While not the most instantly attractive town in the area, Llanberis is a mecca for walkers and climbers, attracting a steady flow of rugged, polar fleece wearers year-round but especially in July and August when accommodation is at a premium. It's actually positioned just outside the national park but functions as a hub, partly because the Snowdon Mountain Railway leaves from here.
The town was originally built to house workers from the Dinorwig slate quarry; the massive waste tips are hard to miss. While tourism is the cornerstone of Llanberis life these days, the town proudly wears its industrial heritage on its sleeve. Dinorwig, which once boasted the largest artificial cavern in the world, has now become part of Europe's biggest pumped-storage power station. Some of the old quarry workshops have been reincarnated as a museum of the slate industry, and the narrow-gauge railway that once hauled slate to the coast now transports excited toddlers along Llyn Padarn.