Architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis drew up his vision for the perfect coastal village between 1925 and 1976. Lucky for us, his vision came to life in the form of colourful Portmeirion. There, Italianate architecture juts from lush exotic woodland, offering miles of beautiful walking territory, meandering estuaries and romantic cliff-top sights.
Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli)
There's so much charm on this trust-owned island. On Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli), there are the ruins of 6th century monasteries, the tallest lighthouse in the UK and amazing natural habitats, but only a tiny population. Rocks and rugged scenery are its calling cards, not to mention dolphins, seals and neolithic circles. In 2023 the island became the first site in Europe to be awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary certification. It joins 16 other sites worldwide recognised as the most remote and dark places on earth.
Even by the standards of the surrounding Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park, Ogwen is pretty special. Take the Llyn Ogwen circular walk around some of the most dramatic natural geological beauty anywhere in the world and see your reflection in the glaciations of the Nant Ffrancon valley, created by ice thousands of years ago.
Folk music is embedded in the history of Wales. The grand 19th century Tŷ Siamas building in Dolgellau has been a grain store and disco venue in its time, houses performances and exhibitions that bring the story to life. Enjoy a guided tour before sampling some traditional local delicacies.
Zip World Llechwedd
Opened during the 1970s, Zip World Llechwedd is an homage to slate history. It's won just about every award going, and you can find out why by descending 500 feet underground inside the steepest mining cable railway in Europe. Imagine what life would have been like without electricity during a tour of the craggy, torchlit tunnels.
Alternatively, release some energy at the on-site underground trampoline park, Zip World Bounce Below. Or, for an aerial experience like no other, head for Zip World Titan – Europe's largest zip-lining zone. There, you can zipline on parallel lines over three different zip wires!
Trefriw Woollen Mills
Watch hand-spinning craftspeople and towering hydro-electro turbines in majestic action at Trefriw Woollen Mills, one of the last mills that's still in operation in Wales. The history of this place stretches back 150 years. Make the most of the beautiful work going on there by picking up some natty knitwork.
Centre for Alternative Technology
Get inspired at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), a futuristic shrine to sustainability. It features interactive displays, the latest innovations in energy generation and insights into organic growing. An eco-house, a railway, electric vehicles and organic gardens are among the highlights. Anyone needing persuasion to go green will be enchanted by this place.
Snowdon Mountain Railway
If you don't fancy mountain walking, you might think you've got no chance of seeing Eryri's (Snowdon’s) summit up close. Well, think again. Originally conceived during the 19th century (when a donkey ride was one of the options for visitors wishing to scale the awesome mountain), the Snowdon Mountain Railway lets you climb aboard and head to the summit. It's an unforgettably scenic journey, and you'll barely break a sweat.
The Menai Strait Rib Ride
Get closer to the spectacular Menai Strait on a state-of-the-art Rib Ride boat tour, zipping along the coast at up to 50 miles per hour. A journey to the largest breakwater in Britain, a whizz past statues of Lord Nelson and a blast under the Menai suspension bridge are among the exhilarating range of trips.
Exploring the outdoors is fantastic fun, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
- Find safety advice for exploring Wales' National Parks and safety tips for staying safe on the Welsh coast.
- Visit AdventureSmart.uk for information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.