Llanberis tourist information & Capel Curig travel guide
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Llanberis and Capel Curig tourist guide
Llanberis and Capel Curig are two villages worthy of a mention on several counts. Both villages are renown as centres for the outdoor enthusiast, featuring as they do a wide selection of climbing shops offering all manner of equipment for climbers of all abilities - whether you want a set of simple waterproofs for the family or a full kit of the best in climbing gear.
Llanberis is home to the fascinating Welsh Slate Museum, there is also the 'Electric Mountain' where the intriguing hydroelectric power station can be seen at first hand, the town also marks the start of the Snowdon mountain railway, which has been helping the 'less active' mountain climbers ascend the local peaks for over a century. Llanberis is also very popular with both walkers and climbers and presents the start of the easy, although longest, route to the top of the Snowdon mountain.
Capel Curig features the National Mountaineering Centre, Plas yr Brennin which organises a range of courses in all sorts of outdoor activities.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway is a world-class attraction. It is the only public rack and pinion railway in Britain and takes visitors who come to Llanberis from all over the world, the 1085m (3,560ft) climb to the summit of the highest mountain in Wales and England. This railway - one of the most popular visitor attractions in Wales - offers spectacular views across the Welsh landscape as it wends its way to Hafod Eryri, the new Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre.
If you'd like to visit chimpanzees, snow leopards, Sumatran tigers and red pandas, then watch condors in flight, a penguin parade, Californian sea lions and more amongst the 60 varieties of animals, set in beautiful gardens with wonderful Colwyn Bay vistas as a backdrop, then a visit to the unique Welsh Mountain Zoo is a must. You can learn all about rare and endangered species from throughout the world. There's the Tarzan Trail Adventure Playground, Jungle Adventureland, or, if you want a more relaxed learning experience, the zoo's media centre offers a virtual tour as well as a host of educational games for young and old alike.
Just north of the quarry town of Blaenau Ffestiniog is a 170 year-old - and still in working order - slate mine. It has two wonderful underground tours deep under the ground that demonstrate how Victorian slate miners excavated the famous Welsh slate. Regardless of the weather topside, the underground temperature is a constant 12 degrees C (54 F) all year-round. There are restored mine buildings and captivating exhibitions on the surface.
The town of Blaenau Ffestiniog itself owes its look and unique character to its slate mine, and you can always take a trip from the town down the Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway through some wonderful Welsh scenery to the harbour at Porthmadog. The town has long been cited as the 'slate capital of Wales' and the 'town that roofed the world'.
Another extremely quaint yet quite busy village worth visiting is Betws-y-Coed sitting on the river Conwy. Here, the visitor will find a good variety of high quality tourist shops, charming cafes and welcoming pubs. Despite its compact size, there are many attractions that bring the visitor to Betws-y-Coed, whether you want to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of hiking, biking or delightful riverside walks, or you may prefer some serious climbing or the roar of two of the most famous waterfalls in Wales - Swallow and Conwy Falls. For those wanting to take in some history and heritage, the famous Conwy Valley Railway Museum is a shrine for train enthusiasts while the nearby Motor Museum caters for those more keen on the history of driving.
If you want to step back a little in time, a little further along the river is the village of Llanrwst, with its beautiful 17th century bridge and 15th century tea room - the former courthouse - clad with ivy. Ancaster Square in the centre sees some shops and homely pubs.