Perfect for nature lovers, Wales quickly becoming one of my favourite countries to visit for a long weekend away.
Just a couple of hours away from Manchester, North Wales is full of historical castles, rugged mountains, and beautiful beaches!
With so many towns & villages to explore to suit all interest and abilities, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite places to visit in North Wales so you can plan an adventure of your own.
P.S. There is so much to do in North Wales that this post started as a Top 10 and quickly became a more comprehensive list of 23!
Where To Go In North Wales
Places To Visit In North Wales #1 – Abersoch
A very popular seaside resort on the Llyn Peninsula, Abersoch is known for its beautiful beaches. It is no surprise then that surfing and other water sports are what Abersoch is all about.
Perfect for people watching, the village itself has a variety shop including a Jack Wills, as well as a section of cafes and restaurants.
It’s worth noting that Abersoch is a bit more expensive than other towns along the coast and it’s also a bit hilly so not great for people with mobility problems.
Places To Visit In North Wales #2 – Bangor
A city best known for its university, there is more to Bangor than cheap drinks and student nights.
One of the smallest cities in the United Kingdom, Bangor is home to the beautiful Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens and Penrhyn Castle.
One of the most iconic structures is the Menai Suspension Bridge which crosses the Menai Strait. For those of you looking to get your adrenaline pumping, you can also do a RibRide and take in the area’s natural beauty.
Places To Visit In North Wales #3 – Beddgelert
A beautiful village in the Snowdonia National Park, Beddgelert is full of mystery.
According to legend, the Llewelyn, a 13th Century prince of North Wales, went hunting without his faithful hound Gelert. When the prince returned, he found his dog stained and smeared with blood and could not find his young son whose bed was also smeared with blood.
Jumping to conclusions, the prince killed Gelert with his sword but once he did so, the dog’s yelp was answered by the infant son’s cry. The prince found his son unharmed next to the body of a huge wolf that Gelert had killed, protecting the child. The prince was filled with such grief that he was said to have never smiled again.
You can actually find Gelert’s grave in the village, along with a stop for the Welsh Highland Railway, Sygun Copper Mine and Aberglaslyn Pass (popular for canoeing).
Places To Visit In North Wales #4 – Betws-y-Coed
One of the most popular villages in North Wales and often referred to as the gateway to Snowdonia National Park, Betws-y-Coed is a must visit!
Home to the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, there are lots of outdoor activities in the village including a 5KM hike to Swallow Falls waterfall. It’s also home to the Zip World Fforest complex which currently has:
- Skyride – A giant wood swing 80ft in the air.
- Tree Hoppers – A tree-top adventure course.
- Plummet 2 – Drop through a trapdoor over 100ft high and experience the closest thing to freefalling in pairs.
- Ffrorest Coaster – 1km self-driven woodland roller coaster.
- Treetop Nets 0 Featuring Europe’s longest net walkway, this features trampolines and nets 60ft in the air.
- Zip Safari – A zip line obstacle course.
The village itself has plenty of accommodation options as well as a variety of cafes, restaurants shops, and the Snowdonia National Park Visitor Centre. Despite being quite an outdoorsy type of area, it’s great for people with mobility issues and a beautiful spot for a picnic.
Places To Visit In North Wales #5 – Blaenau Ffestiniog
A historic mining town, Blaenau Ffestiniog is best known for the Ffestiniog Railway, a heritage railway which offers scenic tours through the Snowdonia National Park on steam engines.
Blaenau Ffestiniog is also a must-visit for adrenaline and adventure lovers thanks to the huge Zip World Slate Caverns complex. The current set up is:
- Caverns – an underground course where you fly and climb through a slate mine disused 200 years ago.
- Titan – Europe’s largest zip line zone with 3 courses.
- Bounce Below – A huge underground net and trampoline adventure!
Places To Visit In North Wales #6 – Caernarfon
Located on the eastern shore of the Menai Strait, opposite the Isle of Anglesey, Caernarfon is a coastal town famous for its castle.
Built in the 13th Century, Caernarfon Castle is a large river-side, World Heritage fortress that boasts a museum and exhibitions.
In addition to the castle, there are also plenty of shops in the town and there are even ruins of a Roman Fort on the outskirts called Segontium Roman Fort!
Places To Visit In North Wales #7 – Capel Curig
Looking to do some serious hiking? Capel Curig is the place for you!
A stunning village in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, Capel Curig offers plenty of walking opportunities and is even home to the Plas-y-Brenin National Mountaineering Centre!
Loved by walkers and rock climbers alike, the village also features a dramatic set of lakes (Llynnau Mymbyr) where you can get a classic view of Snowdon.
Places To Visit In North Wales #8 – Conwy
Yet another town famous for its castle (Wales has over 600 of them!), Conwy is a lovely town on the north coast.
Full of history, the town has an imposing 13th Century Castle and Town Walls. You can also visit Plas Mawr, a restored 16th Century townhouse and Aberconwy House, a 15th Century merchants house.
