Introducing North Wales
North Wales is a magical mix of medieval heritage and outstanding natural beauty, where you're never far from golden beaches or soaring summits. Hikers, climbers, cyclists and all manner of adrenaline junkies flock here from miles around. Snowdonia National Park is the crowning glory. Here, the highest peaks in Wales and England jut magnificently to the heavens - all too often set against moody, overcast skies. The Rivers Treweryn and Dee provide invigorating rafting and canoeing, while the less energetic can ride some of Britain's most scenic railways, of which the Ffestiniog and Cambrian Coast lines are the finest.
History hounds will love the otherworldly charms of the formidable castles at Caernarfon, Conwy, Harlech and Beaumaris, and the wonderfully over-elaborate Portmeirion, an Italianate village in a romantic seaside setting.
The northern coast is best known for the Victorian splendour of Llandudno, a classical British resort town. To the east, the impeccable Erddig country house and bustling town of Llangollen, with its International Eisteddfod, vie for attention with the spectacular mountains of the west.
To the northwest lies the most ardent Welsh-speaking area of the country. The mountains that hypnotise today's walkers and rock climbers also defied the marauding English invaders of the 15th century, and the spirit remains even among the modern-day youth. The Llyn Peninsula, wild, rocky and less frequented, remains particularly proud.
The Isle of Anglesey has a greater concentration of prehistoric sites than anywhere else in Wales, although most visitors whizz through to Holyhead for the ferry to Ireland. Stop a while and you'll find that the soft, rolling hills and craggy sea cliffs have a charm all their own.
Orientation & Information
The breathtaking Snowdonia mountains dominate this part of Wales. Containing the highest British peaks outside Scotland, they are the focus of the large Snowdonia National Park, which extends virtually from the north coast almost as far south as Machynlleth. Anglesey lies offshore to the northwest and the Llyn Peninsula points west out to sea.
All major towns have tourist offices, with those in Snowdonia and the main coastal resorts being particularly well informed.
Gwynedd, the most northwesterly county, is a heartland of Welsh nationalism where around 70% of people use the mother tongue.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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