Day out: Abersoch, Llŷn Peninsula, Gwynedd

The Llŷn Peninsula is one of the best places in the UK for spotting dolphins. It’s also home to endearing fishing villages, not least Abersoch with its sandy shores and river-fed harbour

Village on the coast

Abersoch sits in a sheltered spot on the south side of the Llŷn Peninsula, a slender finger of land reaching out into the Irish Sea at the north-western tip of Wales. 

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Like many other settlements looking out on to the vast blueness of Cardigan Bay, the village once relied heavily on fishing for its income, with herrings a particularly lucrative catch. Small-scale fishermen still operate out of the harbour, mostly bringing in lobsters and crabs, and you can book fishing trips with local boat operators. 

A wander around the village is a slow affair, with visitors repeatedly being lured from their explorations by the many bars and cafés lining the street leading down to the harbour. Once you reach the point where the river, the Afon Soch, opens out into the sea, you’ll need to stop again, this time to take in the jagged skyline along the eastern horizon: the mountains of Snowdonia. 

Coastal village and boats
Surrounded on three sides by the Irish Sea and fed by the Gulf Stream, Abersoch has a unique microclimate, giving rise to its popular moniker, the Welsh Riviera/Credit: Getty

Things to do in Abersoch  

Beyond the small harbour beach is a longer, more popular stretch of sand, backed by dunes and home to a line of colourful beach huts. One sold for a record £153,000 in 2016, despite being in need of some TLC. Grab yourself an ice cream and sit awhile here, watching the paddleboarders and windsurfers out on the water. You might even be lucky enough to spot a bottlenose dolphin, since Cardigan Bay is home to one of Britain’s largest populations.

For something more energetic, take to the Wales Coast Path. Following it south from Abersoch initially, you pass over the top of rugged cliffs and across open heath where crow-like choughs, their red bills and matching legs conspicuous, swoop and dive exuberantly. From the four-mile surfers’ beach at Hell’s Mouth, leave the coast and complete a 10.5-mile circuit by walking quiet lanes and farm paths back to Abersoch.

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Visit nearby PorthDinllaen

Looking for more seaside charm? On the Llŷn’s north coast is Porthdinllaen, a tiny cluster of fishermen’s cottages accessible only on foot from Morfa Nefyn. Don’t miss the beachside Tŷ Coch Inn! 

village on coast and beach
PorthDinllaen/Credit: Getty