7 Days in Cape Town: An Exciting Cape Town Itinerary
Are you planning a visit to Cape Town? This Cape Town itinerary is jam-packed with unmissable things to do in Cape Town. Plus, all our top tips so that you can fully enjoy 7 days in Cape Town.
Cape Town is a fantastic city to explore in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. Besides the iconic scenery, the city is brimming with cultural and architectural gems and has plenty of exciting things to do, see, and try. Added to that, the friendly locals, terrific transport, and mind-blowing food make Cape Town an excellent add-on to any itinerary.
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The Perfect Cape Town Itinerary
Whether you’re visiting Cape Town for a few days or planning an extended stay, you’ll find lots to love about the city. However, before jetting off on your adventure, it’s a good idea also to understand all the ins and outs of traveling South Africa. This first timer’s guide to visiting South Africa sets out all our pro tips to help you travel South Africa stress-free.
Here’s what not to miss on your visit to the Mother City!
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 1 // Head to the Harbor
The V&A Waterfront is one of the city’s most visited landmarks. Besides being the oldest working harbor in the Southern Hemisphere, it also has a deep-rooted history dating back to the Dutch settlers. Most noteworthy, it is here where Jan Van Riebeeck built the first jetty back in 1654.
The Waterfront features a bunch of fun things to do. From shopping, dining, and exploring the 22 official landmarks on-site, there’s something for everyone here. Some of the most notable landmarks not to miss include the Chavonnes Battery Museum, the Clock Tower, Robinson Dry Dock, and the Breakwater Prison.
A short stroll away from the old Clocktower, you will find the Zeitz MOCAA Gallery – the world’s most significant contemporary African art museum. Besides the unique art on display here, the building’s architecture is just as impressive. The gallery is also housed in one of the city’s most historic landmarks – the old grain silos, constructed in 1921.
Today, this historical landmark is a unique fusion of old and new. It’s home to the world’s most extensive collection of African art, a high-end hotel, shops, and an upscale restaurant. It’s an excellent place for a walkabout, taking photos, and browsing the many artworks on display.
There is, however, a steep entrance fee to the gallery. So unless you’re really into African art, consider grabbing a coffee and admiring the museum from the small amphitheater nearby. ⠀
Cape Town Food Market
There’s no shortage of excellent food options throughout the V&A Waterfront. And the Cape Town Food Market is no different. Here you’ll find vendors serving anything from authentic local favorites and gourmet food to barista coffee and even craft beer.
Prices are quite hefty here, so be prepared to pay up. There is adequate seating in the market, but the best place to enjoy your food is outside. Grab a seat at one of the wooden tables and watch the boats come and go.
Two Ocean Aquarium
Ocean lovers can get a closer look at South Africa’s diverse marine life at the Two Oceans Aquarium. The aquarium houses more than 3,000 species and is a fun place to stroll around. Seeing that Cape Town’s weather can be quite unpredictable, it’s one of the best places to kill a few hours on a rainy day.
Cape Town Ferris Wheel
An excellent way to get unparalleled views of the city, harbor, and Table Mountain is with a ride on the Cape Town Ferris Wheel. Although it’s a relatively short ride, it’s a fun way to see the city from a different vantage point.
Nearby, there’s also a small amphitheater where street artists and local musicians often perform.
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 2 // Explore the City & Culture
Explore the City Center
Cape Town’s city center is packed with plenty to do and see. There are several green spaces, museums, and galleries, and the city is bustling with markets selling souvenirs and hipster restaurants.
Stopping by The Castle of Good Hope built in the 17th century is an excellent starting point. Explore the museum, learn more about the rich history, and get a closer look at the best-preserved example of a Dutch East India fort.
Further afield, exploring the pedestrian walkway of St George’s Mall and Green Market Square are also recommended. Both spaces are teeming with buskers, street artists, and sidewalk coffee shops.
When the sun sets, head to Long Street – Cape Town’s lively nightlife area. The street is jam-packed with bohemian hangouts, trendy bars, and several nightclubs where you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
The Company’s Gardens
The Company’s Gardens is one of Cape Town’s most famous landmarks and an excellent spot for a picnic. Enjoy a gentle stroll past the Government Buildings, spot squirrels and pigeons scurrying along, or join a free walking tour for an in-depth look at South Africa’s rich history. Apart from the beautiful rose gardens and quaint ponds, there are also many statues dotted around the park.
Afterward, stop by the National Gallery and the South African Museum. The museum houses more than 500,000 valuable scientific specimens, including fossils, gemstones, and tools dating back thousands of years. Stargazers might also enjoy a visit to the adjoining Planetarium for a better understanding of our night sky.
Cape Town’s most vibrant neighborhood is undoubtedly Bo-Kaap. With its steep cobblestone streets lined with bright rainbow-colored houses, Bo-Kaap is Cape Town’s most photogenic spot.
