Things to do in AberdyfiPublished on 1 Aug 2022 by Amy Greenwood
Aberdyfi is one of the prettiest seaside villages we know. You’ll find it on the estuary of the River Dyfi, at the southernmost edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The waves of Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea take the views to the west, whilst Snowdonia’s hills and mountains provide a suitably splendid backdrop.
For most of the 19th century Aberdyfi was a bustling port, shipping Welsh slate and oak around the world. It is now a superbly pretty harbour village. Quaint old streets rise up to spectacular viewpoints, whilst in the heart of the village you can browse specialist boutiques and art galleries. There is no shortage of great places to eat.
With a glorious sandy beach, Aberdyfi is certainly a bit of a mecca for water sports enthusiasts. But it is also well placed for spectacular mountain landscapes – the peaks of Cadair Idris and the Aran Fawddwy ranges are within easy reach. If you enjoy nature and the outdoors then don’t miss the Dyfi / Dovey valley nature reserve, which is recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Here’s a selection of our favourite things to do in Aberdyfi.
WALKS AND HIKES
Follow the Dyfi River to Pennal
Follow the river Dyfi upriver from the centre of Aberdyfi to walk to the historically significant village of Pennal, about 6 miles to the east. Pennal is a small rural village with 14th century links to Owain Glyndwr, the last native prince of Wales. More recent history links it to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, who wrote Led Zeppelin’s third and fourth studio albums, including the Immigrant Song, at a holiday cottage nearby. It’s a gorgeous walk through forests and hillside trails, with big valley views. Head to the Riverside Hotel and Bar in Pennal for refreshments before you make the walk back. Opening times vary (the restaurant is generally closed Mondays and Tuesdays), so check before you set off.
Climb Cader Idris from the Minffordd Path
Aberdyfi is just a short distance from one of Snowdonia’s most iconic peaks – Cader Idris. Its name translates as Idris’s Chair, and it is a reference to the mythical giant who once used the mountain as his throne. We recommend following the Minffordd Path, which is short – around 3 miles to the peak -beautiful, though fairly steep. 16 miles from Aberdyfi.
Conquer Yr Wyddfa – Snowdon
It’s a bucket list favourite for anyone visiting North Wales – do you fancy climbing Wales’s highest summit on your next trip? The Rhyd Ddu Path (pronounced ‘rheed-thee’) is one of the quieter ways up the great mountain, and offers some of the best views. Plan ahead by downloading the Snowdon Walks app, which covers the six main routes up, with detailed maps and a live progress tracker. You can read more about how to prepare for a walk up Snowdon, here. 54 miles from Aberdyfi.
Other local walking ideas
For some more walking inspiration, you might be interested in these websites: Mud and Routes is a great information resource for walking in the area. Simply enter where you would like to walk and it will give you some tried and tested routes. Geocaching is popular in this neck of the woods and if you love a treasure hunt, then this is a great way to while away an afternoon, especially if you’re trying to keep the kids amused too.
GOLF, MOUNTAIN BIKING, AND CYCLING
Aberdovey Golf Course
If golf’s your thing, you should make a beeline for Aberdyfi’s championship golf course, which welcomes visiting players and is located at the western end of the village. A true links course measuring over 6,500 yards from the back tees, it will test, and has tested, the very best golfers, playing host to a number of amateur championships over the years. Less than a mile from the centre of Aberdyfi.
Dyfi Bike Park
Founded by GB champion Dan Atherton, Dyfi Bike Park is home to some of the most diverse tracks you can imagine, including four black trails and two brand new reds. Altogether, it’s 650 acres of bike park set in the magisterial Dyfi Forest. Beautiful. 11 miles from Aberdyfi.