Nature lovers will love trips to RSPB Conwy nature reserve, the Welsh Mountain Zoo or Bodnant Garden whilst adrenaline junkies should head to Adventure Parc Snowdonia, an artificial wave pool that is the only artificial surfing lake in the UK!
If you are looking for retail therapy, the town has a great selection of shops, cafes, and restaurants but don’t forget to take a look at the Grade I-listed Conwy Suspension Bridge and the Smallest House in Great Britain, also known as Quay House.
Places To Visit In North Wales #9 – Criccieth
A lovely seaside town that is popular with families, Criccieth is one of my personal favourites in North Wales.
Home to Marine Beach and Criccieth Beach, its perfect for enjoying some fish & chips and ice cream.
Boasting a lovely selection of gift shops and cafes, the town has everything you need for a long weekend away.
And guess what? There’s another castle! Climb to the top of Criccieth Castle and enjoy the most spectacular view of the Llyn Peninsula.
Places To Visit In North Wales #10 – Denbigh
Meaning “Little Fortress” in Welsh, Denbigh is a market town situated near the Clwydian Hills.
Boasting not one but two(!!) castles, Denbigh is the perfect place for history lovers. Whilst Denbigh Castle and town walls date back to 1282, the Bodelwyddan Castle and Park is a grand 18th Century manor that even has a WW1 Replica Trench!
In addition to this, you can explore the ruins of Denbigh Friary which was founded between 1343-50 or step back in time to the 1950s at the Cae Dai 50’s Museum!
Places To Visit In North Wales #11 – Harlech
Located on Tremadog Bay within the Snowdonia National Park, Harlech is a popular seaside resort.
Site of the longest siege in British History, Harlech Castle was built by Edward I during his invasion of Wales between 1282 and 1289.
However, the real beauty of Harlech lies in its beaches. Whilst Harlech Beach is a great beach that is never too busy the true gem is Shell Island
One of Europe’s largest campsites, Shell Island began as a farm that was even mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1086. Boast over 450 acres, you can visit Shell Island whether you are camping or not and make use of its excellent facilities including 3 stunning beaches.
Offering a range of activities including boating and crabbing, it is it’s shells that the island is most famous for with over 200 different types to be found! The best time see the shells on Shell Island is between January and June but be sure to make a note of the tide times as it is accessed via a tidal causeway!
Places To Visit In North Wales #12 – Hawarden
A village located close to the Welsh and English border, Hawarden was a historically significant settlement.
Featuring Hawarden Castle which was the stately home of former British Prime Minister W.E. Gladstone, it is Gladstone’s Library that is what makes this village so special.
A must-visit for book lovers, Gladstone’s Library is Britain’s finest residential library and meeting place, and the only Prime Ministerial library/ Located in a beautiful Grade I listed buildings, the library is the UK’s only residential library and boasts almost 150,000 printed items.
Places To Visit In North Wales #13 – Holyhead, Anglesey
Located off the off mainland Wale’s northwest coast, Anglesey is known for its spectacular beaches and ancient history.
Accessed by the 19th Century, Menai Suspension bridge and 20th-Century Britannia Bridge, there are loads of things to do on the island with my favourite area being Holyhead.
A major Irish Sea Port, Holyhead is the largest town on the Isle of Anglesey county but is actually separated from the island. Situated on Holy Island, Holyhead and Anglesey are separated by the Cymran Strait and is connected to Anglesey by the Stanley Embankment.
Holyhead is a paradise for nature lovers, with the island’s largest mountain, Holyhead Mountain, home to a late Roman watchtower and an Iron Age stone circle settlement.
It’s also close to the Anglesey Coastal Path, a 200-KM long-distance footpath around Anglesey, Holyhead Maritime Museum and the former rock quarry Breakwater Country Park where you will find plenty of scenic trails, fishing, and birdwatching.
Possibly my favourite thing about Holyhead is South Stack. A small island situated just off Holy Island, South Stack is an RSPB cliffside nature reserve giving visitors a chance to see rare species of birds such as puffins, as well as spectacular viewpoints. The Island also has an 1809 lighthouse which is open for tours seasonally!
Places To Visit In North Wales #14 – Holywell
Not to be confused with Holyhead in Anglesey, Holywell is a small town in Flintshire close to the England and Wales border.
Although relatively small, Holywell is home to a few important historical sights such as St Winefride’s Well which claims to be the oldest continually visited pilgrimage site in Great Britain. Visitors can also see the extensive ruins of the 12th Century Basingwerk Abbey which was founded in 1131 AD
I’d also definitely recommend visiting the Point of Ayr a short drive away. The northernmost point of mainland Wales, the Point of Ayr lighthouse was built in 1776 but became inactive in 1883. Located on Talacre Beach in the RSPB Dee Estuary Point of Ayr nature reserve, the structure has become iconic for photographers.
