Snowdonia's Welsh name is 'Eryi' which translates as either 'eagle' or 'highlands'. It is a fitting name for the National Park that is home to the highest mountain in Wales.
There are a wide range of attractions in and around Snowdonia. The dramatic mountain landscape is home to a rich cultural heritage and countless stunning natural attractions waiting to be discovered:
and more adventure than you can shake a stick (or ice axe) at
Our ultimate guide of things to do in Snowdonia
Set in North Wales, Snowdonia consists of 823 square miles (2,130 km2) of spectacularly rugged mountain scenery and is jam packed with attractions waiting to be explored.
Creating a list of amazing things to do was easy but could have been overwhelming. Leaving some out to include our top 3 highlights from each category was hard... really hard (We could have written a book) but rest assured that everything listed in the following categories is the best of the best...
Things to do in Snowdonia
What can you do in Snowdonia in bad weather?
Top hidden gems in Snowdonia
Best natural attractions
Water sports activities in Snowdonia
Best towns and villages
Different walks in Snowdonia
Things to do in Snowdonia
If you like adventure, nature or history then you won't be disappointed with what Snowdonia has to offer.
1. Stand on the summit of Snowdon
Top of the natural attractions has to be Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the highest peak in Wales. Experience the spectacular views and sense of achievement that only comes when you climb Snowdon.
If hiking isn't your thing, you can take the Snowdon Mountain Railway, one of the world's steepest railway inclines, for a more sedate journey the top. A visit to their gift shop is also a must for anyone who wants a Snowdon t-shirt, fridge magnet or mug. Be sure to book in advance as it is really popular during peak season.
2. World's fastest zip line at Zip World
For the thrill seekers out there this is a unique and exhilarating adventure. Zoom down 1.5km of rocky cliffs at speeds exceeding 100mph in the UNESCO world heritage slate landscape of Penrhyn Quarry.
3. Bodnant Garden
There are a few beautiful gardens in and around the National Park. If you choose to visit one it has to be Bodnant Garden. Set in 80 acres of glades, meadows, woods and dells it is one of the 'Great British Gardens'.
What can you do in Snowdonia in bad weather?
It rains a lot in Snowdonia so you need a plan B.
1. Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Snowdonia's slate landscape has recently been designated UNESCO World Heritage status. There are a few great way of experience this integral part of Welsh History.
Go on a deep mine tour of Llechwedd Slate Caverns
Kids will love Zip World's Bounce Below, the ultimate underground playground.
Learn about the history of slate at The National Slate Museum The old Victorian workshops of the now disused Dinorwic quarry, have a slate splitting demonstration, film theatre and historic houses. The best part is all of this is free.
2. Indoor Rock Climbing
Snowdonia is home to some of the best rock climbs in the UK.
When it is raining, you can still get your climbing fix at one of the two local rock climbing places.
3. Visit a Snowdonia castle
Snowdonia is home to some of the finest medieval castles in the world.
Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech Castle are all part of the Ring of Iron built by the English king Edward I between 1283 and 1295 after his conquest of Wales.
Dolbadarn Castle (first picture) and Dolwyddelan Castle are two Welsh strongholds thought to have been built by Llwelyn the Great, the most powerful medieval prince in Welsh history.
Top hidden gems in Snowdonia
90% of the people are in 10% of the places and as Snowdonia is so big and there is so much to do and see there are many great options for those who want to get away from it all.
1. Quiet Mountains in Snowdonia
Snowdonia is home to 15 mountains above 3000 feet and hundreds of other smaller peaks. Apart from Snowdon, most are pretty quiet with the more esoteric ones only seeing the odd visitor.
The Carneddau are never busy and are home to 5 of the 10 highest mountains in Wales with Carnedd Llewelyn being the biggest at 1064m.
Make sure you know your way around a map and compass though as their quiet aspect makes route finding difficult...
