Towns Of Snowdonia
The Snowdonia National Park stretches from Conwy in the north to Aberdyfi in the south, taking in not only mountain peaks and thirteenth century fortresses but also ancient wooded valleys and rushing rivers.
Caernarfon, Bangor and Conwy
Caernarfon, Bangor and Conwy sit at the gateway to the area. The market town of Caernarfon is a place of historic interest from Edward I’s imposing castle towering over the town to the narrow streets and picturesque harbour with its gallery and theatre. The cathedral and university town of Bangor is a busy shopping centre connected to Anglesey by Telford’s famous suspension bridge and with its quaint Victorian pier bought by the council for a penny.
Conwy is one of the most complete walled towns in Europe and with its castle sitting almost atop the town what could be more picturesque. Galleries, interesting shops and good places to eat abound. Or take a look around Plas Mawr, the beautifully restored Elizabethan town house.
Head for the hills and there are plenty of interesting small towns to explore. LLanberis lies beside Lake Padarn and with the nearby village of Capel Curig are centres for the outdoor enthusiast, both villages have climbing shops galore. Llanberis is also the starting point for the Snowdon mountain railway. For those who prefer the easy way up mountains, it has been carrying passengers since 1896.
Llanberis is home the Welsh Slate Museum or you can venture underground to see the hydroelectric power station, Electric Mountain. Capel Curig’s chief claim to fame is the National Mountaineering Centre, Plas yr Brennin, running courses in all sorts of outdoor activities.
Down in another valley is Betws y Coed a bustling pretty village by the river Conwy with lots of good quality tourist shops, cafes and pubs. Attractions include the Conwy Valley Railway Museum and the nearby Motor Museum. Along the river are gorges and waterfalls the most famous of which are the Conwy Falls and Swallow Falls.
Llanrwst lies alongside the river too with a lovely 17th century bridge. The ivy clad picturesque 15th century tea room on the river bank looks more like a picture postcard than its long lost role as a courthouse. Round Ancaster Square are shops pubs and place to eat.
Beddgelert tucked away in the Aberglaslyn Pass boasts locally made ice cream river walks to see the grave of the faithful dog Gelert and quaint cottages of which several can serve you everything from sandwiches to souvenirs.
The quarry town of Blaenau Ffestiniog gets its character from the slate quarries that surround it. Now a visitor attraction Llechwedd Slate Caverns are well worth the trip underground to see how the miners worked. Or take a trip on the Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway from the town down through spectacular scenery to the harbour at Porthmadog