Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and there are lots of fun and adventurous things to do in Cape Town. From the iconic Table Mountain and the historic Robben Island to the surrounding world-class vineyards and the stunning coastal drives, Cape Town has it all. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in Cape Town!
For more planning inspiration check out our Cape Town itinerary as well!
1 | Table Mountain
Table Mountain and Cape Town. Cape Town and Table Mountain. They just go together! Table Mountain was top of our Cape Town must-see list and it took an unbelievable three days for the flat-topped mountain to peek out from behind the clouds and allow us to catch a glimpse of the iconic landmark! It’s was worth the wait and every bit as beautiful as the pictures portray!
2 | The Colourful Houses of Bo-Kaap
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a stroll through the Malay neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap. With its streets lined with brightly painted houses of all colours situated under the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain, Bo-Kaap is the perfect place for an afternoon walk to absorb the culture and to reflect on how boring other streets now look! Je t’aime!
Where to stay in Cape Town: our favourite hotels
The Cape Town sights are spread across the city and its suburbs. Our favourite locations are the Waterfront for sightseeing, Camps Bay (swoon!) for views and Long Street when you want to be in the heart of the action. Here’s our top hotel picks for a Cape Town stay:
- Protea Waterfront Breakwater Lodge: we stayed at the Protea Waterfront Breakwater Lodge. This waterfront hotel is an excellent choice if you want a V&A location at a lower price. The rooms in the main hotel building were our favourites and we loved being two minutes walk from the waterfront – Check prices now!
- POD Camps Bay: Camps Bay is a stunning Cape Town suburb within easy reach of the city and an awesome alternative to staying in Cape Town itself. The rooms are compact but gorgeous and the views are incredible with miles of ocean, a mountain backdrop and magical sunsets. – Check prices now!
- Long Street Boutique Hotel: if you want to be in the middle of the action Long Street, surrounded by restaurants, shows, cafes and bars is a great option. This quirky hotel is a fab boutique choice for leisure travellers and is good value by Cape Town standards – Check prices now!
Click here for the best Cape Town hotel prices
3 | The Table Mountain Cable Car
The panoramic views, the opportunity to stand atop the iconic Table Mountain and the excitement of travelling by cable car are all reasons why this is unmissable experience! If you are feeling energetic it’s also possible to hike to the top but, beware, it is challenging.
Cape Town sightseeing tip: the cable car is closed in adverse weather conditions so do take the opportunity to visit when the weather allows. We waited three days for the weather to break and the Cable Car to return to operation!
4 | Robben Island
Robben Island is a huge part of both Cape Town and South Africa history and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nelson Mandela was held in the prison on the island for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned before the fall of apartheid. Tours to the island make it possible to visit his prison cell and catch a glimpse of an era that once was.
Cape Town sightseeing tip: Book tickets for Robben Island in advance as they sell out prior to the day of departure. Remember, ferries to Robben Island are weather dependent so book early in your trip to give you the chance to rebook in the event of cancellation.
5 |The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
We loved hanging out at the V&A Waterfront! It’s a tourist dream with lots of food, shopping and souvenir options as well as being the departure point for the Robben Island cruises. The street performers, the Cape Town Wheel and the Table Mountain backdrop only add to its charm.
6 | Hike Lions Head and explore Wally’s Cave
Lion’s Head is one of the most iconic Cape Town landmarks and its spectacular Table Mountain views make a Lion’s Head hike an essential addition to any Cape Town itinerary! It’s an awesome spot to enjoy a Cape Town sun downer with magnificent views of Table Mountain, Camp’s Bay and the Ocean.
Cape Town sightseeing tip: we’ll let you in on a little Lion’s Head secret: there are a number of hidden caves on Lion’s Head which have spectacular views of Table Mountain and make for great pictures! Check out our guide to Lions Head and Wally’s Cave here!
7 | District 6 Museum
Learn about the darker side of Cape Town and South African history at the District 6 Museum located in the former District 6 area of downtown Cape Town. More than 60 000 people were forcibly removed and relocated to derelict areas and their houses in District Six were destroyed. It was one of our highlights of Cape Town and we appreciated its glimpse into the time when Apartheid and segregation were part of South Africa’s way of life.
8 | Signal Hill Sundowners
Nestled next to Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, Signal Hill is the ultimate Cape Town spot from which to watch the sunset. The views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape Town and the ocean are epic and the hill is the perfect spot for a sundowner as the day ends. One of our favourite South Africa memories is toasting the sunset on Signal Hill with a chilled glass of South African wine… bliss!
Cape Town sightseeing tip: get to Signal Hill a little before sunrise. It’s a popular spot, the traffic gets a little crazy and parking is limited.
9 | Chapman’s Peak Drive
Nothing beats a drive along the windswept Atlantic Coast and Chapman’s Peak captures the ocean road at its most spectacular. The road is cut out of the cliff and the drive is a hair raising experience with near vertical cliffs and blind bends. It begins in the fishing village of Hout Bay and winds its way up to Chapman’s Point before ending at Noordhoek. The ocean views are beautiful along the entire route but the best are from Chapman’s Point, the highest point of the drive!
Cape Town sightseeing tip: Bring some cash as Chapman’s Peak operates as a toll road.
10 | The Yellow Table Mountain Photo Frames
The yellow photo frames dotted around Cape Town are located to perfectly frame the spectacular Table Mountain! We had a blast discovering the six frames across the city and, as for the pics? Adorable!!
11 | The Twelve Apostles
12 distinct sandstone cliffs make up the Twelve Apostles and we just about managed to sneak a peak of them through the cloud (remember what we said about taking advantage of the cloudless days!). Another famous Cape Town landmark you can’t miss!
12 | Camp’s Bay and Clifton Beaches
Camp’s Bay and Clifton are gorgeous Cape Town suburbs which sit at the foot of the Twelve Apostles and adjacent to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain and have an awesome beach town vibe! The beaches are some of the best in South Africa with pristine white sands and clear blue water and are the perfect anecdote to city life.
Day trips from Cape Town
13 | Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Floral Region
A drive along the Cape Peninsula, a rocky headland jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean, is one of our favourites from our Cape Town itinerary. The highlights are the southerly points of the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point and the dramatic cliff faces and ocean views will make you feel like you are at the end of the earth. The journey is just as good as the destination: the colourful beach houses of Muizenburg and the penguin colony of Boulders Beach are stand out sights along the way. The drive will also take you through the Cape Floral Region, one of the richest plant areas in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Check out our day trip to the Cape of Good Hope here!
Cape Town sightseeing tip: The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are often thought of as the most Southern points in Africa. That honour actually goes to Cape Agulhas which is a few hundred kilometres along the coast.
The adorable penguins on Boulders Beach
14 | Wine Country: The Cape Winelands
Some of the world’s best wine hails from South Africa and the Stellenbosch region just outside Cape Town city is the perfect place to enjoy a day at the vineyards. We drank beautiful wine, indulged in local chocolates and nibbled on delicious cheeses. For the Lord of the Rings fans there’s actually a vineyard called Rivendell!
The Constantia Wine Route is another fantastic option with 8 wine estates just outside the city in the heart of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve.
The Grande Finale!
15 | The Garden Route
It’s not technically a Cape Town must see but many visitors incorporate a visit to Cape Town before or after driving the Garden Route. The Garden Route is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world and is an absolute must see on any South Africa trip. The spectacular coastal drive stretches from Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape to Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and it was love at first sight as we set off to explore the best sights.
Cape Town sightseeing tip: for more on our Garden Route adventures check out our favourite Garden Route sights here and our recommendedGarden Route itineraryhere!