North Wales is home to a wide variety of cycling routes, from popular ones to little-known paths, from short jaunts to long distance endurance trails, from easy-going tracks to hard-core downhill courses. There really is a little something for every type of cyclist here.
North Wales is known for a great many different things. It is filled with natural wonders such as caves, caverns and mountains; beautiful areas like Bala Lake and Gwydir Forest; historical towns, castles and railways; and even bizarre and unusual attractions such as Bounce Below, Tree Top Adventures and the three different Zip Worlds.
When you say “North Wales” to someone, they probably imagine climbing the town walls of Conwy and its castle, eating a stick of rock at the end of Llandudno Pier, or perhaps climbing up Mount Snowdon and taking in the view from the snow-capped peak. “Cycling” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.
However, we think it should be!
Family Friendly Routes
Lots of the routes in North Wales connect up with the major tourist attractions and places to stay, which means that a family cycling holiday is a great way to spend your week or two (or three or four!) in the region. Combine your sight-seeing with some relaxing bike rides – perfect!
The Mawddach Trail in particular is a great ride, taking you all the way from the historic market town of Dolgellau (and its numerous heritage railways) to the beautiful beach at Barmouth, with its picturesque harbour. The trip is just under 20 miles there and back, with no challenging sections, and is completely free of traffic. The landscape is idyllic the whole way, including the Cader Idris foothills and the Mawddach Estuary.
There’s also the Lôn Eifion Cycleway, which stretches from Caernarfon to Bryncir. This journey treats you with all the typical delights of North Wales in one go: the majesty of Caernarfon Castle, the steam trains of the Welsh Highland Railway, views over the peaks of Snowdonia and the bay of Caernarfon, and lovely historic villages. It’s a 24 mile return, with a nice café available for you to refuel in at the slate works, and you get to enjoy a gentle downhill glide on the second leg.
A Challenge for Mountain Bikers
On the other end of the scale, there are a number of mountain biking tracks available in North Wales – not surprising, considering how mountainous the region is. They vary wildly in difficulty, but Llandegla Red is rated “Hard” (or red). A total distance of ten miles, the track takes you through Coed Llandegla Forest, throwing some seriously technical challenges at you along the way. You’ll need a lot of stamina and balance, and more than a little courage: there are more than a few switchbacks and water crossings. And it’s steep, too. Good luck…
North Wales is a haven for any type of cyclist, even if you’ve not been on a bike in years. To get the most of it, hire a cottage and either bring your own bikes or head down to one of the many bike hire shops around the region. Click here for more information on where to stay.
As well as the tracks mentioned above there are a number of dedicated cycling routes including Coed y Brenin, Antur Stiniog, Penmachno Mountain Bike trails, Llandegla, Marin Trail (Betws y Coed), Lon Las Cefni and Copper Trail on Anglesey, the Wales Coast Path
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Somewhere you've never been? What is Nearby?
This not-for-profit enterprise is based just outside of Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd; that is where the “Stiniog” in the name comes from. Antur is the Welsh word for adventure, so their name translates rather literally to “Adventure Ffestiniog”. And an adventure is exactly what you will get! Famous for mountain biking they offer other adventures too...
The first dedicated mountain biking trail centre in the United Kingdom, it is renowned up and down the country in particular by two subsets of people: hikers and mountain bikers.
Plas Menai is the National Outdoor Centre for Wales, so you know that you’re in for a treat – as long as you like your outdoor activities, that is! Make sure you come prepared: you are going to need towels and swimming costumes if you want to make the most of your time here.
Lovely cottages in and around the historic town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Surrounded by the Snowdonia National Park and close to numerous attractions such as Bounce below, Zip World Titan and Caverns, Ffestiniog Railway and Antur Stiniog.
Anglesey is always a favourite with holiday makers with it's many beaches (it is an island!) and beautiful countryside. Enjoy walks and bicycle rides in Newborough Forest, spend time at the Sea Zoo or visit the town of Beaumaris with it's castle, promenade and the Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour. Stay in a cottage on Anglesey.
A great location to holiday on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park where 3 rivers meet and join together. Surrounded by tree covered mountains there is an alpine feel to this town. The main street is full of outdoor and climbing shops, testament to the its popularity with walkers, mountaineers and cyclists. A beautiful location and convenient to explore Snowdonia and the Conwy Valley.