While living and working in Oxfordshire, England, we were discussing trip ideas with our coworkers. We wanted a place to visit with mountains and adventure, we were thinking Austria, Switzerland and even the Italian Dolomites, but all those ideas came went to the wayside when one of our workmates told us about Snowdonia. She told us we didn’t even need to leave the island to find some spectacular snow peaks. Now, of course, they were no rival to the peaks of Switzerland, but why not explore close to home first? But, if you’re interested in top things to do in Switzerland, check out this post!
We planned the trip over a long weekend, so we had about 4 days. There is so much to do and see in Whales (especially if you’re an outdoorsy person), that really you could spend a lot longer! In fact, we ended up making a few trips afterward.
Where to Stay?
On our first trip, we first stayed in a village called Blaenau Ffestiniog. If you’re looking for a really authentic feel amongst the locals, we recommend staying at the Gwesty Ty Gorsaf hotel. It was a very traditional Welsh hotel that gave you the vibe of the region. The hotel was in a great location because it was smack dab in the center of Snowdonia. Also, if you’re taking the train it’s literally seconds away from the station! The hotel had a great bar where you could order up some classic Welsh drinks and bar food.
Another great region to check out is a town called Betws-y-Coed a little further north. This town has a ton of hotel options that are probably a bit pricier, but they’re close to many boutique stores, restaurants, and attractions. The city center is bustling, with lots to do! There are great hiking trails just minutes away and bike rental shops if you’re looking for some more high-speed adventure.
On another trip, some friends of ours came with us and we all shared a cabin in Arthog. The name of the place we stayed at was called “Snowdonia Log Cabins” and we highly recommend them if you’re wanting to feel like you’re surrounded by Snowdonian nature. Pro Tip: Try to get a cabin with a view!
What to do?
Trampoline in Cave
This was definitely one of the weirder things we’ve done. Essentially you go into this deep cave with multicolored lights and a bunch of trampolines… you feel like you’re in a spider web with shoots and ladders. Sounds bizarre, but it’s awesome for both adults and kids! It’s also pretty exhausting…. I’m in pretty good shape, but after like 15 minutes I was tired as hell! This trampoline cave happens to be close to Blaenau Ffestiniog (the town of the first hotel we mentioned)
Hike a rock pile at Tryfan
Spontaneous hiking disorder… something I’ve come down with! If you also suffer from this, you’ll love this idea! While driving along the highway with some friends, we saw a cool mountain by a lake, so we pulled over and started climbing the scree pile.
Turns out, this mountain and lake have a name, Llyn Ogwen and the mountain peak is called Tryfan. If you can find this spot... it's absolutely worth a climb!
We had a kid with us, so we never made it all the way to the top, but if you do, it’s spectacular (check it out on google maps)! This experience was probably my fondest memory of Snowdonia.
Tree Top Adventure
Near the town of Betws-y-Coed is a great experience for the whole family or a date with your traveling partner! You’re up in the trees, about 50 feet, and you have to make it through all these fun challenges. I would highly recommend this if you’re a bit of a daredevil! If you don’t like heights and you don’t like jumping out of trees at the very end… this may not be your thing. I love danger, but the end really freaked me out! Check out this link to find out more!
Fastest Zip line in Europe
Still need more adventure? Try zip lining over a quarry! Zip World Penrhyn Quarry is the fastest zip line in the world… and it’s exhilarating! We had a ton of fun here. They start you off on a slower/smaller zip line to get you started, then they move you on to the longer/faster one if you’re feeling up to it!
Want to see just how big of a scaredy cat your partner is? Try this! If you're a bit insane like me and love to scare yourself with dangerous adventures, you will love this experience, I promise! Check out the video below to get an idea of what it will be like!
Wander the town of Betws-y-Coed
Whether you’re staying in Betws-y-Coed or not, it’s a town you’ve got to check out! It gives you Lord Of The Rings “shire” vibes. As I said earlier, this town is packed full of cute little boutique shops, hiking trails, bike paths, ice cream shops, and restaurants. Just wander around for a few hours and see what you can find. This town is also very close to Tree Top Adventure!
Drive Llanberis (pull over and just hike)
This drive is absolutely stunning! Ever watch the show Vikings? This drive will take you back in time and truly make you feel like a wandering nomad. Watch out for the sheep that just might wander onto the road, but otherwise, you’ll love just stopping to take pictures and soaking up the haunting mountains all around you.
Go see the Sea
Regardless of where you’re staying, make sure to take a drive out to the Irish Sea. It doesn’t really matter which beach you hit up, but head west and stop when you see the water, you won’t miss it ;)
The sea itself can be quite cold depending on what time of year you go. We went when it was a bit cooler, but we did see beach shacks, so someone's gotta be swimming there! Whether you want to take the plunge or not is up to you, but the rugged Welsh coastline and quiet beaches make for amazing photographs!
There are tons of blogs and lists online of places you must visit in Snowdonia, and I would recommend trying to fit in as many as possible. This post was more about how we got lost and found some pretty cool places… You’ll probably do the same and find even more unique locations. If you do, we’d love to hear about them! So please comment below with your new finds!