2. Secret infinity pool Snowdonia
The 'secret infinity pool' in Snowdonia has become a bit of a social media sensation.
The pool was originally built by Wyn Mostyn Jones in 2016 as a £400,000 green energy project.
The site, located in the Llanberis Pass on one of the authentic Welsh hill farms, has become a victim of it's own popularity. Littering, erosion and late night parties are a problem at the sight. Mr Jones has said he doesn't "...mind people going there, as long as they respect the site and the natural area around it."
3. Learn to map read
Learn a new skill which will unlock the 1497 miles of footpaths and 9 mountain ranges in Snowdonia. This will enable you to get far from the maddening crowd and access all of the hidden gems on offer.
If you give us a day of your time we will give you a lifetime of adventure as you learn all the skills you need to access the remotest parts of Snowdonia on our Beginners Map Reading Course
Best natural attractions in Snowdonia
Snowdonia being one of the natural attractions in itself, houses some of the best natural attractions within the national park. Some of which are the waterfalls, lakes and mountains.
Here we'll explore the highlights of these sites...
1. Snowdonia's most beautiful Waterfalls
Swallow Falls - an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where narrow chasm has been carved out of the rock by the river Llugwy. This can be viewed without any strenuous walking.
Conway Falls - Set in ten acres of SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) native woodland, the Conway Falls runs through the deep gorge of the Fairy Glenn. There are lots of viewpoints to enjoy the cascading waterfalls and the surrounding Forest Park won Countryfile magazine’s landscape of the year in 2017.
Aber Falls - Plunging an impressive 37m, Aber Falls is well worth a visit especially as it is so accessible from the A55. There is a nice 4km (2.5 miles)'there and back' walk on a good footpath to view the waterfall. Alternatively, you can do a slightly longer and more difficult circular walk of around 7km (4.3 miles).
2. Best lakes in Snowdonia
Snowdonia National Park is home to over 100 lakes ('Llyn' in Welsh). Here are our top picks...
Llyn Tegid - Bala Lake is the largest natural lake in Wales and is popular for water sports. On it's shores is Bala, a historic market town.
Llyn Geirionydd - Popular for water sports and is the only lake that allows power boats and water skiing.
Snowdon Lakes - There are various lakes dotted on mount Snowdon. Two of the best are Llyn Llydaw (which is the biggest on the mountain) & Glaslyn. Both are conveniently situated on Snowdon's Miners Track which starts closer to the summit.
3. Top mountains in Snowdonia
Snowdonia is made of mountains and there are so many to choose from.
Snowdon - Even if it wasn't the biggest, Snowdon would still be one of the finest mountains in the National Park due to it's precipitous rocky cliffs, choice of footpaths and epic scenery that can be viewed from it's towering peak.
Tryfan - Once voted Britain's favourite mountain, Tryfan is a rocky bastion of adventure. With regular mountain rescue callouts due to it's steep and complex terrain it isn't a mountain for the inexperienced.
Cadir Idris - The highest mountain in south Snowdonia, Cadir Idris stands noticeably tall above the gentler hills surrounding it. This gives it extensive panoramic views all around including the coastlines of Tywyn and Barmouth and the market town of Dolgellau.
What water sports activities are there in Snowdonia?
Whether it's wild swimming, paddle boarding, surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, rowing, powerboating, water skiing or white water rafting, Snowdonia has it all and is the perfect place for water sports activities all set in stunning natural landscapes. Our top picks are...
1. Menai Strait Rib Ride
Rib Ride offer a range of action packed boat journey's taking in the best costal sights Snowdonia has to offer including the Menai suspension bridge, Puffin Island and one of the best views of the mountains there is.
2. White water rafting
For thrill seekers, what could be better than experiencing the raging white water rapids at the National White Water Centre.
There are numerous good surfing beaches in North Wales but the only guaranteed surf breaks in the UK are found at Surf Snowdonia. You could also try to complete their new Aquaparc assault course.