Places To Visit In North Wales #15 – Llanberis
If you are looking to hike in the Snowdonia National Park, Llanberis is where you go. Known for the Llanberis Path, it is one of the most popular routes for climb Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales.
Haven’t got time to climb Mount Snowdon or just don’t want to? You could always take a ride on the Snowdon Mountain Railway!
Other attractions in the area include Electric Mountain, a hydroelectric station that offers tunnel tours, the Llanberis Lake Railway, Zip World Penrhyn Quarry and Dolbadarn Castle.
Places To Visit In North Wales #16 – Llandudno
A coastal town in the North of Wales, Llandudno is what the Great British Seaside is all about.
Known for it’s North Shore Beach and 19th Century Llandudno Pier full of traditional seaside fun & shops, its the perfect place to pass a sunny day.
Full of great shops and lots of cafes and restaurants, one of the most popular attractions is The Great Orme, a natural limestone headline with beautiful view, and The Great Orme Tramway, a cable-hauled tramway that climbs up to the summit.
Alternatively, ride the Llandudno Cable Car and get panoramic views of the town and surrounding area.
Places To Visit In North Wales #17 – Llangollen
Although Llangollen might be a small town in North-East Wales, there are plenty of reasons why you should visit it on your trip.
Located on the River Dee at the Edge of the Berwyn Mountains and the Clwydian Range, the area is full of natural beauty and boasts the Horseshoe Pass which offers great mountain views.
There is plenty of history in the area and you can visit Plas Newydd House Museum & Gardens, a 14th Century House rebuilt in Victorian Times and remodelled in the 1930s, Erddig, an 18th Century manor, and the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and Valle Crucis Abbey.
The main attraction in the town is the Llangollen Canel, a navigable canal crossing the border between England and Wales and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Iconic in the area, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is an 18 arch structure designed by Thomas Telford and is now a World Heritage Site.
Places To Visit In North Wales #18 – Llanwddyn
Honestly, there isn’t much to do at Llandwddyn but its history absolutely fascinates me, making it worth a stop.
A village centred on the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir, the original Llanwddyn village was submerged when the reservoir was created in the 1880s making it like a modern day Atlantis!
As a result of a heat wave in 2018, the Lake Vyrnwy reservoir was reduced so much that you could see the flooded former village.
Looking for a great photo when you’re in the area? Make sure you visit the Lake Vyrnwy Straining Tower!
Places To Visit In North Wales #19 – Porthdinllaen
If you are looking for the perfect place to relax on the Welsh Coast, Porthdinllaen is the place to go.
A tiny coastal village on the Llyn Peninsula, Porthdinllaen has been owned by the National trust since 1994 and is as far away from the hustle and bustle as you can get. Vehicle access to the village is for residents only, so you’ll need to walk across the beach from Morfa Nefyn or across the golf course and past the Iron Age hill fort!
Featuring a stunning 2 mile stretch of sweeping bay, apart from its lovely beach, there isn’t much in respect of attractions unless you count the local pub!
Located in the centre of the village the Ty Coch pub is said to be the best pub in Wales and is ranked in the top ten beach bars in the world! With views across the Irish Sea, it’s definitely worth a walk across the beach.
Places To Visit In North Wales #20 – Porthmadog
Another one of my personal favourites, Porthmadog is a thriving coastal town in North West Wales.
Mostly located with the Snowdonia National Park, the town has plenty of shops and restaurants to satisfy all tastes and budgets.
In terms of things to do, it is known for its station for both the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Heritage Railway. There is also a small Maritime Museum and a beautiful beach called Black Rock Sands.
Make sure you take a look at the traditional harbour before you leave. It’s like something straight off a postcard!
Places To Visit In North Wales #21 – Portmeirion
One of my favourite places in Wales, Portmeirion is a tourist village that could be straight from the Italian Riviera.
The set of the cult TV series ‘The Prisoner’, the village has never been permanently inhabited and boats plenty of unique accommodation options including a castle and self-catered cottages!
Places To Visit In North Wales #22 – Pwlhelli
A small market town, Pwelelli is located on the Llyn Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A great base for exploring North Western Wales, the town features a selection of independent shops and cafes as well as one of Britain’s best marinas.
Beautiful in summer, the beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flag Award and range from sheltered and sandy to shingle and pebble stretches.
Places To Visit In North Wales #23 – Welshpool
Last but by no means least is the town of Welshpool. Located just 4 miles from the Wales & England Border, the town has plenty of Georgian architecture that is worth a closer look.
The National Trust owned Powis Castle and Garden is just a short drive away. A Fortified stately home, visitors can enjoy highly ornate interiors whilst enjoying the extensive manicured gardens.
Alternatively, take a trip to Powysland Museum where you can see regional archaeological finds and learn about the local history in a restored warehouse.
I hope this post has helped you plan your trip to North Wales. As you can see, there are lots of things to do whatever your interests might be.
Have you been to North Wales? Where is your favourite place? Let me know in the comments below!
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