Best Views In Snowdonia
Discover the 22 best views in Snowdonia as we explore this stunning mountainous National Park in North West Wales.
From glacial lakes to mountain summits, castles to coastline and from remote churches to the cathedral of slate, join us as we explore the 22 best views in Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.
Best Views In Snowdonia – Snowdon And Around
One of the best views in Snowdonia – and possibly the most famous – is from the first of the two Mymbyr lakes at Capel Curig, five miles (8 km) west of Snowdon.
There is a large parking area on the left just after the Plas-y-Brenin Mountaineering Centre. Pull over and – weather permitting – admire one of the best views in Wales, with the Snowdon Horseshoe – Y Lliwedd on the left, then Garnedd Ugain, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) and Crib Goch – a massif of magnificent peaks before you. If you’re really lucky the whole scene will be reflected in the lake below.
Accessibility: Superb views from the roadside, but the views improve as you walk down the hill towards the lake shore.
See Also: 40 Of The Best Landmarks In Wales
The Llanberis Pass – or more prosaically the A4086 – threads its way up from the village of Llanberis, between the sheer rock walls of the Snowdon and Glyder massifs. It’s a great road to travel up or down, but the best views are from the top.
The best area to see it are just downhill from the permanently busy Pen-y-Pass car park, to the left of the road as it heads down towards Llanberis.
Accessibility: Cars often pack the road all the way down to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel (over a mile – around 2 km). Otherwise it’s only a short walk from the bus stop at the top.
Llyn Padarn is the lake immediately north of Llanberis village and Dolbadarn Castle, and the area is one of the best places to visit in Snowdonia. People come here for the view back up the Llanberis Pass, and to explore the small castle, one of the Welsh princes’ castles built to defend against English incursions.
There are many viewpoints along the lake. Our shot above is from the shore near Llanberis village, and there is another location a short distance further north where photographers often head.
A few minutes’ walk beyond Snowdonia Watersports, there is a small, lone tree in. a serene corner of the lake. It’s almost as if a photographer planted it there to make a perfect mystical shot of Wales, with the mountains behind and the sunrise light flooding the Llanberis Pass.
Accessibility: the shoreline is easily walkable
Llyn Nantlle Uchaf to Snowdon
The crowds around Snowdon quickly thin out as you head west, and by the time you reach Llyn Nantlle Uchaf, you’ll hardly see another soul.
However, you will find one of the best views in Snowdonia, made famous by Richard Wilson’s 18th century painting, Snowdon and Llyn Nantlle, which is on display in the Walker Art Gallery in Snowdonia.
Llyn Nantlle is one of the most beautiful lakes in Snowdonia, and the view of the highest mountain in Wales is framed by the craggy mountains either side.
Accessibility: A short, flat walk from the B4418.
View From Snowdon Summit
Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa – is the highest point in southern Britain, at 1085 metres (3,560 feet) above sea level. On a clear day, the views are exceptional – I’ve seen places as far away as Holyhead Mountain, the Isle of Man, Cadair Idris and the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland. And I’ve also seen no further than my boots, when the murk has refused to shift.
I would urge anyone fit enough – and suitably equipped – to climb Snowdon, or take the Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit in season. It’s an amazing experience, but I have to say that I prefer views of the mountain rather than the views from it. The view east – over the lakes of Glaslyn, Llyn Llydaw and the Mymbyr Lakes is probably the best.
Best Views In Snowdonia – Ogwen Valley
The extraordinary Ogwen Valley has four of our 23 best views in Snowdonia – all within a 5-mile (8 km) stretch. It’s the starting point for some of the best hiking in Snowdonia, but some of the best views (see also Tryfan and Nant Ffrancon) are to be found on the valley floor.
The lake at the west end of the valley, Llyn Ogwen, is one of the most beautiful in Wales, with mountains on three sides. Pull over at one of the parking spaces along the road and climb down to the shore of the lake, which is a wonderful sight at any time of year.
Accessibility: a very short walk from the roadside
Cwm Idwal and Llyn Idwal
The route up from the Ogwen visitor centre close to the end of Llyn Ogwen lake, to the Devil’s Kitchen and the Glyderau is one of the best walks in Snowdonia. It skirts the glacial lake, Llyn Idwal, before ascending steeply towards the Devil’s Kitchen, a narrow gap in the cliffs, continuing to the summits of Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach or Y Garn.
One of the best views in Snowdonia is on the approach to the Devil’s Kitchen. From there you have a dramatic view of Llyn Idwal, with the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen, the first mountain of the Carneddau range, soaring behind. It’s one of the most dramatic landscapes in Wales, but be prepared for tricky mountain conditions.
