Things to do in Snowdonia

Snowdonia is the hub for professional training in a vast array of outdoor pursuits. It's got a sort of Celtic Colorado vibe.

White water rafting

There are earthy people and there are water people. Snowdonia is better known to the former, but the latter: get your water boots on because this is also a top white water centre with trips along the gushing waters of the River Tryweryn and the River Dee, consistently wild and white all year round.

Take the train

The most famous is Snowdon Mountain Railway which takes an almost vertical route to the summit.

The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways were both created originally to serve slate quarries, but are now firm favourites with Snowdonia holidaymakers.

The Ffestiniog goes from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog, and, as you chuff chuff your way through 20 kms of Snowdonian sumptuousness, you can raise a glass of Purple Moose local ale or Welsh cider from the bar. It deserves a toast too, climbing from sea to summit through fields and forests, clinging on to the mountainside like an old mountain goat.

Equally delightful, Welsh Highland Railways run alongside the foot of Snowdon and the village of Beddgelert and on to Porthmadog. There is limited room for bikes on this service - book in advance.

And for anyone nostalgic for the musings of Reverend Wilbert Awdry, Talyllyn Railway is the narrow gauge that inspired the author to write about Skarloey Railway when he worked there as a guard in the 1950s. Try to resist the temptation to sing the head wrecking Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune.

Hiking

There are gaiters and Gore-tex a plenty in Snowdonia. However, there are many other options to the six trails that go up Snowdon. The most popular is the Llanberis Path with the Pyg and Minerís tracks stretching your muscles a bit more. Other climbs include Y Carneddau, Y Glyderau, Y Rhinogau and Cader Idris. All wilder and just as wonderful. If you are doing Snowdon, check out the Sherpa Shuttle bus which connects all six trails and nearby villages.

Our top Snowdonia Holiday

Snowdonia self catering accommodation, Wales

Snowdonia self catering accommodation, Wales

Cottage on Lake Padarn with wonderful views of Snowdonia

From £350 to £450 per cottage per week (sleeps 4-5)
Accommodation
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If you'd like to chat about Snowdonia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Just cycling

As opposed to the hard core mountain biking that Snowdonia is famous for, check out the backroads and off road options for cyclists who don’t want to do the caked in mud thing. Coed y Brenin is the heart of mountain biking, but their Yr Afon trail is suitable for people who just want to take in the scenery from a more sedate saddle, rather than the grunt and gnarl of the mountain runs.

The Mawddach Trail allows you to give the inclines a miss for a day with this converted railway line following an estuarine trail from Dolgellau to Barmouth. At 15 kms one way, this is also a joggers’ favourite. Bring binoculars for this one too. There's bird and wildlife watching aplenty as the trail takes you across the estuary with salt marshes and peaty habitats. Or take on Cader Idris by bike, with forest covered slopes always an uplifting challenge. A short but ever so sweet cycle is from Dolgellau to Machynlleth through the sort of Welsh valleys they make up ballads about.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Hefin Owen] [White water rafting: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales] [Take the train: Alan Wilson] [Hiking: Ted and Jen] [Just cycling: © Crown copyright (2014) Visit Wales]
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