Rugged mountains, glacier-carved valleys and shimmering lakes make Snowdonia one of the most scenic places in Wales. A car is the best way to explore this amazing corner of the country and tick off iconic sights and attractions, as well as discover hidden gems. To get you inspired, we’ve put together a guide covering everything you need to know about planning the ultimate Snowdonia road trip.
When to plan a Snowdonia road trip
Long days and warm weather make summer a great time to plan a Snowdonia road trip. If you want to beat the crowds but still maximise your chances of beautiful weather, consider planning a trip in shoulder season – late spring or early autumn. With a good set of winter tyres, a winter Snowdonia road trip is absolutely possible. Just be sure to pack warm clothes and waterproof gear!
How long do I need for a Snowdonia road trip?
Despite the larger-than-life landscapes, Snowdonia is relatively small. You could drive around the region in a matter of hours though to really get a feel for Snowdonia we recommend spending at least two to three days exploring the area.
Snowdonia road trip highlights
Here are a few not-to-be-missed attractions and experiences to include in your Snowdonia road trip:
Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park is the crown jewel of North Wales. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa as it’s known by locals, towers over the park and is steeped in myth and legend. According to Welsh folklore the fearsome giant Rhita Gawr is buried on the mountain.
At 1,085 metres, Snowdon is not only the tallest peak in Wales but in the British Isles outside Scotland. Needless to say, the views from the summit are breathtaking. As for how to get there. Allow between five and seven hours to complete the summit hike. If you’d rather not lace up your hiking boots simply ride the ultra-scenic Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit.
Nestled between Snowdon and the Glyderau mountains, Llanberis Pass treats you to some of the most spectacular alpine scenery in Britain. At the highest point you’ll climb more than 350 metres above sea level, with the road often flanked by soaring cliffs and rock walls. Start in the village of Capel Curig and follow the A4086 all the way to the town of Caernarfon. The weather at this altitude can change quickly so stay alert behind the wheel.
Of all the lakes in Snowdonia, the Cregennan group is one of the most beautiful. Follow the gentle loops trails around the shoreline of climb the surrounding peaks for a bird’s eye view over the glassy water. Pack picnic supplies and enjoy lunch by the lake.
Wales is known as the Land of Castles and Conwy showcases just how grand some of the strongholds are. Behind the towering curtain wall and sawtooth battlements is a labyrinth of medieval apartments connected by stone passageways and spiral staircases.
Snowdonia road trip accommodation
You’ll find a huge variety of accommodation options in Snowdonia. There’s something for every budget, from luxury hotels and boutique B&Bs to cosy self-contained cottages and rustic farm stays. Snowdonia also offers a good selection campsites and caravan parks for holidaymakers on a budget or those who simply love to sleep under the stars.
Where to eat
From atmospheric pubs and taverns to upmarket bistros, there are plenty of places to sate your appetite in Snowdonia. Here are a few of our favourite places to refuel on a Snowdonia road trip:
Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tea Rooms
Housed in a 15th-century cottage, the Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearooms never fail to charm. This gem is located in the adorable town of Llanrwst and serves scrumptious Welsh cream teas complete with homemade cakes, artisan preserves and loose-leaf tea.
Book early to reserve a table at Ynyshir, one of several Welsh restaurants to boast two Michelin stars. It’s set on the border of Snowdonia National Park and dazzles patrons with an inspired menu featuring dozens of dishes. If you’re looking for an unforgettable culinary experience to add to your Snowdonia road trip, Ynyshir won’t disappoint.
Ty Gwyn Coaching Inn
Step back in time and enjoy a hearty meal at the Ty Gwyn Coaching Inn. Set on the Conwy River, the inn served delicious food accompanied by incredible views of Snowdonia National Park. The Sunday lunch receives rave reviews from locals!
Your set of wheels
A decent set of wheels can make all the difference when it comes to planning a Snowdonia road trip. At the very least you want a car that’s safe and reliable. Some parts of Snowdonia are remote which means breakdowns can be a major headache.
Roads can often be windy and challenge you with tough terrain like mud, gravel, snow and ice. A safe and reliable car will help overcome these challenges and ensure your Snowdonia road trip goes as smoothly as possible. Before you hit the road be sure to check your tyres and ensure they’re properly inflated and have decent tread. It’s also worth topping up your oil, coolant and other liquids before you hit the road.
A comfortable car isn’t essential, but it can have a huge impact on your Snowdonia road trip experience. Things like a spacious cabin, comfortable seats and climate control will make exploring Snowdonia all the more enjoyable. Technology is also a gamechanger. Modern cars equipped with built-in infotainment systems make punching in directions and playing your favourite tunes a cinch. After all, what’s a Snowdonia road trip without a little Tom Jones, Duffy and Badfinger?
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