What are the main towns in Snowdonia?
There are quite a few charming towns in and around Snowdonia.
To find out the best places to stay in Snowdonia please check out our blog.
Popularised by the Victorians, Llandudno is a coastal town in North Wales which is famous for it's North Shore Beach, pier, games arcades and The Great Orme headland with it's tramway and cable car.
Harlech is a seaside resort in north west Wales. It is home to Harlech Castle, a medieval Grade 1 listed fortification set atop rocky cliffs with a backdrop of the mountains of Snowdonia National Park like something out of Game of Thrones.
3. BLAENAU FFESTINIOG
The former 'slate capital of the world' Blaenau Ffestiniog is home to the Zip world slate caverns.
Are there villages in Snowdonia?
Nestled in the vast valleys are some beautifully scenic villages. From the tiny village of Capel Curig to Llanberis, a popular base camp for those trying to reach the summit of Snowdon there are some real gems scattered around Snowdonia.
A few of our favourites are...
1. BETWS Y COED
Betws-y-coed has been called 'the gateway to Snowdonia' due to its accessibility and excellent location. The Conwy Falls, Conwy Valley, Swallow falls and the Ugly House are all nearby and it has an excellent choice of hotels, shops, cafe's and restaurants.
Beddgelert is possibly our favourite village in Snowdonia. It is a bit more sleepy than Betws y Coed and is centred around an old stone bridge and has magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
Designed by the architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis, Portmeirion is an Italianate tourist village which has been used as the location for numerous films and TV shows, most famously as 'The Village' in 'The Prisoner'.
Explore the different walks in Snowdonia
Snowdon is the most popular mountain in the National Park and there are 6 footpaths to the summit. It is busy though and there are so many beautiful places to explore that are away from the crowds.
With 9 mountain ranges and 1497 miles of footpaths to discover you really are spoilt for choice. We could write a book on amazing walks in the National Park but some safe and easy options are...
1. GELERT'S GRAVE WALK
This short and flat walk is perfect for the whole family including pushchairs and wheelchairs. Gelert's Grave walk takes you along the banks of the River Glaslyn and through some charming countryside visiting the resting place of Gelert, the loyal dog of Llywelyn the Great, a medieval Welsh Prince.
2. LLYN PADARN/ PADARN COUNTRY PARK WALK
You can do a compact Nature Trail walk or a short Padarn Country Park woodland walk or a longer hike taking in the Llyn Padarn lake which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest owing to the importance of it's wildlife and geology. It is home to the Arctic Charr, a fish that was left behind after the glaciers melted at the end of the last ice age. All these walks can be found on the Gwynedd Council website
3. CWM IDWAL WALK
The Cwm Idwal walk takes you around Llyn Idwal, the ancient lake that sits in the dramatic a dramatic craggy bowl of the cwm which was carved out during the last ice age.
Plan your walk with us today!
How many days should I spend in Snowdonia?
As a general rule it takes a day to climb Snowdon, a few days to get a feel for the area and at least a week to really explore Snowdonia. Many people return year after year and still find new and exciting things to discover.
Can I walk up Snowdon and get the Snowdon mountain railway down?
Snowdon mountain railway state that 'Single tickets down the mountain cannot be pre-booked and are only available on a standby first come, first serve basis.'
Because of it's popularity it is very rare that there are spare tickets even outside of peak times. However, it is possible to get the Snowdon mountain railway to the summit and walk down. Be careful though as it is easy to follow the wrong footpath.
Is Electric Mountain still open?
The Electric Mountain Power Station/ Dinorwig Power Station under Elidir mountain has been closed since 2018 and remains closed for the foreseeable future due to 'insurmountable challenges' refurbishing it.
Are there bears in Snowdonia?
Bears were one of the apex predators in Britain and it is estimated that there were around 13,000 of them in Britain 7000 years ago. Fortunately, for us hillwalkers, there are no wild bears in Snowdonia.