Home to the highest mountain in Wales and England, summiting Mount Snowdon usually ranks at the top of things to do in Snowdonia National Park.
However, the largest national park in Wales doesn’t stop there.
Snowdonia National Park stakes its claim as the UK’s adventure capital with a roster of activities for gutsy explorers. Meanwhile, rural villages and family-friendly Snowdonia tourist attractions ensure that milder tastes are catered to.
This guide to the top 12 things to do in Snowdonia will help you figure out how to spend your time in the park.
Best time to visit Snowdonia National Park
The best time to visit Snowdonia National Park is between late May and the end of October. This is when the weather is the warmest and driest with optimum hiking and biking conditions.
January and February are the coldest months. Snowfall makes Mount Snowdon accessible only with the help of crampons and an ice axe. Besides, many Snowdonia attractions close during winter.
How to get to Snowdonia National Park
There are three major rail stations located within the park limits: Barmouth, Porthmadog, and Betws-y-Coed. Aberystwyth, Bangor, and Conwy are the largest cities nearby so you can expect to transit through one of these.
At a push, you could visit Snowdonia on a day trip from Anglesey. Although, spending a night or two nearby is highly recommended.
Driving is a popular way to get to Snowdonia, with the A5 connecting to the A470 and A494.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL), Birmingham International (BHX), and Cardiff Airport (CWL) are the closest international airports. Check flight prices and book on Kiwi here.
How to get around Snowdonia National Park
Naturally, getting around Snowdonia in your own vehicle will afford you the most flexibility.
However, parking is extremely limited during the peak months and the national park is eager to encourage sustainable travel.
The Snowdon Sherpa links the major Snowdonia tourist attractions and villages, including hiking trailheads. This allows you to park for the duration of your stay in one place without worry and still easily explore most areas of the park.
Where to stay in Snowdonia National Park
In between ticking off places to see in Snowdonia, you’ll need your shut-eye.
Fortunately, the towns and villages in the national park offer a range of accommodations and campgrounds for all budgets and travel styles.
YHA hostels are always a reliable choice in the UK. YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass (Llanberis) occupies a rural setting and offers private rooms and dorms.
On the other hand, the nearby Aberdunant Hall Country Hotel is a splurge with spa baths in select rooms as well as suites if you prefer additional space.
Plas-Yn-Dre (Bala) provides pet-friendly rooms in a snug inn. Breakfast is included in the rate and the dinner menu is equally superb.
Woodpecker 3 Bedroom Trawsfynydd Holiday Village (Trawsfynydd) will suit larger groups or families seeking a rustic, log cabin in the woods experience!
12 Best Things to do in Snowdonia National Park
Without further ado, here are the top 12 things to do in Snowdonia.
This selection of Snowdonia tourist attractions accommodates all tastes – with a blend of hiking, adrenaline, and history. All with the glorious backdrop of one of the best places to visit in Wales.
1. Mount Snowdon
Let’s start big with the star attraction in the park. Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), the tallest mountain in Wales and England, stands at 1,085 metres (3,560 feet). Hiking to the summit of the lofty peak is one of the most popular things to do in Snowdonia.
Access is possible via six trails. In a nutshell, those are:
- The Llanberis Path (9 miles/14.5 km) is the longest route but offers easier conditions via a gradual climb.
- The Miners’ Track (8 miles/13 km) starts off comfortably until you reach Llyn Llydaw from where you have a steep hike.
- The Pyg Track (7 miles/11 km) starts at Pen y Pass with the Miners’ Track but is far steeper from the start. You can take one trail up and return with the other.
- The Rhyd Ddu Path (8.5 miles/12 km) demands a head for heights and steady feet as the final section traverses a narrow ridge.
- The Watkin Path (8 miles/13 km) links Nant Gwynant to the summit and passes old copper mines along the way.
- Snowdon Ranger Path (8 miles/13 km) meanders up the side of Yr Wyddfa and produces pleasing views over the nearby lakes.
Whichever route you take, you need to prepare and dress with consideration and follow advice published on the Snowdonia National Park website. Do also download the Snowdon Walks app before you go.
2. Snowdon Mountain Railway
An alternative way to check out the views from Snowdon is by riding the Snowdon Mountain Railway. In fact, this is one of the top-rated Snowdonia tourist attractions.
This traditional locomotive departs Llanberis Station and takes you as far as either Clogwyn (the three-quarter marker, 3,560 feet above sea level) or the summit.
Conditions and seasons impact the final destination and it is subject to change. Once onboard, the carriage chugs its way along a volcanic ridge with sheer drop-offs.
The journey also passes by the Ceunant Mawr waterfall, an abandoned farm, and the ominous Rocky Valley.
You must book tickets in advance via the Snowdon Mountain Railway. These cover return transport and a 30-minute stop-over at Clogwyn.
3. Llanberis Pass Scenic Drive
If you run into a spot of bad weather or simply aren’t wild about hiking, you can still have an incredible time in Snowdonia.
Driving these gorgeous roads is one of the best things to do in Snowdonia National Park even if it rains.
Carrying the A4086 from Llanberis to Pen-y-Pass, the Llanberis Pass is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives.
On either side, you’ll spot the Glyderau ranges and the Snowdon massif. It’s 5 miles (8 km) of pure, unblemished nature.
You can self-drive along the pass or hop aboard the Snowdon Sherpa.
In fact, if you want to hike in this area the bus is advised. Car parking space is limited at the trailheads and the road is too narrow to pull over at the side.
4. Ogwen Valley
Widely considered one of the most beautiful places to see in Snowdonia, the Ogwen Valley (Dyffryn Ogwen) is the setting for some of the most dramatic scenery.