Tryfan is regarded by many as the toughest of peaks in Snowdonia to crack, a steep rocky mass that makes even the most mountain-goat-like humans resort to scrambling on all fours several times. However, the best view of Tryfan is from next to the A5 road at the foot of the mountain.
As you approach from Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig, Tryfan rises almost sheer from the valley floor. One our favourite places to stop and admire it is from a lay-by close to the turn-off for the Gwern Gof Uchaf campsite. There is also a footpath across the road which gives you wider views from further away as you gently ascend.
Accessibility: the view is from the roadside.
Nant Ffrancon always gets geologists in a swoon, and it may well do the same for you too. It’s a classic example of U-shaped glaciated valley, formed partly by the river Ogwen as it meanders north to Bethesda and the sea.
The best place to see it is from the minor road that leads from the Idwal Cottage car park, and it’s also a splendid sight looking back up the valley from the A5, with the cliff faces of Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach high above.
Accessibility: A short walk from Idwal Cottage car park
Best Views In Snowdonia – Nantgwynant to Beddgelert
Llyn Gwynant is one of the most beautiful lakes in Wales, located in a deep glacial valley between the main Snowdon massif and the picturesque village of Beddgelert.
There is a popular viewpoint overlooking the valley, just off the A478 road that runs down to Beddgelert. The view from the roadside is wonderful, but if you climb the stile and walk 50 metres or so downhill an even better vista is revealed.
As you approach Gwynant lake, the peak of Yr Aran gradually becomes visible. There are several car parking spaces by the shore of the lake, where the view is also rather special.
Accessibility: Both viewpoints are next to the road
Llyn Dinas, Near Beddgelert
Llyn Dinas is one of the most picturesque Snowdonia lakes, and it’s named after the legendary Dinas Emrys, where two fighting dragons kept causing a fortress to collapse.
The lake is popular among photographers, especially for the glorious autumn colours on the surrounding trees. Several of my photographer friends from across the border in England would make the regular pilgrimage to try to capture these colours, especially on one of those elusive days when the water is perfectly still.
The viewpoints for autumn colours are on the south side of the lake. I’ve also been drawn to this lovely slate-roofed boathouse on the north shore of the lake, and the view south towards the Moelwyn mountain range. This one is far better in winter than summer, when the foliage will block most of the light.,
Accessibility: easy walking to both viewpoints from car park.
Beddgelert is one of the prettiest villages in North Wales, and beautiful views abound there. These range from mountain-top views of the village to looking cross the Afon Glaslyn as it flowes past the picturesque houses in the centre of the village to the view of the Aberglaslyn Gorge to miles south.
Our favourite Beddgelert view is of St Mary’s Church, seen here in spring with a meadow full of bright flowers in the foreground and the hillside behind covered in pink rhododendrons.
Best Views In Snowdonia – Around Cardigan Bay and Southern Snowdonia
Barmouth Bridge, Mawddach Estuary and Cadair Idris
Cadair Idris is the most prominent peak in southern Snowdonia, and from its summit you look north over the Mawddach, one of the most beautiful rivers in Wales. The Mawddach reaches the sea at Barmouth, and the estuary, traversed by a 19th century wooden railway bridge, is one of the most beautiful places in Wales.
One of the best things to do in Barmouth is to visit the small park overlooking the bridge and estuary to enjoy the breathtaking view. The scree-scoured face of Tyrau Mawr is visible from there, as it the summit of Cadair Idris, a few miles to the left and east.
There is a higher, more open vantage point on the fantastic Panorama Walk – from there you get great inland views to Cadair Idris, and back towards Barmouth Bridge and the Cardigan Bay coast.
Accessibility: the viewpoint in the town is a short walk from the town centre and Harbour. The Panorama Walk is a two-mile uphill drive and a moderate ten-minute hike from there.
The tiny village of Harlech grew up around the formidable Castle, the smallest but perhaps most dramatically sited of the Castles of Edward I in Gwynedd, which make up Wales’ first World Heritage Site.
The main Harlech Castle viewpoint is in a small park called the Graig (‘Rock’ in Welsh). It’s an incredible location, with the whole Snowdonia range as a backdrop, and wonderful Harlech Beach – one of the best Cardigan Bay beaches – and the Llyn Peninsula off to the left.
Accessibility: The viewpoint is a three or four-minute walk along the road from the main car park in the village.
Ynysypandy Slate Mill
The area around Cwm Ystradllyn, to the north of Porthmadog, is one of the least explored places in Snowdonia. Yet it’s worth the detour off the main A487 road to explore part of the new Welsh Slate Landscape World Heritage Site.
