A small market town (population 2,000) which lies at the north end of Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), the largest natural lake in Wales; the rare gwyniad fish, found only in this lake, was trapped here at the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. In the 18th century, it was well-known for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. Now is it rather better known internationally for white water rafting on the Afon Tryweryn, fed from Llyn Celyn, which runs through Bala; the National Whitewater Centre is based near Bala.
The Bala Lake Railway runs for 4.5 miles from Llanuwchllyn to the edge of the town, along a section of the trackbed of the former GWR line between Ruabon and Barmouth. Gro Cycles is a local, family bike hire business located in the foothills of the Berwyn Mountains, near to the village of Sarnau, some 3-4 miles to the north of Bala catering for those seeking a leisurely bike ride around the Lake to serious mountain bike enthusiasts.
The Glassblobbery specialises in handmade glass sculptures and also produces jewellery, ceramics and other work on show by artists and craftsmen using other materials. The Penllyn Leisure Centre at Bala has badminton courts, a swimming pool with a water slide, sauna and fitness room.