The Best Places to Try Water Sports in Snowdonia, Wales

Photo of Hannah Freeman
15 December 2017

Snowdonia in North Wales is not just about dramatic mountains; visitors here can enjoy a full range of water sports, be it on lakes, rivers or even against the backdrop of the wild Gwynedd coastline. Whether you seek adrenaline-fuelled extreme sports, or a rather more sedate option, Snowdonia is definitely ready and certainly willing. Here is our guide to the best places to try water sports in Snowdonia.

The National Whitewater Centre

Whitewater rafting is a truly exhilarating experience and where better to try it than The National Whitewater Centre near Bala in the heart of the Snowdonia mountains. With amazing rapids and stunning views, it’s a great starting point for those who enjoy testing themselves to the max.

The National Whitewater Centre, Bala, North Wales, +44 (0) 11678 521083

Llynnau Mymbyr

For those with their own canoeing equipment, there are some breathtaking trips to be had across North Wales’ famous lakes. Llynnau Mymbar, in the very heart of Snowdonia is a great lake to paddle on. With outstanding scenery, majestic mountains and blue green waters, even the most experienced canoeist will slow down, relax and take in the unbeatable surroundings.

Llynnau Mymbyr, Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed, Wales

Vivian Diving Centre

Close to the shores of Lake Padern, in the shadow of Mount Snowden, The Vivian Diving Centre is located within a disused quarry. Visitors can enjoy scuba-diving (after their onsite training) in a centre billed as ‘one of the most picturesque sites you’ll find.’ This centre is also suitable for novices, as the maximum depth is only 22 metres (72 feet).

Parc Padarn Country Park, Maes Padarn, Caernarfon, Wales, +44 (0) 1286 870889

Plas y Brenin – The National Mountain Sports Centre

One of the more sedate water sports, canoeing is a perfect all-age activity. Plas-Y-Brenin offers two day courses to teach visitors all about canoeing. It’s a bit of a crash course but, with the instructor’s 20 years of experience, you’ll be in safe hands.

Snowdonia Adventures, Beaumaris, Anglesey

A couple of rather more unusual choices are available through Snowdonia Adventures: coasteering and gorge scrambling. The former takes visitors on a journey between the sea and land, climbing cliffs and jumping into the sea, whilst the latter follows a similar pattern inland, wading through mountain streams, scrambling under waterfalls and over rocks. Both are extremely fun, very tiring, and well worth a go.

Snowdonia Adventures, 3 Arfon Terrace, Llangoed, Beaumaris, Wales, +44 (0) 1248 490188

Bodyboating in Llangollen, North Wales

Another relatively new extreme water sport in the UK, bodyboating combines, canoeing, surfing and swimming. The instructors learned about this new combi-watersport in Slovakia and decided to bring it to Wales under the name ‘bodyboating’. Guided through some of Britain’s most beautiful waterways, this is an accessible starting point for those wishing to try extreme water-sports.

Colwyn Bay Watersports, North Wales

Perched right on the top of Wales, Colwyn Bay is a well known centre for sea-based water sports. Offering some of the more traditional activities, including sailing, wind-surfing and power boating, and with onsite instructors supervising some excellent beginners courses, it is an excellent place to start for coastal activities.


Another on-trend water sport is kitesurfing. Combining power kiting with surfing, this exhilarating sport can be discovered on Snowdonia’s northern coastline in the well-known seaside town of Rhyl. Experts in this extreme sports throw some pretty awesome moves as they go with the flow, embracing the elements and putting on a really cool show, but for beginners, they also offer excellent courses.

Pro-Kitesurfing, East Parade, Rhyl, North Wales, +44 (0) 1745 345004

Porth Neigwl

This beach is definitely for the more experienced surfer, but what a beach. Located on the stunning Llyn Peninsula, the name translates (rather ominously) to Hell’s Mouth and provides the perfect place for surfers to blow away those cobwebs and hit some serious waves. A beautiful open expanse of beach with nearby carpark and panoramic sea views, this is a real contender for Wales’ best surf beach.

Porth Neigwl, Llyn Peninsula, Abersoch, North Wales

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