Abersoch comes alive in summer with a 30,000-person influx of boaties, surfers and beach bums. Edged by gentle blue-green hills, the town's main attraction is its beach, one of the most popular on the peninsula. Surfers head further south for the Atlantic swell at Porth Neigwl (Hell's Mouth) and Porth Ceiriad.
Aberdaron is an ends-of-the-earth kind of place with whitewashed, windswept houses contemplating the sands of Aberdaron Bay. It was traditionally the last resting spot before pilgrims made the treacherous crossing to Bardsey Island. The little Gwylan Islands, just offshore, are North Wales' most important puffin-breeding site.
The peninsula's main market town and public-transport hub, Pwllheli (poolth-heh-lee; meaning 'Salt-Water Pool') has a long sandy beach (blue-flagged Marian y De), a busy marina and a staunchly Welsh population. It's also home to an unusual colony of herons that has chosen to nest in willows near the town centre; look for them from Cardiff Rd.
Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli)
This mysterious island, 2 miles long and 2 miles off the tip of the Llŷn, is a magical place. In fact, it's one of many candidates for the Isle of Avalon from the Arthurian legends. It's said that the wizard Merlin still sleeps in a glass castle somewhere on the island.
This genteel slow-moving seaside town sits above a sweep of sand-and-stone beach, 5 miles west of Porthmadog. Its main claim to fame is ruined Criccieth Castle, perched up on the clifftop and offering views stretching along the peninsula's southern coast and across Tremadog Bay to Harlech.
The main attraction of this seaside village is the excellent Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, featuring a lively collection of work by contemporary Welsh artists, all of which is available for purchase. The gallery is worth visiting just to gape at the flamboyant Victorian Gothic mansion it's housed in, with its flashy exposed beams and stained glass.
The village of Nant Gwrtheyrn was built for quarry workers in the 19th century, when granite was dug out of the surrounding mountains and shipped to Liverpool, Manchester and elsewhere to be used in building roads. The quarries closed after WWII and the village was gradually abandoned.
One of the main pit-stops on the Bardsey pilgrimage, the ancient hospice church St Beuno's sits peacefully in the middle of its oval churchyard below the village of Pistyll. St Beuno (died 640) was to North Wales what St David was to the south of the country (another St Beuno's Church is further up the coast at Clynnog Fawr, where his religious community was based).