The Llanberis Path, Snowdonia, Gwynedd, Wales

Things to do in Snowdonia

Snowdonia, a national park since 1951, is a place of spectacular, lush scenery hallmarked largely by mighty mountains, forested hills, fast-flowing rivers and shimmering lakes. It’s one of the UK’s most popular places for outdoor activities, from exhilarating white water rafting experiences to gentle walks beside waterfalls. Read on to discover our top 10 things to do in Snowdonia.

When you’re ready to book the perfect place to stay, choose from our handpicked collection of Snowdonia luxury cottages.

A picture of Mount Snowdon on a foggy day

Reach the summit of Mount Snowdon

At 1,085 metres tall, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) is the largest mountain in Wales and reaching the summit is a wonderful feeling.

If you’re lucky enough to have the sun shining at the top you’re in for a real treat, as the panoramic views are beautiful and take in sparkling lakes, including Llyn Llydaw which is steeped in Arthurian legends.

Take your binoculars, as on a clear day it’s also possible to see as far as the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland.

The easiest way to conquer the peak is to book a seat on the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a nostalgic and scenic trip up onboard Victorian-era carriages.

If you want the challenge of climbing up though, there are six main routes and if you’d prefer to be shown the way, you can pre-book a guide to lead you.

water sports

Learn to surf at Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Adventure Parc Snowdonia in Dolgarrog is a great place for a host of energetic activities, including inland surfing.

It’s home to the world’s first artificial surfing lagoon, Surf Snowdonia, where perfect waves are guaranteed to roll every 90 seconds. Catering for anyone over the age of 5 years old and for all abilities, if you’ve never surfed before, it doesn’t matter. 

Beginners should book a lesson with one of the friendly, expert tutors and there are lessons for intermediate level surfers too.

Sessions can be booked to practice your new skills in the beginner or intermediate zones, while for fully-fledged surfers there’s an advanced zone. Set against a backdrop of mountains and forest, Surf Snowdonia is a unique place to learn to surf.

Woman riding on a zip line

Whizz through the forest canopy

Nestled in a stunning woodland setting in the Conwy Valley, not far from the popular village of Betws-y-Coed, is Zip World Fforest where a host of treetop adventures await.

Zip Safari 2 is an impressive zip-wiring course that covers 565 metres and has 21 zip lines, as well as rope bridges and balance boards, with some sections reaching 60 feet high.

It can take up to 3 hours to complete and is an ideal activity for family bonding, with kids aged 9 years and over permitted to take part. 

Zip World Fforest offers other adventures including a Tree Hoppers course for children over 5 years old and the Fforest Coaster ride.

However, if you’re pretty fearless there’s Skyride 2 which is Europe’s highest giant swing that seats five people and Plummet 2 where brave participants stand on a trapdoor before freefalling 100 feet – neither is for the faint-hearted!

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Have fun at Bounce Below

Thrill-seekers will love Bounce Below at Zip World Slate Caverns, near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

It’s the first facility of its type in the world and comprises six trampoline-style nets which are built into a disused slate mine that’s twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral and set 100 feet below the ground.

The walls of the caves are lit up with multi-coloured lights which makes the space even more dramatic. It’s fun for kids (who must be at least 7 years old) and adults alike and one session gives you an hour of freedom to jump, bounce and slide your way around the course together.

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Visit Bala Lake

Bala Lake is Wales’ largest natural lake and is surrounded by a wild area of mountains, valleys, forests, lakes, rivers and waterfalls.

If you’re looking for a gentle way to enjoy the great outdoors here, head to the historic market town of Bala where you will discover a strong sense of Welsh identity and culture.

Take a look around before you start a walk along one of the heritage trails beside the lake, or take a scenic train ride around the lake on the narrow-gauge Bala Lake Railway.

For something more energetic, the Penllyn mountain range offers hundreds of miles of footpaths and bridleways to help you get off-the-beaten-track. Or, there are plenty of opportunities for sailing, canoeing, kayaking and trout fishing.

Rafting En Haute Définition

Try white water rafting

Experience the adrenaline rush of paddling down the upper River Tryweryn and riding the fast-flowing rapids on a rafting experience with The National White Water Centre, just outside of Bala.

If you’re a total novice or a little bit apprehensive, a taster session is the best idea. You’ll receive an introduction to white water rafting from an experienced guide, before having a go on two action-packed runs down the river.

Meanwhile, intrepid adventure-seekers will like the 2-hour rafting session which gives you longer on the water and the opportunity for four exciting runs. 

These rafting experiences are suitable for over 12s only, but if you’ve got children aged 10 or 11 in tow, there’s a family-friendly rafting safari. This is just as much fun and takes place on the lower River Tryweryn where there are a host of rapids, boulder gardens and surf waves to make your way through. 

Mountain Biker Riding Cycling In Autumn Forest

Cycle through Coed y Brenin Forest Park

Coed y Brenin is a purpose-built mountain biking centre and is highly-regarded by mountain-bike enthusiasts across the UK.

Eight mountain bike trails start from the visitor centre, with one to suit everyone from families and beginners, to riders looking for harder routes with technical challenges. If you want to improve your riding techniques there’s even a skills area where you can do just that. 

Trails are graded for difficulty so you can choose which one to tackle and are waymarked from start to finish so that you don’t get lost.

Each also incorporates plenty of picturesque forest scenery, with some trails running beside spectacular natural features such as the beautiful waterfalls on the River Gain and Mawddach.

Pont-y-Pair Bridge In Betws Y Coed

Betws-y-Coed and Swallow Falls

Betws-y-Coed is one of the gateway villages to Snowdonia National Park and is a great place for a delightful stroll along the River Conwy, a look around the village shops and watching the world go by in one of the cafes whilst enjoying a Welsh cake.

Betws-y-Coed is blessed with views of beautiful scenery all around, including Gwydir Forest, where one of the star attractions is the mighty Swallow Falls waterfall.

View it from above the river, by taking the steps down to a viewing platform, or (our favourite) by taking the walk from the village, all of which reward you with spectacular views.

a small train carriage in the mountains in Llanberis

Discover Snowdonia’s slate heritage

Head to the pretty village of Llanberis, near the foot of Mount Snowdon, to discover some of Snowdonia‘s most interesting industrial sites.

Begin with a scenic ride on the Llanberis Lake Railway which uses locomotives that once towed slate wagons around the local quarry and follows part of the 1845 slate railway line. 

Then, visit the National Slate Museum on the site of the Dinorwig Quarry that closed in 1969 to learn more about the Welsh slate industry. The former workshops are designed as though quarrymen and engineers have downed tools and retired for the day, while several interesting talks and displays include a demonstration on the art of slate-splitting.

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Hit the beach at Harlech

Harlech is a charming coastal town at the southern edge of Snowdonia National Park and is a popular resort.

The golden sands of its beautiful beach extend for about 4 miles and behind it are sand dunes which are a haven for wildlife. It’s a beautiful place for relaxing with a picnic, paddling, or a brisk coastal walk, with stunning views over the bay and of the Snowdonia mountain range. 

You might even see the wreck of an American fighter plane that crashed in the sea here during WWII. It’s hidden about 2 metres below the sea bed, but when the conditions are right it pokes out above the water.

Whilst in Harlech you should also visit Harlech Castle, which was built as a stronghold on the order of Edward I and finished in 1289 – it’s a fascinating vantage point too.

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