Porthmadog: Ships, Trains and Bikes for Everyone!
The small port of Porthmadog has an illustrious maritime history, and the harbour has a modern marina, as well as its very own railway station. You can stroll along the harbour side, watching the many small boats coming and going against the amazing backdrop of Snowdonia. The High Street has a range of shops, and the museum has exhibits from the industrial past. Fishing and crabbing are popular activities, but it’s also a great place for taking a break and watching the world go by. Active visitors might also enjoy cycling along the custom-made cycling routes in this area.
There are no less than three train lines which finish at Porthmadog, and the town is visited by narrow-gauge and steam engines on a regular basis. The local shops have plenty of railway-themed merchandise, and of course you can enjoy your own brief encounter in one of the many cafes and restaurants that cater for visitors all year round.
Portmeirion: Art and Crafts with Colourful Architecture
The whole village of Portmeirion is a visitor attraction. There’s an entrance fee which lasts the whole day and gives access to the shops, restaurants and scenic walks. The buildings are painted in every imaginable colour, in a style that is reminiscent of an Italian village. This unusual architecture is a magnet for all those who love arts and crafts.
The village was famously the location for 1960s film drama, The Prisoner, and it retains a stylish, and somewhat surreal atmosphere to this day. There is no place quite like this anywhere in Britain, mingling neo-classical and gothic structures with traditional Welsh stone and stunning scenery. Children will love the giant chess board on the village green, the ornate fountains and the exotic trees and flowers. The layout of the village is designed to fit into the natural landscape, and this makes for exciting walks, with unusual twists and turns.
Woodland gardens are scattered around the village, and there are walkways that lead visitors through stairways and archways into hidden corners with impressive statues and other artworks. One of the most stunning features of the village is its huge range of trees and shrubs from all over the world. In spring, the rhododendrons and azaleas display a riot of colour, while in summer the roses bloom. Even in winter, the structural beauty of the redwoods and pines is a wonderful sight to behold. Nature and human structures work together to make Portmeirion a truly memorable place.
The Hidden Gem of Criccieth
The tiny village of Criccieth is not to be missed, if you are spending time in the area south of Snowdonia. It is located on the southern coast of the Llyn Peninsula, and has tiny beaches, where the stormy sea crashes against stone defences. At one end of the village, there are rock pools where you can explore the coastal wildlife. There’s a ruined castle, where you can clamber around the crumbling walls, and look out over spectacular sea views.
Criccieth is known as the “Pearl of Wales” and there’s a good reason for that: the village has picturesque cottages, a golf course, railway station, and several hotels with sea views. Fishing is still a popular sport, both from boats moored at the village, and from the Stone Jetty. This is a place where the local people are still mainly Welsh language speakers, and it retains an old world charm which reflects the ancient Celtic traditions of the area.