Snow capped mountains and crystal clear lakes abound in Snowdonia's winter landscape which is laced with quiet hiking trails and is rich in adventure. If you want crisp mountain air to fill your lungs and refresh your soul, as you get away from it all without all the crowds, then the best time to visit Snowdonia is during the winter months.
Winter is a magical season with spectacular scenery which sees the least visitors to Snowdonia. Many of the attractions and accommodation remain open and the hiking trails are at their quietest making it the perfect time to visit the National Park.
Reasons to visit Snowdonia in the winter
Winter is one of the best times in the National Park and here are our top four...
You can walk for miles in the tranquillity of nature without seeing a single soul making it feel like you have the whole of the National Park to yourself.
The National Park is at it's most beautiful during the winter months. The mountains look like the mountains of your imagination, as snow dusts their summits making them look like 'proper' mountains. Frost descends into the valleys which glisten in the morning sun as fog rises from the surface of mirror like lakes creating an ethereal atmosphere not found in other seasons.
There are a bounty of attractions which remain open. Many allow you to turn up in the day as opposed to pre-booking (which is usually essential outside of winter) and some places offer cheaper rates.
Snowdonia's spectacular sunsets are at an accommodating time during winter. The area is one of the few International Dark Sky Reserves in the UK making it the perfect time and place for stargazing.
Things to do in Snowdonia in Winter
There are a wide array of places to visit and things to do in a Snowdonia winter as many of the attractions in the National Park remain open. The benefit of visiting at this time of year is that all of the attractions are much quieter and some are even cheaper. Unlike the summer months they often don't need to be pre-booked but do check on their website first.
Visit a Castle
Snowdonia has some of the finest examples of medieval castles anywhere in the world and all remain open during the winter months.
Many of the castles included in the Ring of Iron are found in Snowdonia including Harlech, Conwy, Beaumaris. All of these ancient fortresses are still in good shape after nearly a thousand years including the jewel in the crown of the iron ring; Caernarfon castle.
Be entertained at one of the Theatres
Llandudno's Venue Cymru and Caernarfon's Galeri are intimate venues offering a range of events over the winter period including musical performances, comedy, theatre, films and more.
Coed y Brenin Forest Park
Coed y Brenin is one of the UK's top mountain biking destinations and the UK's first purpose built mountain biking centre.
The visitor centre, which is open over winter, is the starting point for a range of walking, running and mountain biking trails for a range of abilities. In addition, there is a children's play area, orienteering course, geocaching trails café and more.
Corris Mine Explorers
Explore the underground tunnels and cavernous chambers which have produced the world’s finest slate for 130 years. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the slate landscape of North Wales is a unique attraction.
Corris Mine Explorers offer an award winning experience which is found in south Snowdonia and brings the industrial heritage of Wales to life.Corris Mine Explorers will take you on an underground adventure with some of the best mine guides in the country. They run Exclusive Mine Exploration Trips all year round.
Visit a cosy pub
Is there anything in life that beats a rewarding walk on a cold crisp winters day followed by warming yourself up in front of a roaring fire? Many of the excellent pubs in North Wales serve home cooked food made with locally sourced ingredients which can be washed down with a refreshing local ale.
Canolfan Tryweryn – National White Water Centre
North Wales can experience heavy rain in the winter months and one activity that won't be spoiled by that is white water rafting. Whilst rafting in winter might not be for everyone there is also a pleasant riverside walk.
Winter Walks in Snowdonia
Snowdonia offers a breath taking landscape that transforms into a stunning winter wonderland. The 1497 miles of footpaths become a haven for adventurers seeking the tranquillity and beauty of the season. Frost, and sometimes snow, blankets the rugged terrain, painting a picture-perfect scene for well equipped hikers with the right gear and knowledge.
An ascent of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the highest peak in Wales, is it's most coveted prize. In winter, its snow-capped summit presents a challenging yet rewarding trek for seasoned hikers equipped with the right gear and knowledge. The six main footpaths, with frost-covered rocks and glistening snow, create a pristine and thrilling atmosphere not found in any other season.
