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Cardiff is the capital of Wales and until recently mainly known as industrial center. That has changed in the last few years: the center was tidied up and large part was turned into a pedestrian zone. The city is mainly visited by people interested in the history and culture of Wales, but also by shoppers: Cardiff has developed into a shopping paradise.
The city has almost 350,000 inhabitants.
Cardiff is located in the southeast of Wales on the wide Severn Estuary which turns into the Bristol Channel. The natural harbor is called Cardiff Bay or Tiger Bay. On the north, east and west side the city is bounded by hills, the highest being the Garth Hill (307 meters).
The local economy once revolved around Cardiff's port, which was mainly used to ship coal from the mines north of town. The extraction of coal has disappeared and with that the importance of the port. Financial services, metalworking, production of cars and mechanics nowadays form the pillars of the economy. Cardiff also focuses more and more on tourism; it's one of the most popular shopping destinations in Great Britain.
Cardiff Airport is Wales' only international airport. It's situated 16 kilometers southwest of town. The airport is easiest reachable by rental car via freeway A48 which runs north of town. At Culverhouse Cross you then turn to Port Road which leads to the airport.
The city has an excellent network of city buses which also run to destinations further out like Newport, Barry and Cardiff International Airport. In summer months the River Taff Waterbus transports passengers between the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Bay and Penarth. Bus companies National Express and Megabus maintain connections with cities even further out, including Swansea, London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Manchester.
A large part of Cardiff's center is a pedestrian zone. There are several parking garages, owned by the government or privately owned. The municipal parking garages Castle Mews, North Road and Sophia Gardens are in the city center. In Cardiff Bay there are for example Havannah Street Garage and Barrage Car Park. P+R areas can be found near County Hall and Crown Way.
Cardiff has a good choice of accommodations; most of them in the city center and near Cardiff Bay. There are basic guesthouses, midrange hotels and luxurious accommodations. Bear in mind that hotel rooms are hard to come by when there's a big event at the Millennium Stadium, especially when the national rugby or soccer team are playing.
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