When to go
Criccieth is a traditional beach town on the Llyn Peninsula, North Wales. Founded by the Victorians as a genteel spot to take the sea air, it’s now a year-round, family resort with a properly Welsh feel. The craggy castle, built by Llewellyn the Great in 1230, dominates the town with its twin arcs of sand-and-shingle beaches, a high street of independent shops and lung-filling clifftop walks along the Wales Coast Path. The resort can be booked-out busy during high summer weekends and the annual Criccieth Festival in June. Many places close Tuesday-Wednesday. See also gonorthwales.co.uk.
How to get there
Criccieth is essentially one main street and is centred on Y Maes, the former medieval market square, with the Grade II listed Memorial Hall across the road. The twin beaches gaze out wistfully towards Cardigan Bay from the promenade. From the train station, with connections on the scenic Cambrian Coast Line from Pwllheli to Dovey Junction, everything is in easy walking distance. Bus number three shuttles regularly between Pwllheli and Porthmadog from Y Maes, but a car is useful for visiting the wider region.
Where to stay
The Lion Hotel is located at the centre of town and has comfy, if slightly traditional, rooms, including an accessible room, plus sea-and-mountain views from front-facing rooms. New are the six self-contained Castel View apartments with kitchenettes and sofa beds for children. Hotel doubles from £120 B&B, studios apartments from £125 per night, including breakfast. There are also EV charging points.
Llwyn Mafon Isaf is a working, family-run farm just outside Criccieth. It offers dog-friendly glamping in cosy camping pods, plus B&B in the farmhouse. It’s a gloriously tranquil spot, looking across to Harlech, with the three pods, complete with shower rooms and underfloor heating, named after mountains of the Snowdonia range. Two come with hot tubs; all three have fire pits. Pods from £320 (sleeps up to four, three-night stay); B&B from £80 per night (minimum two-night stay).
Up with the sun
Fill your lungs with an early-morning beach stroll along the Wales Coast Path. If you’re feeling energetic, a longer walk takes in the summit of Moel y Gest (283m) outside Porthmadog with sparkling sea views.
Afterwards, pop into No 46 Coffee Shop on the High Street for coffee and a breakfast bap (vegan options available). It’s open from 9am but closed Sundays. The owners also run No 51, a new tapas restaurant across the street.
For beach-essential buckets, spades and fishing nets, head to the RNLI shop, open daily. Back on High Street, Eifion Stores is a gloriously traditional shop with many original features, plus a selection of homeware, gifts and cards. Closed on Sundays.
The classic site is Criccieth Castle (£6.80; closed Tues & Weds), which has witnessed centuries of conflict, its history interwoven with the struggle for Welsh independence. Built by the Princes of Gwynedd, it was taken over by Edward I when he crushed the Welsh rebellion in the 13th century. The castle was later ruined by Owain Glyndwr, whose rebellion in the early 1400s marked the last stand for Welsh independence.
Time for a sundowner
While the beer garden of the Lion Hotel is welcoming for a pint of local ale from the Conwy Brewery, it’s worth a short drive to The Feathers (Tafarn Y Plu) in the nearby village of Llanystumdwy. It’s run as a community-interest company with real ales and an outdoor stage for music events. Big Dog Pizza parks its mobile pizza oven there most Fridays.
Dylan’s is the must-book dinner spot, located along the east-beach Esplanade. Tuck into seafood specials such as seabass tacos while soaking up the sunset or sit beachside on summer evenings for al fresco cocktails.
Alternatively, the newly-opened Crab & Lemon is a Mediterranean restaurant located by the tiny train station. It opens Thursday and Friday for dinner only, Saturday and Sunday for both lunch and dinner, with fresh local lobster and a three-tapas deal available for £15.95.
Hit the beach
Both of Criccieth’s beaches, separated by the headland with the castle atop, are sheltered, if a little pebbly, with plenty of rock pools to explore. There’s pay-and-display parking and toilets at the busier eastern beach. A sandier stretch can be found just along the coast at Black Rock Sands.
The classic Criccieth experience is fish and chips from the Castle Chippy eaten on the seafront while the mushy-pea-green waves crash below. It opens for lunch Tuesday to Sunday until 1.45pm and every evening. If the queues are too much, Chippy Dre in nearby Tremadog is a quieter alternative.
Time to relax
For a side trip nearby, it’s a short drive to Portmeirion, the fairy-tale vision of the famous Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis. The site, celebrating its centenary at Easter 2026, is busy until mid-afternoon. But book a three-course lunch at Castell Deudreath Brasserie (£30pp) and you’ll have free entry to the village without the day-tripper crowds. There’s a request train stop at nearby Minffordd station.
A final treat
Cadwaladers is now a Wales-wide institution, but the company was founded in Criccieth in 1927. It’s still the most popular place in town for take-away single/double scoops (£2.90/£3.90), including a cherry sorbet, plus eat-in sundaes.