This post is not sponsored and all tips describe our own experiences.
It has happened to us all. We have been craving for adventure and everywhere seems too far!
Well I have just the place for you!
Tucked away in North Wales, Snowdonia is a Natural Park and a wonderful place to visit for an adventurous weekend or holidays. We recently spent an amazing weekend there and thought we would share our experience.
Ok, before you reach the juicy part of this post, make sure you do not miss the most incredible restaurant in Snowdonia! Caffi gwynant, just at edge of the Watkin Path trail head is a not to miss gem. The setting and the fresh delicious food and coffee are a great option for an energising meal after a strenuous walk and you can excuse yourself for not being able to resist their fresh cakes!
How to Get There
By Road: The largest English city closer to Snowdonia is Liverpool and a smaller one Chester. If you are travelling from the South or London, your driving will be something like on this map. The roads are mostly in good condition and the bigger risk is the traffic on the main highways.
By train: You can get from many cities in England to either Chester or Bangor in North Wales. At this moment, Virgin Trains has daily trains from Euston Station in London to both cities. It takes roughly 3½ hours by train to Bangor. From there you can take buses to Llanberis and other places within the Snowdonia National Park and a day ticket costs £5.
What to do?
Well, most activities go around... Snowdonia National Park and the fantastic mountains, views, wildlife and the hikes which please every age and every level of expertise.
We took our electric BMW i3 for a trial and therefore this time we stayed for the weekend. There is plenty to do but we focused on the Snowdon summit.
1. Snowdon Summit
It is the crown jewel of any trip to Snowdonia and is a long time favourite for adventurers, challenge takers and families. Snowdon is 1085 metres (3560 ft) and it is the highest peak in Wales and one of the Highest in the UK. Some people do this peak several times a year and others do it as a personal challenge, sometimes raising money for charity as they do it. If you ever think about doing one of these fundraising trips, make sure to check Discover Adventure. I have worked as a medic for them in the past and they run a very exciting night climb to the summit.
There are multiple ways of accessing the summit. The easiest and most accessible one, especially for people with mobility difficulties or significant health problems is the Snowdon Railway. You can either take a diesel train or you can go for the vintage Heritage steam train. You can choose on either return tickets or you can choose to climb by train and then walk back or vice versa. The return ticket for an adult is £29 on the diesel train and £37 on the steam train.
As you go along you will have the chance to appreciate the gorgeous views of Snowdon. I would probably recommend you try a right-side window seat as you go up to really appreciate the views.
This is no doubt the most adventurous way of enjoying the mountains in this region. There are multiple paths and treks that end up at the summit and you can choose depending on your mood and experience.
This is no doubt one of the most used paths to ascend the summit. It is one of the most well marked, with a better path and all in all it is the one which is the least steep. Don't take me wrong. This is no walk in the park, literally. In total it is 14 km (just under 9 miles) with a total ascent of 955 metres which means you go from almost sea level to the top.
Depending on your level of fitness, the return trip will take you anything from 5 to 9 hours. As you go along you will follow the train tracks for most of the path which gives you a lot of reassurance.
I would advice you try to leave early, just after sunrise, and avoid the crowds later in the day.
Weather permitting, the views are stunning. You can take your time, breathing the mountain air and enjoying the peaceful and dramatic scenery.
I always take a map with me and most times I take a digital map which I access via an app. I really like Gaia GPS, make sure to check it out.
Please be aware that this is mountainous territory and any trip to the summit or the hills needs advance preparation and safety measures.
Make sure that you check the weather conditions at the summit! This is vital when planning your hike and also what to take with you. Most people who get into trouble is because they didn't take appropriate clothes, food or water for the conditions they will face. There is a café at the summit but be aware, it is not always open, so better not to count on it. Oh, and bring insect repelent. At least in Spring and Summer, midges, an insect very common in the UK, are a tiny little annoyance that likes to feed on you, repeatedly!
There are other main paths to the summit. Another favourite is the Pyg Track, which is shortest but far from easy as it is quite steep and a few accidents happen every year. The most challenging path would be the Watkin Path which terminates in a very tricky scree portion where many accidents happen.
But because I cannot fully describe the beauty of the place and want go give you just a taster, check out the photos we took on our ascent through the Llanberis path.
Yes, I know, it is unpronounceable for most people! And yes, it is not nature! But make sure you spend a few hours in this little cosy mountain village. There is a train station and many restaurants but essentially it is cute and cosy. During winter, it is a great place for a warm coffee.
Where to stay
There are plenty of alternatives on where to stay in Snowdonia. Depending on whether you travel in Summer or Winter, you might want to either stay at a bed and breakfast or camping. I would probably recommend Betws-y-Coed if staying at a B&B.
If going in Summer and you have the equipment you should really look into camping! During this weekend we camped and we could not have loved it more.
The views from the camping site were amazing and we loved staying in the wild. There are plenty of cheap options but we stayed at the Tyn yr One Farm, 7 miles from Llanberis and we did not regret. Just don't forget that even during Summer it can get pretty chilly so be sure to bring nice warm sleeping bag.
Ahh, just writing about this great weekend reminds me of the fantastic feeling we felt when we got home that Sunday. Despite being away for only 2 days, it actually felt we had been on holiday for more than a week and we could face the upcoming Monday with a much bigger smile on our face! So if you're ever in need of a break, why not try our tips? Enjoy! And if you have questions or tips of your own, comment below!