Dolgellau lies in a valley on the southern part of Snowdonia National Park. Its location at the head of the magnificent Mawddach Estuary offers the perfect opportunity to discover the coastline. Dominated by the beautiful peak of Cadair Idris, it has more to offer than a stunning backdrop of mountains and spectacular scenery, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area. Dolgellau has over 200 listed stone buildings making it architecturally interesting, and the town is steeped in history from Celtic to Roman.
Fairbourne and Barmouth beaches are both approximately 10 minutes by car. If you like fairly long walks (or cycle rides) you can walk or cycle along the Mawddach trail. The Mawddach trail is an extremely pleasant, well marked walk on a fine day some of it open and some of it under tree cover and with numerous picnic benches interspersed along the way providing natural stop off points all with fine views over the Afon Mawddach. Download walking routes here.
Places of interest
Zip World Europes longest zipwires, underground trampolining, forest rollercoaster. What’s not to like! Zip World.
Harlech Castle Cadw.gov.wales
Portmeirion Italianate village created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis. A riot of colour. Lovely coastal walks. Portmeirion-village.com
Betws y Coed a fantastic small town in the Conwy Valley, which has a fascinating history, beautiful waterfalls and outdoor shops, gift shops and cafes. Well worth a visit. For more information visit Betws-y-Coed.com
Machynlleth a lovely vibrant market town with a lot of interesting history, an eclectic mix of shops and great cafe’s. For more information about Machynlleth visit Machynlleth.net
Mach Loop a set of valleys locally which are part of an aircraft tactical training area and are regularly used for low level flight training. There are lots of good vantage points locally for excellent aeroplane displays machloop.co.uk
Places to eat
The Cross Foxes Dolgellau great for daytime or evening meals. Also child friendly and dog friendly. Advisable to book on Bank Holidays.
George III Penmaenpool a lovely pub right next to the Mawddach and near the wooden toll bridge at Penmaenpool. A great stop off point if you are walking the Mawddach Trail. Child friendly, dog friendly, and with stunning views.
Indiana restaurant in Fairbourne. Fantastic indian restaurant which also does take away food. Highly recommended.
The Mawddach restaurant in Llanelltyd. Fine dining restaurant, great food and great service. An excellent choice for a treat or special occasion. Booking advisable.
The Mawddach trail is popular for walking and cycling alike. It is a very scenic and well surfaced path which is bike and pushchair friendly. You can walk the trail in one direction to Penmaenpool where you can stop for refreshments at the George III pub by the river and then carry a on bit further to Dolgellau. In the opposite direction you can head to Barmouth or Fairbourne and explore the coast and the lovely beaches. Download walking routes here
Coed y Brenin is a huge expanse of forest near Ganllwyd along the A470 just outside Dolgellau. If you like mountain biking this is the place to be! There are lots of different routes depending on your skill/thrill factor. It is just as highly recommended for walking and there are numerous fantastic walking routes of varying lengths, some strenuous some not, that take in waterfalls and gold mines and can be done from the visitor centre and cafe. There is also a bike shop and shower facilities on site. There is a small childrens playground and a short 45 minute animal puzzle trail for children. Plenty of great picnic spots too.
Cadair Idris Download routes here.
The Precipice Walk. A moderate walk starting from the Snowdonia National Park carpark near Llanelltyd with outstanding views accross the Mawddach estuary from the ‘precipice’ along the side of Foel Ispri. The walk takes in an old industrial tramway, lake and woodlands. Some uphill stretches, reasonable level of fitness required. Download walking route here.
The Torrent Walk. A popular short walk starting from Brithdir which takes the route of a path close to the river. An easy walk with no particularly steep sections. Rocky in places with some sections of steps to navigate. Download walking route here.
Exploring the Rhinogydd. The Rhinog mountain range forms the distinctive ridge which can be seen to the left of the A470 when you emerge from the forest above Ganllwyd travelling north. The Rhinogydd make up one of the wildest most remote areas of Snowdonia with spectacular scenery. There are many routes over these remote peaks from places like Bronaber and Trawsfynydd. Weather conditions can change rapidly so please keep a weather eye on the horizon and be appropriately equipped for what is hard, remote and challenging terrain. Check out routes here.
Trawslake, Trawsfynydd. You can do some excellent walks from Trawslake anything from a leisurely stroll on the paths near the lake itself, to a full on exploration of the Rhinog mountain range! Trawslake has a great cafe.