A gentle walking tour in the Snowdonia National Park might seem unlikely given the area is known for its spectactular hilly landscapes and boasts the highest mountain in England and Wales. But it also has a raft of steam railways to help you on your way as well as an unspoilt coastline, a plethora of castles, superb natural beauty with a wealth of picturesque villages and a colourful local history steeped in distinctive Welsh culture.

We are thrilled to have created this unique walk combining all these varied elements as you amble from Mid Wales to Mount Snowdon and on to the island of Anglesey in North Wales. Visit castles from royal and grand to relic and haunted, hike along coasts and estuary past weird and wonderfully sounding villages, take in artful Portmeirion and follow in the footseps of upland farmers as you trace your way to Harlech with the steepest street in the world.

Yes, Wales is hilly, but our careful route planning and delightful use of local railways, means the walk is an utter dream. With a couple of forays aboard steam trains, across the highlands of Snowdon to the depths of a slate mine, this is a unique and in many ways, gentle journey. With 2 night stays in coastal spots and the shadow of Snowdon you will love exploring these Celtic coasts and castles.

Photos © Crown copyright 2019 (Visit Wales)



Holiday details

Price

Classic

from £1,630 per person

Luxury

from £2,565 per person

Based on two people sharing a room

What’s included?

Transfer from Machynlleth station and to Bangor station. Train from Harlech to Portmeirion, return steam train to Blaenau Ffestiniog, return train to Snowdonia summit and Highland steam train from Porthmadog.  See what’s included as standard

Duration

7 nights

Start & Finish

Starts Mondays only at Machynlleth station and finishes Bangor station. Machynlleth station connects to Manchester airport and Birmingham. Bangor station connects to Crewe and Manchester airport and is close to Holyhead for the ferry to Ireland

Hotels

Classic

Two small inns, a country house and a restaurant with rooms

Luxury

One 5 star and two 4 star boutique hotels and a 5 star castle

Holiday type

Self-guided

This tour is priced without a guide and you are free to explore on your own.  If you would like a guide for part or all of your trip, we are happy to provide a knowledgeable, local guide

Activity level

Gentle walking (2) More info...

Mileage

5 days of walking 4-10 miles (6 - 16 km) per day

Terrain

Moslty gentle slopes with the odd short steep section

Options

  • additional night on Anglesey


Itinerary day-by-day


Classic

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive Machynlleth and Dolgellau

    We will meet you at Machynlleth station and transfer you the short distance to Dolgellau. Settle into your hotel where you will stay the next 2 nights, smell the fresh Welsh air and love the mountains on your doorstep. Your host will meet you and run though your itinerary either later this evening or tomorrow morning. Croeso! A little of the Welsh language will help you along the way...

  2. 2. Day two

    Barmouth to Dolgellau

    We transfer you after a leisurely breakfast to the seaside town of Barmouth with its extensive sandy beach and dunes backed with a panorama of mountains and peaks. Then head off on Barmouth bridge, a long single-track wooden railway viaduct across the Mawddach estuary. The walk beyond is quiet, beautiful and flat along the estuary’s edge with big views and soaring birds, tidal races, marshes and picturesque watering holes. Take the longer walk to enjoy the delights of Dolgellau as well and uncover some real Welsh gems

    8 or 13 miles (13 or 21 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Dolgellau to Portmadog

    For something completely different, today you take to the hills inland enjoying pretty valleys, stunning viewpoints and a landscape of remote hill farms and wetland, home to rare plants and butterflies. Spot dippers, wagtails, buzzards and yellowhammers. This is safe walking on farm access roads and footpaths. Dramatic steep declines signal your approach into Harlech with Edward I's spectacular castle built in the 13th Century on a rocky knoll looking out over the sea. his delightful town also boasts the steepest street in the world and an eclectic High street. Hop on a train here for the short chug to Portmadog where you stay the next two nights in the heart of the town.

    4 or 7 miles (6 or 11 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    TRAIN FROM PORTMadog TO BLAENAU FFESTINIOG AND BACK

    Pinch yourself as you hop on the train to Portmeirion which appears as an Italian coastal village but is a fantasy replica designed by architect Clough Williams Ellis. You might like to relax here in the pastel coloured surroundings and enjoy the sea, topped off with a gelato. Or put on a local's hat and take the world's oldest narrow gauge railway on its 11 mile steam up the mountain to the slate capital of the world Blaenau Ffestiniog. From this small village you can choose to tour inside the Llechwedd Deep Mine on the steepest cable railway in Britain. Return back to sea level by train!

  5. 5. Day five

    Portmadog to Dinas

    Here's a day of two halves. We transfer you this morning for a fabulous coastal walk leading you across vast sandy beaches, dunes and shallow cliffs with rock pools and a picture book coffee stop in a tiny bay before reaching all the boats moored in Portmadog. This walk can be extended - but don't miss the train! For here after lunch, you join the Highland steam train for its stunning ride north through Snowdonia's hinterland. It will make a courtesy station stop for you enabling you to take a short stroll to your hotel where you spend the next 2 nights of your trip. Wow what a day!

    5 miles (8km) or more

  6. 6. Day six

    Dinas to snowdonia and back

    Reach the highpoint of the tour today - certainly altitude wise, albeit every day is special. We wisk you part way up to the village of Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon and on the shores of Lake Padarn. From here you take the railway for the final climb up to Snowdon's summit - all 1085m of it. Its quite an experience - take in the panorama and the drama before chugging back to Llanberis. Then enjoy a pretty walk around the lake, at the waters edge and rising up through woodlands with many views up the glacial valley to the peaks and over the lake with a few reminders of the area's slate heritage.

