I'm sure lots of you have been to Wales as a kid, I know we had some family in Anglesey and I remember a few trips with school, and later camping with friends. I've been so many times, yet never once appreciated Wales quite the way I did this time.
We've been working so hard. We wanted a no-hassle sunny break somewhere cheap, just to get away for a week really and unwind. We worked so hard we left it too late, nothing was available that suited us, we couldn't organise somewhere for our dog and it just got to the point where we had to escape.
So we escaped less than 200km to Snowdonia National Park, and it turned out to be exactly the break we needed! We spent all week roaming around either on the endless stretches of sandy beaches or up in the stunning mountains ranges.
I've highlighted a few 'must-do's as I've had lots of comments and love on instagram on all the photos. We stayed in a secluded Airbnb cottage just outside the pretty seaside town of Barmouth.
Benar Beach and Harlech Beach
Ro and I had a great time rolling around, chasing each other and falling over in the sand dunes that surround the endless beach round there. Worth remembering that dogs are only welcome October - April. We were so lucky with the weather, in the whole week we didn't get any rain and it was blue skies most days, albeit no more than a few degrees temperature wise!
Harlech is a quiet little hillside town that boasts a lovely castle that's only £6.50 entry. You can walk all the way around the castle and go up in the turrets too. There are also some great scenic little picnic spots (like the one below) where you get a good view of the castle and town too. There's a few pubs, a pharmacy, a coffee shop and some antique shops in the village to explore.
Barely a 10 minute drive from the cottage we spotted a sign for waterfalls and after we fell in love with New Zealand as much as we did we thought we better check them out. There wasn't another soul around on the adjoining campsite at Nantcol but probably only because it was February. We climbed a steep hill only to reveal huge rushing waterfalls that you can get right down to and explore to take pictures.
Further up the river is another much broader set of waterfalls that you can also get right up amongst. We were out walking this area for around two hours, it's mostly flat once you've done the initial climb and the views of Snowdonia are stunning.
Driving north from our spot on the coast we crossed Llanberis Pass and Pen y Pass and the scenery is absolutely stunning as it runs between the mountains of Glyderau and the Snowden Massif. The peak second in from the left (below) is Snowden at 1,085m.
Following Llanberis Pass around to the left and down to Lake Ogwen you can access the tallest single drop waterfall in Wales at 80ft. The Devil's Appendix waterfall was actually completely frozen the day we went but the walk around the glacial lake up there was simply stunning as you can see from the pictures below! We will certainly be back when it's a little less icy for some some more adventures.
We also visited Shell Island which was surreal as it was completely deserted but a great walk anyway. We walked around many lakes and explored Barmouth a few times, would highly recommend Ebenezer's Cafe Chapel and Emporium for a dog friendly pit-stop. We did an 18 mile walk from the cottage over Barmouth Bridge to Arthog and down into Fairebourne and back on the first day which definitely set up up for an active week to blow off the cobwebs and get back to nature.