Bala (Welsh: Y Bala) is a small picturesque town on the shores of Lake Bala (Welsh: Llyn Tegid) in Gwynedd, North Wales. It lies at the south-eastern edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Excellent national center for white water rafting and canoeing nearby.
Bala is not connected to the national rail network. The nearest connections are at Wrexham or Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Bala Lake Railway makes the 9 mile journey to the village of Llanuwchllyn at the southern end of Bala Lake. This follows part of the route of the old Ruabon - Barmouth line, which was closed in the 1960s.
According to the 2001 census, Bala ranked 11th most Welsh-speaking town in the country, with 80.1% of the town's population able to speak the language fluently. As with anywhere in Wales, visitors will encounter no problems conversing in English, though a "Bore da" (Good morning) or "Diolch" (thank-you) will always be appreciated.
- Bala Tourist Office, ☎ , fax: . Penllyn, Pensarn Road.
- 1 Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid). 3.7-mile-long glacial valley lake
- The National Whitewater Centre (Canolfan Tryweryn), Frongoch, Bala, ☎ . White-water rafting and canoeing on the River Tryweryn. The flow of water in the river is governed by a dam controlling the flow of water from Llyn Celyn reservoir, meaning that conditions in the water are predictable - though this does not make the experience any less exhilarating once you are actually on the river!
For a more sedate water-borne experience, it is possible to hire rowing boats, canoes and sailing dinghys on Bala Lake.
- Hiking. Aran Fawddwy, at the southern end of Bala Lake, is the highest mountain in the old county of Meirionydd (Merionethshire, the southern part of the modern county of Gwynedd). Bala is the main centre for walking in the Aran and Arenig mountain ranges, which are considerably less frequented by walkers than Cadair Idris to the south or the ranges around Snowdon in the north of Snowdonia, and can therefore offer a peaceful days walk.
- Angling/Fishing. It is possible to fish Bala Lake from a boat or from the shore. River Angling is also available in the area.
- 1 Bala Lake Railway. This train makes the 9-mile journey to the village of Llanuwchllyn at the southern end of Bala Lake. This follows part of the route of the old Ruabon - Barmouth line, which was closed in the 1960s.
Look out for Tegi, Bala's answer to the Loch Ness Monster, which is said to inhabit the deep waters of Bala Lake. Visitors can make up their own minds as to the likelihood of her existence. The lake houses a genuinely (scientifically verified) unique creature - the Gwyniad (Coregonus pennantii), a freshwater fish of the salmon family. The Gwyniad is native only to Bala Lake that existed nowhere else in the world. A project to introduce it to another nearby lake was undertaken from 2003-2007, to mitigate the risk of its extinction should some tragedy (pollution or similar) befall Bala Lake.
- The National Eisteddfod of Wales. Held in Bala on three occasions, including 2009. An Eisteddfod is a traditional festival of literature, music and performance, conducted in the Welsh language.
- A number of canoeing competitions are held in the area
- Wa Bala music festival
- Summer Strawberries (Mefus Yr Haf), 100 High Street Bala LL23 7AD (Bow window shop past Co-op heading towards the Lake), ☎ . A shop selling gifts for the home and the individual, complimented by a range of greeting cards. Stockists of Gisela Graham and Yankee Candle.
- 1 Awen Meirion, 25 Hight Street, Bala, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Welsh bookshop selling much more besides Welsh books.
- 1 Eco-Caffé (Siop y Gornel, Chwarae Teg, Fair Play, Eco-Caffé), 21, Tegid Street, BALA, LL23 7EH (Walk from Bala High Street, Opposite White Lion), ☎ . 10:00-18:00. A delightful, refurbished, more than 200-year-old bake-house deli, has life breathed once more into it. Offering freshly-prepared on the premises; home-made soup and specials of the day, along with carvery baps of butcher-roasted joints. Try the oven-baked meats and farm-house cakes, made from natural local ingredients. Freshly-ground coffee beans. Eat From <£5.
- Bala Backpackers' Hostel, 32 Tegid Street, ☎ .
- Henstent Holiday Park, Henstent Park, B4391 Llanfyllin To Bala Rd, Llangynog, Powys, SY10 0EP, United Kingdom. Perfect for those looking for tourer caravan accommodation, Henstent Park is a short distance away from Bala.
- Pale Hall, Palé Estate, Llandderfel, nr Bala, Gwynedd, Wales, LL23 7PS. UK, ☎ . Palé Hall is a privately owned luxurious Victorian country manor near Bala in North Wales, set amongst 16 acres of gardens on the edge of Snowdonia National Park.
- Pale Wood Holiday Park, Pale Wood Holiday Park, Llandderfel, Bala, LL23 7RA, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Palewood Holiday Park in Bala, Snowdonia has a beautiful collection of holiday homes set in stunning natural surroundings.
- 1 Ty Newydd Bala B&B (Ty Newydd Bed and Breakfast Bala), 12a Cae Gadlas, Bala, LL23 7AT, ☎ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 10:00. Offering two double rooms, one with en-suite and one with its own private bathroom. Decorated to a high standard all rooms have a colour TV, wireless internet access with tea and coffee available on request. Off street parking is also available. Ty Newydd has a no-smoking policy throughout. £68-70.