Hiking in North Wales

Hiking in North Wales

One of the things I noticed whilst hiking in North Wales is that the grass really is greener there! This is probably due to frequent rainfall, although I was lucky enough to stay dry during all of my hikes. Some parts of Wales are a bit difficult to reach without a car, but North Wales is perfectly accessible by train. I’m therefore sharing some of the regions where I went hiking as inspiration for those who are also planning to travel to Wales.

North Wales Coast Path

If you love both walking and seaside views, you won’t want to miss out on the coast path along the northern tip of Wales. The route provides a range of difficulty levels: some legs are rather flat, others go up into more mountainous areas. Because there’s a train track running parallel for much of the route, it’s easy to pick and choose parts of the path that fit your hiking preferences. This proximity of train stations provides a perfect opportunity for a sustainable hiking trip. At the same time it’s very convenient, because who wants to deal with car parking issues these days?

In terms of accommodation, there are good options in the villages along the route. For instance, I stayed in a lovely basement apartment that had the look and feel of a cozy cottage. The B&B is called ‘Plas y Foel’, located between Penmaenmawr and Dwygyfylchi. The host provided vegan breakfast, and there was a public footpath leading back to the North Wales Coast Path right outside the door!

Walking the North Wales Coast Path is fairly easy in terms of navigation, as you’re mostly just following the coastline. The signage is good, too. This is especially handy if you’re a novice hiker, as you won’t have to depend on your map reading skills. Moreover, you won’t be “in the middle of nowhere” much, and regularly come across other hikers, runners and cyclists. If you don’t like other people, then scroll down to read a bit about more remote hikes in Snowdonia.

Anglesey Coastal Path

Just like the North Wales Coast Path, Anglesey Coast Path provides an easy to follow, beautiful route for hiking in North Wales. Both paths are part of the general ‘Wales Coast Path‘, which covers about 1400 kilometres (870 miles). I only did a short hike on the western end of Anglesey, but it was very pretty! Especially around sunrise and sunset, you’ll be in for some phenomenal views. I stayed at the Boathouse Hotel in Holyhead, which is located near the coast path. If you go to the other end of Anglesey, you get the chance to see the town with the longest Welsh name. In fact, there are only two places in the entire world with a name longer that is than Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Both this impossible-to-pronounce place and Holyhead have a train station for easy access by public transport.

Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia is well-known for being home to the highest point in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands. Mount Snowdown is therefore an incredibly popular tourist attraction. Sometimes there are even queues to take a photo at the top… Because there are six different routes and a train track to the summit, it’s usually quite busy. But aside from Snowdon, there is much more to see in Snowdonia. I have only been to the most northern part of the national park, and it has made me eager to see more.

Staying up the road from Penmaenmawr meant starting my hikes already on the edge of Snowdonia. Being there in September, the weather was still warm and dry enough to be comfortable. A huge benefit of hiking at this time of year is the much lower number of tourists. Especially on weekdays, you won’t come across more than a handful of people.

Unlike with the coastal paths, you do get a sense of being far removed from the rest of humanity once you’re amongst the hilltops of northern Snowdonia. There are no sights or sounds of nearby civilisation after only a few kilometres of hiking. The only living beings you’ll come across are loads of sheep and a few horses. The vegetation is also different from what I’ve seen elsewhere in the UK. My friend descriped some parts as a Lord of the Rings-landscape. In any case, Snowdonia is another beautiful area that’s perfect for hiking in North Wales. You don’t have to go far south to wind down in this quiet, natural area.

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