William Madocks built a sea wall in the early 1800s that reclaimed the region for agricultural land. The town grew during the 19th century and by 1861 had a population of 3,000. The town became significant as a port, but that part of the local economy declined with World War I. 19th-century wharves still survive, but the harbour is used by leisure yachts.
The town is also served by the narrow gauge Ffestiniog Railway from Blaneau Ffestiniog, Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon and the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway.
On the A487, the Fishguard to Bangor trunk road. The A498 runs north from Porthmadog to Beddgelert, giving access to Snowdonia. The A497 runs west through the southern Llŷn Peninsula to Criccieth and Pwllheli.
- 1 Ffestiniog Railway, Harbour Station, LL49 9NF, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The Ffestiniog runs through several miles of attractive terrain to Blaenau Ffestiniog. From Blaenau you can either proceed north on the standard gauge Conwy Valley Line to the coast at Llandudno or you can return to Porthmadog. A round trip (Porthmadog - Blaenau - Porthmadog) will take approximately 4 hours (more if you break the journey along the route) and it is therefore an excellent way of occupying a day.
- 2 Welsh Highland Railway, Harbour Station, LL49 9NF, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. runs trains from Porthmadog via Beddgelert to Caernarfon through picturesque scenery of Snowdonia.
- 3 Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, Tremadog Road, LL49 4DY, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Wales Coast Path
- Cob Records, 1-3 Britannia Terrace. Shop specialising in bargain second-hand records, tapes, CDs, videos and DVDs. Good Welsh-language sections.
The town has a Chinese restaurant, an Indian restaurant, a bistro, and various pubs serving food, including one at the station of the Ffestiniog Railway situated at the end of the Cob. The village of Tremadog is about a fifteen minute walk and enjoys four food pubs on its square. There are also numerous take-aways, including Chinese and an award-winning Fish & Chip shop.
The town has a good selection of Bed and Breakfast guest houses and makes a good base for exploring North-West Wales.
- The Portmeirion village is about two miles away.
- The Lleyn Peninsula is an easy drive.
- Snowdonia National Park stretches both North and South from here.