Apart from the terrific photo ops on offer, it boasts with a deep-rooted history dating back to the Dutch settlers. The area initially served as slave quarters but is today recognized as the historic home of the Cape Malay community.
Visiting the oldest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere, Auwal Masjeed, is a popular activity among visitors. While joining a free walking tour to learn more about the history and grabbing authentic Cape Malay curry are other musts.
PRO TIP: Free walking tours depart twice a day at 2 pm and 4:20 pm. The starting point is at Motherland Coffee Company in Mandela Rhodes Place. No booking is required.
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 3 // View the Cityscape
No visit to Cape Town would be complete without visiting the Mother City’s most iconic backdrop – Table Mountain. With panoramic views, diverse fauna and flora, several hiking trails, and an exciting ride in the revolving Table Mountain Cableway, there’s no reason not to visit Table Mountain.
Besides getting a bird’s-eye view of the city, there’s plenty to keep you busy – enjoy a meal at the Table Mountain Cafe, browse the souvenir shop or hike along the mountain top. There are several hiking trails on top of Table Mountain, all offering unique vantage points of the cityscape. Along the way, you can spot various plant species, including proteas, dassies (a cute furry animal related to the elephant!), porcupines, and mongooses, to name just a few. Serious hikers also shouldn’t miss the Platteklip trail, which follows a steep, narrow path up the mountain. And, if something a bit more adventurous speaks to you, consider abseiling Table Mountain.
The best time to visit Table Mountain is in the early morning before the crowds arrive. Alternatively, visit at sunset to literally watch the sky come alive. Purchasing a cable car ticket online well in advance is also highly recommended.
- Although we didn’t have any trouble finding parking near the entrance, you may want to consider utilizing the free parking nearby. Leave your vehicle at the corner of Kloof Nek and Tafelberg Roads. From there, you can catch a ride on the free MyCiti Shuttle bus to the Lower Cable Station.
- Thick clouds often cover Table Mountain, and it can get quite windy at the top. Be sure to check the cable car website and the weather forecast beforehand, as rides depend on the weather. And don’t forget your jacket!
Signal Hill is a short drive from Table Mountain and offers spectacular views across the Table Bay harbor, the central city, the Atlantic Ocean, and Table Mountain. It’s a popular spot among sunset chasers and travelers wanting to bear witness to the city’s oldest tradition – the noon gun firing.
Hiking one of the many trails and paragliding are other fantastic activities not to miss on your visit here.
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7 Days in Cape Town – Day 4 // Explore the Outskirts
Exploring the Cape Peninsula is a must-do on any Cape Town itinerary. Take a drive on one of South Africa’s most famed routes, explore the small towns along the way, and stop by the iconic Cape Point where two mighty oceans meet. Here are a few of our favorite spots to explore on the Cape Peninsula.
Hout Bay Harbor
Hout Bay Harbor is undoubtedly the best place in Cape Town to grab proper fish and chips and other freshly caught seafood. Moreover, you might also get a chance to spot a few Cape Fur seals frolicking in the water nearby.
History buffs shouldn’t miss a chance to drop by the small maritime antique store housing age-old relics and trinkets. A short stroll away, you could also get a closer look at the former Dutch defense systems at the West Battery ruins.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of South Africa’s most remarkable drives. The 9km route stretches along the Atlantic coast between Hout Bay and Noordhoek on the south-western tip of South Africa and has an impressive 114 curves. The road follows the rocky coastline and offers breathtaking views along the way.
There is an R50 one-way tollgate fee to travel along this stretch, but it’s worth every penny. Be sure to stop at one of the many lookout points along the way to admire the views, snap pictures, or even enjoy a picnic.
Boulders Beach is a popular tourist spot a short drive from Simon’s Town. Besides the terrific ocean views and white sandy beaches on display here, the biggest draw to the area is undoubtedly its furry inhabitants – the African penguin.
Although Boulders Beach forms part of a protected environment, it’s one of the best places to get a closer look at these cute birds in their natural habitat. There are two boardwalks from where you can observe the penguins bathing in the sun, waddling around the beach, or taking a quick dip in the ocean waters. When visiting here, please remember to be mindful of the environment and the animals. Also, accessing the beach from the boardwalks is strictly forbidden.
PRO TIP: If you want to take a dip or stroll along the beach nearby, you’ll need to pay a conservation fee to enter. Rates differ during seasons and don’t forget to bring your passport/ ID along.
Kalk Bay is yet another excellent add-on to your Cape Town itinerary. Its relaxing atmosphere, quirky shops, and a chance to cool off in the tidal pool nearby are what draws most visitors to this neighborhood. Not to mention, tons of trendy bars and restaurants offering fresh seafood and insanely good cocktails. Dropping by The Brass Bell for the best ocean views and great food should not be missed.
Muizenberg is a hip seaside neighborhood popular among swimmers, surfers, and even Instagrammers! It’s a great place to enjoy the warm waters of the False Bay Coast, snap some pics of the colorful Victorian beach huts at St. James Beach, and relax at a hipster cafe. For those who enjoy gentle strolls, don’t miss the coastal walk between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, which offers terrific views and historical insights along the way.
