Did you know that there was an Italian village in Wales? As unusual as that sounds, there is, and it’s called Portmeirion. A slice of the Mediterranean in Wales, with vibrant, bright colours and iconic architecture, you truly are transported to Italy when you visit. If you’re looking for something unusual to do in Wales, then we highly recommend a visit here.
What is Portmeirion?
Portmeirion is a resort town on the coast of North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1976 in the style of an Italian village.
It has shops, cafes, restaurants, a spa, a lighthouse, a beach, and you can even get married here in such beautiful surroundings!
It is said that the inspiration for Portmeirion is based on his memories and impressions of the towns of Portofino and San Gimignano, however WIlliam-Ellis has denied this.
There are over two miles (3 km) of coastline with views across Cardigan Bay to Snowdonia, as well as inland views across gentle hills to the east towards Harlech Castle. In a 2001 poll conducted by “Country Life” magazine, Portmeirion was voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Seaside Resort’.
Does Portmeirion Have a Historic Backstory?
Portmeirion was born when its founder, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, had a vision of an Italian village. He bought the land in 1925 and by 1934 he had started to build his Italianate village. The architects he commissioned to work on Portmeirion were well known for their other buildings, such as the Senate House at the University of London and Manchester Town Hall.
From his original idea of an Italian village, Portmeirion has become a place with many different styles from around Europe that are blended together in harmony. Architects who worked on Portmeirion usually used local materials for inspiration for the designs; for example one building is based on a Spanish design using Welsh cobbles and Spanish tiles in an elegant mixture with clean lines like those you would find in Barcelona or Seville.
Williams-Ellis himself said “If I could have created just one thing more than anything else it would be this: that there should be no ugliness anywhere within my power.”
Where Is Portmeirion Located?
Portmeirion is located on the coast of North Wales, 2 miles south-east of Porthmadog.
How to Get to Portmeirion?
The easiest way to get to Portmeirion is to drive. There is a large free car park there.
For more information on different ways to travel to Portmeirion, you can check out the directions that they have on their website – Directions to Portmeirion | Things to Do in North Wales
Do you have to pay to go to Portmeirion?
Yes you do have to pay to go to Portmeirion. You can buy annual passes which cost £35 for an adult ticket and £20 for a child ticket which gives unlimited access to Portmeirion throughout the year. Or you can buy day tickets which cost £17 per adult or £10 per child.
Children under 5 go free. You can pre-book your tickets online or you can pay on the gate.
Is There Accessible Parking Available When Visiting Portmeirion?
Yes, there is a large car park at Portmeirion, with additional overflow parking, and disabled parking is available.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Portmeirion?
Portmeirion is open 7 days a week all throughout the year. If you truly want to be transported to Italy when you visit, then to visit in the summer on a sunny day would be best as you can appreciate all of the colours and beauty of this town in all it’s glory.
Having said that, Portmeirion does get extremely busy in the summer, so to visit in off-season may be best if you want to beat the crowds and have a more quiet experience.
How long does it take to go around Portmeirion?
It would take a couple of hours to walk around Portmeirion but you could spend longer here if you wanted to stop for food or drinks in a café and restaurant, and spend time at the beach.
What Should I Pack If I Plan on Visiting Portmeirion?
There is no need to pack food and drink if you visit Portmeirion as there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to buy food from, however if you would rather not spend the money then you can take your own as there are tables and benches around the village where you could sit to eat.
You will also want to pack a camera to take lots of photos of this extremely beautiful location.
If it’s a hot day you will want to pack sun cream, sunglasses and a sunhat as you are quite exposed to the sun whilst you are walking around the village.
What is Portmeirion famous for?
Portmeirion has been used as a filming location for many programmes and films including The Prisoner, Top Gear, Cold Feet and Doctor Who.
If you are looking for a bright, vibrant and unique slice of the Mediterranean closer to home then Portmeirion is the perfect place to visit, and makes a great day out for all the family. We highly recommend a visit here for something fun and different to do whilst you are in Wales.
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I love everything about travel, from seeing new places, learning about new cultures and trying new foods! I believe that travel is one of the best forms of education you can get, I have learnt so much about myself and about the world from travelling all over. Travel is something I feel so passionately about, and I love the fact that we are now lucky enough to have this opportunity to do what we love as much as we can, it’s a dream come true.
Before we started travelling, I worked in local government in administration. I had been in this job for several years and had reached a complete brick wall where I was so fed up, but didn’t know what else to do. The only thing I knew that I wanted to do was to travel, and had wanted to do that for many years.
There were hundreds and hundreds of places on my wishlist that I wanted to go to, and I knew that going on a weeks holiday maybe twice a year if we were lucky wasn’t going to cut it.
After being in lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, and working from home staring at the same 4 walls every day, 2021 seemed like the perfect time for us to take the risk to finally do what we had dreamed of for so long.
It was a hard decision to completely change our lives, but so far it has been the best decision we have ever made!