Beddgelert: One of Snowdonia's most picturesque villages. It's most famous feature is Gelert's Grave. Gelert was the faithful hound of Prince Llywelyn the Great and there is a tragic story recounted on the plaque at his resting place. Beddgellert was the home of the illustrator for the Rupert the Bear stories and the local scenery undoubtedly inspired his drawings. For more info visit www.beddgelerttourism.com.
Betws-y-Coed: Site of the famous Waterloo Bridge built by Thomas Telford in 1815. There are numerous craft shops, outdoor activity shops, cafes and restaurants. A great place for walks and to visit nearby waterfalls such as the Swallow Falls. Take a look at www.betws-y-coed.com.
Bodnant Garden: National Trust gardens well worth a visit. They are wonderful at the end of May when the rhodo-dendrons and azaleas are in full bloom and the laburnum arch is at it's best. www.bodnantgarden.co.uk
Dolwydd-elan Castle: A short climb takes you from the car park through a farmyard to the 13th century castle reputed to be the birthplace of Llywelyn the Great. There is more to discover about the area at www.dolwyddelan.org.
Harlech: The view from the castle, which is a stone's throw from the high street, is amazing. There are several antique shops, cafes, hotels and pubs and an old fashioned sweet shop selling sweets from the jar. The beach is a fabulous stretch of golden sand accessed via a nature reserve. See for yourself at www.harlech.com.
Llanberis: A great place to visit to begin your Snowdon ascent, either by foot or train. If you are going up Snowdon by the Watkin path why not try Caffi Gwynant at Nantgwynant which is located in an old chapel. The owners pride themselves on fresh home cooked food and, as their chef came from a pub renowned for the quality of it's food, you won't be disappointed. Check it out at www.cafesnowdon.co.uk. Llanberis is a popular centre for all the major outdoor activities. The drive through the dramatic primaeval landscape of the Llanberis Pass is awe-inspiring. There's more to discover at www.llanberis.org.
Porthmadog: As you drive across the cob on the way into this historic, bustling small town you can see Mount Snowdon in the distance. This is where the famous Blaenau Ffestiniog Railway begins it's journey. Find out more at www.porthmadog.co.uk.
Portmeirion: Sir Clough Williams-Ellis started building this Italianate village in the 1920's. It has been made more famous as the setting for the cult TV programme The Prisoner and, of course, by the pottery with it's botanical designs. It has beautiful gardens with many unusual sub-tropical plants as the local climate on the promontary is so mild. Allow two or three hours to make the most of your visit. There is half price entry after 3.30 pm. For more information visit www.portmeirion-village.com.