The Beach or the Bay? The Bluebirds or the Swans? The Blues or the Ospreys? The two largest cities in Wales may have a lot in common but they also share a fierce rivalry battling to be Wales’ finest city. Unfortunately, with the massive Welsh Varsity event being cancelled this year, there’s no way to find out the best. However, we can compare both the qualities and problems with both cities to determine the prime city of Wales. The tale of two cities begins now…
The Bay or the Beach?
One thing that these cities do have in common is that they’re both by the coast. Admit it, one of the main reasons you decided to come to Cardiff was because of the seaside! However, both actually differ in terms of what’s actually by the seaside. In Cardiff, you have the gorgeous coastal bay whereas in Swansea you have the sandy beaches. Now in Cardiff, if you’re after a trip down the coast you won’t have to worry about getting your feet wet and sandy as the bay offers many clean paths to stroll on instead so that you and your feet can stay clean and dry. But if you’re after those messy walks in the sand then Swansea offers more opportunities for that. However, one thing it doesn’t offer is the vibrant nightlife found at Cardiff Bay. With the many pubs, restaurants and clubs surrounding the sea, you definitely won’t go hungry whilst partying at the bay. On the other hand, if it’s peace and quiet you’re after then Swansea with it’s many quaint beachside cafes is perfect for you. This is very close, as both offer many exciting options, but as Cardiff technically has a bay and a beach (Barry Island) then we’ll give this point to Cardiff.
Cardiff 1-0 Swansea
The Sports Round
The beautiful game. Whether that be football or rugby, both cities pride themselves in having some of the best sports teams in the country. This includes Cardiff City and Swansea City football clubs who compete in the classic South Wales derby. This rivalry is so intense that even the mentioning of the word ‘Swan’ in Cardiff could land you in big trouble. Both teams have played in the coveted Premier League with Cardiff most recently being in the competition back in 2019. Swansea, however, haven’t been in the Premier League since 2018, so I think that means Cardiff City has the upper hand here. How about the rugby? Well, Swansea have the Ospreys whilst Cardiff have the Blues. Both have competed in the Pro14 Rugby Union competition since 2003 and since the Ospreys have won 4 titles in that league compared to the Blues having won none, I think Swansea has the better of Cardiff in the rugby here, especially as the Welsh national team captain Alun Wyn Jones was born in Swansea and once represented Swansea University in Welsh Varsity! This makes it too close to call but as Cardiff was voted as the European Capital of Sport in 2014, Cardiff just edges it once again!
Cardiff 2-0 Swansea
Cardiff may be the bigger city, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the better city. Swansea, like Cardiff, features many shops as well as pubs and restaurants. However, the eating outlets at Swansea are much more seaside based and many of them look out onto the stunning waterfront and beach. But most importantly, both cities have a Wetherspoons which is, arguably more essential than a library when you’re a student! Swansea also features the National Waterfront Museum as well as an observatory on the beach! Cardiff may lack these features but both cities also have a castle right in the centre. Swansea’s castle is technically just ruins. But hey, it’s still a castle, right? Cardiff basically has anything and everything you could look for including a pub, restaurant, shop, supermarket, takeaway, park, public garden, museum, theatre, cinema, and even a bay. Safe to say that you don’t have any excuse for being bored when in Cardiff! However, it could be argued that most cities have all of those available. Therefore, due to the unique sights you can see and activities you can do in Swansea, then it’s only fair that they clinch it in this category.
Cardiff 2-1 Swansea
At the end of the day, the only reason a student is in either of these cities in the first place is because of the uni! With both of these being campus universities, the two are spread out across each of their cities. However, the main campus in Cardiff (Cathays) is extremely close to the city centre meaning that you can escape to the shops and bars straight after your tedious lectures. In contrast, Swansea’s main campus (Singleton) is quite far away from the actual city of Swansea which means that you’ll have to sacrifice taking a long walk into the city or pay for the bus to get there. So you’ll either have an empty tank from walking so far or an empty bank account! Cardiff University is also a Russell Group Uni which is amongst the Top 25 Universities in the UK. It also looks very appealing to employers who can recognise that you’ve attended a Russell Group Uni on your CV! Ultimately, given you’re on the Cardiff University website, I think you know which one the winner is going to be!
Cardiff 3-1 Swansea
So there you have it, Cardiff comes out on top in the tale of two cities! However, this doesn’t mean that Swansea is a dump. Swansea is still a lovely place to visit and at times it can be nice to escape from all of the shenanigans and chaos that takes place in such a vibrant city like Cardiff. Be sure to visit Swansea whilst attending Cardiff university for a change of scenery. Then you can decide for yourself which city is the best!