Barmouth is situated in the county of Gwynedd, West Wales. The harbour town is located at the mouth of the estuary of the River Mawddach, in Cardigan Bay on the west coast of Wales. Barmouth is in the south of the Snowdonia National Park and it is a truly beautiful location.
Originally a fishing village renowned for its boat building, the town of Barmouth has been a popular seaside resort for many years. The older houses cling to the side of the rocky hill that shelters Barmouth from the north, while the more recent buildings are huddled together between the beach and the rocky hillside.
There is no shortage of pubs and restaurants; the harbour front is a particularly popular spot for al-fresco refreshments and seafood fayre. Moreover, the children are well catered for by the Fun Fair on the promenade.
Whether you want a fun seaside family holiday, or a relaxing harbour town to chill out, Barmouth has it all.
The beach at Barmouth has a wide expanse of sand that never seems to be overcrowded even at the peak of the season. Whether you want a quiet spot to relax or like to play fun and games with all the family there is enough room on Barmouth beach for everybody. If your children like crabbing they will love Barmouth. From the town harbour to the end of the harbour wall there is always a bunch of kids (some older than others) dropping a line into the clear blue sea and comparing catches before dropping the clawed crustaceans back into Davey Jones' domain. The second most popular tourist occupation on Barmouth harbour is buying a proper bag of Fish and Chips from the local Chippie and watching the crabbers crabbing.
Walks, Cycle Trails and Other Activities
For the more energetic Barmouth is full of opportunities for activity holidays. There is an abundance of walks in and around the town. Walk through the Old Town climbing
the steps to the top of Dinas Olau for spectacular views of Cardigan Bay and the Mawddach Estuary along the Panorama Walk.
Alternatively, take the walk to Penmaenpool; cross the Barmouth Bridge to Morfa Mawddach station and follow the former railway track along the riverbank to Penmaenpool. Revel in the delights of the spectacular Mawddach estuary and if bird watching is your thing then you have the added bonus of the wide variety of bird life including waders and waterfowl and other wild life on the edge of the Afon Mawddach. Indeed the famous Victorian John Ruskin said that there is "no better walk than from Barmouth through to Dolgellau other than from Dolgellau to Barmouth" and I have to agree, the views of the Snowdonia Mountains sweeping down to the Mawddach estuary are phenomenal.
Another of my favourite Welsh walks starts a few miles north of Barmouth at Llanbedr. From here, a narrow road winds up into the hills following the rushing Afon Artro through some outstanding scenery to Llyn (Lake) Cwm Bychan. Beyond the lake are the Roman Steps, part of an ancient packhorse trail that traverses the Rhinog mountains en-route to Trawsfynydd.
Cycling and Mountain Biking holidays are becoming ever more popular and Barmouth's position on route 8 of the National Cycle Network 'Lon Las Cymru' augers well for it's future as a "hub" in the Welsh cycle network. The 18-mile return journey from Barmouth to Dolgellau must be one of the most spectacular in Wales. The cycle trail shares the route with the afore mentioned Barmouth to Dolgellau Walk and necessitates crossing the Barmouth Bridge and following the redundant railway track on a traffic free route as far as Dolgellau.
If you prefer rough cycling then get on your Mountain Bike and head a few miles inland to the Coed y Brenin Forest. Here an ever-increasing network of mountain bike trails has been developed into a world famous centre of excellence for Mountain Bikers. There is a restaurant and cycle shop (sales, repair, and hire) on the site and information on the many forest trails is to be found at the Visitor Centre.
Bikes are also available for hire in Barmouth at the Birmingham Garage on the edge of the town, close to the bridge.
Anglers in Barmouth are well catered for with a choice of fishing from the beach,
the harbour wall, or the harbour breakwater. Others take the regular Sea Fishing Trips that depart daily from the town harbour ....weather permitting. Freshwater anglers need to contact the Dolgellau Angling Association for information on fishing the Mawddach for Salmon and Sea Trout.
Driving Routes - Directions
If you choose to take the car and venture further afield I can honestly say that whichever way you travel you will find some of the best scenery in the United Kingdom.
Here are a few routes to consider:
Head north toward Harlech with its medieval castle, and the coastline is one long stretch of golden sands. Many of the beaches including Harlech, Dyffryn Ardudwy and Shell Island have massive sand dunes as a glorious backdrop. If you wish to travel slightly further afield then continue on past Harlech toward the beautiful Llyn Peninsula ...again fantastic beaches, ancient castles, and rolling countryside.
Venture east along the Mawddach estuary toward Dolgellau and you then have the option of turning north into the heart of the Snowdonia National Park passing Trawsfynydd Lake and on toward Blaenau Ffestiniog and its dramatic mountains of slate. From here you may take the road down the beautiful Lledr Valley to Betws-y-Coed. From Betws the return journey can be via Capel Curig, Llyn Gwynant (another beautiful valley at the foot of Snowdon) the picturesque village of Beddgelert and down the Aberglaslyn Pass returning to Barmouth via Harlech and Dyffryn Ardudwy.
Another option is to head south from Dolgellau and take the inland route toward Machynlleth. An eclectic mix of local Welsh folk, ageing hippies and eco friendly incomers, populates the town of Machynlleth. The town is well worth a visit, especially on Market Day ...but don't forget your umbrella !
For the return journey from Machynlleth there is a beautiful drive along the Dyfi Valley to Aberdyfi, itself a fine seaside resort and harbour. The views in the Dyfi Estuary are only matched by the views of the Mawddach Estuary.
From Aberdyfi continue north up the coast to Tywyn and then take another scenic route by heading inland via the Dysynni Valley to Castell-y-Bere, Abergynolwyn, and Llyn Talyllyn (one of the most beautiful lakes in Wales). Continue past the lake via the foothills of Cader Idris and return via Dolgellau to the Mawddach Estuary and Barmouth.
The church of St Bodfan's, more popularly known as St. Mary's at Llanaber is located 2 miles north of Barmouth and is well worth a visit. Bodfan, a Celtic Saint in the 6th century, probably built the first church on this site. The present church dates from the early 13th century and is generally recognised as the finest 13th-century church in Gwynedd. It was built by Hywel ap Gruffudd ap Cynan, a great grandson of Owain Gwynedd. The church houses the Llanaber stones dating from the late 5th-early 6th century AD.