Travel Guide to Cardiff, Wales

By Jessica Russo

Ahh, Cardiff - Wales' cultural, colorful capital. Nestled on glistening Cardiff Bay, this quaint city is filled with castles, artsy cafes, Victorian architecture, and much more! Discover the beauty of Wales from this amazing city that's small in size, but huge in character.

What to Know

This lovely port city on the River Taff is home to the Wales Millennium Centre, national museums, Rugby stadiums, and postcard-worthy waterfront shops. Named Wales' capital in 1955, Cardiff has grown into a buzzing artsy city filled with music venues, cafes, and art galleries. Take a walk through Victorian shopping arcades, then take a day trip to Wales' mountainous countryside! Cardiff is the perfect home base for an unforgettable Welsh adventure.

When to Go

Cardiff is one of those cities that's special all year round. If you go in the spring, the city will be bursting with colorful flowers in bloom. Summer and fall are filled with special events such as musical performances and food festivals! Keep in mind: even in its warmest month (July), Cardiff only reaches a pleasant 70 degrees Farenheit, so you're never really looking at shorts and tank-top weather.

How to Get Around

You know what's great about Cardiff? It's so compact that many of the city's amazing attractions, shops, and restaurants are within a few minutes of each other! With that being said, exploring on foot or by bike is definitely the way to go. Now, if it's raining or you've had a bit too much whisky, buses and taxis are easy and plentiful.

Looking to travel outside the city? Trains run regularly from Cardiff's Queen Street Station and make stops throughout the area with connections to London and other cities in the UK. Of course, driving is always an option, but be warned, the Welsh drive on the left side of the road!

Where to Eat

Cardiff is chock full of eateries - everything from cute cafes to posh restaurants. Whether you're looking for a spot of afternoon tea, a hearty English breakfast, or international cuisine, look no further than these local go-tos.

What to See

Cardiff Castle

Built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders, this unique castle blends medieval architecture with Victorian and Gothic architecture. This castle is the stunning centerpiece of Cardiff and definitely deserves a visit.

Principality Stadium

Also known as "Millennium Stadium," this national stadium is the home of the Wales national rugby union team! If it's rugby season when you're in Cardiff, definitely get tickets to a match.

Cardiff Bay

This bay is way more than just a pretty body of water. Lined with shops, eateries, and historic buildings, this marina is a picture-perfect spot to walk around. You might want to have dinner at a waterfront restaurant in the area and watch the sunset!

Wales Millennium Centre

This gigantic arts center is an architectural spectacle in itself. When you're done gawking at its interesting, modern facade, treat yourself to tickets to a performance! The Millennium Centre holds everything from dance shows to opera, so keep your eye on its events calendar.

St Fagans National History Museum

This open-air museum is located in a quaint village right outside Cardiff's center city. Immerse yourself in the history, lifestyle, and culture of the Welsh people in a truly unique setting.

Tips and Tricks

  • You might see people wearing "Cardiff Blues" jerseys - that's Cardiff's rugby team! Rugby culture is huge in Wales, so be sure to catch a match at a local sports pub.

  • Why not take a water taxi? Seeing Cardiff from the River Taff is a truly unique way to see the city - and get around.

  • Cardiff has become an artsy shopping haven! Head to the Victorian arcades near St Mary Street and find tons of cool shops and vendors like cheese markets, handmade artwork, and Spillers - the world's oldest record shop!

Day Trips

Brecon Beacons National Park

Get ready for some of the most beautiful landscapes in the UK! Take a 45-minute drive or a 1 hour-45 minute train/bus route to this stunning national park. Upon arrival, you'll find rolling green hills, sky-high mountains, and quaint villages lined with adorable restaurants and pubs.

Snowdonia National Park

Okay, so a 3 1/2-hour drive may not exactly seem like a day trip, but whether you stay overnight or not, Snowdonia is a must. In order to get the most out of your day, wake up early and enjoy a breathtaking morning drive north. If you have time, take a ride up the historic Snowdon Mountain Railway to the summit of Wales' highest mountain, Mount Snowdon. If it's a clear day, you'll see views across the sea to Ireland!

Pembroke Castle

Yes, it's a 2-hour drive, but it very well might be the most beautiful 2-hour drive you'll ever take. Upon arrival, you will step back in time as soon as you see this storybook medieval castle that opened in 1093! On the way to or from Cardiff, be sure to stop in the colorful resort town of Tenby. There, you'll find nice restaurants, gorgeous beaches, fascinating castles, and museums!

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