The poet Dylan Thomas called his birthplace an "ugly, lovely town." But with centuries of history to its credit, and some cutting-edge construction, this fishing village (called Abertawe in Welsh) is as picturesque as its English name suggests.
Stroll down the Mumbles, a walkway along Swansea Bay that passes through shops, eateries and piers.
Visit Swansea Museum to learn about the town's rich history and get a look at the mummy Hor (www.swanseaheritage.net), or see futuristic multimedia exhibits at the National Waterfront Museum, overlooking a marina (museumwales.ac.uk/en/swansea).
Indulge in creamy concoctions at Joe's Ice Cream Parlour, a mainstay in town since 1922 (joes.webmedia works.co.uk).
Explore Oystermouth Castle, built in the 12th century as a residence for reigning lords (castlewales.com/oyster.html). Despite a history that includes many sieges, Swansea Castle remains surprisingly intact (castlewales.com/swansea.html).
Hang 10 at the Leisure Centre, Wales's largest indoor water park, which features water slides, a lazy river and indoor surfing (thelcswansea.com).