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Yes, you read that right. And no, we can’t help you pronounce it, but surely you’ll get it with enough practice.

Image credit: Jun

When visiting Wales, the go-to cities are Cardiff and Swansea. Everybody is drawn to the energy of Cardiff, Wales’ capital city. And Swansea’s coastal charm captivates every visitor. But you will find that there is more to discover in Wales, especially if you take the path less travelled. More often than not, that path will lead you to the rugged terrain of Snowdonia, a region where mountains and glacial landforms reign.

That being said, I present to you a list of places you must see around Snowdonia if you’re planning a Welsh getaway anytime soon.

Where to go

1. Llandudno

Image credit: Noel Walley

If you’re going to Wales, then you can’t miss Llandudno. The area is well-known for its beach and pier, as well as the Great Orme, a massive chunk of limestone jutting out from the sea.

The Llandudno pier is the longest one in Wales and its amenities are comparable to what you can find at a resort. A wide array of food, carnival games, and theme-park-like rides welcome visitors. Every corner is Instagrammable, so you better ready your cameras!

Once you’ve gotten your fill of the fun at the pier, board the Great Orme Tramway, so you can see the limestone wonder for yourself. Discover copper mines and enjoy the scenery. There’s even a skiing slope nearby if you want to break a sweat.

2. Conwy

Image credit: Max Pixel

Llandudno’s neighbouring town, Conwy is a walled community that’s rich in history and is easily explored on foot. It is home to Conwy Castle, a military fortress built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. The fortification is typical of 13th-century medieval architecture in Europe. Sometimes tourists would drop by and find that the World Heritage Site is undergoing restoration, just as I did when I visited. Fret not, this usually doesn’t disrupt tours, but some parts may be cordoned off.

3. Mount Snowdon

Image credit: Jun

A trip to Snowdonia isn’t complete without climbing Mount Snowdon. At an elevation of 1,085 metres, it’s the perfect place for a day’s hike. As you make your way up the mountain, you’re rewarded with breathtaking scenery at every turn. Valleys and lakes adorn the area, and at the top, a panoramic view of Wales awaits those who finish the trek.

Image credit: Jun

Don’t worry if you’re no seasoned mountaineer; Mount Snowdon’s paths are beginner-friendly. A friend of mine even joked that she could “climb up the mountain with her eyes closed,” even if the entire trek took us six hours from ascent to descent. We didn’t even notice that it took us another three hours to get down, but I suppose that’s what the majestic view does to people — it makes long hikes enjoyable.

Image credit: Jun

There are many trails to choose from, so you can take a different route on the way down. This way, you experience more of the mountain. Begin at Pen y Pass Carpark — which lets you enjoy a picturesque drive on the way there — and take the Pyg Track up the peak. On the way down, you can opt to take the Miner Track back to Pen y Pass Carpark. You’ll meet friendly locals along the trail, and they’ll often want to have chat. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you need help with directions.

Image credit: Jun

If you aren’t game for the challenge, there’s an easier alternative. You can ride a train up the mountain for ~S$40. Personally, though, there’s something about the laborious climb that makes the view at the top even more unbelievably beautiful. But don’t worry, those who choose to take the railway up will also be rewarded by Instagram-worthy scenes.

Tip: Making the ascent and hiking back down will take about six hours, so be sure to bring adequate food and water.

4. Betws-y-Coed

Image credit: Jun

Betws-y-Coed is a quaint village in the valley of Snowdonia. Since it houses numerous outdoor lifestyle and sports shops, it’s known as a home base for avid mountain climbers looking to stock up on equipment. The town is charming from every corner, and it’s set against a mountain range so those who love the English countryside will feel right at home.

There is a zip line for thrillseekers and cavern mines for the curious and adventurous. Nature lovers ought to visit Betws-y-Coed’s Swallow Falls. Its system of multiple waterfalls makes it a magical experience for all who see it.

What to do

And yet, this is not all that Snowdonia has to offer. Aside from sights to see and natural wonders to conquer, this region in Wales is perfect for those looking to sit unwind. Take a break from your usual grind, and try these activities for a change.

1. Take a photowalk

Image credit: Jun

Snowdonia is an ideal place for roaming freely without any plan in mind. You don’t need an itinerary; you can just wing it and see where your feet take you. There are colourful houses and quaint villages in Llanbedrog, perfect for photowalks and sightseeing.

2. Give in to quiet time

Image credit: Jun

Llanbedrog also has a beach that lets you sit back and relax without a care in the world. If you want to catch up on some me time, this is the place for you. If you prefer the homey ambience of cosy villages, visit Dolgellau. It provides visitors with an escape from the other Welsh cities’ hustle and bustle.

3. Go on a road trip

Image credit: Jun

During my time in Snowdonia, we drove around. This allowed us to visit numerous sites such as Llanbedrog, which may otherwise be hard to access. Thankfully, Snowdonia’s roads are easy to navigate. Being surprised by picturesque scenery while on the road is a major plus. You would often find yourself flanked by scenic hills, as you drive along the stretch of the valley.

It would do well to note, though, that I visited Snowdonia in May. Naturally, the region would be completely different in the winter. But I’m sure it’ll be impressive either way.

Also read: Portmeirion: A Quirky Village to Explore in Wales

About Author

Kelvin Oh
Kelvin Oh

Kelvin is someone who has a million Spotify playlist for every mood. He likes the occasional travel and loves exploring places unexplored. He dreams of the day when he strikes the lottery so that he can retire in a cabin by the lake with his Kindle and a fishing boat.


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