A view of the Mawddach Estuary on a clear spring day with woodland lining the shores.
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An iconic Welsh castle on the outskirts of the National Park

Dolbadarn Castle stands atop a high rock at the edge of the National Park’s border. The site has spectacular views of Llyn Padarn and the Llanberis Pass.

Although no definitive record exists, it is likely that Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great), king of Gwynedd from 1195–1240, built the castle in the late 12th century.

The castle was most likely a Welsh stronghold for protecting the Llanberis Pass, a popular inland route from Caernarfon to the Conwy Valley at the time.

The castles of Llywelyn

Dolbadarn Castle is one of a series of mountain castles thought to have been built by Llywelyn across Eryri, including Dolwyddelan, Bere, Carndochan and Cricieth. These were castles used for centuries by a long line of Welsh princes.

Taking advantage of Eryri’s landscape

Mountain castles such as Dolbadarn Castle, along with the kings and princes who built them, used the landscape of Eryri to their defensive advantage. The ancient kingdom of Gwynedd was regarded as a Welsh stronghold for centuries because of the princes’ ability to weaponise the mountains, forests and caves of Eryri against their enemies.

Dolbadarn today

The solid round tower is the dominant feature still standing today, and the remains of other parts of the castle are clearly visible.

Visiting Dolbadarn Castle

More information about visiting Dolbadarn Castle is available on the Cadw website.

Visit Dolbadarn Castle (Cadw)