Barns near Dolgellau with campfires

Mountains, emerald valleys, and sandy coastline: Dolgellau is Southern Snowdonia’s loveliest outdoor adventure base.

100% (9 reviews)
100% (9 reviews)

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Barns near Dolgellau with campfires guide

Overview

Probably the best base for exploring Southern Snowdonia, Dolgellau (pronounced doll-geth-lie) is a handsome grey stone town bunched below the slopes of the region’s main mountain, Cadair Idris, in a labyrinth of twisting streets. It’s a Mecca for outdoors-lovers who come for the nearby hiking, with trails like the long-distance Cambrian Way and Cross-Britain Way passing by, as well as climbing, white-water rafting and horse-riding. Even the famously sandy Snowdonia coast is close enough to enjoy on a day out. Of the campsites near town, expect to find level, grassy pitches, plus glamping and caravan hookups.

Where to go

Cadair Idris

Cadair Idris, Southern Snowdonia’s highest peak, rears up above Dolgellau in a flurry of grassy moorland, rocky outcrops and lonesome tarns, and should be on any Dolgellau-bound adventurer’s radar for its superb hiking and wild swimming. A ravishing mountain road climbs west from town along the northern side of the mountain, where small farm campsites are scattered around the foothills’ pastureland. There’s also camping near Minffordd on the southern mountainside.

River Mawddach

An unexpected nirvana for campers, the Mawddach is prime pitching territory from the sandy-rimmed estuary at Barmouth all the way up past Dolgellau north to ruined mediaeval Cymer Abbey. Campsites can be found near the river mouth and along the water upriver. The Mawddach Trail and the wild Cambrian Way headline the hiking possibilities.

Barmouth & Around

The big beach town in Southern Snowdonia, Barmouth is a likeable place (a resort with a small “r”) and its pristine sandy shores stretch northwest in a near-unbroken line for about 15 kilometres. While hiking is never far away and hardcore long-distance hike the Cambrian Way trundles through, there is more emphasis here on beach activities like swimming, yachting and kayaking. Most campsites fan out northwest along the coast towards Tal-y-bont.

Dinas Mawddwy & Around

In the extreme, emerald-hued south of Snowdonia, the switch from jagged, dramatic mountainside down into lower, greener Mid Wales hills is astonishingly beautiful – and amenity-rich village Dinas Mawddwy looks out on the lovely scene. Hiking is excellent, with a little-tramped back route onto Cadair Idris from here, and there is lush camping between Dinas Mawddwy and Mallwyd.

When to go

Weather stays wilder and colder here for longer and you will feel the benefits of making camp between May and September when the warmer weather comes. July and August are the hottest months—but also the busier ones. July has the edge in Dolgellau for hosting renowned folksy world music festival Sesiwn Fawr. Rainstorms regularly sweep over the mountains into Dolgellau and surroundings, meaning even summer can be a washout.

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