Cardiff has certainly risen from the grime. At one point in its history, the docks of Cardiff used to be the main coal transport hub from the Welsh Valleys to the rest of the world. Now, the Cardiff that greets every visitor is fresh and vibrant. It seems to have taken on the cloak of youth, perhaps still fuelled by its 2005 win in the Six Nations rugby championship or the childlike anticipation it holds as one of the host cities for the London 2012 Olympics. Whatever it is, there is an air of optimism here, especially when you visit in the summer when festivals, open air dining and drinking, and warm weather simply stops time in its tracks.
Cardiff Castle is one of the most important landmarks in town. It was rebuilt by the Bute family from the medieval ruin it once was. To its western side is the River Taff which is flanked by Bute Park, a vast and landscaped tranquil space that used to extend towards Castle Coch, another landmark that you should not miss. Other attractions worth visiting are The Millenium Stadium, the National Museum Wales and The Wales Millenium Center. The Llandaff Cathedral should also be included in your itinerary if only for the clear light that gets reflected inside through its glass windows. If you're looking for a place to walk or have a picnic, head for the hills – specifically Caerphilly Mountain or Twmbarlwm Mountain.
Seafood, Welsh lamb and more than fifty kinds of Welsh cheeses are always in full supply in Cardiff, which now holds the distinction of being one of the best dining places in the whole of Wales. There are many restaurants, coffee shops and eateries along Cardiff Bay. The Mermaid Quay has a lot of restaurants and bars for a fun evening out. There are also eateries in the city center where bars and pubs are numerous along St. Mary's Street, Greyfriars Road and Mill Lane.
A paradise for every shopaholic in Wales, Cardiff offers a lot of shopping options. David Morgan Royal Shopping Arcade has excellent shops and facilities. Fashion boutiques and unique shops are also found in the High Street Arcades while those who are in the market for antiques or knick knacks to take home should visit the Cardiff Antiques Center or Jacobs Market. For Welsh arts and crafts, head to Craft in the Bay. The biggest souvenir shop in the Cardiff is Castle Welsh Crafts, a very short distance from the Castle.