Snowdonia is best known as the home of Mount Snowdon’s 1,085-metre high mountain peak – but the region has far from just one solitary mountain for tourists to climb. Many visit the National Park to walk along the 870-mile West Coast Path encompassing Snowdonia’s beaches and harbours on the coast of North Wales.
Llyn Peninsula and Bardsey Island
This craggy landscape beyond the far reaches of the mountain tops is a tourist hotspot widely regarded as the finest place to visit on holiday in North Wales. Llyn is an AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty), with peaceful pebble and sandy beaches and sloping rocky hills that are perfect for dog-walking. Not only this, but Wales has Llyn Peninsula listed as a Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest. Its unspoilt features have remained much the same since prehistoric times.
Just under two miles off Llyn Peninsula, Bardsey Island is a remote yet idyllic haven of wildlife. Various sea birds nest on the island, while seals swim close in the Irish Sea. Bardsey is, by many accounts of people who have visited, a great place to go to do nothing.
Corris Mine and King Arthur’s Labyrinth
Corris Mine was formerly used in industry to mine slate, but since its abandonment it has become open for the public to explore. The mine is protected by the nation due to its historical importance, as a place where younger generations can now learn about past hardships.
King Arthur’s Labyrinth is a children’s attraction where North Wales’ myths and old stories are retold. The underground tunnels are thought to be steeped in legends of dragons and an ancient Welsh King, but a more mundane explanation is that Dark Age miners created the walkways. A different type of cultural experience to Corris Mine, but equally enthralling.
Ogwen Valley and Llyn
In the valleys you’ll get a taster of all the natural beauty of Snowdonia in one place, from hills and crevices to icy glaciers. Much of the landscape has endured for thousands of years, only adding to the wonder. In the north, the village of Pont Pen-y-benglog by the Ogwen Llyn (Welsh for ‘lake’), which has been converted into a tourist centre for wildlife spotting by the National Trust, lies between two mountain ranges.
This quaint village became a trendy holiday destination for domestic travellers in the days before package holidays abroad. The coastal buildings were beautifully designed by architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It is still admired by holidaymakers for its unique old-fashioned cottages and eye-catching architecture. Quality restaurants, cafes and a luxury spa ensure its tourist trade is booming, while its flowery nature is well cared for.
Portmeirion has a 70-acre subtropical forest, within which are secret gardens with rare flowers such as cultivar rhododendron among several others. Castell Deudraeth is a restored ancient castle in the village surrounded by well-maintained gardens. Portmeirion is perhaps more befitting an Italian village than a British one.