Betws-y-Coed City Guide

Betws –y-Coed literally means ‘the prayer house in the woods’ and this pretty village certainly offers those who seek to be surrounded by natural beauty of an almost mystical grandeur exactly what they are looking for. The village is better known as ‘the gateway to Snowdonia’ and it certainly offers a triumphant introduction to the joys to come.

Since Victorian times the village has been the most popular inland resort of Wales, thanks to its adoption by painters enamoured of the beautiful surroundings. The railways heightened its popular appeal and today tourists and holiday makers easily outnumber locals, and it seems that one in every two buildings is a charming hotel or welcoming guesthouse. Yet this hasn’t in any ways diminished the charms of BYC, as you may hear it referred to. It still has that rare ability to truly inspire.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay that has an almost Alpine then the small but busy stone village of Betws-y-Coed has many reasons to command your attention. Its picture postcard beauty is reflected in the river that drifts through it, and the rich verdant greens of the Gwydyr Forest provide the ideal backdrop. Walk just outside the village and you’ll reach the dramatic confluence of three rivers and their respective valleys:  the Llugwy, the Conwy and the Lledr.

Rivers and Bridges

One of the many joys of visiting Betws-y-Coed is to wander lazily along the paths of the meandering rivers and to marvel at the grandiose bridges that span them. Crossing the bridges is like connecting with the history of the area: the 32 metre Waterloo Bridge was constructed from iron in the year of the famous battle (1815), whilst the nearby Sapper’s Bridge commemorates engineers of more recent wars. The 15th Century stone bridge Pont-y-Pair means ‘bridge of the cauldron’ and spans the rapids of the Llugwy. A mile downstream Miner’s Bridge celebrates the strong historical influence that mining has played in this area.

Outdoor Activities

Fringed by forest, and with the Snowdonia National Park beckoning in the background, this is an outdoor lover’s paradise.  The picturesque Llyn Elsi reservoir nearby is popular with both walkers and anglers, whilst hillwalking is in plentiful supply in an area that boasts magnificent mountainous terrain. The highest peak nearby, which is also the highest point in England and Wales, is Snowdon at 3,560 feet, but there are 13 other peaks that top 3,000 feet to set your sights on too.

Mountain biking, rock climbing, zip-lining, tree-top trails, power-boating, abseiling, abandoned mine exploring and many other exhilarating pursuits are all available nearby for the thrill seekers, whilst golf, pony treks and canoeing provide slightly gentler alternatives.

For Families

There’s plenty for the kids too in and around Betws-y-Coed. The famous train up Snowdonia is a child-friendly way to conquer the mountain, Castle Conwy is just one of many atmospheric ruins to fire their imagination, kid’s outdoor activities abound in the 17 magical acres of GreenWood Forest Park, and the Welsh Mountain Zoo excites and educates in equal measures.

Visit Betws-y-Coed

Betws-y-Coed is more than the gateway to Snowdonia. It’s the gateway to a perfect holiday, full stop.


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