The valley is studded with lakes and grants views of the craggy Tryfan and the Glyderau mountains. Lake Ogwen (Llyn Ogwen) is believed to mark the spot where Excalibur, the sword of King Arthur, was thrown.
There are several hiking trails available in the Ogwen Valley, including the scramble up Tryfan.
But, the Llyn Ogwen Circular Walk is a relatively easy 2-hour loop popular with novice hikers and children as well as seasoned mountaineers.
If you aren’t planning to hike, you can stop at the National Trust visitor’s centre for photos.
5. Coed y Brenin Forest Park
Alongside hiking, mountain biking is one of the top things to do in Snowdonia National Park.
Coed y Brenin Forest Park is one of the best places to bike in Snowdonia.
The park is divided into designated trails for biking, hiking, and running with varying levels of difficulty. But, as the UK’s first purpose-built mountain biking centre, it’s the two-wheelers that steal the limelight here.
Trails crisscross through the woodlands and take you to rivers, waterfalls, viewpoints, and heritage sites. All are maintained with care and staff are on hand to share wisdom on where to bike.
You are welcome to bring your own mountain bike or rent one at the visitor centre.
6. Waterfalls of Snowdonia National Park
Chasing waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Snowdonia. As well as misty mountains and ethereal lakes, the park has a generous supply of falls. Here is a small selection to add to your radar.
Ceunant Mawr Waterfall (Llanberis Falls) is located in a verdant gorge outside Llanberis.
It’s a short and easy walk of 15 minutes each way. However, you will need to walk there from the town or take the Snowdon Sherpa as parking is unavailable.
Situated close to Abergwyngregyn in the foothills of the Carneddau Mountains, Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr) is accessible via a short and pleasant walk. Continue onwards and you’ll find its smaller neighbour – Rhaeadr Bach.
Conwy Falls is nicknamed the Fairy Glen. After walking through the dense woodlands, you’ll definitely feel like magical creatures may well reside in this part of the park!
7. Zip World Llechwedd
Flying the flag for the park’s reputation as the epicentre for adventure, Zip World Llechwedd is the setting of the world’s fastest zip wire.
The most thrilling of all Snowdonia attractions is located in Penrhyn Quarry.
Registering a length of 0.9 miles (1.5 km), Velocity 2 reaches speeds of over 100 mph as it soars over the lake and valley. Four parallel zip lines mean that you can share the flight with friends.
Additional activities at Zip World Llechwedd include mine tours, caving, climbing, and subterranean golf. Advance booking is recommended – especially if you travel in the peak summer months.
8. Snowdonia’s Towns and Villages
Hiking, zip-wiring, driving, and cooing over mountains is hungry (and thirsty) work. Pottering around the region’s towns and villages is one of the essential Snowdonia National Park things to do.
Convenient for Snowdon and the public bus, Llanberis (see the location on Google) is the typical pick for where to stay in Snowdonia.
But even if you stay elsewhere, the village is worth a visit. Many Snowdonia attractions mentioned in this guide are located in Llanberis. You can also hike to the ruined Dolbadarn Castle and stock up on life’s essentials at the Snowdon Honey Farm & Winery.
Bala (see the location on Google) rests on the shore of Llyn Tegid; the largest lake in Wales and a hub for watersports. Bala Adventure and Watersports Centre rents boats and offers such activities as sailing, windsurfing, gorge walking, and whitewater rafting.
Dolgellau (see the location on Google) is a charming town on the riverbanks of Afon Mawddach with excellent food and drink spots.
Swing by the Gwin Dylanwad Wine Shop for a post-hike tipple or grab a bottle to take back to your accommodation.
One of the most peculiar places to see in Snowdonia is the seaside town of Portmeirion.
Constructed between 1925 and 1975 by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion was conceived as the “perfect” seaside town.
It was inspired by the beach towns of Italy – complete with pastel-hued buildings, ornate colonnades, and meticulously landscaped gardens.
Italianate cafes feature al fresco dining and yes, gelato stores do exist! At the heart of town, you will find a giant chess board.
An admission charge applies to walking in the tourist village and you can book tickets via the Portmeirion website. However, this is waived if you book a hotel in town.
10. National Slate Museum
Snowdonia National Park is littered with interesting museums that shed light on the industrial and social history of the region.
The National Slate Museum is located in the former Victorian quarry, Dinorwig, in the shadow of Elidir mountain. Staff are on-hand in the workshops to demonstrate slate splitting and how the machinery works.
Meanwhile, scheduled talks dive deeper into this important patch of Welsh history with emphasis placed on the community aspect.
Tickets are available at the museum site; pre-booking is not required.
11. Adventure Parc Snowdonia
Now, one of the most surprising things to do in Snowdonia National Park. Surfing!
Adventure Parc Snowdonia contains a surf lagoon where you’ll find the only guaranteed surf breaks in the UK.
Lessons are available for absolute beginners through to pros looking to learn a new move. If you have plans to visit Cornwall, this is a great place to get up to speed.
Based in the stunning Conwy Valley, Adventure Parc Snowdonia also offers such activities as “Ninja Assault”, stand-up paddleboarding, aqua park access, indoor caving, and cave walks.
12. Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway
If you like the sound of the Snowdon Mountain Railway, then here is one more train activity in the national park to wrap up this list.
Stretching for 40 miles (64 km) through the “slate landscape”, the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway is the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway.
The route climbs high into the mountains through forests and past lakes and waterfalls. At one point, the track spirals up a steep section of the mountain.
The steam train ride is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Snowdonia National Park.
It’s usually possible to purchase tickets on the day. But, if you visit during the peak months of July and August or the British school holidays, you are advised to purchase them online in advance.