    5 miles (8 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Dinas to Anglesey

    There's a final day of magic ahead with 2 formidable castles to finish. Walking from your hotel, saunter the few easy miles into Caernarvon where you can explore the royal fortress palace, one of the greatest buildings of the medieval ages. We meet you here and transfer you so you can walk across the Menai Suspension Bridge onto the island of Anglesey and enjoy lunch overlooking the sea. The terrain now is hillier and the walk takes you to the charming seaside town of Beaumaris where you stay the night with its green sward, the unfinished masterpiece of its castle and the delightful finds we hope you will discover in its High street as a keepsake of this brilliant and unique walk through Wales.

    10 miles (16 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Depart Anglesey

    We will transfer to Bangor Station for your onward journey. Holyhead with ferry connections to Ireland is also close by. Or we will transfer you to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station ("St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave") commonly known as Llanfair PG – the longest one-word place name in Europe. From here you can catch a train to Bangor or onto Manchester for your homeward journey.

Luxury

  1. 1. Day one

    Arrive Machynlleth and Dolgellau

    We will meet you at Machynlleth station and transfer you the short distance to Dolgellau. Settle into your hotel where you will stay the next 2 nights, smell the fresh Welsh air and love the mountains on your doorstep. Your host will meet you and run though your itinerary either later this evening or tomorrow morning. Croeso! A little of the Welsh language will help you along the way...

  2. 2. Day two

    Barmouth to Dolgellau

    We transfer you after a leisurely breakfast to the seaside town of Barmouth with its extensive sandy beach and dunes backed with a panorama of mountains and peaks. Then head off on Barmouth bridge, a long single-track wooden railway viaduct across the Mawddach estuary. The walk beyond is quiet, beautiful and flat along the estuary’s edge with big views and soaring birds, tidal races, marshes and picturesque watering holes. Take the longer walk to enjoy the delights of Dolgellau as well and uncover some real Welsh gems

    8 or 13 miles (13 or 21 km)

  3. 3. Day three

    Dolgellau to Portmeirion

    For something completely different, today you take to the hills inland enjoying pretty valleys, stunning viewpoints and a landscape of remote hill farms and wetland, home to rare plants and butterflies. Spot dippers, wagtails, buzzards and yellowhammers. This is safe walking on farm access roads and footpaths. Dramatic steep declines signal your approach into Harlech with Edward I's spectacular castle built in the 13th Century on a rocky knoll looking out over the sea. his delightful town also boasts the steepest street in the world and an eclectic High street. Hop on a train here for the short chug to Portmeirion where you stay the next two nights at Hotel Portmeirion.

    4 or 7 miles (6 or 11 km)

  4. 4. Day four

    TRAIN FROM PORTMEIRION TO BLAENAU FFESTINIOG AND BACK

    Pinch yourself as you are not in an Italian coastal village but a fantasy replica designed by architect Clough Williams Ellis. You might like to relax in your pastel coloured surroundings and enjoy the pool and sea, topped off with a gelato. Or put on a local's hat and take the world's oldest narrow gauge railway on its 11 mile steam up the mountain to the slate capital of the world Blaenau Ffestiniog. From this small village you can choose to tour inside the Llechwedd Deep Mine on the steepest cable railway in Britain. Return back to sea level by train!

  5. 5. Day five

    Portmeirion to Dinas

    Here's a day of two halves. We transfer you this morning for a fabulous coastal walk leading you across vast sandy beaches, dunes and shallow cliffs with rock pools and a picture book coffee stop in a tiny bay before reaching all the boats moored in Portmadog. This walk can be extended - but don't miss the train! For here after lunch, you join the Highland steam train for its stunning ride north through Snowdonia's hinterland. It will make a courtesy station stop for you enabling you to take a short stroll to your hotel where you spend the next 2 nights of your trip - almost in the wilds, and with connections to today's Royal family, Wow what a day!

    5 miles (8km) or more

  6. 6. Day six

    Dinas to snowdonia and back

    Reach the highpoint of the tour today - certainly altitude wise, albeit every day is special. We wisk you part way up to the village of Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon and on the shores of Lake Padarn. From here you take the railway for the final climb up to Snowdon's summit - all 1085m of it. Its quite an experience - take in the panorama and the drama before chugging back to Llanberis. Then enjoy a pretty walk around the lake, at the waters edge and rising up through woodlands with many views up the glacial valley to the peaks and over the lake with a few reminders of the area's slate heritage.

    5 miles (8 km)

  7. 7. Day seven

    Dinas to Anglesey

    There's a final day of magic ahead with 2 formidable castles and a chateau to finish. Walking from your hotel, saunter the few easy miles into Caernarvon where you can explore the royal fortress palace, one of the greatest buildings of the medieval ages. We meet you here and transfer you so you can walk across the Menai Suspension Bridge onto the island of Anglesey and enjoy lunch overlooking the sea. The terrain now is hillier and the shorter walk leads you directly to your chateau hotel, set on the coast. The longer walk takes you to the charming seaside town of Beaumaris with its green sward, the unfinished masterpiece of its castle and the delightful finds we hope you will discover in its High street as a keepsake of this brilliant walk through Wales. We transfer you to your last night's stay, a chateau inspired by the castles of the Loire and fittingly unique, like the rest of this holiday!

    6 or 10 miles (9 or 16 km)

  8. 8. Day eight

    Depart Anglesey

    We will transfer to Bangor Station for your onward journey. Holyhead with ferry connections to Ireland is also close by. Or we will transfer you to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station ("St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave") commonly known as Llanfair PG – the longest one-word place name in Europe. From here you can catch a train to Bangor or onto Manchester for your homeward journey.