The Glyderau range is home to some of the biggest and most rugged mountains in Wales and provide an array of trails. Llyn Idwal offers a pleasant and leisurely circular walk through dramatic scenery. This is perfect for a short winter walk of around 2-3 hours but can be extended by walking along the shores of Llyn Ogwen and/ or Llyn Bochlwyd. Those with the right skills and experience can venture higher onto the otherworldly summits of Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr.
Winter walks in Snowdonia aren't just about conquering peaks; they also offer a chance to explore charming villages nestled in picturesque valleys. Betws-y-Coed, with its quaint bridges and cascading waterfalls throngs with visitors during the summer. It is much quieter during winter. The village exudes warmth amidst the cold, with cozy cafes offering hot drinks to rejuvenate weary adventurers.
Venturing into Snowdonia's mountainous winter wonderland requires preparation. Proper clothing and specialist mountaineering equipment can be vital for safety and there have been numerous fatalities on the ice clad slopes of Snowdon in particular. Weather conditions can change rapidly, and being equipped and experienced for the elements will provide a memorable adventure.
Visit Snowdonia National Park in November & December
If you are in North Wales for bonfire night, Beaumaris fireworks display is the best in the local area and has live bands as well as food stands.
There are a range of Christmas markets in the area which are the perfect opportunity to buy stocking fillers and listen to live music while you enjoy the smell of roasting chestnuts and mulled wine.
Bala Lake Railway offer a Santa Special Railway journey where the locomotives are specially decorated before heading out on the railway line. They journey to Santa's grotto where children meet Santa and receive a gift, while adults receive a mince pie and a glass of sherry or a hot drink. Book your tickets for this early as advance booking is essential.
Visit Snowdonia National Park in January & February
Celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day on 25th January with a romantic getaway. St Dwynwen, the Welsh patron saint of lovers built a convent on Llanddwyn Island which became a place of pilgrimage after her death in the fifth century. Legend has it that visitors to the convent can foretell whether their relationship will be full of love and happiness. Why not make your own pilgrimage to the spectacular Newborough beach and Llanddwyn Island on St Dwynwen's Day?
Blow away the cobwebs and go for a walk along one of North Wales's beautiful beaches. This is especially good on a crisp, sunny winters day.
Snowdonia is home to one of the rarest habitats on earth; temperate rainforest. Walking through an ancient Celtic rainforest is a magical experience at any time of the year but, winter is extra special as they still teem with life. The verdant green of ferns, mosses and lichens add a splash of colour to the forest. Contrast this to the moccha browns, and amber yellows of the russet leaves which carpet the forest floor at this time of year creating a rich colour palette. The tree canopy opens up allowing sunlight to stream through the twisted branches which are hidden behind a veil of green adding light and vibrance not found in the summer.
Get Christmas sorted and gift an experience in Snowdonia.
We offer a range of gift vouchers including Snowdon Guided Walks, Navigation Courses and more!
The best thing about gift vouchers are their flexibility allowing the receiver to choose their own route and date. What are you waiting for; gift an adventure in Snowdonia to look forward to next year.
Don't be left out in the cold and organise a winter adventure today!
We offer Private Guided Walks and Navigation Courses throughout the winter.
Our guides will take you on the best hiking trails or to the top of the finest peaks in Wales throughout the winter months. We will provide you with a detailed kitlist based on the weather conditions on the day and friendly support before the walk. Our expert guides will keep you safe allowing you to enjoy the excellent views found at this time of year.
Is Snowdon open in winter?
Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) and all of it's hiking routes remain open thorough the winter. This includes the Pen y Pass car park which changes to pay and display from November to March. Although the mountain is open all year it can require specialist mountaineering equipment and clothing as it's footpaths can become treacherous in winter conditions. Even the easier routes such as the Llanberis Path and PYG Track have notorious accident blackspots which have recorded several fatalities over the years.
Does it snow in Snowdonia in winter?
There is snow every winter in Snowdonia but it is sporadic from October to May. January and February are the months you are most likely to find snow in the National Park especially on the mountain tops.
While Snowdonia might have snow covered peaks at times, it is not guaranteed even in the depths of winter.
Is hiking in Snowdonia safe in winter?
Snowdonia's hiking trails remain open all year round. In the winter months the hazards increase. This requires good planning, the correct clothing and equipment and if there is snow or ice on the mountains it requires specialist skills and a high level of experience.