Before the invention of the modern camera, Snowdonia was a magnet for artists whose works now adorn the walls of art galleries all over the world. Turner, who was a regular visitor, relished the drama of the stormy, changeable Welsh weather and the unique light effects this produced.
Fast forward to today, and it’s no surprise that photographers travel far and wide to visit the area. With dramatic landscapes and breathtaking scenes of natural beauty, North Wales almost begs to be photographed.
So whether you’ve just bought your first DSLR, you’re a seasoned photographer, or you’re just looking for a few snaps to impress your Instagram friends, we’ve picked out some of our favourite photography areas in and around Snowdonia.
It might seem like an obvious choice, but there’s simply no beating the peak of Snowdon in terms of landscape photography. This is a place carved out by giant glaciers during the Ice Age – dramatic is an understatement!
Yes, it might be a bit of a climb – but there’s no need to wait until you reach the top to get snapping. You’ll find awesome photography spots hidden around every corner as soon as you begin the trek. A hike to the 1,085m summit is well worth it, though, with a view of miles upon miles of the National Park’s stunning scenery – it’d be a crime not to take a picture.
Llanberis & Dolbadarn Castle
This thriving little community happens to be right on our doorstep and is a great place to take some photographs. Take a walk through the hotel grounds to the imposing Dolbadarn Castle, which in itself is pretty photogenic, with a beautiful backdrop of the twin lakes Padarn and Peris.
It’s only a short drive to the very top of the Llyn Padarn – probably one of most photographed spots in North Wales – looking straight down towards the incredible Snowdon. This spot is the popular subject of those iconic ‘Lonely Tree’ images you’ve, no doubt, seen before. No matter the weather, it’s the ultimate dramatic scene for photographers.
Hop onto the A5, north of Snowdon, and you’ll find yourself driving through the stunning Ogwen Valley. At all times of the year, it’s a truly spectacular scene and offers some wonderful photo opportunities but when the weather is on your side, it’s probably one of the most beautiful places in the world.
As you walk through a cascade of rushing waterfalls towards Llyn Ogwen, your camera will be in for a treat. It’s well worth taking a walk up to Llyn Idwal, too. Though it’s a pretty steep walk, it boasts some of the most dramatic scenery in North Wales.
A well-known tourist hot-spot, the quaint village of Betws-y-Coed was home to Britain’s first colony of artists, and the village itself is teeming with photo ops. Take in the wild waters which run beneath the famous Pont-y-Pair bridge into a deep, clear pool. From there, paths will take you into the local woodland, where the wild, natural scenes create a beautiful snapshot.
Just outside the village you’ll find Swallow Falls but, be warned, those with an artistic eye might find themselves lingering here for hours! It’s easy to lose track of time whilst experimenting with slow shutter speeds to get that perfect shot of the silky movement of the Afon Llugwy.
Before you leave, take a trip to Llyn Elsi. Nestled above the village, the vibrant colours which reflect on the still waters make for stunning seasonal photographs. Plus, at 700 ft, the path up to the lake has incredible views over to the Carneddau and Glyderau mountains.
Don’t miss the chance to linger on the shores of Llyn Gwynant in Nant Gwynant, taking in the splendour of the surrounding scenery which has featured in several Hollywood films. There are loads of places along the A498 to get some impressive shots.
The valley is a hotspot for photographers, with a crescendo of colours all year round – vibrant reds in the autumn, lively green come spring, and splatters of snow in the colder months, which reflect beautifully into the lakes.
A different kind of scene, although equally photogenic, is Portmeirion – a quaint Welsh village with a splash of Italian Riviera. The brightly coloured buildings paired with the blue-grey waters of Dwyryd Estuary, along with its perfect gardens and woodland, makes the village an Instagrammers dream – it’s almost like being in a fairytale!
That brings us to the end of our pick of the best photography spots in Snowdonia – though we could go on and on. The entire area is so beautiful that you’ll probably come across a photography spot every few minutes – you might want to pack a few extra memory cards!
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