Snowdonia sunrise spots: Six places to watch sunrise in Snowdonia

The early bird catches the worm, right? Well the same goes for these amazing Snowdonia sunrise spots. If you can drag yourself out of bed before the sun does, you’ll be able to catch stunning sunrises in Snowdonia.

Whether you want a challenging hike to a sunrise spot or a simple drive to a beautiful location, this guide will help you plan an amazing Snowdonia sunrise experience.

These are the best Snowdonia sunrise spots – enjoy!

Llyn Idwal

Llyn Idwal.
Llyn Idwal via Unsplash.

Llyn Idwal is a glacial lake in the midst of the Glyderau Mountains. There is a circular walk around Llyn Idwal starting from Pont Pen-y-Benglog that is 4.8km and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. The National Trust has a fantastic route guide that I’ll link here.

Walking the lake perimeter at sunrise is serene and the ultimate peaceful sunrise experience. If you want to feel connected to nature and feel isolated in the wilderness, Llyn Idwal is the perfect spot to wake up fresh but slowly.

For a real awakening, you can also go for a sunrise swim! Swimming is permitted in Llyn Idwal, so wear a swimming costume under your clothes, pack a towel, and bring a hot coffee for afterwards in a thermal flask.

Llyn Idwal is also where you can spot one of the best waterfalls in Snowdonia – The Devil’s Appendix. This waterfall is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Wales, falling an impressive 93 metres.

If you want to be inspired by nature, I’d suggest including a hike to Llyn Idwal just to see The Devil’s Appendix. It has everything, mountains, a lake, swimming, and waterfalls.

Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle.
Harlech Castle via Unsplash.

If walking first thing in the morning sounds less than appealing, consider watching the sunrise at Harlech Castle instead.

The castle is located in the beach town of Harlech, along the Snowdonia coastline. Harlech Castle overlooks the sand dunes and beach below, cutting a dramatic picture at sunrise. The castle itself was built in the 13th century and is a beautiful example of medieval architecture.

Harlech Castle was constructed by the English king Edward I after the invasion of Wales in the Second War of Welsh Independence. The castle has sombre but symbolic importance in Welsh history.

The best place to view Harlech Castle at sunrise is from along the coastal path. I suggest packing a picnic and a picnic blanket and setting up a warm spot on a verge along the path. You can enjoy an early breakfast and hot drink while watching the sunrise.

Mount Snowdon Summit

Snowdon via Unsplash.

Mount Snowdon is obviously one of the best, most iconic Snowdonia sunrise spots. And, while there are many beautiful places to watch the sunrise on Snowdon, I’d recommend the summit.

You’ll have views over the whole National Park, and some say that you can see England, Scotland, and Ireland on a clear day. Some eagle-eyed climbers even claim to see the Peak District mountains near Manchester. I think they probably had a strong pair of binoculars or a hiker’s high, but it’s still a cool claim.

If climbing Snowdon for sunrise, I suggest taking an easier track like the Miner’s Track. Watching sunrise on Snowdon will involve hiking in the dark – possibly while still tired and ready to stumble. So now is not the time to tackle the Watkin Path, let alone Crib Goch. You can check out our guide to climbing Mount Snowdon here, or alternatively book a guided sunrise hike (the best option if you aren’t familiar with the mountain). 

Check ahead the day before to see if the summit café will be open and, if not, pack warm drinks, blankets, and food. Snowdon summit is cold and often wet and windy, so don’t hike unprepared to enjoy the summit. A Snowdon sunrise walk is a hard slog, and a Mount Snowdon sunrise is only worthwhile if you are warm enough to enjoy it.

If the summit café is open, you’re in luck. You’ll have a warm café, gift shops, and toilet facilities to warm up before and after sunrise. Get warm and prepare yourself for sunrise on the highest mountain in Wales.

Portmeirion Piazza

Portmeirion via Unsplash.

Okay, technically, Portmeirion is just outside of Snowdonia National Park. But the word ‘just’ is key here, as the town is less than a ten-minute drive from the National Park border.

For the sake of this article, I’ll include Portmeirion as it is extremely feasible to reach from within the National Park, and it is easily one of the most beautiful places in Wales.

The Italianate village was the genius design of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, and visitors will feel like they’ve stepped straight out of Wales and onto the Amalfi Coast. From buildings styled in traditional Italian architecture to romantic manicured gardens and a truly Italian piazza, Portmeirion is an incredible destination in Wales.

Understandably, Portmeirion is also busy with tourists – most days and most seasons. Visiting Portmeirion at sunrise will not only be beautiful but also a chance to experience this village at a quieter, more serene hour. Hopefully, you’ll beat the crowds and have the village almost to yourself, with everyone else still fast asleep in bed!

I’d recommend visiting the Portmeirion Piazza for sunrise, then walking down to the beach. The cafes in Portmeirion open at 10 am. You’ll have plenty of time to wake up, go for a swim, or read a book on the sand or in the piazza,

Llyn Ogwen

A Snowdonia lake.

Love a mythical tale? Llyn Ogwen is a glacial lake not too far from Llyn Idwal and is rumoured to be home to Excalibur – King Arthur’s sword. It is also a wonderful Snowdonia sunrise walk, especially if you want low effort and high reward.

You can walk Llyn Ogwen on a straightforward circular walk around the lake perimeter. The trail is 4.6km long and should only take 2 hours to complete. However, because you’ll have beautiful views the whole way round, Llyn Ogwen is a good option for those who want to wake up as late as possible. Even if you get there ten minutes before sunrise, you’ll still get the money shots!

On the south side of Llyn Ogwen is Mt Tryfan. Mt Tryfan is a famously pointy mountain peak that is often stunningly snow-dusted in winter and early spring. If you arrive late, walk the north side of the trail first, giving you clear views of Tryfan with Llyn Ogwen in front.

You can view the National Trust’s detailed route description here. As it states, be mindful of boggy trail sections, especially in winter. I’d suggest packing a pair of wellies if you are catching a winter sunrise in Snowdonia.

Glyder Fawr Summit

Glyder Fawr summit.
Glyder Fawr via Unsplash.

Of course, if you’ve already completed Snowdon, you might want a different, challenging Snowdonia sunrise spot to reach. If you are an experienced climber, the Glyder Fawr summit is an exciting option.

The mountain is 1,001 metres tall and is the highest in the Glyderau range – a definite challenge for the ambitious climbers visiting Snowdonia. Unlike Mt Snowdon, the Glyder Fawr summit has no facilities, so you’ll have to pack a flask of hot coffee, breakfast, and a blanket. However, the Snowdonia sunrise with sweeping views of Ogwen Valley and the unique rock outcrop at the summit will make it all worthwhile.

10 Adventures do a great route guide that I’ll link here. There are a few different route options, but this one starts at the same point as the circular Cwm Idwal hike, passing the lake and The Devil’s Appendix on the way up Glyder Fawr.

Be aware that this is a technical, difficult hike – especially at sunrise – and you should only attempt it with the proper equipment and in good conditions. It might be worth booking a reputable guided climb with a company like this if you are at all unsure about your technical ability.

So, there we are! The top six Snowdonia sunrise spots. I hope you’ve found one or two ideas that have caught your eye. A Snowdonia sunrise is not one to miss.

Whether you are chasing mountains, waterfalls, lakes, or Italian villages, Snowdonia has plenty of sunrise spots to explore. Have I missed out on one of your favourites? Feel free to drop any Snowdonia sunrise recommendations in the comments below.

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