The Mawddach Trail
Forming part of Lôn Las Cymru (National Cycle Network Route 8) which runs from Holyhead to Cardiff, the Mawddach Trail is one of the most scenic railway paths in the country, running along the spectacular and atmospheric Mawddach Estuary below the foothills of Cader Idris, for just shy of 10 miles. Join it from the centre of Barmouth, and follow the iconic railway bridge over the mouth of the Mawddach estuary into Dolgellau. Expect stunning views across to Diffwys and the Rhinog mountains, and up the estuary to Y Garn and the Arans. 17 miles from Aberdyfi.
Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin is the UK’s first and largest dedicated mountain bike trail centre. Hire bikes from the visitor centre (or bring your own) to explore miles of world-class mountain bike trails, with waymarked routes to suit all abilities. There is also a café, plenty of family walking trails, a nice play area and some gorgeous spots for a riverside picnic. 32 miles from Aberdyfi.
Need to hire some wheels in Aberdyfi? Head to Wheelism in nearby Abergynolwyn for bike hires, guided MB trails and more. 11 miles from Aberdyfi.
SUP / Paddleboarding
Head to LetsSUP at the Dovey Yacht Club for paddle boarding lessons and tours based in and around Aberdyfi and in nearby Tywyn. All sessions are led by a well qualified and experienced WSA SUP instructor. Taster lessons from £30 per person.
Whether you are an experienced angler and love to fish, you want to try sea fishing, or you’re a complete beginner hoping to pick up new skills, you will not be disappointed with the excellent service offered by Aberdovey Boat Charter. Book in advance to secure your dates.
Jump on board a steam train
The delightful heritage steam engines of the Talyllyn Railway will transport you from nearby Tywyn on the coast, to Nant Gwernol, buried deep in the mountains above Abergynolwyn. Expect spectacular scenery along the way, including soaring views of Cader Idris. 4 miles from Aberdyfi.
Visit Castell y Bere
This isn’t just any old day out to a castle ruins. This is a day out to one of the most beautiful and atmospheric places on earth. Built in the 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, Castell y Bere sits along the summit of a remote, rocky outcrop on the eastern side of the Dysynni valley. It is a supremely green and pleasant land, which would have been grazed by a significant amount of cattle in the 13th century. In medieval Wales, cattle were as good as currency, so the castle would have stood sentry over Llywelyn’s valuable herd. Read more on our blog. 11 miles from Aberdyfi.
Visit the Centre for Alternative Technology
Based just outside the lovely market town of Machynlleth, the Centre for Alternative Technology overlooks the big landscapes of the Snowdonia National Park. Established over 40 years ago, the centre is dedicated to teaching and sharing sustainable development. Expect hands-on displays on ‘green’ building, energy, along with organic gardens and a veggie café. 12 miles from Aberdyfi.
Head to the Corris Craft Centre
The Corris Craft Centre is home to a great collection of shops, attractions and activities for the whole family, including nine individual Craft Studios, which are perfect for finding a special something, inspired by, and handmade in Wales. Call by to meet the talented craftspeople, share their passion and enthusiasm as you discover their fabulous handmade Welsh designs. Also home to King Arthur’s Labyrinth (see below). 14 miles from Aberdyfi.
Explore King Arthur’s Labyrinth
Who could resist the idea of setting sail through the cascading veil of an underground waterfall to discover a magical place where tales from the mists of time are retold? Expect tales of dragons, giants, and the legendary King Arthur. Guided by a Dark Age Boatman, you’ll travel through immense caverns and winding tunnels, to hear ancient Welsh stories brought to life through dramatic scenes, light, and sound. King Arthur’s Labyrinth is on the same site as the Corris Craft Centre (see above). 14 miles from Aberdyfi.
Portmeirion Village was designed by Welsh Architect Clough Williams-Ellis in the early 20th century. The architectural equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, it is an eccentric collection of Riviera-inspired houses, ornamental gardens and colour washed villas. It is also home to the spectacular Gwyllt woodland – ten hectares of trees and ornamental shrubs, with big views over the Dwyryd Estuary towards Harlech. There are plenty of cafés and shops to browse, and fabulous Italian Gelati at Caffi’r Angel. Lunch on the lawn outside the beautiful Art Deco Hotel Portmeirion is the perfect holiday treat. Read more about a day out at Portmeirion here. 36 miles from Aberdyfi.