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 5 // Visit Robben Island
Dive into South Africa’s turbulent past on a day trip to Robben Island. The small island lies 7km off Bloubergstrand and 9km off Table Bay. Many shipwrecks litter the surrounding reefs, and there is allegedly still sunken gold here.
Apart from getting a closer look at South Africa’s most notorious former prison, Robben Island itself also has a unique history. The island has been home to a leper colony, housed a mental institute, was a military base and a whaling station, and most noteworthy where Nelson Mandela served 18 years of his 27-year sentence.
Today, Robben Island is a South African National Heritage Site, and also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour is very informative, and apart from stopping by Mandela’s cell, your guide will give you a wealth of first-hand knowledge about life in prison.
Tours to Robben Island begin at the Nelson Mandela Gateway situated in the V&A Waterfront and depart at several times during peak season. The tour lasts 3.5 hours and is highly dependable on the weather. Visiting Robben Island is a popular activity in Cape Town. Therefore, it’s advisable to book tickets well in advance.
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 6 // Explore the Wine Route
There are so many wonderful wineries in South Africa and some of the best vineyards are actually located within easy reach from Cape Town.
Besides exploring beautiful Stellenbosch and rustic Paarl, one of the best places to taste wine is in the Franschhoek Valley. This gem not only boasts with great wine, but it’s also one of the best places to experience South Africa’s natural beauty
The valley is home to a rich history dating back more than 300 years when the Huguenots first settled here, breathtaking scenery, world-class cuisine, and fine wines. Moreover, Franschhoek is well known as the Wine and Gourmet Capital of South Africa boasting with several award-winning restaurants dishing up excellent food.
There are many beautiful cellars to explore in the area, from small boutique sellers to award-winning wineries. One of the best ways to explore the surroundings is on the Franschhoek Wine Hop on Hop Off tram. The journey takes you past rolling vineyards and stops in at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates. Enjoy wine tasting, a cellar tour, delicious meals, or gentle strolls through the vineyards.
The tour has many different routes and departs from the ticketing office in town. Aside from the tram ticket, it’s also essential to know that the tour does not include any wine tasting or food. It is, however, still a fun and unique way to navigate the area.
PRO TIP: Franschhoek is roughly an hour’s drive from Cape Town. If you’re planning on tasting wine, please don
7 Days in Cape Town – Day 7 // Relax at the Beach
Cape Town is home to some pretty spectacular beaches. A short drive from Sea Point, you will find two of South Africa’s most affluent neighborhoods – Clifton and Camps Bay. With luxurious houses and apartments lining the rugged cliffs and trendy bars and restaurants nearby, visiting here is a must.
Camps Bay is a beautiful long-stretched white sand beach with the 12 Apostles as a backdrop. The beach offers excellent ocean views, killer sunsets, and peaceful seaside strolls. Along the main road, you’ll find a ton of hip bars and restaurants where you can watch the waves come and go while enjoying a bite or cocktail. Head to Clifton Beach if you’re looking for something a bit more secluded.
PRO TIP: Both beaches are very popular with locals, especially on weekends. So, if you want to skip the crowds, it’s best to visit during the week.
How to get around Cape Town
Cape Town is easy to navigate by car or public transport, such as the MyCiti bus. However, one of the easiest and hassle-free ways to get a quick introduction to the city is by taking an informative ride on the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus. The bus has several routes catering to different interests and is an excellent way to see what the city has to offer. One day, two-day and three-day passes are available.
Where to stay in Cape Town
Deciding where to stay in Cape Town can make your visit a lot more enjoyable. The good news is that there are a plethora of accommodation options in and near the city. Whether you want to be right in the heart of the city, prefer something a bit more secluded, or want to be close to the tourist spots – finding something to suit your pocket and needs is easy.
On our visit, we opted to stay in two different locations to get to know the city a little better. Although we had to pack up and go twice, it was a great way to experience two very different neighborhoods in the city. While ultimately allowing us to get a real taste of what the city has to offer.
Greenhouse Boutique Hotel
Our first check-in was at Greenhouse Boutique Hotel in Green Point. The hotel only has a handful of rooms, but each room has a distinct old-world charm. The rooms are spotless, and the hotel is a short 5-minute drive to the V&A Waterfront. Opt for the triple room, which has a bit more space and a lovely balcony from where you can watch the locals come and go. Parking space is limited, so it’s best to reserve a spot in advance.
Primi Seacastle Hotel
For the second leg of our trip, we based ourselves at Primi Seacastle Hotel in Camps Bay. The hotel is a short walk to the beach and has a lively bar and restaurant scene nearby. Our room had a lovely balcony with
Need more help planning your South Africa travels?
Whether you’re extending your Western Cape travels or keen to see a bit more of South Africa, I’ve got you covered. See these guides to help you plan your travels further afield.
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