To Snowdon from Caernarfon
From the tourist office in Caernarfon I got the timetable for the local buses leaving Caernarfon, which was good to have as I was making daytrips to other places in northern Wales. Buses in Caernarfon all leave from Penllyn in the town centre.
Buses to Llanberies leave Caernarfon about every half an hour during Monday - Saturday, and less frequent on Sundays. Some of these buses go to Victoria Terrace in the end of the village, from where the Llanberies trail up to Snowdon begins. A return ticket was £3.20 (February 2012) and the journey takes 20 minutes. Going back to Caernarfon I took the bus from the bus stop in the village. It is bus number 88/89 that runs between Caernarfon and Llanberis.
To Snowdon Ranger:
Bus S4 from Caernarfon passes Snowdon Ranger, where the Snowdon Ranger trail up to Snowdon begins. The buses are not very frequent. I took the bus at 8:45 in the morning and the next bus was not leaving until two hours later, at 10:45. A return ticket was £3.90 (March 2012) and the journey takes 20 minutes. The bus stops just by the hostel and car park.
- Budget Travel
For the hikers and climbers who want to start from penypas!Go there early if you want to park at the top,parking costs £2for half day and £4 for full day! if you dont get there early on a good day you will haveto park lower down the road (upto 3miles). There is a park and ride parking 3miles away,and the buses run regurarly from this parking upto penypas,although on bank hollidays they fill up quickly!
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
- National/State Park
Getting to and around Snowdonia
We visited Snowdonia one day during a long weekend in North Wales. We drove up from London, and it took us around 5 hours.
We decided to drive, as having a car is the easiest way to explore Wales. Although there is a train network and various bus routes, having a car made it quick and easy for us to get to those off the beaten track places without any problem. For the most part, we found the roads in Wales to be in excellent condition and well signposted.
Driving in Snowdonia was fabulous - amazing views to discover and good roads as well. At one stage we headed down a very narrow road for a few kilometres - it was a one lane road, with the occasional wider section if a car happens to be going in the other direction…though you or they may have to back up several hundred metres! Luckily we didn't meet any other cars on this road, and really enjoyed getting right off the main drag to explore the countryside.
If you don't have a car, or don't want to drive into the national park, why not try Snowdon Sherpa, which is a park-run group of local companies whose buses run on a series of routes throughout the park. You can buy a day ticket (for only a few pounds) and travel all over the park, stopping pretty much where ever you like.
You can also travel to some of Snowdonia's main towns by bus, via the Arriva network.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Getting around Snowdonia
Getting around Snowdonia in a car can be harrowing! Many roads are not wide enough for two cars to pass, and are guarded on either side by slate fences. So... if you encounter a car on one of these roads, one of you will have to back up!
How to Get There
Snowdonia is about 4.5 hours Northwest of London. One possible route would be as follows: Take the M40 from West London to Wolverhampton. From there, go West on the M54, which turns into the A5. The A5 will take you all the way through Snowdonia to Bangor.
After much uncertainty over the years, the Ffestiniog Railway has been given the job of resurrecting the 40 kms. long Welsh Highland Railway, which was a short-lived railway of the 1920/30's, but which actually involved the linking-together of two earlier railways - the Croesor Tramway (from Porthmadog) and the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railways (from Dinas Junction to Rhyd Ddu).
Once upon a time, a standard gauge railway linked the port of Pwllheli to the beautiful medieval town of Caernarfon. It ran through the Snowdon range via Rhyd-ddu, the narrow Aberglaslyn pass and the wild Beddgelert forest to Porthmadog. The engineers had done wonders to limit the number of tunnels and bridges in order to reduce building costs. Then came the days of cars and trucks and the track was removed. The Caernarfon station which was located at the foot of the castle was turned into a car park. Then members of the Festiniog Railway said that the whole line could be converted to narrow gauge like in Bala. Dreams sometimes come true in Wales! The car park was turned back into a railway station while a track was built to Dinas. The line is now slowly being rebuilt, mostly by volunteers towards Rhyd-ddu, where trains can now be taken (correct as of Nov 2002) and will ultimately be linked to Festiniog railway in Porthmadog.
Soon the splendours of Snowondia can once again be seen by narrow gauge railway and provide transport to lesser known routes of Snowdon. There has been opposition as it will cut through the Aberglasslyn pass - a popular hike trail - but there is no doubt it will benefit the tourist economy for Snowdonia.
The Easy Way Up Snowdon
If you feel you can't make the climb up Mt Snowdon, never fear, you can always board the Snowdon Mountain Railway which will whisk you to the top with no more effort than taking your wallet out of your pocket. You don't get the same satisfaction of knowing that you've climbed Snowdon, but at least you get the view, at a cost of £18.00 return ;-)
The train departs from Llanberis Station on the A4086.
This narrow gauge railway starts at Porthmadog and goes up to Blaenau Ffestiniog, the old miners town that makes a perfect base for a trip to the Llechwedd Slate Mine.
It's a very nice day trip from Porthmadog to the mines and back, but better start early, or you'll end up being stressed about getting the last train back or not...
You can also leave the train at some station on the way up or down and take a walk to the next station - the surrounding landscapes are certainly worth it! And the train ticket remains valid even if you leave the train and get back on again later.
Unfortunately it's not the cheapest way to spend your day. A return ticket costs 14/11.20 pounds... but you get repaid with beautiful views :o)