Caernarfon: The Grand Tour
Enjoy a tour through the kingdom of Gwynedd by train. You can start and end this circular route at any point, and make use of North Wales’ excellent rail and bus network to explore most of the sites.
Start from Conwy railway station, after visiting the the Tourist Information Centre. Take the number 5 or X5 bus direct from Conwy to Caernarfon; the bus stop is about 100 m from the Tourist Information Centre. From Caernarfon take the Welsh Highland narrow-gauge steam railway to Beddgelert, travelling right through the heart of Snowdonia. After the spectacular climb to Rhyd Ddu at the foot of Snowdon, hop off the train at the village of Beddgelert. Beddgelert offers a selection of quality accommodation should you decide to end your first day with an overnight stop here. From Beddgelert continue on the Welsh Highland Railway and steam down the Aberglaslyn Pass to Porthmadog. There you can change on to the Ffestiniog Railway and head for Blaenau Ffestiniog. This route is the stunning heritage railway that once carried slate from the Ffestiniog quarries down to Porthmadog for export by sea. From Blaenau Ffestiniog take the Conwy Valley mainline railway to Dolwyddelan. Here you can walk or cycle the mile or so to the stunning Dolwyddelan Castle. From here, continue to Betws y Coed. At Betws y Coed you can visit St Michael’s Church before travelling further along the line to Llanrwst. Pause to take in the wonderful St Grwst’s Church, resting place of Llywelyn the Great’s sarcophagus. The train from Llanrwst will return you to Conwy (changing at Llandudno Junction), but there is plenty of scope for stopping off to explore sites en route such as St Mary’s Church in Trefriw).
Y Garn and Elidir Fawr
Y Garn and Elidir Fawr is a 7 mile hike with an ascent of 3,608ft. There's some mild scrambling involved on both mountains and the initial ascent up to the ridge below Y Garn is very steep but this was a great introduction to Welsh mountains. Alow 7 hours to complete this walk.
The Cwm Llafar Horseshoe
The Cwm Llafar horseshoe is a fantastic walk with a bit of everything. Three summits (Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen), a quiet valley, followed by the drama of Ysgolion Duon and the cliffs above Cwmglas Bach and a great scramble on the Crib Lem Ridge above the cliffs of LLech Ddu. This walk is 9 miles long so allocate yourself 7 hours to complete the walk.