Here’s a surprise. Snowdonia isn’t just mountains. Our boundaries include some of the sandiest, most spectacular stretches of coastline in Britain. The northern arc of Cardigan Bay – much of it in the National Park – is one of outstanding beauty. Mountains sweep down to the sea in a series of stunning estuaries and big beaches. In the hills you’ll find remote beauty spots, mountain lakes and exhilarating walking. Or sit back and let the train take the strain on narrow-gauge railways and the mainline Cambrian Coast Railway.
There are at least two compelling reasons to visit. It’s surely one of Britain’s prettiest little seaside resorts. Located where the River Dyfi meets the waters of Cardigan Bay, it’s also a popular sailing and watersports venue. Pastel-coloured terraces front a large sandy beach and quaint old harbour. Golf is also popular at Aberdyfi’s famous links course, one of Wales’s finest. Local museum is dedicated to the port’s shipbuilding past.
Pretty, mountain-locked former slate village at one end of the scenic narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway. Spectacular walking country – Cader Idris is close by, along with the hamlet of Llanfihangel-y-Pennant made famous by Mary Jones who walked barefoot from here to Bala in 1800 to collect a Welsh Bible. Gentle lakeside walks too, along nearby Llyn Myngul. Just beyond the lake visit Ystradgwyn Chapel Heritage Centre (open twice weekly in summer). Cyclists can follow the Lôn Dysynni cycle route. In the mountains explore Bird Rock and the moody ruins of Castell-y-Bere.
Popular resort on the entrance to the beautiful Mawddach Estuary. Pretty harbour overlooked by the headland of Dinas Oleu, birthplace of the National Trust. Lots to see and do - traditional seaside fun on the promenade and in the small fairground, two miles of superb sandy beach, good choice of accommodation. Take a walk up into the hills for panoramic views of sea and mountains, or follow the Mawddach Trail along the idyllic old rail route to Dolgellau. Discover the town’s history in the Sailors’ Institute located around the harbour along with Tŷ Gwyn’s ‘shipwreck museum’ and Tŷ Crwn Round House. There’s also a Lifeboat Museum.
Traditional village well located for coast and country. Prehistoric burial chamber an important local site. Inland, visit remote Llyn Cwm Bychan and the mysterious Roman Steps that climb up into the remote Rhinogydd mountains.
Seaside village on opposite side of the Mawddach Estuary to Barmouth/Abermaw. Big sandy beach. Take a ride on the Fairbourne Railway, the smallest of Wales’s narrow-gauge railways (with ferry link across the estuary).
A ‘must see’ little town, not just for the views across the dunes but also for its clifftop medieval castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Royal St David’s is one of Wales’s top golf courses. Attractions include Theatr Harlech, craft shops and excellent leisure centre with indoor pool, café and new climbing wall over 30ft high, the most exciting in southern Snowdonia. Taste Hufenfa Castell’s delicious artisan ice cream. Visit Y Lasynys Fawr (just off the B4573 north of Harlech), a historic house dating from the 16th century and home to 17th-/18th-century author Ellis Wynne (for visiting details contact 01766 781395 beforehand).
Quaint village on the doorstep of Shell Island (so-called for the variety of its shells). Inland, explore the Rhinogydd, the last true mountain wilderness left in Wales. The Wild Side outdoor pursuits company offers guided wild camping and walking expeditions into the Rhinogydd. Visit the nearby Chwarel Hên Llanfair Slate Caverns.
Scenery and history come together here ancient standing stones and remains of an Iron Age hillfort can be seen in the slopes above, and the village has a fascinating Quaker past, with two sites on the Dolgellau Quaker Trail. More religious heritage at nearby Llangelynnin, at the medieval Church of St Celynnin overlooking the sea. Good local amenities with sheltered beach, shop, pub with restaurant and railway station. Close to beautiful Dysynni Valley, Bird Rock and the mysterious ‘Blue Lake’. A great spot for walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, surfing, relaxing, and touring many nearby attractions.
Seaside resort and touring base. Attractions include large sandy beach and narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway that travels deep into the hills. Many local beauty spots - Ynysmaengwyn Park, Dolgoch Falls, Bird Rock, Llyn Myngul and Castell-y-Bere, atmospheric stronghold of the Welsh princes.