Porthmadog is a harbour town nestled between the Snowdonia national park and the welsh coast. It’s a beautiful little port town thats steeped in Welsh culture from the name to its maritime roots as a trade port. It sits on the southern flanks of Snowdonia on the Glaslyn estuary where the Afon Glaslyn and Afon Dwyryd feed down into the estuary. It severed as an important trading port to move slate from the Welsh mountains to neighbouring countries.
Porthmadog has a rich maritime history to tell, and offers an excellent base for exploring the nearby areas of north Wales and Snowdonia. With Criccieth, Barmouth, Pwllheli, Abersoch and Harlech all within one hours drive, it is a central destination in north Wales. It is known for its seaside restaurants, craft shops and rich colourful harbour. Over the years, this town turned from a busy industrial port into a busy tourist destination.
History of Porthmadog
Porthmadog was named after the Welsh price Madog ab Owain, who was a famous voyager who sailed over to the Americas 300 years before the voyage of Christopher Columbus. Sadly history is always written by the victors and the texts of time seemed to forget our Welsh Royalty and explorer. Anyhow, the port was the original sailing place of this amazing explorer and was named after his lineage- not to be confused with the wikipedia story naming of the port, which is inaccurate.
This town was originally known as Port Madoc up until 1974. It was later renamed to its Welsh name “Porthmadog ” to which its currently called today. Porthmadog turned into a busy shipping port owing to the construction of the one mile long cob which resulted in a natural port allowing ocean ships to dock in this town.
Slate was mainly exported through this busy shipping port back then. Over 116,000 tons of slate was exported from Porthmadog by 1873. The population of this town shot up from 800 to 4400.
Trade however slowed down due to the development of Aberystwyth’s superior rail links. The town was home to wooden ship builders who were skilled in building three masted ships which were referred to as schooners. The last of the theese ships was completed during the year 1913 which got wrecked during its maiden voyage. This was the last ship of its kind to be ever built in Porthmadog.
Places to visit
This Italianate village is one of the most popular attractions of Porthmadog and nearby surroundings. It charms visitors of all ages. The colorful, beautiful buildings seem to grow out rocks. The wide sandy estuary further adds to the charm. There are numerous quirky sculptures, enchanting gardens and plenty of shops at this quaint, little village. The entry into this village is free during the winter season.
This beach is vast and is a popular spot for kite flying. The kids enjoy the caves and the numerous rock pools present here. This is undoubtedly one of the best beaches you can find on the coast of Snowdonia. The mesmerizing view this beach offers makes it one of the best places to hang around with the family.
This place is located a short drive away from Porthmadog. This place features a large hide so that the visitors can watch the ospreys without disturbing them. There are three large plasma monitors which show visitors live action from the osprey nests. There is a picnic area, nature trails for young visitors as well as a small RSPB shop which makes this place a great family attraction.
Visiting Plas Brondanw offers you a feeling as if you have walked into a movie set of Alice in Wonderland. What is interesting is that this place was the ancestral home of the genius architect who was responsible for building Portmeirion. This place is adorned with formal gardens comprising of plenty of wildlife, ponds and topiaries set against a spectacular backdrop of the Snowdonia National Park.
One of the best places to catch a train is Porthmadog. This experience is going to be different altogether from the everyday boring commuting. You can explore the quaint countryside of Snowdonia in a steam engine at a pace where you can relish the enchanting views. All you need to do is take a trip on the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway. This steam train takes decadence and luxury to great heights. The 40-mile journey takes you through the heart of the National Park of Snowdonia. You can indulge in full buffet service. The best thing is that you can opt for a shorter service and as well take your bike or your dog along.
This little museum is housed within an old slate shed located on the Oakley Wharf. You can learn about the old vessels, stories of the sailors who went on voyages from Porthmadog at this museum.
This is a spectacular mountain spot which is often referred to as the “Matterhorn of Wales”. This mountain features a pointy peak which is visible for miles around. This place is popular amongst the walkers. The added attraction of the old slate mines adds to the beauty of this enthralling place.
Things to do
There is plenty to do and see while you are exploring Porthmadog. This bustling town presents numerous options to keep you entertained. Here are the local attractions that offer you plenty to do while exploring this delightful town.
Exploring this brewery is a distinct experience in itself. This brewery began functioning in the year 2005. You can book a tour of this brewery where you can learn about the manufacturing of some of the most delicious ales you can find in Wales. You can sample ales before heading to purchase your favorite drink.
This welsh mountain offers you the most splendid views you can ever find within the entire country. The national park is open to the visitors all-round the year. There are plenty of walks and trials which can be explored by people of all ages. There is an option for people of all fitness levels. The kids can go on bike rides around the forests and the lakes. If you want to do something adventurous and challenging, then you can try climbing the peak. You would miss out a lot if you did not witness the unique wildlife and the stunning scenery of this place while in Porthmadog.
Located at a mile from the east of Tremadog, this small café attracts bikers and climbers with its scrumptious offerings. The visitors can indulge home cooked food other delightful options. There is also a campsite in the vicinity run by Eric who is treated as a local legend. Eric was the first Climber in the world to Solo the north face of the Eiger, BASE jump off Angel falls and many other crazy feats. He is a patriotic gentleman who has a heart of gold and who is respected highly in the community.
Places to stay:
We have listed some of the top accommodation options in the links below :
We have listed some useful links for your stay in Porthmadog :
Beach style Packing list
Our blogging tools of the trade
We hope this bite sized blog is useful for you if your heading to Porthmadog on your hols or maybe just doing some research on north Wales and its gems overall.. If you think there is something to add drop us a comment below and tell us what your favourite things are to do in Abersoch on your stay!?
Thanks for following out blog we appreciate every single one of you! Feel free to leave us a comment or give us a thumbs up on any blog and share with your friends and family. If you have a blog topic you would lie us to cover drop a mention in the comments below.
We have a lot of exciting new content coming through in the next few weeks so make sure you pop back.
Ps– If you haven’t already seen our Facebook, twitter, and Instagram come and say hi! We are very active on there.. Also subscribe to our newsletter here for upto date insights of what we get upto (plus : Get a FREE Top 100 things to do guide here in north Wales!). See you soon, Nick. (Front cover image by llyn.info)