This list of the best places to see in Cape Town will help you get to know a city full of contrasts, located in a spectacular natural environment.

With a jewel of the landscape that surrounds the city like Table Mountain, a flat mountain top declared one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Cape Town is a city that hooks little by little, in small sips.

In addition to the panoramic views from this summit, the city falls in love with its pleasant climate all year round, an excellent wine culture, a varied gastronomy, wild white sand beaches and charming places such as the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, Long Street or the botanical garden of Kirstenbosch.

Based on the experience of the 4 days we spent visiting the city and surroundings during our travel to South Africa in 25 days, we have created this list of what we think are the 10 essential places to visit in Cape Town.

We start!

1. Table Mountain

Table Mountain or Table Mountain is the emblem of the city and one of the most beautiful places to see in Cape Town. Unlike other mountains, Table Mountain presents a flat top about three kilometers long that at a distance has a certain resemblance to a table and hence its curious name.

To reach the top of the mountain and its spectacular viewpoints, you have the option of using the funicular or walk up. If you use the funicular it is advisable to check the official page where you can see if it is operational or closed due to adverse weather conditions. Due to the strong wind we had to wait two days to use the funicular, something that forced us to change the plans we had in Cape Town, exchanging days and we could do it thanks to knowing the weather forecasts.

If you choose to walk up you have to take into account that the climb is a steep slope and it will take you more than two hours, in good physical condition.
To get to the Table Mountain ticket office from the city center, if you do not have a car, we recommend you take an official taxi, uber or book this tourist bus that includes the funicular ticket to Table Mountain.

Once up, you have to arm yourself with patience because to get on the funicular usually long lines are formed even if you have the ticket bought in advance. The best way to save yourself time queuing is to arrive before 8 o'clock in the morning, when they open, park near the entrance and queue until the moment of opening.

As you go through the ticket office they will give you a small map with the walking routes that you can do at the top and the different viewpoints in which besides enjoying the best views of Cape Town, you will see daisies, small mammals that look like marmots.

Visiting hours:

Every day from 8 am to 8 pm, from October to April. As it progresses in the winter it will close sooner.

Something very important to keep in mind is that if you buy the tickets in advance, so you do not have to do so much queue, they are valid for 9 days from the date you marked start. This will allow you to go another day in case that for the time or any other reason, you cannot go on the selected day.

2. Bo-Kaap

The Malay neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, with its house facades painted in bright colors, is another of the most beautiful places to visit in Cape Town. Located at the foot of Signal Hill, this neighborhood is inhabited by a Muslim majority, descendant of the first Malay slaves who stayed here. The two-story colorful houses are concentrated in the upper part of the neighborhood, where you can also find an interesting mosque.

Keep in mind that this photogenic area has become quite famous thanks to Instagram and it is not uncommon to see tourists trying to make the perfect photo for hours while travelling to Cape Town.

3. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden of Kirstenbosch located at the foot of Table Mountain and considered one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, is another place to see in Cape Town and for us a place that exceeded all previous expectations, for how well-maintained they are and the spectacular surroundings that surround it, without forgetting that it has more than 7,000 plants and trees.

To get to Kirstenbosch if you do not have a car, you have the option of taxi, uber or book the tourist bus that stops in front of the ticket offices.

When buying the ticket, we recommend you to buy a brochure with several routes on R5, among which the Tree Top Canopy Walk, which allows you to walk on a bridge in the form of a snake and enjoy incredible views.

Visiting hours:

Every day from 8am to 7pm. In winter it closes one hour before.

Our recommended hotel in Cape Town

We stayed for 4 nights at the Circa Luxury Apartment Hotel, located in an office area near Long Street. The rooms are very spacious, type apartments, very clean and have parking (R100 per day), breakfast included in the price and a good restaurant called La Muse. Next to the hotel there is also a small supermarket perfect to buy.

4. Long Street, one of the best places to see in Cape Town

Strolling along Long Street, one of the oldest and most atmospheric streets in the city, is one of the best things to do in Cape Town. This street with beautiful buildings in Victorian style has been changing over time and has gradually filled with bars, clubs, hostels and pubs, which will help you have a good time when you finish your route through Cape Town. In addition to its colonial architecture and the good atmosphere of the street, which make it another of the places to see in Cape Town, it is a good place to look for some original memory in one of its charming shops.

5. Robben Island

Robben Island, an island where Nelson Mandela's jail is located, spent 18 years, is another mandatory place to visit in Cape Town. Visiting this island is a fundamental experience to know a part of the darkest history of this country, although it is important to know that before being the prison in which the leaders were locked up against apartheid, this island was a colony of lepers.

To get to Robben Island, located 12 kilometers from the coast, you have to take a ferry from the Nelson Mandela Gateway, located at the Waterfront pier. Being a quite requested excursion it is advisable to book the ticket in advance on this page or in this one if you want to include the pick up at the hotel.

The visit to the island is done by bus with a guide in English and lasts about 4 hours. During the tour you will see the different buildings of the island, among which the prison stands out, where a former prisoner gives a talk in which he explains the harsh conditions in which they lived.

Ferry schedule: every day at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. You have to show up half an hour early at the box office.

Please note that the ferry to access Robben Island can be canceled in case of bad weather. If this happens, you can ask for the full refund or make a change of time or day, as long as there is availability.

In our case, due to the wind we canceled the visit a couple of times and at the end we could do it on the last day, next to Table Mountain, we were in Cape Town.


Published by Kristin Perry