North Wales beaches
The beach guide has 111 beaches listed in North Wales.
The coastline of North Wales is a strange mix of wild and urban, ancient and modern, as if the land is shrugging off human development as fast as it can be constructed. Major seaside resorts, ancient fortress settlements and bustling university towns rub shoulders with empty beaches, holy islands and a thriving sailing community, all watched over by the impressive peaks of the Snowdonia National Park, at times barely six miles from the coast.
Aberystwyth, where a small local population swells significantly during the university term-time, is a major Welsh cultural centre as well as a seaside resort. At the nearby village of Borth a long, sandy beach shelters the remains of a submerged forest that dates back to 1500 BC, while a National Nature Reserve on the banks of the River Dyfi protects a range of habitats from sand dunes to mudflats.
Barmouth, once a slate port, is now a popular tourist centre with a six-mile-long beach that stretches north to the village of Tal-y-Bont.
Harlech Castle is truly spectacular, with battlements that spring out of a near-vertical cliff-face, now half a mile from the sea.
Porthmadog, on the Glaslyn estuary, is a stone's throw from Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales, and an excellent base form which to explore the coast and the mountains. Porthmadog is just four miles east of Pwheli, the unofficial capital of the Lleyn Peninsula, much of which falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Anglesey is roughly the size of the Isle of Wight, but far less populated. Regarded as a holy place by the ancient Celts, Anglesey boasts twenty six unspoilt beaches and the main route to Dublin, via Holyhead.