Portmeirion in North Wales – an explosion of colour and creativeness


I imagine it would be a bit surreal if you came across this place by a coincidence… walking through the woods in North Wales and suddenly discovering this almost magical spot through the trees. Colourful facades adorned with endless details and topped with domes and spires. I’m sure you would wonder for a second if you had been teleported directly to Italy, or simply gone crazy…



But Portmeirion is real. A whole Italian-inspired village located in North Wales, beside the sea near Porthmadog. And what a wonderful unique little place this is. I was prepared as I had been researching my trip and seen the colourful images. But it doesn’t compare to finally enter village and stepping into this creative architecural feast.



No wonder it took more than 50 years to complete, as the Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellies planned and developed Portmeirion from scratch, between 1925 and 1976. The result is breathtaking. A charming village built around an atmospheric piazza – just like in Italy. And you’ll risk a neck injury, turning your head and trying to take in all the details of the buildings, as well as the romantic gardens, majestic statues and fountains. It sounds posh but it really seems to be done with a lot of humour, irony and more than anything: Passion.



I arrived in the beginning of September, just after the annual and very popular ‘Festival No6‘ had been held. A music and culture festival named after the main character of the 60’ies cult-series ‘The Prisoner‘, which was being filmed in Portmeirion and still draw in a lot of fans. And this place really looks perfect for a movie set.



Despite visiting in September and being North Wales, I was very lucky with the weather as the sun added to the Italian feel – so what better than enjoying an ice cream from one of the several cafés and restaurants, and a walk down to the water. The village is set beside a large estuary, which means stunning views over the water from Portmeirion’s own hotel. Italian with a Welsh view. You shouldn’t miss a nice walk along the coast and into the woods – and you can even reach a secluded beach when the tide is low.



Although arriving with high expectations I was positively surprised, and I would recommend to plan several hours at Portmeirion to take it all in. And while you’re there, don’t miss the town of Porthmadog and the steam trains travelling from there: The Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways.

Portmeirion online: www.portmeirion-village.com

Portmeirion was a part of my EPICTRAIN TOUR OF WALES

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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer