Nestled on the estuary of the River Dwyryd just on the outskirts of Snowdonia National Park is the village of Portmeirion – officially the most beautiful village in Wales.
Built and developed by Welsh architect Sir Clough William-Ellis, Portmeirion bears a striking resemblance to a Mediterranean town.
Based on Portofino, Portmeirion has colorful buildings, an elaborate plaza, over 70 acres of woodland, and several gardens to walk through.
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As you enter the village, walk down to the Clifftop & Chantry Row for a great view of the estuary.
Venture into the Clifftop Rotunda, where you can get a closer look at the water.
Then you can head to the Mermaid Spa in Battery Square, if you want to relax and indulge yourself.
You’ll also find The Round House in the square, which was the fictional home of Number 6 on the 1960s TV show The Prisoner, with actor Patrick McGoohan as the main protagonist.
William-Ellis also built a city bell campanile in the village to evoke the atmosphere of the streets of Portfino.
Just like any other Italian city, the city – or a village in this case – has a square.
With a fountain pool, a Gothic pavilion, a Grade II listed colonnade and a giant chess board on a human scale, Portmeirion seems to have it all.
The addition of the chessboard caused a stir among the inhabitants, when it was built in the lawn of the square in homage to the Prisoner.
You’ll also find landmarks such as Salutation Square with the Arc de Triomphe, the historic Hercules Hall which is home to Jacobean design, and the Y Gwyllt Woodlands just beyond.
Find hidden treasures like the Dog Graveyard, Ghost Garden, and Chinese Lake.
Just separate from the village is Castell Deudraeth, which can be seen on the main road entering and leaving Portmeirion.
The castle is a four star hotel with 11 rooms and sutures, as well as the Castell Deudraeth brewery and a walled garden from the Victorian era.
William-Ellis called the castle “the largest and most imposing building in the domain of Portmeirion”.
Or for a hotel a little more central in the village, the Portmeirion hotel backing onto the sandy beaches of the estuary.
Follow the coastal path to discover the Amis Reunis, or âAmis reunisâ, the famous stone boat in the village.
William-Ellis bought and converted Amis, mooring it alongside the village.
It was originally used as a barge until it ran aground on a shoal near the island of Ynys Gifftan.
At low tide you may be able to see some of the remains of the boat.
After a day of exploring, Portmeirion has a small selection of places to eat.
The Portmeirion hotel restaurant and the Castell Deudraeth brewery both won TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for 2021.
The Portmeirion hotel restaurant serves dishes such as Welsh lamb rump with pulled shoulder, cauliflower and Hafod cheese tortellini, and twice-baked rarebit Welsh soufflÃ©.
At the Chateau Brasserie you will find dishes like Welsh beef rib eye, seared scallops with spicy couscous and duck breast with duck leg confit.
Both also serve Sunday lunch for those looking for a roast dinner.
Portmeirion may not have been established until the 1920s, but it offers everything a getaway needs: landmarks, great food, and the fresh Welsh outdoors with a touch of Italian flair.
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How to get there
You can take a train from Euston to Llandudno Junction, before taking a bus to Cwm, then change to Portmeirion.
Or if you like cross country it will take you over five hours (but be sure to check the traffic before you go!).
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