12 May 2017

The final showdown: UEFA Champions League Final, Wales, UK 

Football player Gareth Bale with his hand across his heart

Gareth Bale, Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Capital of Wales

It’s the final countdown to a very big showdown…and after what seems like an eternity, there’s all the more reason why the UEFA Champions League Final will be epic! In what is sure to be a tantalising finale, Italy’s Juventus are to face Spain’s Real Madrid in Cardiff’s capital on the 3 June, following the women’s final on 1 June between two French clubs: holders Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain.

Though we don’t yet know if Gareth Bale will be play due to a calf injury, fans of the Welsh wizard are hoping Bale will make an appearance at his home city, and at the stadium which is to be named ‘The National Stadium of Wales’ during the final.  And after Bale led his Wales team so close to glory at Euro 2016, fans big and small will be bracing themselves for more high-octane drama. 

Getting ready for the showdown 

Young boy with ball near the National Stadium of Wales

Young Wales football fan, Cardiff, Capital of Wales

Cardiff’s city centre and the Bay area are already gearing up for incoming fans and supporters: a blue dragon has appeared atop Cardiff Castle guarding the trophy and fan zones are being created in Cardiff Bay and Callaghan Square, near Cardiff’s central train station. 

Image of the blue UEFA dragon atop Cardiff Castle

UEFA dragon guarding the Champion's League trophy at Cardiff Castle

 by Helia Phoenix

With armies of Juventus and Real Madrid fans descending on the capital, here are a few additional stop offs to tick off the list, all within an hour’s drive of the capital.

Swansea and Gower 

View towards Mumbles from Swansea Maritime Quarter

Mumbles, Swansea

Football, rugby, cricket and surfing stars have all made this patch of Wales their home and it’s easy to see why. It’s an Outstanding Area of Natural Beauty and a busy, vibrant city now home to Wales’ Premier League football team, Swansea City (and was home to John Charles, one of Wales finest football exports). 

Brecon Beacons National Park 

Pen Y Fan & Cribyn

Pen Y Fan & Cribyn, Brecon Beacons

Home to two National Trails, a National Park and lively market towns – the Brecon Beacons is full of charming country pubs, long rambles and surprising stop offs to amuse and inspire.  Enjoy whisky tasting, bog snorkelling, underground show caves, canals and tumbling waterfalls aplenty. The National Park is also a Dark Sky Reserve, with plenty of spots to camp, glamp and stargaze.    

Blaenavon UNESCO World Heritage Site  

School group at Big Pit

Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, South Wales Valleys

Superb mountain biking, hiking and gritty industrial history, the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site and the surrounding valleys offer a great insight in to the real heart and soul of Wales. Visit Blaenavon Ironworks, Big Pit National Coal Museum and nearby Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal to escape the city buzz. Don’t forget to taste a bit of Blaenafon Cheddar and some Rhymney Ale for good measure.

Why not share your top ideas for days out around the capital with us on Visit Wales Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?