Bala is a small picturesque town on the shores of Llyn Tegid. It’s surrounded by the Aran, Arenic and Berwyn mountains. The town is rich in culture, full of character and has a long and interesting history.
It is a popular tourist destination best known for its Monday market and a range of shopping facilities, inns, restaurants and suites that accommodate all budgets. There are also plenty of activities to do while here.
History of Bala
Bala is a very old town and has been home to many popular figures in the history books. The town received its charter in 1324 under King Edward II and became a borough. Under its new title, people of the town could elect a mayor and two bailiffs and hold weekly and biannual fairs that are still held to date, among other features.
The most notable person to ever live in Bala was Rev. Thomas Charles, credited with leading the Methodist revival in Wales and was responsible for establishing the Bible society. Thomas Ellis – the original political thinker of his time known for his efforts on the Welsh language is another popular name in the town. Others include Mari Jones, the 16-year-old girl who saved for years and walked barefoot for 25 miles to get herself a new bible, among others.
How to Get to Bala
You can get to Bala by bus, train or car. If you’re using your car, take the main A494 Mold – Dolgellau road. It’s just a few miles south of the junction with the A5 from London to Holyhead.
The town is served by TrawsCymru between Wrexham and Barmouth. You can make connections to the south and north-west Wales at Dolgellau.
Bala is not connected to the national rail network. But there are trains stations close by that can ease the process of coming here. The nearest ones are at Wrexham or Blaenau Ffestiniog.
There’s also the Bala Lake Railway, a 9-mile journey to the village of Llanucwchllyn at the southern end of Bala Lake.
Things To Do in Bala
It’s impossible to come to Bala and not notice the lake that surrounds the town. Llyn Tegid in Welsh or Lake Bala is an expansive lake measuring 5km long and 1km wide. It’s the biggest natural lake in Wales and quite the eye-pleaser.
The lake is sandwiched between Snowdonia and Berwyn mountains and has a small mini-massif that overlooks the lake.
You can do more than look at the lake. It’s also a hot spot for various activities, including watersports like kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, wild swimming and canoeing. However, you can’t use any motor-powered equipment in the lake.
With 13 different fish species, this lake is also a nice place to catch up with fellow fishing enthusiasts. But, if you catch the unique Gwyniad fish, you have to let it go.
There are tons of walking routes in Bala. It’s your choice to select the mountain you would like to conquer. On the west, there is the mighty Snowdonia, and on the east, there are the Berwyn Mountains.
Most people visiting here come to walk the Arenig Fawr. It’s the highest point on the horizon and a splendid choice for anyone that gives it a chance.
Riding the rapids
The National White Water Centre is located in Bala. It’s the best place to ride the rapids in River Tryweryn.
What makes this an excellent spot for rapids is because they are predictable. Water is released from the dam into the rocky fast river creating the perfect environment for this exhilarating sport. There are experts guiding you so you can take time to enjoy the adrenalin rush as you race downriver.
Take a walk
Bala is a historic town. There are monuments and iconic buildings littered across the town, and all you have to do is take a stroll to see most of them. Among them is the Neuadd y Cyfnod, the oldest building in Bala, the statue of Thomas Charles, the English Church, among other phenomenal monuments representing the deep history of the town.
Places to Eat and Stay
Being a town, you will be spoilt for choice when looking for places to stay or eat. Bala has various options with regards to places to eat and accommodation. It has something for all budgets making it an excellent base for your visits to all the best North Wales tourism hotspots like Betws y Coed, Blaenau, Llangollen, and Ruthin. You can also try one of Britain’s best restaurants while here, Tyddyn Llan.