Things to do in Snowdonia (Eryri)

Penned on the 22nd November 2023

Things to do in Snowdonia (Eryri)

Snowdonia, known as Eryri in the Welsh language, is often described as the outdoor adventure capital of North Wales. Famed for its mountainous National Park and wild coastline, there is no shortage of awe-inspiring spots for hiking, climbing, cycling, white water rafting and more... 

Tranquil lake nestled amongst the mountains in Snowdonia

But Snowdonia is not just a destination for high-energy pursuits and adrenaline-seeker. If you prefer to take things a little slower, the breathtaking landscape offers the perfect backdrop for idyllic escapes; switching off from the busyness of life and connecting with nature. There are also plenty of charming towns and villages, fascinating history and great food and drink to discover.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for things to do in Snowdonia, we’ve curated a list of our favourite activities for an unforgettable Welsh adventure.


Summit Mount Snowdon

Looking out towards the dramatic peak of Mount Snowdon

For many, climbing to Mount Snowdon’s peak is the biggest lure of Snowdonia. Some 350,000 people reach the summit every year and at 1,058 metres high, it’s the tallest mountain in Wales. Keen hikers, trail runners, rock climbers and mountain bikers are drawn to this wild landscape – but there are options for beginner adventurers to reach the top, too. The Llanberis Path is the most popular route and is the one best suited to families and first-time mountaineers, although note that a good level of fitness is required. All six ascent routes are classified as ‘strenuous’ and shouldn’t be attempted without proper preparation. Whatever you choose though, it’s all worth the effort for the jaw-dropping views from the top. And if you don’t fancy the arduous climb you could always hop aboard the historic Snowdon Mountain Railway instead!


Hike one of Snowdon’s other peaks

Tranquil lake at the summit of Manod Bach in Snowdonia

Whilst Mount Snowdon is the most popular hike in the National Park, there are plenty of other majestic peaks that are well worth summiting, especially if you prefer a quieter route. Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr, known together as the Glyders, are two of the most dramatic, with towering craggy pinnacles at the summit. Cadiar Idris is the highest mountain in southern Snowdon and is steeped in myths and legends. And Crib Goch is a mighty peak renowned for its hair-raising knife-edge ridgeline – definitely not for the fainthearted. Take a look at twenty of Snowdon’s top mountainous peaks and plan your ascent.


Visit Betws-y-Coed

Autumn coloured trees encompass flowing stream through Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed is a quaint village often referred to as the gateway to Snowdonia National Park and its adventures. It has a distinctly alpine feel thanks to its setting in a deep valley and the dense surrounding forest – and it’s a wonderful place for a day out. Spend a few hours wandering the streets, admiring the Victorian architecture and dipping in and out of the independent shops, cafés and art galleries. The village’s bridges are particularly scenic – Pont-y-Pair, built in 1458, is one of the most famous and worth a visit for its beautiful views above the gorge. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to stop at the picturesque 15th-century tea room Tu Hwnt I’r Bont for a mouth-watering traditional Welsh rarebit for lunch.


Walk the trails at Gwydir Forest Park

Woodland walk through dense green forest in Wales

Gwydir Forest Park surrounds Betws-y-Coed and is the perfect place for a stunning ramble amongst ancient woodland and lakes. There are four waymarked trails setting off from the village, including an easy boardwalk stroll amongst majestic Douglas fir trees, and steep forested trails with spectacular lakeside views for those who fancy something a little more challenging. For a walk with an exciting twist, there’s even a permanent orienteering course in the Forest Park where you can test your map-reading skills – you can download and print the map online or buy one from the Snowdonia National Park Information Centre. 


Ride the world’s fastest zipline

Zip line through a quarry in Wales

Zip World offers all kinds of exhilarating adventures from its site in Penrhyn Quarry in the heart of the National Park. It’s home to the world’s fastest and Europe’s longest zip line, Velocity. On this 1.5km zip line you can reach speeds of over 100mph whilst taking in the incredible views of Snowdonia! There are four parallel lines available, so you can experience the adrenaline rush with your family too. You’ll also find the UK’s only Quarry Karts here, for a three-wheeled ride down an obstacle-filled slate track. And if you’re a spectator (or you’re hungry after your epic adventure) you can relax from Zip World’s bistro-style restaurant, with equally impressive views. 


