North Wales: 4 great reasons to visit Llandudno
Llandudno on the Welsh north coast was the last stop on my ‘Epic Train Tour of Wales‘, and I certainly didn’t expect to find palm trees and an atmosphere that you normally connect with warmer destinations in Southern Europe. But I love to be surprised when I travel, and Llandudno (pronounced something a bit like “Klandudno”) did so, as well as it left an urge in me to return someday soon. Here are 4 great reasons why…
1. Romantic seaside atmosphere
There is something surprisingly exotic about this Welsh seaside town, located as northern as you can go on mainland Wales. With swaying palm trees, a very long beach and beautiful Victorian architecture, this might be one of the most romantic spots in the land of dragons – and I imagine it is very popular for couples in need of a weekend-getaway, from nearby cities in England. Here you can enjoy a nice long walk along the promenade with a view of the bay and Llandudno Pier, find a nice restaurant for the evening and plan your visits to nearby attractions.
2. Llandudno Pier
The Victorian pleasure pier in Llandudno is the longest in all of Wales, reaching 700 meters out in the bay, and offering some amazing views back towards the promenade – not at least by sunset. It was opened back in 1877 and has since been an icon for this popular seaside resort.
It’s free to visit and along the pier you will find a mix of shops, food and entertainment on your way to the tip – as well as plenty of benches where you can rest your legs, feel the seabreeze in your hair and just enjoy life for a moment.
3. The Great Orme
The ‘Great Orme’ is the name of Llandudno’s local “mountain” (207 meters high), that can be conquered by foot or with the charming and historic Great Orme Tramway, which will take you to the station near the top in two steps (by a change half way). It opened back in 1902 and the lower section’s tram-system is very unique and most similar to those found in Lisbon in Portugal.
The Great Orme headland is home to some wonderful nature and the views from up there are worth the visit. On the summit you will also find a complex with a restaurant as well as different kinds of entertainment, and on your way down you shouldn’t miss a visit to the extremely rare Bronze Age mines that were discovered here and now can be explored for a small fee.
4. A trip to Conwy
One of the area’s main attractions is not actually in Llandudno, but in the nearby town of Conwy, which can be reached by train in a just few minutes. If the weather is good you should get off at the small station at Deganwy, and walk the rest of the way with excellent views to the castle, the estuary and the surrounding landscape.
Conwy Castle is one of the greatest castles in Wales and naturally protected by UNESCO. It is worth to visit for its interesting history and not at least for the views from the top of its towers. Simply stunning! When you’re done you shouldn’t miss a walk down through the atmospheric heart of Conwy, or a visit to the small harbour where you will find “the smallest house in Great Britain”.
Visit Llandudno: As mentioned you will find some lovely victorian seaside hotels in Llandudno, but if you travel on a budget (like I do), I can highly recommend the independent Llandudno Hostel, which is set in a Victorian guest house just a few minutes walk from the beach.
DON’T FORGET to follow Travelooney Blog on Facebook for lots of extra material and even more travel inspiration to Europe!