Stretching from the peak of Snowdon to Bardsey Island (or Ynys Enlli - the Island of the Tides), the Llyn Peninsula is a unique and beautiful part of North Wales, renown for its natural charm and mild climate. So spectacular is its coastline that many thousands of acres have been protected by the National Trust, and vast tracts of land have been designated Areas of Special Scientific Interest. It is a haven for wild flowers and its indigenous wildlife attracts naturalists from far and wide - it even boasts its very own breed of sheep (Llyn Sheep). >From the 5th century until the Middle Ages, numerous saints and pilgrims followed the holy route along the Llyn's north coast, and it is steeped in early Celtic Christian history (according to legend there are 20,000 saints buried on Bardsey).
Quaint country churches can be found dotted throughout the region - an excellent example is St Mary's at Bryncroes, where St Mary's Well was an important stop on the pilgrim's route. Nant Gwrtheyrn, a once deserted quarrying village, now houses the National Centre for Welsh Language & Culture. It is also here that you can take a pleasant amble through an area teeming with Mabinogion folklore and natural history.
The remote fishing village of Aberdaron can be found towards the tip of the Peninsula. Traditionally, it was the last stopping place for pilgrims on their way to Bardsey. Its delightful beach has won awards and is always highly popular with families.
For the more adventurous, the areas magnificent coastline is ideal for sailing (it is known as the 'Cowes of the North') and other water sports. There are also plenty of facilities for golf, tennis, walking, fishing and horseriding. There is an attractive sailing harbour at Porthmadog, which was a lively shipping port for the Welsh slate industry until the early twentieth century. While just outside the town is Morfa Bychan, where visitors are always delighted to discover the never-ending sandy beach at Blackrock Sands - one of Britain's finest! For families who fancy a spot of fun, Bodvel Hall Adventure Park at Boduan (near Pwllheli) lets the kids burn up some energy while the adults are able to relax in its wonderful grounds.
On the other hand, Criccieth is the ideal coastal resort for visitors who prefer to sit back and relax. In the village of Llanystumdwy is an excellent museum which celebrates the life of Lloyd George, the areas most famous son and one time Prime Minister of Great Britain. Inland Llyn is well worth exploring for its lush valleys, crystal clear lakes and imposing mountains.
The region is rich in mineral deposits and tourists can enjoy a visit to the Victorian Sygun Copper Mine at Beddgelert. When you visit the Llyn Peninsuala, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had stepped through a time warp and had drifted back to a far less stressful period in history. Its tranquil beauty, its thriving use of the ancient Welsh language and its stupendous scenery make it a unique and fascinating part of Wales. The timeless Llyn has to be seen to be believed. .
By: Paula Bardell