Harlech Beach

  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © interbeat and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © Kilworth-Simmonds and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © Ian Warburton and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © Robin Mulligan and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © interbeat and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © interbeat and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach - Gwynedd
    © interbeat and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Harlech Beach provides a four-mile stretch of pristine golden sand, with stunning views of the Snowdonia mountain range.  The beach is backed by grassy dunes. 

    The Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve at the north end of the beach is Wales’s only growing dune system and provides a good example of the effects of longshore drift. To the south lies Shell Island, a promontory which, as the name suggests has an abundance of shells. 
    During the summer months leatherback turtles migrate from warmer climes to feed off jellyfish in the waters off this part of the coast.  In 1988 a record-breaking 916kg leatherback was washed up here after becoming tangled in fishing equipment.

    Swimming in the clear waters here is generally safe although there is no lifeguard presence and at times jellyfish can be found off this part of the coastline. The beach is popular with families and dog walkers, although there are restrictions on dog walking at certain times of the year.

    13th century Harlech Castle lies around 1000 metres behind the beach.  This imposing structure was built as a stronghold by Edward I and played an important role in The War of the Roses and the English Civil War.  It is open to visitors throughout the year.  When it was first built the castle stood immediately next to the sea, but over the centuries the coastline has shifted significantly.

    To access the beach take the Ffordd Glan Mor road from the village of Harlech past the Min-y-don Holiday Park, beyond which is a pay-for car park.  From here a 400 metre path leads down to the beach

    Type of beach


    Lifeguard service


    Dogs friendly beach?

    Dogs allowed

    A small section of beach immediately in front of the holiday park has a dog ban between April 1st and September 30th. The rest of the beach is dog-friendly year round.

    Gwynedd dog friendly beaches »


    • Swimming/bathing
    • Surfing


    • Toilets
    • Disabled facilities
    • Shop

    Nearest town



    LL46 2UG

    OS grid ref.

    SH 5684 3145


    Parking available - charges apply

    Water quality

    Water quality star rating


    Marine Conservation Society Recommended

    Submit a correction

    Harlech Beach Reviews

    First trip after lockdown

    David Latham
    Jan 30th 2021

    I’m sat at home remembering what life used to be like - and Harlech beach, hardly anybody there, miles of sand and gently sloping seabed, on a hot day. Views of the castle one way and the mountains the other. It’s a beautiful memory. One day Mrs L and I will be there again after a year working in care. The thought helps keep me going.

    Fabulous quiet beach!

    Annie O'Brien
    Aug 28th 2019

    Four miles of golden sand, gently sloping for safe bathing. Not crowded because a ten minute walk through the line of sand dunes is needed for access. Clean beach, clear water, idyllic !

    Jul 22nd 2021

    Beautiful beach, fantastic views, plenty of space to find a quiet spot. There is a short but pleasant walk through the dunes to get there with great views over to the mountains. It’s a big sandy beach with plenty of space to play. At low tide you can find some shallow pools left on the sand which are nice to play in for the little ones. Only drawback is that each time I have been the currents have been a bit strong and swimming has been tough. I am a weak swimmer, though. Last time I went I found some hermit crabs in the surf. Great beach!


    Feb 26th 2024



    Sharon Hodgkinson
    Nov 04th 2023

    Hard work to get to with 2 puppies excitedly dragging us along. Worth it though. Only reason we came off was because of 2 dead seals decomposing within the sand

    Very Sad

    K Moxham
    Apr 11th 2023

    So sad to hear bad revues complaints re Harlech Beach. I havnt been for many years, maybee councils will eventually try and sort this beutiful beach

    Jan 19th 2023

    Amazing beach, amazing views. Came in January on a fabulous day and had place pretty much to ourselves. We did end up trying to clear up rubbish and didn’t know where to start. I’m guessing it’s cleared for summer, breaks ya heart..

    Harlech beach

    Sep 18th 2022

    Outstanding natural beautiful beach


    Jul 02nd 2022

    Fantastic beach with shallow pools forming with the tides, which are perfect for the little ones. Clean soft sand, clear water. The beach is thankfully unspoilt by progress. And visitors are respectful, it’s a dog and family friendly place, yet there’s no rubbish or soiling left behind! Our family’s favourite beach!!!


    Feb 18th 2022

    Just the best. That all you need to know

    Harlech Beach

    Jul 18th 2021

    On visiting Harlech beach the car park is very expensive,  we paid and found that we could not access the beach because of having to scale a huge sand dune, the toilets were filthy and the litter bins overflowing.  Not a very nice experience will never go there again.  I just hope the emergency services are never needed on the beach as they would not be able to access it.

    It used to be fantastic

    Jun 10th 2021

    Harlech beach and car park used to be a super day out or holiday but no longer,  the car park is very expensive,  the toilets are dirty and the litter bins are overflowing with rubbish.  Access to the beach is difficult if not inaccessible by the elderly young children or disabled people as one has to scale a huge sandune probably about 10 to 15 ft high where the path has been covered by sand it used to be cleared at one time but alas no more.
    One thing for certain is that we will never visit Harlech again.

    No longer a frequent visitor

    Feb 29th 2020

    Access to Harlech Beach is difficult for families with children or the elderly due to the path through the sand dunes not being cleared as it used to be. Building up the dunes means the access path through the golf course disappears and the public have to climb up a steep dune which is sometimes very steep, up to 10 foot high or more.