If you’ve never been to Snowdonia Wales, book that weekend away now. This national park in Wales is one of my favourite, with amazing activities on offer, the best hikes and lots of stunning views.
The rugged, mountainous terrain of Snowdonia national park makes for a fantastic weekend of exploring and pair that with award-winning restaurants and pubs, watersports activities and more, this national park in the UK has everything you could possibly need for the entire family.
*Since this blog post was written Wales’ highest mountain will be referred to by its Welsh name, rather than the English equivalent, park authorities have agreed. Snowdonia National Park Authority voted to use Yr Wyddfa and Eryri rather than Snowdon and Snowdonia Wales, after 5,000 people signed a petition calling for the change.
Naomi Jones, the park’s head of cultural heritage, said
“By referring to our most renowned landmarks by their Welsh names, we give people from all over the world the opportunity to engage with the Welsh language and its rich culture.”
Where is Snowdonia?
Snowdonia is a region in northwest Wales concentrated around the mountains and glacial landforms of massive Snowdonia National Park.
The park’s historic Snowdon Mountain Railway climbs to the summit of Wales’s highest mountain, Snowdon, offering views across the sea to Ireland.
The national park is also home to an extensive network of trails, over 100 lakes and craggy peaks like Cader Idris and Tryfan.
The region is vast, spread across 2,132 km² and it is important to remember Snowdonia National Park is not just Snowdon, it has many other mountains which are amazing day hikes to add to your hiking bucket list.
When to go Snowdonia Wales
It is hard to name a certain time of year that is best to visit Snowdonia National Park, as it really depends on what you are after.
The region can be a great place to visit all year round, in the summer is a great place to explore with great weather (sometimes) and longer days, meaning longer hikes are possible.
But shoulder seasons Spring and Autumn are also great, as they offer middle-ground weather, sometimes it can be rainy, but the pros are the amount of people, meaning you can get hiking trails and climbs that are a lot quieter.
And if you are a seasoned hiker and adventurer, you will also enjoy the winter season, but winter mountain climbing becoming even more popular.
Though remember, do your research and if you need it, go with a mountain leader or guide.
How to get to Snowdon
It is really easy to get to Snowdon, despite it looking quite challenging on the surface. There are railway stations at Bangor and Betws-y-coed that are the best train stations to head to, for anyone wanting to climb Snowdon.
You can also travel to Bangor which has a direct service from London Euston and then you can take a bus to Llanberis.
The North Wales Coast Line from Crewe to Holyhead connects you to Bangor at the north-western edge of the park and Llandudno, where you can get the Conwy Valley Line down through the park as far as Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The train station in Betws-y-coed is very popular and places you really close to Snowdon itself.
Then from there you will need to catch one of the Sherpa buses from Betws-y-coed to Pen-y-pass where you can start your hike up Snowdon via Miner’s Track.
What is the sherpa bus?
Based within the national park of Snowdonia Wales you will find the Sherpa network, which travels between Llanberis, Nant Peris and Pen y Pass and sometimes other locations.
You can check the bus timetable for the Snowdon Sherpa for more details.
Nearest airports to Snowdonia national park: Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham take less than two hours. Closer is Caernarfon Airport.
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Where to stay in Snowdonia Wales
Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia
If you’re looking for somewhere with a great location, even more amazing activities and a stylish stay, look no further than the Hilton Garden Inn Snowdonia.
The hotel is located on the site of Adventure Parc Snowdonia and has 100+ bedrooms, restaurant, bar, spa and more.
The hotel offers perfect panoramas, comfortable quietude and inspiring interiors await in each of all spacious suites. All rooms are equipped with luxury SMEG appliances and complimentary Wi-Fi, our rooms provide the ideal base for discovering Snowdonia national park.
Championing local, seasonal fare, Zephyr’s Bar & Grill offers a flavoursome experience. We dined in Zephyrs twice and loved the atmosphere, stylish setting and tasty food. I would highly recommend eating here as the food was amazing.
And of course, it also has direct access to the surf park, so if you’re after a few days surfing then this is the place to be. And on our last day staying here we also took a morning in the Wave Garden spa on-site, more on that later…
If you are more of a budget, then check out YHA Pen-Y-Pass which has direct access to the start of the Miner’s Track and Pyg Track up to the summit of Mount Snowdon. The hostel is small but has everything you need for 1-night before a big hike up Snowdon. You can get dinner here in the evening and asked for a packed breakfast for first thing in the morning to take with you.
If breathtaking views of mountainous landscapes you’re after then YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass is the location for you.
This much loved and famed location is now The hostel also pays tribute to its famous past and information about the surrounding mountains can be seen throughout the building.
READ MORE: 15 of the BEST hikes in the UK
19 things to do Snowdonia Wales
- Hike Mount Snowdon
- Go surfing at Adventure Parc Snowdonia
- Check in to the Wave Garden spa
- Go ziplining at Velocity 2
- Visit the iconic Portmeirion, Wales
- Ride through the forest at Fforest Coaster
- Spend a morning at Snowdonia’s loveliest village, Beddgelert
- Bounce around at The Slate Caverns
- Go scrambling at The Glyders
- Visit Conwy Castle
- Ride the Snowdon Mountain Railway
- Learn at the National Slate Museum
- Explore Llechwedd Slate Caverns
- Go back in time at Caernarfon Castle
- Hike up Cadair Idris
- Visit the iconic Ugly House
- Ride the rapids at the National White Water Centre
- Visit the Electric Mountain (or the Dinorwig Power Station)
- Get wet in a freshwater lagoon at Water Parc Snowdonia
Top tips for hiking in Snowdonia Wales
Before heading off to climb Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) please check the parking / climbing / weather conditions situation on the Snowdonia National Park website.
Hiking in Snowdonia is an amazing weekend adventure, and the top of everyone’s list when spending time in the national park is of course to summit Snowdon.
There’s something so beautiful and wild, all at the same time, about the Snowdonia landscape, with magnificent peaks rising up high above the deep valleys, set seamlessly against lakes and rivers dotted around the valley floors.
There’s Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) Wales’ highest mountain which is a bucket list hiking activity, and it dominates the skyline of North West Wales.
But be prepared, on average Snowdon takes around 6-8 hours (up and down) to conquer and although is a popular mountain to climb, can still come with it’s dangers.
What starts off as a sunny day at the bottom can rapidly turn into ice-cold winds, heavy rain and thick mist halfway up.
Train up Snowdon: Hafod Eryri (the toilets and cafe at the top of Snowdon) is closed until 2023. And the Snowdon Mountain Railway is currently only running to Clogwyn Station, which is ¾ distance to the summit of Snowdon.
What to pack for hiking Mount Snowdon Wales
It is really important to be prepared with clothing and your day pack. I have listed a few important tips below but also check out my hiking checklist.
- Ankle supporting walking boots, not trainers and definitely no flip flops
- Walking trousers or leggings
- Mid and base layers
- Spare socks
- First aid kit
- Torch and whistle for safety
- Map and compass
- Lots of water
- Outdoor Adventure Girls friends!
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
To book flights, I always use flight search engine Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals.
For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb.
Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner.
Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.
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