Before you reach the old Gorseddau Slate Quarry, you encounter the Ynysypandy Slate Mill, a stunning 19th century industrial cathedral, its roof and many arches open to the sky for a hundred years and more. As you approach along the minor road, the Slate Mill stands out below the stark slopes of Moel Hebog, one of the best peaks in Snowdonia.
Viewpoint accessibility: A short walk along the road from the car parking spaces.
The isolated hilltop church at Llandecwyn has one of the best views in Snowdonia at sunset, especially during the winter months.
The church is accessible by a steep, narrow minor road, and from there you have a great view over the Dwyryd estuary – especially attractive when all the shallow channels in the sand are exposed at low tide. You can also clearly see the Italianate village of Portmeirion from there, on the shore of the Dwyryd, and the bulk of Moel y Gest, the steep hill that looms above the nearby town of Porthmadog.
Accessibility: road to the church, then a short walk uphill
Best Views In Snowdonia – Around Betws-y-Coed And The Conwy Valley
B5113 Nebo Mountain Road
The B5113 road from Pentrefoelas, on the A5, north to the hamlet of Nebo, is one of several little-known Snowdonia backroads, but it offers up some of the best views in Snowdonia by car.
It runs along a high ridge above the Conwy Valley, with a view across the eastern flank of the Snowdonia ranges, from the jagged outline of Moel Siabod in the south to the remote fastnesses of the Carneddau to the north.
Much of the road runs through high pasture and farmland, with occasional parking spaces along the way and a large viewpoint just before you reach Nebo.
Accessibility: all views are from the roadside
Mynydd Garthmyn and Betws-y-Coed
The main A470 road runs below Mynydd Garthmyn, a mountain on the east side of the Conwy Valley overlooking the popular tourist village.
Relatively few visitors get to explore this scenic ridge, which has outstanding views. You get a superb view of Betws-y-Coed to your left, showing it in its woodland setting with some of the nearby Snowdonia peaks – including Moel Siabod and Tryfan – appearing above the steep hills of the Gwydyr Forest.
Continue a few hundred metres north until you reach an outcrop of rock with another of the best views in North Wales. From this vantage point you have a great view of the patchwork of well-watered green (courtesy of the rain) fields of the Conwy Valley, with the small town of Llanrwst just a few miles to the north.
Just don’t try driving up or down this road (towards Capel Garmon) in snow and ice – it is treacherous.
Accessibility: A 10-minute walk mostly along a level pathway from the car parking spaces.
Dolwyddelan Castle and Moel Siabod
Dolwyddelan is one of a few castles in Snowdonia National Park, its lone battlemented tower one of the most recognizable castles in North Wales. It is situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Lledr Valley and the main A470 road, but to find the best view of Dolwyddelan Castle you need to head across the valley and go for a short hike.
The advantage of moving further away from the Castle is that the dramatic mountain landscape behind opens up before you – you see none of this from the A470. Follow the track to the south of the river, and when you reach a house at the end, climb over the stile and head for the field to the left. You then see across the valley to Dolwyddelan Castle, dwarfed beneath the mass of Moel Siabod, the highest peak in this part of Snowdonia.
You also get to glimpse this view from the Conwy Valley Line train between Betws-y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Try to bag a window seat on the right as you travel south – or on the left as you travel north.
Accessibility: A 15-20 minute walk from the car park at Dolwyddelan station.
The riverside town of Conwy is one of the best places to visit in Snowdonia, and mighty Conwy Castle is the main attraction.
The best view of Conwy and the Castle is from across the Conwy river, from the footpath along the riverfront in Llandudno Junction. There are car parks – and spaces – close by, otherwise it’s a 5-minute walk from Llandudno Junction train station.
Accessibility: On foot, easy flat walking.
See Also: Things To Do In Conwy Wales
Best View Of Snowdonia – From Anglesey
Menai Bridge Anglesey
There are many great views of Snowdonia from outside the National Park, and the Isle of Anglesey is one of the best places from which you can enjoy them. The picturesque Menai Suspension Bridge – one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe by our reckoning – and the best place to enjoy the view is the large car park on the A5 road between the villages of Menai Bridge and Llanfair PG.
From this spot, you get to see the Bridge nestling into a magnificent scene, with the Carneddau range – among the highest peaks in Snowdonia, but also the least explored – rising high above them.
If you’re spending your holidays in Snowdonia, it’s only a short hop across the Menai Strait to Anglesey. The many Anglesey beaches are among the best beaches near Snowdonia, and you get great views back towards the mountains from the likes of Llanddwyn Island, Newborough Sands and Benllech beach.