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Snowdonia National Park

  • Snowdonia National Park, Wales, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 18 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: David Atkinson

Rugged landscape, open spaces, and pure, fresh air. It’s clear why Snowdonia was Wales’ first (established 1951) national park and remains its largest.

The 823 sq miles extent is a haven for outdoors experiences and known increasingly as the UK’s hub for adventure sports. But Snowdonia is not just for hikers, bikers and adrenaline junkies. Expect, too, a buzz of contemporary culture, heritage castles to explore, and lashings of warm, Welsh hospitality with some cracking local food and drink.

It’s even home to Wales’ latest addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List, new trails and projects springing up around its slate-mining heritage.

Orientation

The anchor point is Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh), Wales’ highest peak at 3,000ft.

The mountain Mecca is the small, Alpine-style town of Llanberis but other honeypot hubs offer alternative takes on the park. The Victorian resort town of Betws-y-Coed is the primary base for many visitors, its high street packed with outdoors shops and food-fuel cafes. Given the bucolic setting, you can see why artists and Romantic writers were first drawn here.

Otherwise, westerly Caernarfon makes a good base for families and the central, but tiny, village of Beddgelert an attractive base for couples seeking rustic tranquillity.

Tours, tickets & transfers

1

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

  • Manchester

King Edward built a castle in Conwy, King Arthur slayed a giant in Snowdonia, and the Romans laid the foundations for the town of Chester: this part of the world is packed full of myths and marvels. And on this tour, your guide takes you on a journey through the best of the must-see sights. You explore Conwy where a castle watches over a bustling harbour town. You visit Betws-Y-Coed, a quaint village nestling amongst the stunning mountains of Snowdonia. And you explore Chester, a town that’s blessed with one of the most brilliant cathedrals in all of England. It’s a day tour that’s perfect for anyone who enjoys a mixture of castles, beautiful landscapes, and curious towns.

Price £63

Min age 5

Rating 4.70 / 5 [48 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Travel advice

When to go

The peak travel season is from Easter to September, although Snowdonia is increasingly viewed as a year-round destination with cosy-Christmas breaks also popular.

Expect hotels to be heavily booked and prices hiked during the school holidays in July and August, especially around the bank holiday late August. The shoulders seasons around May and early October can be great times to visit, while walkers should be checking the weather carefully before tackling any long hikes during the winter months.

Getting there and away

Most international arrivals to North Wales are coming via Manchester Airport (transfer: two hours plus) with a smaller number by ferry via the port of Holyhead. The A55 expressway is the main artery into North Wales by road (expect weekend delays). Bus services are less common, however, so better to seek out local care-hire options. Otherwise, specialist local tour operators can assist with transfers and itineraries.

Getting around

This is a self-drive destination with some spectacular driving routes to soak up the widescreen scenery. Parking is plentiful, as are the opportunities to walk, bike and wander free, exploring the off-the-beaten-track attractions and must-see views in the rural heart of the park. Look for car hire outlets in the major hubs or check with a local tourist information centre for details.