Porthmadog is one of the largest towns in Snowdonia with a population of around 4,200. It is situated on the estuary of the Afon Glaslyn. It is one of the newest towns in Wales as it was only created in 1811 after William Madocks built a sea wall (The Cob) and reclaimed the land from the sea. It became a famous port later in the century exporting slate from the quarries in Ffestiniog and Llanfrothen. This popular town is also the hub of both the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways, also the smaller Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
The Ffestiniog Railway was opened in 1836 and runs 13.5 miles to Blaenau Ffestiniog along the Vale of Ffestiniog. The Welsh Highland Railway (WHR) (“Rheilffordd Eryri” in Welsh) runs 25 miles to Caernarfon, passing through Beddgelert and the Aberglaslyn Pass. There is also the 0.75-mile long Welsh Highland Heritage Railway which connects to the WHR main line at the junction at Pen-y-Mount.
These railways are some of the finest tourist attractions in Wales and along with other local attractions including Portmeirion, Beddgelert, Harlech & Criccieth Castles, they make Porthmadog one of the most popular places to stay.