NORTH WALES ADVENTURES
Snowdonia Adventure Activities
This outdoor specialist is based in the nearby village of Llanbedr, a half hour drive from Dolgellau. Snowdonia Adventure Activities offers gorge walking, SUPing, canyoning, kayaking, climbing, mountain biking and rock climbing, and we reckon they’re one of the best all-round outdoor activity providers in the area. 26 miles from Aberdyfi.
Zip World Caverns
This underground adventure allows you to speed through the caverns of the abandoned Llechwedd slate mine on zip lines, navigating part of the course with a via ferrata, monkey bars, and a whole variety of challenging obstacles. It’s a thrilling experience! Zip World Caverns is part of the Zip World portfolio, which also boasts Europe’s largest zip zone at Blaenau, as well as the fastest zip line in the world at Penrhyn Quarry – a site that was once home to the world’s largest slate quarry. Zip World Caverns is at the same site as Bounce Below and Llechwedd Slate Caverns (see below). 42 miles from Aberdyfi.
Zip World Caverns (see above) is where you’ll also find Bounce Below – a series of giant underground trampolines, strung across enormous underground chambers, with climbs, slides and various levels to navigate. Bounce Below is another thrilling and completely unique North Wales adventure. From age 7+. It’s the same site as Zip World Caverns and Llechwedd Slate Caverns (see above and below). 42 miles from Aberdyfi.
Other stand out North Wales adventure attractions include Zip World Titan,Zip World Velocity, Surf Snowdonia & Adventure Parc Snowdonia, Greenwood Forest Park, Rib Ride, and Go Below.
Expect perfect sand and the occasional sand dune which extends for miles from Aberdyfi beach to the nearby seaside town of Tywyn. Even though the sea looks inviting, swimmers should take care while venturing out, due to the strong currents around the estuary mouth. Enjoy crab fishing from the jetty, scenic boat trips from the harbour, sailing, kayaking, kite-flying, dog walking and sand castle building, and all with great views of Cardigan Bay. Don’t miss the bell hanging from the pier which rings with the tide.
Tywyn beach’s wide, open location makes it popular for all kinds of other watersports, including jet skiing. There are dog restriction areas on the beach as well as a boat exclusion zone. The waters are also popular with Cardigan Bay’s populations of harbour porpoises and bottlenose dolphins. Tywyn’s seaside credentials include a promenade and a paddling pool. There’s easy access to the beach and plentiful parking, both free and pay-and-display. 4 miles from Aberdyfi.
Fairbourne’s beautiful golden sands are backed by a steep bank of pebbles. They fringe a narrow finger of land that extends most of the way across the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary, with stunning views of mountains, woodlands and the sea. The west-facing side of the beach can receive strong winds, making it ideal for watersports, especially windsurfing, surfing and sailing. 15 miles from Aberdyfi.
Barmouth’s sandy Blue Flag beach stretches for two miles and is perfect for picnics, swimming, paddling and surfing. There is traditional seaside fun along the promenade, and plenty of shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and ice cream parlours. Dog owners should be aware that Blue Flag does mean seasonal dog restrictions. 17 miles from Aberdyfi.
FOOD AND DRINK
There are so many great places to enjoy good food and drink in and near Aberdyfi, we couldn’t possibly list them all here. Instead, here are some of our personal favourites. Enjoy!
Coast Deli and Dining – from breakfast to take away, and seriously good pizza and tapas to eat in, Coast has it covered. Featuring local seasonal produce.
Seabreeze Restaurant – Soak up a relaxed atmosphere whilst enjoying a seasonal selection of Welsh food and drink.
The Bear of Amsterdam – traditional home-cooked suppers, including a great fish and chips.