Wild swim in Watkins Path Waterfalls & Pools

Watkins Path Waterfalls and Pools in Snowdonia

Snowdonia’s mountainous landscape is filled with spectacular waterfalls and pools, some of which are perfect for taking an invigorating dip in nature. One of the most loved by wild swimmers is the Watkins Path Waterfall & Pools. Only accessible by foot, it’s around a quarter a way up off the lesser-trodden Watkins Path route to Snowdon’s summit and its crystal clear falls and turquoise waters make it a picture-spot for a refreshing, post-hike plunge. It’s so idyllic, in fact, that the Telegraph listed it as one of the UK’s top wild swimming spots. Just remember to submerge slowly to let yourself acclimatise and take plenty of layers and a flask of hot tea to warm up afterwards.


Go underground at Llechwedd Slate Caverns

Inside of slate caves illuminated with lights in Snowdonia

In Blaenau Ffestiniog, below the Moelwynion Mountains, you’ll find Llechwedd Slate Caverns. This popular attraction offers a unique opportunity to explore the underground world of a slate mine in Snowdonia. From the early 1800s until the 1960s, slate mining was one of the most prominent industries in North Wales and here you can learn all about the fascinating history and geology. The Deep Mine Tour is a highlight – you’ll be lowered 500 feet into the belly of the mountain on Europe’s steepest cableway to see the extraordinary underground taverns and lake, complete with light projections and reality technology to transport you to a time-gone-by.


Hike the Wales Coast Path

Bridge across water amongst the mountains of Snowdonia

The Snowdonia and Ceredigion section of the Wales Coast Path stretches for 180 miles along the Gwynedd coastline, with a wonderful diversity of flora, fauna and scenery. Explore small hidden coves, sweeping sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and romantic heathlands, looking out for marine life as you go – dolphins, porpoises and seals are common sightings here. There are plenty of different walking routes to choose from too, from half-day family-friendly hikes to more challenging full-day adventures. The 11-mile Llwyngrwil to Aberdyfi stretch offers a good middle-ground distance and difficulty level, taking in farmland, coasts and quaint villages with cosy pubs to stop at. Or you can take your pick from more of the Snowdonia coast path walks.


Admire the Italian-inspired architecture at Portmeirion

The quirky colourful Italian Riviera inspired village

Portmeirion is a quirky and colourful Italian Riviera-inspired village on the edge of the National Park, designed as a visitor destination by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century. It’s a slightly surreal place in the context of Wales – but is well worth a visit for its whimsical details and picturesque architecture. Wander the Mediterranean-style streets, sip espresso in the plazas, explore the ornamental sub-tropical gardens and admire the fountains, sculptures and giant chess set. There are several cafés and restaurants to stop for an Italian lunch too – Caffi Glas is a good choice, serving pizza, pasta and salad overlooking the Central Piazza.  


Learn about sustainable living at the Centre For Alternative Technology

Centre for Alternative Technology nestled within the mountains and forest of Snowdonia

Nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia the Centre For Alternative Technology is a world-renowned eco-centre dedicated to researching and supporting greener ways of living, so it’s a wonderful place for people of all ages to learn about how we can lessen our impact on the environment. There are seven acres of hands-on displays and practical examples of sustainability, renewable energy and organic gardening to explore. The journey to get here is exciting too – you’ll travel up the centre’s remarkable 180ft cliff railway powered entirely by water-balancing. After your visit, make sure you allow time for a walk around the site through the peaceful woodlands and gardens. And when hunger strikes head to the outdoor Vegetarian Café for a wholesome lunch.


