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Walk the Wales Coast Path from Porthmadog to Harlech

By Dave Roberts   

on December 16, 2020   3/5 (1)

Walk the Wales Coast Path from Porthmadog to Harlech

Further Details

Route Summary:

This is the shorter version of the Wales Coastal Path, avoiding the inland section via Maentwrog. This is the new official route as it’s now possible to cross the Dwyryd via the new Bont Briwet.

Start and Finish: Porthmadog to Harlech

Distance: 18.8 km

Ascent: 188 m

Time: allow 5 hours

Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.


All facillities in Porhmadog, shops, pub and cafe in Penryndeudraeth as well as a good selection in Harlech.

Public Transport:

Local buses and the train connects this entire section. The Ffestiniog Railway also runs between Porthmadog and Penrhyndeudraeth.

Traveline for UK Public Transport


Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Keeping Safe on the Wales Coast Path,  Navigation and the Gear and Equipment you’ll need.

Wales Coast Path Guidebooks:

Recommended Wales Coast Path Maps

Walk the Wales Coast Path from Porthmadog to Harlech Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk the Wales Coast Path from Porthmadog to Harlech

The Wales Coast Path from Porthmadog to Harlech can now be completed in a day quite easily now that the Bont Briwet across the Dwyryd has opened. It previously involved a lengthy inland detour via Maentwrog which is still a worthy circular walk and one we’ll be adding soon. The walk visits the famous village of Portmeirion, but you’ll need to pay to go in as well as allow half a day to explore.

Porthmadog and the Cob

Looking across the Glaslyn Estuary, you’ll see the low lying coast of Morfa Harlech barely a few kilometres away, but most of the day’s walk away. Spare a thought however for our ancestors who either had to walk across the treacherous sands of Traeth Bach or detour all the way inland to Nantmor. Today at least, you can cross the embankment known as the Cob which was built in 1810 by William Madocks in order to avoid the detour inland to Nantmor.  The Cob was built to reclaim the land in the Glaslyn Estuary, and the town of Pothmadog was built on this reclaimed land. Madocks was an MP in Boston, Lincolnshire which is an area derived from draining fenland, which no doubt inspired him to reclaim the land here.

Portmeirion to Llandecwyn

While the Wales Coast Path doesn’t go directly through Williams Clough Ellis’ Italianate village of Portmeirion, it would be a shame not to make time on the walk to visit this unique place. It’s famous for the filming of The Prisioner in 1967, a classic piece of television that’s quintessentially 1960s.

After a few footpaths, the path takes one of it’s numerous road yomps into the village of Penrhyndeudraeth. From Penrhyndeudraeth, the Wales Coast Path used to detour inland in order to cross the Dwyryd at Maentwrog until the new Bont Briwet was built in the last few years to take you quickly and unceremoniously over to Llandecwyn.

Llandecwyn to Harlech

The final section initially follows the seawall that fronts the Glastraeth sea marsh. You’ll spot the island of Ynys Gifftain, which while it does have a right of way should only be attempted with some local knowledge or a boat! Past the hamlet of Ynys, incidentally welsh for island which provides some insight into the history of this place. The Wales Coast Path then heads inland across Morfa Harlech, a flat plod past a recycling centre, forestry and the golf course. Harlech Castle can be clearly seen ahead, dominating the hill on which it’s built and a clearly strategic position. The section ends in Lower Harlech, which has the railway station, shop and a pub.


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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.

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