Betws-y-Coed and Snowdonia National Park Travel Guide

Betws-y-Coed in north Wales provides visitors with a base for exploring some of the country’s most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes. Situated within the Snowdonia National Park, this village and resort was largely built in Victorian times to take advantage of the beautiful setting and nearby natural wonders. Forests, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and ancient bridges, Betws-y-Coed offers the perfect outdoor holiday destination.

Header image credit: C

Getting There

Though deep in the heart of north Wales, there are good motorway links to the area via the A55, which can be reached from the M6. From our ferry port in Newcastle it’s around 4 hours’ drive to Betws-y-Coed, while from Dover it takes around five hours. Either route gives you the opportunity to take in the countryside of Britain, and explore other destination along the way such as the Yorkshire Dales, the Chiltern Hills, and the north Wales coast.


What to See in Betws-y-Coed

Near the village itself you’ll find Swallow Falls, one of the most picturesque natural sights in north Wales, where the river Llugwy cascades over steep rocks in its deep gulley. Also starting from Betws-y-Coed are the Marin Trail for mountain bikers, and a walk to Llyn Elsi where you can enjoy some spectacular views across the lake and surrounding forest.

Betws-y-Coed is known as the ‘Gateway to Snowdonia’ for good reason, as you can reach some of its best walks and landscapes with ease. You can drive to the lakeside town of Llanberis in just half an hour, from where you can catch the Snowdon Mountain Railway up to the very peak of Snowdon for some breathtaking views – and a nice lunch in the cafe. Or you want the full experience (and you have a good pair of boots), you can take one of the hiking paths to the top, such as the popular Pyg Track which starts from Pen-y-Pass.

Back in Llanberis you also have the Dinorwig Power Station, more popularly known as the Electric Mountain. One of the most innovative power stations in the world, this hydro-electric generator fills Europe’s largest man-made cavern deep within the mountain of Elidir, and is used to provide extra power to the UK grid during peak times. You’ll find the visitor centre in the town, from where you can take a tour of this amazing facility.

North Wales is famous for its slate industry, and a visit to Blaenau Ffestiniog is a must. Just 20 minutes’ drive from Betws-y-Coed, the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is surrounded by mountain both natural and man-made, with huge heaps of discarded slate from the vast quarries. You can visit the Llechwedd Slate Caverns to see the history of slate quarrying in the town, including a reconstructed miners’ village and a funicular railway. The quarries are also home to a breathtaking zip line ride, and underground slate caverns filled with trampolines! There’s also the world-famous Ffestiniog Railway, which can take you from the town through beautiful scenery to the coast at Porthmadog.

Heading north from Betws-y-Coed, you can reach historic Conwy in just half an hour’s drive, as well as the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno. Conwy sits within medieval walls, with its castle looming over the town, offering quant streets and varied shops, as well as a 13th century house and a complete Elizabethan mansion. Llandudno gives you the classic seaside experience, with a sweeping promenade all along the wide bay, as well as a Victorian pier and a tram system taking visitors up to the peak of the Great Orme.

Image credit: v1ctory_1s_m1ne​


Why Visit Betws-y-Coed?

Betws-y-Coed offers the perfect holiday for any fans of the outdoors, whether that’s climbing rugged mountains, exploring wooded valleys, or just admiring the landscape on a gentle ramble. 

The area was once a draw for Victorian artists looking for inspiration in its unique natural beauty, and has attracted people ever since.

As well as beautiful scenery right on your doorstep, Betws-y-Coed offers easy access to other parts of Snowdonia and all it has to offer. 

Snowdon itself is the highest peak in England and Wales, though still modest by the standards of mountain ranges like the Alps, but this is because Snowdon and its neighbouring peaks are extremely ancient.

Betws-y-Coed itself features many different hotels and B&Bs, as well as cafes, restaurants, and outdoor equipment shops, so your every need is catered for.


It’s always a proud moment when you’re recognised for your good work, we’re honoured to have been named as Europe's and the World’s Leading Ferry Operator in the 2015 World Travel Awards. We've won these awards for 5 years running.​​