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Rainer Boettchers

Swansea Travel Guide

Poet and native son Dylan Thomas described Swansea as 'marble town, city of laughter, Little Dublin; the most romantic town I know', and once you've visited Swansea for yourself, you'll appreciate how the idyllic seaside city is able to inspire feelings such as these.

The second-largest city in Wales, Swansea has a long and prosperous history as a market town going back more than 800 years. As the trading community grew up, it became an important exporter of the coal mined in Cardiff, and in the 18th century developed its own industry in the form of massive copper works, becoming for a time the 'copper capital of the world'.

These days, Swansea is known first and foremost as a seaside resort town, with pride of place belonging to the 12th-century fishing village of Mumbles, a quaint and fashionable seaside resort with a number of boutiques and restaurants.

Though many of the city's historical buildings were damaged in World War II, there are still a number of medieval castles dotted among the slick high rise office blocks and Tudor-style houses in the city centre.

There is much to see in Swansea, from ancient sites like Arthur's Stone, which dates back to 2,500 BC, to medieval castles like Swansea Castle and Oystermouth Castle, to Victorian structures such as the Guildhall and Mumbles Pier. Swansea also has a number of interesting museums and galleries featuring exhibitions ranging from Egyptian artefacts to female jazz musicians.

For active visitors there is no shortage of things to do Swansea. Cruises on paddle boats, yachts, and motor boats are available from the harbour, as well as water sports like kayaking, waterskiing, and surfing, and activities like golf, hiking, mountain biking and bowling.

Literary buffs will love the Dylan Thomas Centre; and children will enjoy learning about wildlife at the Discovery Centre, touring the Michton Chocolate Factory, and riding the Swansea Bay Rider children's train.

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