Snowdonia, North Wales, is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s absolutely stunning and I kick myself every time I visit that I hadn’t ventured North sooner. With its rugged mountains, crystal clear lakes and honeypot villages, it is a photographer’s dream. I’ve visited Snowdonia several times, and I still haven’t covered everything. Beddgelert is still high on my list, for example, and there are so many hikes I am yet to take on. But that doesn’t matter as it gives the perfect excuse to go back!
Today I thought I’d share a list of some of my favourite photo spots in Snowdonia. There are several iconic spots that you’ve probably come across before, but also a few hidden gems that I’ve discovered and loved. If you do go and take any photos here, please do share and tag me in them on Instagram (@jessieannlewis), as I’d love to take a look!
Legend says that Llyn Ogwen is the resting place of King Arthur’s sword and it certainly does have a really magical feel. There is a great circular walk you can do around the lake, which boasts stunning views of Tryfan and the Glyderau mountains. The land is owned and managed by the National Trust and there are toilets and a cafe at one of the main carparks, but get there early. Parking can be a bit of a nightmare as the Ogwen Valley is a prime spot for hikers. It’s not surprising, considering the incredible views and scenery.
Hiking to the summit of Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa
No matter which way you take on the mighty Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales and England, you will be surrounded by beautiful views of the rugged landscape. My personal favourite out of the routes I’ve done, is the Miner’s Track. It’s fairly flat to begin with, but passes glacial lakes, old mining huts and there’s a bit of a scramble to the summit. Plenty of wonderful photo opportunities along the way!
A hotspot for water sports and boasting views of the Snowdon horseshoe, I would absolutely recommend a visit to Llyn Padarn and the Lonely Tree. It’s a pretty busy spot as it’s situated in Llanberis, but forms part of the 800 acre Padarn Country Park, with lots of lovely spots to venture to away from the crowds. Try and time your visit for sunrise or sunset, for some really incredible light.
A new discovery of mine but absolutely worth a visit, Dinorwic Quarry was once the second largest slate quarry in the world. It is also home to a herd of Snowdonia’s mountain goats and you can often see them as they wander high on the rocky slopes. If you don’t see them, you will most definitely hear them!
One of my favourite walks, Cwm Idwal is the oldest National Nature Reserve in Wales. There is a great loop walk that you can take on here, featuring mini waterfalls, rock formations and a beautiful glacial lake. For the more adventurous, head up to Glyder Fawr and Fach for stunning panoramic views of the National Park.
You can’t visit Snowdonia and not have a wander around Betws-y-Coed. This postcard-perfect village is one of Snowdonia’s most popular and it’s not hard to see why. The iconic images here are often taken on Pont-y-Pair bridge, and don’t forget to try out Hangin’ Pizzeria while visiting – delish!
I’ve driven by here many times but took a special trip when I last visited Snowdonia to watch the sunset. It was epic and I had the whole place to myself. These lakes have a dramatic backdrop with the Snowdon horseshoe rising high above the water’s surface. They look titchy from far away, but the mountains here are anything but!
Tu Hwnt i’r Bont
I’m sure you’ve all seen this as it is often shared on social media, Tu Hwnt i’r Bont is a traditional Welsh tearooms and is situated in the picturesque village of Llanrwst. It’s so cute and the leaves glow bright red in the autumn.
Another recent discovery and a gorgeous hidden gem situated just above Betws-y-Coed, I loved my visit to Llyn Elsi. Apart from two wild swimmers I had the whole place to myself with wall-to-wall sunshine making the lake glow. There’s a bit of an incline to reach the lake, but it’s well worth it.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Italian village in Wales, Portmeirion is a quirky, colourful tourist hot spot and is perfectly set against the beautiful backdrop of the mountains and Dwyryd estuary. It was built by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1973. He wanted to prove that you could build something beautiful without destroying the landscape, and I think he did just that.
Fairy Glen, Betws-Y-Coed
This magical spot can be found two miles down the road from Betws-y-Coed and is well worth a visit. It features a secluded gorge and the dappled sunlight coming through the trees and onto the water gives a really otherworldly feel. Do take note that there is a cash payment for each person and an honesty box on entry.
Another stunning location situated not far from Betws-y-Coed, Swallow Falls is situated on the River Llugwy and charges down the valley. You can hear the water gushing through from some distance and it’s even better if it has rained recently (which it does a lot in Snowdonia!)
I hope you enjoyed reading and if you do end up visiting any of these pretty spots, do be share to tag on Instagram!