Aberdovey sits on the northern edge of the Dyfi estuary where the mountains meet the sea on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park.
This peaceful village has a thriving harbour and remains a popular seaside resort, yet most are drawn here for the simplicity and slow pace of life.
Here is our weekend guide to Aberdovey, including local history, best walks and places to visit.
Dovey Estuary and town, Aberdovey, Gwynedd ©Getty
A row of colourful Victorian houses grace the seafront, which overlooks the wild sprawling sand dunes. Across the estuary enjoy spectacular views of Ynyslas nature reserve, near Borth. Aberdovey is a creative hub with local artists and writers drawing inspiration from the wild windswept surroundings.
Aberdovey’s claim to fame
Aberdovey became famous in 1785 when Charles Dibden wrote the song The Bells of Aberdovey for the opera Liberty Hall. The words refer to the church bells of the legendary Cantre`r Gwaelod in Cardigan Bay. This is a legendary city, said to have been drowned by the sea when the drunken Seithennin neglected the valley’s dykes. It is said that the chimes of the bells can still be heard on still, windless nights.
Things to do
Most people come to Aberdovey for the shoreline. With miles of wild sandy dunes to explore, plus countryside walks there’s plenty to entertain young children and avid walkers alike. Grab a tourist map from the Information and spend 30-minutes following the historic walking route around the village.
The wild sandy beach is the perfect place to spend a day exploring ©Getty
The seaside resort is also a popular sailing destination with the Aberdovey Yacht Club
offering sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Aberdovey or Aberdyfi is a wide sandy beach on the coast of the north side of the Dyfi or River Dovey estuary ©Getty
Spend time ambling the local galleries and shops, before stopping for an ice cream or cream tea at one of Aberdovey’s lovely cafes.
Where to stay
There are a good range of quaint self-catering cottages or apartments on offer, plus B&Bs and guesthouses.
The newly restored Erw Gwenllian ©Premier Cottages
We stayed at the gorgeous Erw Gwenllian self-catering property, which has easily some of the most breath-taking views of Aberdovey village and estuary. Having recently undergone a complete remodel to an incredibly high-standard, the home is the perfect bolthole for a weekend of coastal walks and hunkering down inside by the fire watching films. With glass sliding doors opening out to a patio, the house, which sleeps eight, is the perfect spot for a relaxing break – whatever the weather.
After a day of wandering, enjoy a drink with a view from the kitchen/Image: Premier Cottages
We were fortunate to enjoy a warm, sunny weekend but even in the midst of winter, Erw Gwenllian offers a sanctuary from the elements. Enjoy beach days and picnics in the summer, brisk coastal walks in spring and star gazing in the autumn and winter months. While wifi was on offer, we chose to switch off and escape our inboxes and social media to enjoy coastal views and the cheering sight of the lambs frolicking in the field opposite.
See premiercottages.co.uk for more information and to book
Alternatively, you could try:
Cartref Guest House – a 4 star bed & breakfast just a five-minute walk from the beach. cartref-aberdovey.co.uk/
Seabreeze restaurant and rooms – Aberdovey isn’t short of good quality restaurants and Seabreeze offers a quality menu, plus sea view rooms over the estuary and mountains. seabreeze-aberdovey.co.uk
Fron Haul Bed & Breakfast – centrally, located and just a stone’s throw from the beach. fronhaul-aberdovey.co.uk
Where to eat
For a small place, Aberdovey has a good selection of high quality places to eat and drink. For fish lovers, try Seabreeze’s excellent restaurant (see above) or for traditional pub grub, the Britannia Inn offers hearty fare, coupled with estuary views.
The Dovey Inn is another population choice, also offering accommodation, with pub classics and more excellent estuary views.
For more info
Aberdovey Tourist Information Centre, visitwales.co.uk
Other places to visit near Aberdovey
Explore Aberystwyth, Wales
Give the whole family a traditional seaside fix of beaches and entertainment in the coastal heart of mid-Wales.
Walk up Constitution Hill for a spectacular view of the seafront ©Getty
To see Aberdovey from across the estuary, head to the seaside town of Aberstywth for a five-mile cliff walk to Borth which starts at the northern end of the town ascending Constitution Hill to follow the rugged Wales Coast Path to the dramatic sand dunes of Ynyslas – offering a view of Aberdovey across the water.
Visit the market town of Machynlleth, Powys
Dovey valley, Machynlleth, Powys, Wales/Credit: Getty Images
The bustling market town of Machynlleth is just 11 miles from Aberdovey and has an array of art shops, galleries and pubs and cafes. It also provides a good base for exploring the Dyfi Valley, with hiking and mountain biking routes nearby.
Hike in Snowdonia National Park
Snowdon Mountain railway, Llanberis, Gwynedd, Snowdonia, north Wales, UK/Credit: Getty Images
Blast away the cobwebs with a refreshing walk through ancient forest, beside roaring torrents and over great mountains.
Arriving at Aberdovery by car or train is a treat, as the views from the road or Cambrian Coast line are spectacular – if not a little windy.
By car Aberdovey is a 20 minute drive from Machynlleth where you can find a larger supermarket, pubs and cafes.
A train line and bus route also link the two and take around 25 minutes. The two stations can be found at either end of Aberdovey.