Updated: Jan 24
If you've been to Wales before you know that landscapes there can get pretty epic.
As Wales’ first National Park and the third most popular National Park in Britain, Snowdonia is truly something special. It stretches over 827 square miles full of unspoilt scenery with rocky mountains, clear blue lakes and thick forests.
I have been planning on visiting Snowdonia for a while now and luckily, my forever adventurous friend, Monir was up for the trip, as he would basically be up for any trip.
Initially it would've been only me and Monir traveling to Snowdon, but after asking a couple of my friends if they would like to join, we ended up bringing Kim and James along. I have always agreed with the saying 'The more the merrier', but you also don't wanna take too many people with you, unless you work for a travel agency. I was happy being there with my close friends, couldn't have asked for a better company to do this whole road trip with.
The idea was to make our trip to Snowdon into a road trip and visit a couple other wonders of nature in Wales.
After a little research and using Google Maps and instagram's geolocation to find these hidden gems, I came up with an itinerary.
We all decided to camp in Snowdonia and leave the next day after visiting a couple other gems, such as Portmeirion, a little Italian tourist village. Have you not heard about it before? Me neither, I came across this cute little town while browsing on Instagram and I'm so happy I did, because I absolutely adored every moment spent there. This might be partly because they had some amazing gelato there.
*drools over keyboard*
Have a look at the itinerary, and if you plan on using it for future trips, please let me know. Take pictures, videos whatever you wish and make sure you tag me on Instagram (@dalmie.adventures)
We left for our road trip from Coventry, therefore all driving times are calculated from and to there.
Wales Road Trip Itinerary
Drive early (6am) in the morning to Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn, Llanfairfechan LL33 0LP (3:21h drive)
Get to Aber Falls around 9:30/10AM
Drive to Pen y Pass (1h drive)
Get to Pen y Pass at around 12PM
There: Pyg Trail begins at Pen y Pass
Distance: 3.5 miles
Back: Miners Track
Distance: 4 miles
Time: About 6 hours (there & back)
Start/Finish: Pen-y-Pass Car Park, off the A4086 (SH 647 557)
Parking: There are Pay & Display car parks at Pen-y-Pass, Pen y Gwryd and Nant Peris (loose change required). If you're parking at Pen y Gwryd, please use the new off-road permissive route from Pen y Gwryd to Pen-y-Pass
Drive to the Campsite- Torrent Walk Camp Site (Dolgun Uchaf) - 1 h drive
Campfire and BBQ
Drive to Portmeirion (40 mins)
Portmeirion to Pistyll Rhaeadr(Waterfall) - 1:30h drive
Pistyll Rhaeadr to Coventry - 2:15h drive
Our first stop was Aber Falls, Abergwyngregyn.
The walk to the waterfalls was very enjoyable and the weather was absolutely perfect for it. It's a quick walk, so I wouldn't suggest spending too much time there, but it's perfect as a pit stop for snacks and beautiful views of the falls.
Next one up was Pen Y Pass.
All major trails leading up to Mount Snowdon Summit start at Pen Y Pass (Caernarfon LL55 4NU)
There are a few trails you can take, depending on your fitness level and on how much time you allow yourself to spend at the Summit.
Since we were running behind schedule, we got to Pen Y Pass a little later than planned, plus we couldn't find parking close to where the trails start, so we had to hike an extra half an hour to get to the main starting point.
The most difficult and demanding trail is Crib Goch, an exposed grade 1 scramble, it’s by far tougher than all the other main routes up Snowdon. No, thank you!
On the second place comes, The Watkin Path, easier to hike than Crib Goch, but it's still physically demanding -with more ascent than any other direct ascent- and it's the last part of this trail that elevates it to the second place.
Third one is Pyg Track, which was our choice of trail to take up to the Summit. Not gonna lie, it was still physically demanding, but the views were spectacular.
An easier option is the Miners Track, with an easy trail at the beginning, but the second part of this trail meets the Pyg Track, getting pretty difficult at the top.
It took us 3 hours to get to Mount Snowdon Summit and honestly, we were pretty tired after 3 hours of climbing.
Tired or not, these views were worth the climb!
(Oh did you even climb up a mountain if you didn't sing 'The climb by Miley Cyrus'?)
Once you get to the summit, make sure you don't miss out on taking a photo here:
It's also a clever idea, to fuel up and hydrate and relax for at least half an hour before you head back down.
Take all the photos, like we did, and enjoy the views! Mother Nature is the best artists, nothing compares to such views!
Also, it was getting pretty late at this point so we all decided to take the Miner's Track back down, which was a very clever choice, because the sun was down by the time we got to the Pen Y Pass car park.
Even though it was getting late, sunsets in Snowdonia are incredibly beautiful!
Keep in mind this was not the car park where our car has been left. That was a half an hour hike away, no chance we could have done that in the dark. There were no taxis to take us, so as a last resort we asked strangers if they could give Monir a ride to the car and kid you not, the people I asked were from Solihull and they were more than happy to help. Not all faith in humanity is lost!
We got the car, but at this point it was too late to drive to the camp site that I have previously booked. We thought of staying in a hotel, but there was literally not a single room available in the area. It was getting very late, when a gentleman came up to us and asked for a drive to his car in another car park, and guess what, he was from Coventry. We wanted to return the favour we previously got lucky with and thank god we did because this gentleman told us that there is a camp site nearby that doesn't require booking and we could just pitch a tent anywhere and pay in the morning. I mean, if this wasn't faith, what could it have been?
We dropped him off and headed to Ty Isaf Bala Campsite
Have you ever tried to pitch a tent in the dark? It's nearly impossible, but did we try? Of course we did and after an hour of struggles we managed to erect the tent and all four of us slept in a 2 man tent. Cosiest sleep I had in a while!
The next day we woke up early, had breakfast and headed to Portmeirion.
Having a chilled day was everything we needed after all the hikes (and uncomfortable sleeping circumstances) the previous day and Portmeirion was the perfect destination for what we needed.
"Situated on a private peninsula overlooking stunning coastal scenery, the Italian Riviera meets rural Wales with a riot of colour and architectural styles at Portmeirion Village. Built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is now one of Wales’ most popular tourist destinations." - Portmeirion Ltd 2019.
Entrance fee was £12 for Adults, but they offer 10% off for Students.
We spent more time than planned here, because it was simply gorgeous.
It was pretty late by the time we finished exploring Portmeirion, so we decided to skip Pistyll Rhaeadr and maybe visit that another weekend.
Tips for hiking up Snowdonia:
Make sure you have, and I can't stress this enough, plenty of water with you. Fill up your bottles, multiple bottles! You'll get thirsty!
Bring loads of snacks, like trail mix, dried fruit, chocolate and granola bars. Anything that's easy to pack and munch on!
Sunscreen! Lather up in sunscreen if you see the sun out, you'll get burnt!
Hiking boots! Please, don't try to be a hero and attempt hiking in anything less than hiking boots or shoes, you need ankle protection, because those rocks will work your ankles!
Make sure you're wearing comfortable clothes! No jeans, please!
Climbing the highest mountain in Snowdon (1,085 metres) wasn't only an incredible experience, but it gave me inspiration to climb Ben Nevis (1,344 metres), the highest mountain in the British Isles and Scafell Pike Summit (977 metres), the highest mountain in England.
Hope this inspires and helps some of you to get out there and connect with nature, while challenging yourself in every aspect!