The Dovey Inn – great pub food from sandwiches to pub classics like steak and chips, and some very decent ales.
Walkers Fish and Chips – for a generous portion of freshly caught fish and perfectly fried chips.
The Sandwich Shop – for delicious, freshly made sandwiches and pizza.
The Bay of Bengal – great Indian food, also does eat in.
Gwin Dylanwad Wine serves up two of life’s essentials – great coffee, and delicious wines. Enjoy your wine in the in-store library or have it delivered to the door of your holiday cottage!
The Sweet Shop Dairy and Aberdyfi Ice Cream Company – delicious ice creams and sorbets serviced from a delicious little pink shop.
The welsh alphabet is phonetic so once you know how to say the letters, the theory is that reading the words is straightforward; you say what you see. A little time spent familiarising yourself with the alphabet will help no end when you’re trying to navigate your way around the area…
a short, as in ‘hat’, never as in ‘ball’
b as in ‘bag’. Although is there really any other way?
c always hard as in ‘cat’, never an s as in ‘precise’
ch like the ch in the Scottish word ‘loch’, but with more phlegm
d as in ‘dog’, never as in ‘djinn’
dd a buzzy ‘th’ sound, as in ‘this’. Think angry bees with a lisp
e short, as in pen
f v. This is very, very simple, and when you get really used to it, f will play hafock with your spelling
ff f. Equally, you can ffind yourselff getting too used to ff as well
g always hard as in ‘get’, never a ‘j’ sound as in the last g in garage
ng as in ‘song’, where the g isn’t hard, like in ‘gig’, but a soft glottal stop made in your throat
h as in hat, always sounded and never silent
i as in ‘pin’
j accepted now because of the loan words from English that use it, like ‘garej’
l a ‘luh’ as in ‘lava’, but never an ‘ul’ sound as in ‘milk’
ll not as hard a sound to make as some would have you think. Raise your tongue to the top of your mouth as if you were going to say ‘el’, then make the ‘ell’ sound by blowing air round the sides of your raised tongue, instead of by using your voice. You should sound like an annoyed cat
m as in ‘mithridatize’. Or as in ‘mum’, if you want to be boring
n as in ‘nanobot’
o short as in ‘hot’, not round as in ‘hotel’
p can I have a p please Bob?
ph an English f, or Welsh ff sound, as in ‘phase’
r rolled. Some people just can’t get a rolled ‘r’ – their tongues are unable to vibrate in the right way. It’s a genetic thing, apparently,
similar to being able to roll your tongue into a tube, or turn the end upside down. Honestly, some people can, but my tongue’s not that prehensile. Roll if you can, don’t if you can’t
rh hr. Make a huffy, breathy sound before your rolled ‘r’
s always soft as in ‘sit’, never a ‘z’ sound as in ‘juxtapose’
t as in ‘top’. Can it get any simpler?
th as in ‘think’, softer and less buzzy than dd
u If you had stepped in something disgusting and made a kind of ‘eugh’ noise, the vowel ‘eu’ sound would about approximate
y ok, y breaks the rule that Welsh is phonetic. As a single syllable word, y is like ‘uh’, on the last syllable of a multisyllabic word it’ an‘u’ or ‘ee’, and anywhere else it’s like the unstressed, indeterminate noise of the final e in ‘garden’ or ‘letter’. Ysbyty (hospital) is the perfect example.
How are you? Sut mae / Ti’n iawn
Good morning: Bore da
Good Afternoon: P.nawn da, prynhawn da
Good evening: Noswaith dda
Good night: Nos da
Cheers / Good Health! Iechyd da!
Do you speak welsh? Ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg?
How do you say…. in welsh? Beth ydy….yn Cymraeg?
Thank you: Diolch
I love you: Dw i’n dy garu di
Happy Birthday: Penblwdd Hapus
and a couple of funny ones….
Microwave: popty ping
‘Might as well’: Man a man a mwnci
Check out our holiday cottages in the Aberdyfi area!