The Berwyn Mountains is a stunningly beautiful part of North Wales that is overshadowed by its big brother – the Snowdonia National Park which sits to the west of the Berwyns.
It is place of wild beauty and a haven for walkers, cyclists, mountain bikers and wildlife watchers. Unlike Snowdonia which often feels crowded and busy, the Berwyns gets less visitors which means you often have the paths and trails to yourself. And we think this is one of its greatest assets.
Confusingly, it is often called the Berwyn Range even though it does contain mountains. We will just go with calling it the Berwyn Mountains for simplicity!
In this guide:
Where are the Berwyn Mountains
The Berwyn Mountains lie in the northeast of Wales. Roughly between Llangollen to the northeast, Corwen to the northwest, Bala to the west, Lake Vyrnwy to the south and Llanfyllin to the southeast.
Places to stay in the Berwyn Mountains
Bala lies to west of the Berwyns and along with Llangollen to the northeast are the biggest towns in the area.
They both have a good range of shops, pubs and restaurants. There is also a good range of accommodation options including B&B’s, hotels, holiday cottages and campsites. They do however get quite busy and are quite “touristy”. They also lie outside of the Berwyn Mountains, so would require a car journey to visit them.
The following options lie in the Berwyn Mountains so are a great option if you are looking to walk or cycle straight from your accommodation.
The village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog lies to the east of the Berwyn Mountains. It is a beautiful village lying on the River Ceiriog. It has a few houses and a scattering of farms in the hills. It also boasts two fantastic historic inns. This is where we have our holiday cottage which is available for rent. Llanarmon lies at the end of the Ceiriog Valley which is about 20 minutes drive from Llangollen.
To the northwest is Corwen which is a village with a couple of pubs and shops. To the south you have the small village of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant which has a couple of pubs and basic shopping. Both have a few small B&B’s, campsites and holiday cottages.
The small village of Llangynog is towards Bala and has a couple of pubs in the village and B&B’s and holiday cottages in the area.
Berwyn Mountains - walks
You will often not see another person when out walking in the Berwyn Mountains. Which is part of the appeal but also means you need to be prepared. There is very little mobile phone coverage once you get away from the towns and villages.
Two main routes that pass through the area are the North Berwyn Way and the Dee Valley Way. Alternatively there are many walks above Pistyll Rhaeadr (a spectacular waterfall which is worth a visit). Stretching out from Llanarmon are plenty of footpaths which eventually lead up to Cadair Berwyn and other peaks.
A favourite of ours is to head up the Wayfarers Trail which stretches from Llanarmon to Llandrillo. As well as being a nice walk, you can also ride it on a mountain bike. There are also some good spots for river and waterfall swimming if you head off the main trail.
From Llanarmon you will also find some beautiful walks in the Ceiriog Valley which has a very different feel to the Berwyns – more forests, rivers and grassland.
Berwyn Mountains - places to visit
Pistyll Rhaeadr is a short drive outside of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant and has a spectacular waterfall and plenty of walks in the area. There is also a small tea room by the waterfall. It is possible to walk to the waterfall from Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant or over the top of the Berwyn Mountains from Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog.
Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant is a nice place to stop for refreshments if you are in the area or passing through. There is a small cafe and fish and chip shop (but check the opening hours if you are making a special visit – they are not always open).
Bala has a lovely lake to walk around and good water sports. Llangollen is a very popular tourist town with steam train rides, historic houses and canal side walks. Both get very busy in the summer or if the sun is shining.
To the south is Lake Vyrnwy which also happens to be one of our favourite spots in the area. In the summer it is a great place for a lake side picnic. There are plenty of walks, you can rent a canoe or paddle board on the lake and you can also cycle around the lake (takes about one hour). It is also an RSPB centre and there are plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching.
If you do visit Lake Vyrnwy be sure to visit the waterfalls at Rhiwargor (car park at the west end of the lake). If it is a nice day there are pools you can take a dip in.
If you are looking for a great driving road then the Milltir Cerrig pass is recommended. It runs between Bala and Llangynog. It is ok as long as you have a head for heights!
The Berwyns are also a great place for wild camping due to the relative isolation.
If you do make it to either Llangollen or Bala, here are some of our favourite local shops – pay them a visit!
Berwyn Mountains - cycling and mountain biking
The roads to the south of the Berwyns running towards Bala are less busy than those to the north (Llangollen, Horseshoe Pass and Corwen area). Head off the main roads and there are endless miles of empty roads to cycle on. A particularly popular route is to follow the River Ceiriog from Chirk to Llanarmon and onward to Llanrhaeadr.
For mountain bikers, to the north you have Coed Llandegla (One Planet Adventure). While not strictly within the Berwyns it is close enough to make it onto this guide. In the village of Llangynog to the south is Revolution Bike Park a dedicated downhill centre. From Llanarmon it is also easy to access the Ceiriog trail and the Wayfarers trail. Just get on your bike and explore – there are lots of trails in the area.
Berwyn Mountains holiday cottage to rent
Glan y Wern is a traditional Welsh cottage in the small village of Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. Llanarmon DC is set in the beautiful Ceiriog Valley on the edge of the Berwyn Mountains. We have two wonderful historic inns serving food within a 2 minute walk of the cottage. There are mountain biking trails and walking trails straight from the door of the cottage. Please visit our website for more information about the cottage and things to do in the area.
- Sleeps 4 in two bedrooms.
- En suite and family bathroom.
- Comfortable lounge with log burner.
- Fully equipped kitchen.
- Traditional Welsh cottage finished to a high standard.
- Off road parking.
- Bike storage.
- Patio and BBQ overlooking open fields.
- Short walk to two historic inns serving fantastic food.
Glan y Wern makes a great holiday destination for couples, families with children, short breaks or longer holidays. Families, walkers, outdoor enthusiasts and mountain bikers love our North Wales holiday cottage.