Walk the Wales Coast Path from Pwllheli to Porthmadog
A gentler coastline along sandy beaches, visiting a number of seaside towns and villages on the way.
Distance: 27.9 km
Ascent: 201 m
Time: 8 hours
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Pwllheli to Porthmadog
All facilities in Pwllheli, Cricieth and Porthmadog.
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
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.
Local buses and train services final leg.
Businesses on this section of the Wales Coast Path:
Walk the Wales Coast Path from Pwllheli to Porthmadog Details
The Wales Coast Path from Pwlheli on to Porthmadog is a more sedate section, with low sand dunes and beaches rather than rugged clifftop walking. There’s one section of road walking, and a few diversions off the coast, but other than that keeps close to the coast.
Pwllheli to Cricieth
The first section leaves Pwllheli along the Inner Harbour before cutting across the developed spit at Glan-y-don and follows the sandy beach at Abererch Sands for a number of kilometres towards the rocky headland of Pen-ychain. This is very much typical of this stretch of coastline which is predominantly low and sandy with a few rockier sections that add some extra interest. Just beyond Pen-ychain is the old Butlins holiday camp, long re-branded as Haven. Don’t be surprised if the next section is busy in comparison! Make the most of it, as a kilometre or so further along the coast and the Wales Coast Path takes an unwelcome detour inland, following the A497 for number of kilometres.
Thankfully, for the final section the route returns to the coast along a newly created path through the marshes, wet in places but with boardwalks to the majority and good going once you reach the coast proper once again. Ahead you won’t fail to notice the castle at Cricieth, which is the next target on our walk.
Cricieth is a small seaside resort, and as such will have plenty of lunch options nearby. All the pubs, however, are up in the town. Cricieth Castle is one of the many castles on the Wales Coast Path, and unlike those at Flint, Conwy, Beaumaris and Caernarfon, was one of the native Welsh castles. It was built by Llywelyn the Great, but captured and developed further by the invading armies of Edward the I. Cricieth Castle, like most in Wales, is currently maintained by Cadw.
Cricieth to Porthmadog
On leaving Cricieth, the route keeps close to the Cambrian Coast Line before emerging behind Craig Ddu on the wide sands of Traeth Creigddu or Black Rock Sands. Off-season, this is a pleasant and quiet walk but in season will be busy with tourists and it’s worth noting, cars, as it’s one of the few beaches you can drive on.
The Wales Coast Path skirts around some rockier ground towards Ynys Cyngar and the secluded beach of Samson’s Bay, and further on the seaside village of Borth-y-gest. This is a picturesque harbour that was the original harbour before Porthmadog was founded, and where many of the ships launched in Porthmadog were built. Porthmadog itself is a few minutes walk from Borth-y-gest, with the coast path emerging at Pen Cei at Porthmadog Harbour. Those wanting to know more about the history of Porthmadog and the sea can visit the Porthmadog Maritime Museum, which is literally on the Wales Coast Path. The Ffestiniog Railway is also nearby, and can be used to travel as far as Caernarfon or Blaenau Ffestiniog.