North Wales is truly a Wild Swimming paradise. Looking at a map of Snowdonia, you will see that the area is dotted with lakes of all sizes, from small natural pools whose water levels vary seasonally, to deep glacial lakes found at the bottom of valleys. These are interconnected through a network of rivers, streams and waterfalls, containing countless opportunities to swim out in nature. Here are some of our favorite places:
Llyn Gwynant. This lake offers some truly spectacular landscapes. It is easily accessible from the road, so perhaps it is not an ideal destination for those looking for solitude and tranquility. At the lake, it is also easy to get into the water, thanks to its gently sloping pebbled beaches. Keep in mind that the lake remains shallow for quite a distance from the shore.
Llyn Dinas. Llyn Dinas is not too far from Llyn Gwynant. Despite being close neighbors, the views from the shores of each are very different, but just as spectacular. This is one of our favorite places to swim in nature. There are several points from which the water can be easily accessed, but bear in mind that in some places, the depth of the lake drops off considerably a short distance from the shore. It is a very popular destination among open water swimmers, so you may meet other cold water lovers if you decide to make it part of your itinerary.
Afon Glaslyn is a beautiful stretch of river located between Beddgelert and Nantmor. It has a path along the shore that is worth hiking even for those with no plans to swim. There are several deep pools between the rocky parts of the river that are perfect for a short swim, but you have to arrive at the right time: If the river is too low, the pools will not be deep enough to swim in. On the contrary, after heavy rains, the river can become a torrent of water creating unsafe swimming conditions.
Llynnau Mymbyr is another beautiful lake surrounded by a spectacular landscape. Here, access to the water can be difficult, since instead of the pebbles that are usually found in Snowdonia, its banks are made up of mud which can make getting in and out complicated. Once you make it to the water, the surrounding landscape is truly impressive. The lake is a very popular destination for various water sports, so be sure to bring a safety buoy, and if possible, a high-visibility wetsuit, to be easily spotted.
Llyn Ogwen. Flanked by towering grey stone mountains, including the iconic Tryfan (917 m), its surroundings are part of what makes Llyn Ogwen special. The shore is very steep at some points, so it can be difficult to enter the lake; but if you dare to dive in, the views from the water are worth it. From Llyn Ogwen, there is a well-marked path to the surrounding mountains which will take you to Llyn Idwel, another incredible lake that is worth seeing, although swimming there is prohibited in an effort to protect its ecosystem.
Llyn Padarn. With the town of Llanberis on one side and Dinorwig Mountain on the other, the shore of Llyn Padarn may seem unattractive, but away from the built-up areas, there are many spots that are perfect for swimming. On a clear day, you can even see the top of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon), the highest mountain in Wales, at 1085 meters.
Afon Llugwy, a beautiful river west of the village of Betws-y-Coed, forms deep pools and natural pools where bathers and open water swimmers are frequently seen. The ideal way to enjoy the experience would be to follow the river west, out of the city towards Swallow Falls, where the landscape is much more spectacular.
The list of places to enjoy Wild Swimming in Snowdonia could be even longer, as the area is ideal for any nature lover and especially cold water swimmers. This is our selection of the most spectacular lakes and rivers and the ones we visit the most. With these in mind, get your equipment ready for cold water swimming, and enjoy the wonderful landscapes of North Wales.