It could be argued that the whole of Snowdonia is photogenic – and we’d tend to agree! But which spots do visitors think are the most photogenic? Read on to find out…
Snowdonia is a photographer’s dream. With its rugged mountain ranges, rolling hills, lush valleys and 200-mile coastline, there’s an endless supply of backdrops for both amateur and professional photographers to choose from when they visit the Snowdonia Mountains and Coast region.
But when asked to suggest Snowdonia’s most photogenic spots, visitors to the region clearly had their favourites.
Here are the ten most photogenic spots in Snowdonia, as chosen by fans of the Visit Snowdonia Facebook page.
1. The Ogwen Valley
Lying south of Bangor and spanning parts of the counties of Gwynedd and Conwy, the Ogwen Valley is the northernmost ‘main’ valley in Snowdonia. Running through the valley is the river Ogwen, and to either side of the river are the Glyderau and Carneddau mountain ranges. Such is the popularity of the Ogwen Valley with hill walkers and climbers, it even has its own mountain rescue team which helps any visitors that get into trouble in the surrounding mountains.
While Tryfan is in the Ogwen Valley, visitors love it so much they nominated it as their second favourite spot to photograph – although while some visitors like to photograph Tryfan itself, others nominated this triangular mountain for the spectacular views that can be enjoyed from its summit.
3. Llyn Padarn
It’s easy to see why visitors voted Llyn Padarn in Llanberis as their third favourite spot to photograph. Part of the Padarn Country Park, Llyn Padarn is Wales’ sixth deepest lake and a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest thanks to it being the habitat of the Arctic Char, a fish species left over from the last Ice Age. Overlooked by the equally photogenic Dolbadarn Castle, the lake is popular with everyone from young families to hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, and deservedly so!
4. Cwm Idwal
Beautiful Cwm Idwal was Wales’ first ever National Nature Reserve, and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Some of Snowdonia’s highest peaks surround this breathtaking hanging valley, which in 2005 was named Britain’s seventh natural wonder in a Radio Times readers’ poll. Cwm Idwal is especially valued as a habitat for a number of fascinating species of wildlife, including rare plants and insects and herds of feral goats.
5. Views from Snowdon’s summit
On a reasonably clear day the views from the summit of Snowdon can be very good: you’ll see Snowdonia’s mountains and lakes and the Isle of Anglesey at the very least, and possibly even as far south as the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire. But on an exceptionally clear day you may be lucky enough to see much further – perhaps as far as southern Scotland to the north and Ireland to the west. Whether you’re a keen photographer or just an occasional happy snapper, a trip to Snowdon’s summit – either on foot or by train – is an absolute must!
6. Llyn Gwynant
Llyn Gwynant isn’t just popular with photographers; it proved just as popular with film makers when it was used as a location in the 2003 blockbuster movie “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”. Nestled in the Nant Gwynant valley, Llyn Gwynant is a natural lake on the River Glaslyn, between Capel Curig and Beddgelert. The scenery around this area is simply stunning. If you’d like to enjoy a breathtaking and slightly hair-raising journey to Llyn Gwynant by car, drive from Llanberis over Pen-y-Pass; it’s like nature’s very own rollercoaster!
The picturesque village of Beddgelert is the first of our top ten that’s not a ‘natural’ phenomenon, but although the quaint old stone houses, bridges and other structures were made by man, you could argue that it was nature’s hand that perfected them. Postcard-perfect views abound in this very popular old village, and it’s practically impossible to take a bad photo thanks to the abundance of beauty, both natural and man-made, that assault the camera lens from every angle.
Another hugely popular and quaint Snowdonia village, Betws-y-Coed has been a draw (no pun intended) for artists for generations; it was here that Britain’s first artists’ colony was established. Of course the natural scenery – including the wild beauty of Swallow Falls, just outside the village – is the main attraction for those with an artistic eye, but the village itself is also extremely attractive and that’s why you’ll see cameras being pointed in all directions when you visit Betws.
9. Barmouth Bridge
It’s perhaps not so much the bridge itself that wins photographers’ votes, but more the views you’ll enjoy when crossing it. The single-track wooden railway viaduct, which opened in 1867, is popular with cyclists and walkers as well as photographers. Barmouth Bridge spans the Mawddach Estuary between Morfa Mawddach and the popular seaside town of Barmouth, and along its half-mile length you’ll enjoy views that can quite justifiably be described as ‘stunning’.
Our final “photographers’ choice” is the achingly beautiful glacial lake in Southern Snowdonia, Tal-y-Llyn, which sits at the foot of Cadair Idris. This dramatic landscape was the setting of two books in a famous award-winning children’s series, “The Dark Is Rising Sequence” by Susan Cooper, which drew on the brooding scenery around the lake as well as the fascinating local mythology to create a time travelling good-versus-evil saga that is just as thrilling today as when it was published in the 1970s. Read the books, then pay a visit and soak up the awe-inspiring scenery and atmosphere – and don’t forget your camera!