What it's like
Snowdonia is a heady cocktail of dramatic mountains and deeply-gauged valleys, nudging up against a wild and windswept coast. The walking is as varied as the scenery, with rocky rambles over the highest peaks, breathtaking scrambles across knife-edge ridges, easy strolls along the banks of tumbling rivers, and woodland walks that are suitable for all the family. Some of the finest scenery can be reached by short strolls on good paths, yet those wanting to immerse themselves deeper can stride out day after day without ever retracing their steps. The most popular full-day outing is an ascent of Snowdon itself, and this can be tackled in a multitude of fashions from the straightforward but strenuous pull up fromLlanberis, to the notorious traverse of the airy arête of Crib Goch – definitely reserved for those with a head for heights. But thousands take the Miner’s Path as far as the lakes beneath the peak, or equally as beautiful, the well-surfaced track from Llyn Ogwen in to the magnificent Cwm Idwal. Further south, Cader Idris steals the show and also boasts a few easier outings of its own, such as the Precipice Walk or Torrent Walk.
But there’s more to Snowdonia than walking: the high peaks were the birthplace of Welsh rock climbing and the craggy mountainsides boast routes of all grades; and the forests have become the spiritual home of Welsh if not British mountain biking, with Coed-y-brenin, Gwyder Forest and Penmachno all offering sumptuous world-class trails.
Away from the hills, the area’s history is its biggest draw, with some of Wales’s finest castles situated around the national park, as well as some fascinating mining museums that document the days when Wales was one of the most industrialised countries in the whole world.
- The Snowdon Horseshoe Billed as one of Britain’s best mountain days and with good reason: easy but exposed scrambling and an ascent of the highest peak.
- The Pony Path, Cader Idris Straightforward but strenuous walking on clear paths to the summit of Southern Snowdonia’s favourite peak. See all of Wales’s mountains from here on a good day.
- Coed-y-brenin Stunning woodland clinging to perilously steep valleys, cut through by cascading rivers of unbelievable beauty. Choose from a selection of waymarked trails or follow your own.
Must see and do
- Climb Snowdon Make it as easy or tough as you like but definitely make a pilgrimage to the top of the highest peak.
- Breakfast in Pete’s Eats A famous climbers’ café in the centre of Llanberis. Best to make sure you’ve worked up an appetite first.
- Adam and Eve Getting to the top of Tryfan is a feat in itself – making the leap between the stones is something else. Have you the nerve?
Destination County : Snowdonia