Betws-y-Coed – The Gateway to Snowdonia

 In News and Media, Snowdonia Challenge

Betws-y-Coed – Snowdonia

Situated where the A5 crosses the A470 Betws-y-Coed is known as the Gateway to Snowdonia. It’s surrounded on all sides by forests and it’s name actually translates at ‘Sanctuary in the Forest’.

It’s the perfect base for walkers, cyclists and mountain bikers but also a great place to just relax! 

There are 3 rivers surrounding the village. Conwy, Lledr and Llugwy. Fairy Glen gorge is where the Conwy and the Lledr meet and if you take a walk round Betws-y-Coed golf course you will see the place where the Conwy then meets the Llugwy.

There’s a fantastic history behind how the village became so popular. Unfortunately the best link I could find was this one (Wikipedia) but there’s some great books you can pick up in the village too.

How we ‘arrived’ here

Back in 2011 when Stu was consolidating his Mountain Leader Training the village became our base. We stayed here every other weekend exploring the area, doing navigation courses and getting out in the mountains for Stu’s QMD’s (quality mountain days).

We loved it so much that we decided to move here. It had already been agreed when we got married that we would return to Stu’s native Wales at some point, all we needed to do was decide where…

Betws-y-Coed made that decision really easy for us so in 2014 we moved and now love it even more!

Now, when people ask me where I live and I tell them I get two responses… Oh yeah I know it…. and… Oh I love it there! I also occasionally get “Is that the place we call Betsy-Co-ed”…

It is fact though that lots of people are confused by the pronunciation, which also applied to me pre-2011! I’m sure my Wolverhampton accent still lets me down but here’s how I would explain it

Betoos- uh-Coid

Hope that helps? If not ask a local next time you’re here… they’ll be delighted to explain it properly!

Visiting Betws-y-Coed

With a population of less than 500 people there are around 70 accommodation providers to suit a whole range of visitors and it is, understandably, a popular place to visit whether for a day out or a few days exploring.

We get asked a lot for recommendations on where to stay or eat and places to visit so we thought we’d put them all in one place to make it easy for you.

So this is our ‘whistle stop tour’ of the village we now call home…

Places to stay

When you’re looking for accommodation and things to do the best place to start (after this blog) is the Visit Betws-y-Coed website. Here you can select the type of accommodation you’re looking for. If you’re anything like me for making decisions then pick up the phone and have a chat with them… in our experience they are all very friendly and if they don’t have space or don’t think they can offer what you need then they will be able to recommend someone who can! 

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Snowdonia Challenge team outside the Vagabond

We asked our Snowdonia Challenge participants to recommend the places they have stayed and this is their top 3:

Bryn Llewelyn B and B 

Vagabond Bunkhouse

Tyn y Fron

Places to eat

The village provides a huge range of places to eat from the Welsh Bistro to Tapas, Pizza to Burgers; and some great take outs, fish and chips and places to buy packed lunches and snacks.

Lunch at Y Stablau

Some of our personal favourites:

Stables Bar – Y Stablau

Food to Go (found just near the station)

Waterloo Hotel

Hen Siop – Fish and chips (by Point-y-Pair Bridge)


There are an endless number of walks accessible from the village either directly on foot or via public transport or a short drive away by car. We couldn’t possibly list them all here but what we’ve done is tell you below about a few of the resources available to help you find the right walk for you.

But firstly we can’t resist mentioning a few of our favourites, all in walking distance from the village:

Llyn Elsi

Llyn Elsi

Swallow Falls and River walk

Fairy Glen

Llyn Geirionydd

Finding walks

Snowdonia National Park visitor centre is based opposite the station and a good place to pick up details of these walks and other things to do. They also have a handy pack of walks put together by Natural Resource Wales you can pick up for about £3 which includes directions and maps of each walk.

Conwy Valley Railway Walks website has walks 2-3 hours long accessible from the stations.

Mud and Routes is a comprehensive resource for local walks and those further afield, especially if you’re looking for something a bit more challenging!

Guided Walks

If you’d like to explore a little bit more ‘off the beaten track’ but would like someone to show you the way we can help with a mountain leader for a few hours or a few days to create some tailored adventures for you.


Sherpa Bus map

Sherpa Bus – for buses which take you from the village to access most of the Snowdon paths and many other areas.

Conwy Valley Railway – for trains between Llandudno and Blaenau Festiniog

Places to visit and things to do

There are a whole load of exciting adventures to be had in Snowdonia, all accessible from the village. Details of these can be found on the Visit Betws-y-Coed website.

Again, we couldn’t resist mentioning a few places we like to visit that are either in or within walking distance from the village… or you could even hire a bike to explore a bit further!

Waterfall at Pont y Pair Bridge

ZipWorld Forest 

St Michaels Church and Sappers Bridge

Beics Betws

Go Below


If you have time to shop then you will find pretty much everything you need while your here in Londis and Spar.

Don’t forget a visit to Cotswold Outdoor to pick up some shiny new kit with great advice and service. If it’s souvenirs you’re looking for then you’ll find a whole selection in Judges (next door to Londis).


Betws-y-Coed is becoming a popular location for events. Gwydyr Forest and Penmachno Forest are currently the base for Wales Rally GB.

Here’s a few events coming up over the next few months:

Snowdonia Challenge 2018

Snowdonia Walking Festival – November 2019

Betws-y-Coed Trail Race – November 2019

Betws-y-Coed Pantomime – December 2019

Snowdonia Challenge – June 2020

Keep up to date with events we are involved in on our facebook page. To find out about other events coming to the village visit the  Visit Betws-y-Coed website.

We are happy to help if there is anything else you’d like to know. If we can’t help then we’ll probably be able to point you in the direction of someone who can. You can contact us here.

We hope to see you here very soon 🙂

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