For many people who stay in holiday cottages, Betws-y-Coed is Snowdonia. This Victorian resort, with its forest, rushing waterfalls and cast iron bridges is undeniably the hub of tourist activity in this playground for the outdoor enthusiast. Nestling in woodland along one side of the river Conwy, Betws-y-Coed marks the eastern gateway to the Snowdonia National Park and, packed with outdoor and hire shops, a smattering of pubs, restaurants, shops, a railway station and many pleasant walks, the village and surrounding areas make it an extremely popular place to enjoy a holiday cottage stay.
Mountain bikers are drawn to Betws-y-Coed to tackle the single-track Marin trail through the Gwydyr forest. Walkers of all abilities will find it an ideal base, with Snowdon and the Glyders just a short drive away – plenty of big climbs and full day rambles right on the doorstep. For those preferring gentler trails, there are many hikes in the Gwydyr forest and the hills surrounding the town.
A short loop around Swallow Falls, a crashing waterfall between Betws-y-Coed and neighbouring Capel Curig, makes a lovely introduction to the walking opportunities and a pleasant picnic spot. Start at the curious Ugly House, on the A5, stopping to see this famous cottage, reputedly built overnight. The Conwy Falls off the Pentrefoelas road are also on the visitor checklist, as is the picturesque Fairy Glen, located just off the A470, where the Conwy flows through a narrow river gorge. Nearby, the Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre at Capel Curig offers white water rafting, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking on the Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris lakes and a host of other outdoor pursuits, including dry-slope skiing. Pony trekking can be arranged locally, whilst climbing in the Ogwen Valley and Llanberis Pass caters for all abilities. Golfers can tackle the nine holes at Betws-y-Coed’s golf club, which is open to non-members.
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