How to plan your walking holiday in North Wales

Our region is home to some of the UK's most spectacular scenery, and there are countless routes to explore. In this guide, we'll share our top tips for planning a walking holiday.

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If you're planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia, you're in for a treat. This stunning region of North Wales is home to some of the UK's most spectacular scenery, and there are countless walking routes to explore. Using a hotel in Snowdonia, like the Royal Victoria Hotel, for your base you'll be well-placed to enjoy some of the region's finest walking trails.

In this guide, we'll share our top tips for planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia. We've also chosen three of our favourites routes for you to try: cloud-topping Snowdon; the heritage-rich Snowdonia Slate Trail; and the Lon Las Ogwen, taking you from coast to countryside.

Planning your itinerary

When planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia, it's important to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your time in the region. This means taking into account your fitness level, the length and difficulty of your chosen walks, and any additional activities or attractions you want to visit.

It's also important to build in time for rest and relaxation, and to allow for any unexpected delays or changes in the weather. This can help to ensure that your walking holiday is enjoyable and stress-free.

Planning your accommodation & transport

Once you've chosen your walking routes, it's important to plan your accommodation. There are a range of options to choose from, including hotels, B&Bs, campsites and self-catering accommodation.

We think a hotel makes a great choice as a base for your walking holiday as you can forget about the day-to-day tasks of keeping self-catering property clean and tidy. The hotel will take care of the cleaning and, if you wish, all your meals (unlike a B&B which only provides breakfast), leaving you more time to enjoy the mountains - after all, that's why you're here!

There are a number of hotels near Llanberis, the starting point for many of the routes up Wales's most famous mountain. Llanberis is also well-placed for the other walking routes mentioned in this blog, being just short drive by car and on the main public transport routes which criss-cross the National Park.

In Llanberis itself, you'll find several Pay & Display public car parks. However, guests staying at the Royal Victoria benefit from free 24 hour parking in our extensive private car park. This is great if you're planning to walk up Snowdon as our hotel is just across the road from the the start of the Snowdon Path.

You can also join the Snowdonia Slate Trail at Llanberis. This 83-mile route guides walkers through the heart of Snowdonia, taking in some of the region's most historic landmarks. It can be done from start to finish or in stages; we recommend Stages 1-6 for visitors staying near Llanberis. You can find more route information here. Of course, you don't need to walk there and back to enjoy the Slate Trail! Use the Traveline Cymru app to plan your journey along the Slate Trail by public transport.

If you're planning to walk the Lon Las Ogwen, there are regular bus services from both Bangor and Llanberis. Alternatively, you could consider hiring a bike to cycle the route, or arranging a taxi for the return journey.

It's important to check the bus timetables and plan your journey in advance, as services can be infrequent during off-peak times.

Packing your walking gear

When planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia, it's important to pack the right gear. The weather can be unpredictable, so it's important to be prepared for all eventualities.

Some of the essential items to pack include waterproof clothing, sturdy walking boots, a map and compass, and plenty of water and high-energy snacks. It's also a good idea to pack a first aid kit, a whistle, and a mobile phone with a fully-charged battery.

For a comprehensive guide to what to pack in your rucksack for a day in the mountains, read our blog here.

Choosing your walking route

The next step in planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia is to choose your walking routes. There are countless options to choose from, ranging from gentle strolls through picturesque villages to challenging hikes up mountains.

For those who want to climb Snowdon, there are a number of routes to choose from, ranging from the gentle Llanberis Path to the more challenging PYG Track. It's important to choose a route that's suitable for your fitness level and experience, and to be prepared for changing weather conditions. For more information on the popular routes up Snowdon, read our blog here or if you fancy making your ascent off the beaten track, click here.

One of the most popular routes is the Snowdonia Slate Trail, which is a 83-mile circular route that takes you through some of the region's most picturesque villages and historic slate quarries. This route is ideal for walkers who want to explore Snowdonia's cultural heritage, as well as its stunning scenery.

The Lon Las Ogwen (Ogwen Trail) is another popular route which takes walkers from the university city of Bangor on the coast to Llanberis at the foot of Snowdon. Along the way you'll pass through some of Snowdonia's most scenic landscapes. This route is suitable for walkers of all abilities, and it's a great way to explore the natural beauty of Snowdonia. It's a fairly low-level route which also makes it popular with cyclists, if you fancy doing the trail on two wheels rather than two feet, why not consider hiring a bike for the day? Llanberis Bike Hire in Llanberis and Beics Ogwen in Bethesda have a range of cycles and e-bikes to suit all abilities and ages.

Staying safe on your walks

When planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia, it's important to stay safe while out on your walks. This means being prepared for changing weather conditions, taking care on uneven terrain, and staying hydrated and well-fed.

It's also important to let someone know your planned route and expected return time, and to carry a map and compass so that you can navigate if necessary. If you're not confident in your navigation skills, consider joining a guided walk or taking a navigation course before your trip.

In addition, it's important to respect the natural environment and follow the Countryside Code. This means taking your litter home with you, sticking to designated paths, and avoiding disturbing wildlife.

Other activities to enjoy

While walking is the main attraction in Snowdonia, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy during your stay. These include cycling, horse riding, and water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

For those who want to take in the stunning scenery from a different perspective, there are a number of scenic train rides in Snowdonia, including the Snowdon Mountain Railway and the Welsh Highland Railway.

In addition, there are a number of historic sites and cultural attractions to explore, such as the National Slate Museum and the Caernarfon Castle.

Of course, no visit to Wales is complete without the opportunity to sample some of our wonderful Welsh food and drink! After a long day in the mountains, there's nothing nicer than sitting down to a delicious meal with friends and family. The Padarn Restaurant is an AA Rosette award-winning restaurant in Llanberis, located in The Royal Victoria Hotel. Using the finest local and seasonal produce, our chefs create menus which showcase the best Welsh food all year round. If you fancy something a bit less formal, pop in for a pint and a bar meal at our Eryri Bar & Lounge where a warm, Welsh welcome awaits you!

In conclusion, planning a walking holiday in Snowdonia can be a wonderful way to explore this stunning region of North Wales. By choosing the right walking routes, planning your accommodation and transport, and packing the right gear, you can make the most of your time in Snowdonia and enjoy all that this beautiful area has to offer.