Cycle the Ffordd Brailsford Way

Stopping beside a lake in Snowdonia whilst cycling

There are lots of great options for two-wheeled adventures in Snowdonia, whether you’re a novice, an avid cyclist or a keen mountain biker. The Fford Brailsford Way offers two smooth and well-signposted routes so it’s a great choice for all abilities, with 50-mile and 75-mile-long stretches that have both been used during the Tour De France in 2014 and 2015. The routes pay tribute to Sir David Brailsford, one of the most prominent figures in British cycling who grew up in Wales and says ‘There’s no better cycling, or a more stunning part of the world than Snowdonia’. Experience it for yourself as you cycle through World Heritage sites, past 13th-century castles and, of course, breathtaking mountain scenery. 


Take a distillery tour at Aber Falls

Exterior of distillery in Wales

Aber Falls Whisky Distillery is one of only four in Wales, located near Rhaeadr Fawr, the famous Aber Falls waterfall. Their whisky is crafted using Welsh ingredients from the surrounding areas – and they’ve been perfecting their techniques since their beginnings in the early 1900s. The site was previously a slate works in the 19th century and a margarine factory during the world wars before it was lovingly restored and refurbished, creating the perfect place to distil their award-winning spirits. You can learn all about Aber Falls’ skills, passion and craftsmanship, and sample the goods on their Distillery Tour & Experience. Or stop by the Visitor Centre and Café for the likes of an ‘Aber Whisky BBQ Beef Burger’ or ‘Aber Whisky BBQ  Jackfruit Bao Buns’.


Have a white water adventure in Bala

A group of people white water rafting in Wales

The National White Water Centre in Bala has been taking intrepid water adventurers down the River Tryweryn in the heart of Snowdonia for 40 years. The high-flowing water here creates natural rapids, perfect for exhilarating white water rafting and canyoning. Choose from the ‘Ultimate Rafting’ experience, the hour-long ‘Rapid Session’ or the ‘Rafting Safari’ to explore the lower river. Or if you’d rather be immersed in the rapids than on a raft, join the instructors on the ‘Canyoning Adventure’ where you’ll climb, scramble and slide your way down the steep mountain river and pools. The on-site Manon’s Riverside Café is the perfect place to warm up with a hot chocolate afterwards or enjoy the view of the rapids if you’d rather sit back and watch from dry land. 


See tradition in action Trefriw Woollen Mills

 Exterior of traditional woollen mill nestled within the mountains in Wales

Trefriw Woollen Mills is a family-run business that was established in 1859. From their mill in the north of Snowdonia, they use traditional weaving, spinning and dying processes to create beautiful tapestry bed covers, tweed fabrics, rugs, throws, cushion covers, knitwear, bags, hats and more. On a visit to the Mill, you can see the full production methods and traditional machines in action, including their 1940s water-powered turbine and impressive looms in the weaving shed; plus you can visit the garden to see the plants that are used for the natural dyes and fibres. Make sure to pop into the gift shop to pick up a gorgeous piece of traditional Welsh craftsmanship for your home or wardrobe. 


Drive the Llanberis Pass

Scenic road winding through the mountains of Snowdonia

To see the magical rugged beauty of Snowdonia by car, there’s arguably no better road than the Llanberis Pass. This driving route is popular for its incredible scenic surroundings, travelling through boulder-strewn valleys and sections with towering cliffs on both sides. Make your way up the steep road to the 359-metre summit of Pen-y-Pass where the scenery opens up, with glorious views to the summit of Snowdon. If you’re looking for somewhere for a drink or a bite to eat, stop off at the traditional coaching inn at Pen-Y-Gwyrd Hotel. Guests have long been swapping stories of their expeditions here – the ceiling is even signed by Everest’s first mountaineers, Hillary and Tenzing, who used the Pen-Y-Gwyrd as their training base. 


Where to stay

Cabin nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia

If you’re looking for a place to stay for your Snowdonia adventures, take a look at our gorgeous collection of hideaways in the surrounding counties of Ceredigion, Powys and Conwy, from handcrafted shepherd's huts to luxury eco-cabins. Cwt Elsi and Cwt Mari are nestled in the foothills of Snowdonia and offer the luxury of a bubbling hot tub to unwind in after the day's adventures. 


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