Ogwen Valley Travel Guide
Ogwen Valley, or Dyffryn Ogwen in Welsh, is a stunning part of the Snowdonia National Park in north Wales. This wide glacial valley is surrounded by soaring mountains, and features placid lakes as well as historic towns and industrial heritage. It’s also the perfect gateway to Snowdonia’s best mountain hikes, and puts you on the doorstep of some of north Wales’ best attractions.
Header image credit: Masa Sakono
Why Visit Ogwen Valley?
Ogwen Valley is a beautiful part of the Snowdonia National Park, offering breathtaking scenery and stunning hiking trails to suit all levels of experience. The north end of the valley opens out at the village of Bethesda, with the Menai Straits and the Isle of Anglesey beyond. The southern end of the valley rises up through a cascade of waterfalls to Llyn Ogwen and the breathtaking Cwm Idwal.
Walking through this landscape rewards you with breathtaking views of the Snowdonia National Park, as well as the whole of north Wales and beyond from some of its highest points. There are gentle hikes as well as more serious climbs, so you can admire this beautiful landscape no matter what your experience level.
For thrill seekers, there’s also the fastest zip line in the world, and the longest in Europe, located in the Penrhyn Slate Quarry near Bethesda.
Image credit: Martin VMorris
The historic A5 London to Holyhead road runs through the valley, connecting to the A55 expressway on the north coast, which takes you to England and links to the M6 north-south corridor.
Travelling south on the A5 takes you to Betws-y-Coed and into England and the south via Shrewsbury.
Travelling by car from our ferry port in Newcastle takes around 4 hours, while from Dover it takes around 5 ½ hours.
What to See in Ogwen Valley
One of the most beautiful walks in Snowdonia takes you up through Cwm Idwal, a perfect example of a landscape carved by ancient glaciers. From the visitors’ area at the end of Llyn Ogwen, you can ascend through a variety of tracks to upland lakes and tumbling waterfalls to the highest point of Glyder Fawr, where you’re rewarded with breathtaking views of north Wales, and the peak of Snowdon itself.
If you fancy more of a challenge and are seasoned mountain climber, you could tackle the jagged ridge of Tryfan, or the long but stunning track to Carnedd Llewelyn, the second highest peak in Wales.
For more thrills you can visit Zip World near Bethesda, home of the longest zip line in Europe. Set up in the old Penrhyn slate quarry – once the largest in the world – Zip World offers the perfect attraction for adrenaline-seeking holidaymakers. Even if you don’t fancy flying through the air at over 100mph, you can still enjoy a tour of the historic quarry, and admire the stunning views.
Ogwen Valley is close to some other great destinations in north Wales, including Menai Bridge, home to one of the world’s oldest and most beautiful suspension bridges, built by Thomas Telford in 1826 as part of his London to Holyhead route. Nearby you can also see the Britannia Bridge, originally designed as a rail bridge by Robert Stephenson and opened in 1850. Just across this bridge is the famous village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, the longest place name in Europe, and, coincidentally, home to the longest railway station sign.
WE'RE AWARD WINNING
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.