The atmosphere of an Alpine climbing village paired with the best mountain scenery in North Wales – what’s not to like?
This walkers’ guide was first published in the March 2018 issue of The Great Outdoors.
It might be the starting point for the busiest route up Snowdon, but don’t let that put you off. Llanberis is the outdoors capital of North Wales, crammed with walker-friendly hangouts and surrounded by some of the best high-mountain terrain in the country.
With attractions such as the Snowdon Mountain Railway and Electric Mountain on the doorstep, the town could easily have morphed into a tourist trap. Granted, Llanberis gets its fair share of visitors, but never enough to overwhelm the locals. Take a stroll down the high street and you’ll hear Welsh and English spoken in almost equal measure. Plenty of outdoor obsessives from around the country have migrated here as well to take advantage of the adventure scene. The result is a rash of independent outdoor shops and climbers’ cafes where mountain folk meet to yarn about their latest exploits.
Snowdon rears up right behind the town – climb Wales’s highest peak via the Llanberis Path or hop on the Sherpa Bus up to Pen-y-Pass to meet the Miners’ Track, the Pyg Track and the route up Crib Goch. On the other side of the pass are the Glyderau, all manageable in a long day from Llanberis (possibly best saved for summer!). Or eschew the big boys to bag some of the peaks closer to town, such as Elidir Fawr and Moel Eilio. There’s enough to do around Llanberis to fill weeks of walking holiday.
- Moel Eilio. Wonderful ridge-walking with little technical difficulty and accessible right from the town. The views of Snowdon can be magnificent on a clear day.
- The Glyderau. The mighty Glyders are generally bagged from the north, but the linear route from Pen-y-Pass back to Llanberis is quieter and just as fun, with opt-out options along the way. Use the Sherpa Bus to reach the starting point.
- Budget: YHA Snowdon Llanberis. Recently renovated hostel with 50 beds and cosy camping pods. yha.org.uk
- Mid-range: Lake View Hotel. Comfortable en-suite accommodation and home-cooked meals. 01286 870422
- Splurge: Seiont Manor. Stunning 18th Century mansion complete with indoor pool, sauna and award-winning restaurant. seiontmanor.co.uk
- Pete’s Eats. This iconic joint has been serving giant breakfasts to climbers since 1978. It claims to be “possibly the best caff in the world”, which isn’t far off the mark. petes-eats.co.uk
- The Heights. There’s a good selection of real ales and a friendly atmosphere at this bunkhouse-cum-bar in the town centre. theheightsllanberis.co.uk
- Joe Brown. Famous independent outdoor store founded by one of the all-time mountaineering greats. joe-brown.com
- Take the train to Bangor and hop on the Arriva-operated 85/86 bus to Llanberis. Use the Snowdon Sherpa service to link the paths around Snowdon.
Did you know?
- Llanberis is home to the largest working water wheel in mainland Britain.
- OS Landranger 115; Explorer OL17; Harvey Superwalker Snowdonia North.
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