Over the past few decades, Cape Town has evolved into a cultural hub shaped by entrepreneurs, designers, artists and restaurateurs. While Central Cape Town is the pulse of the city, there are also a number of diverse areas to explore a short drive away. We take a tour of the best neighbourhoods in Cape Town.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of the most visited attractions in Cape Town – and with good reason. For starters, the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre is one of the only places in South Africa where the likes of Gucci and H&M can be found alongside African design and souvenir stores, while the neighbouring Watershed and V&A Food Market are bustling hubs of street food, local design, crafts and fashion. And, if that’s not enough, a wide array of exhibitions, live shows and workshops are a regular feature on the events calendar. Make sure you stop at Zeitz MOCAA, which houses the largest collection of contemporary African art on the continent. Moreover, the Waterfront is home to top-class hotels, restaurants, an aquarium, upmarket apartments and other cultural attractions.
Situated on the slopes of Signal Hill, the historical Bo-Kaap, or former Malay Quarter, is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Renowned for its rows of flat-roofed houses in bright colours, the area is the birthplace of Cape Town’s Muslim community. There are several attractions in the area, including a museum, centuries-old mosques and restaurants specialising in Cape Malay cuisine. On the bay-facing side of Signal Hill, De Waterkant (the Water Side) was largely renovated over the years but still retains the unique architectural style used during the 18th century. The area now boasts a variety of guest houses, restaurants and a shopping mall.
Located on the other side of Signal Hill, Sea Point overlooks Three Anchor Bay and has a seaside promenade. The 11-kilometre (7mi) stretch attracts families and fitness enthusiasts alike, and there are play parks, public swimming pools and a bicycle-renting facility. Running parallel to the promenade is a slew of high-rise apartment blocks and trendy restaurants, where languid lunches are the order of the day.
Camps Bay is the most famous suburb of Cape Town, renowned for its palm-tree-lined beach and million-dollar mansions overlooking the Atlantic. The popular Beach Road boasts an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, hotels and beach-side bars that turn into clubs at night. Nestled between Glen Beach and Clifton, Maiden’s Cove affords magnificent vistas of the ocean and the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Here, you can indulge in a braai and, on a hot summer’s day, take a dip in the tidal pool.
The inner-city suburb of Gardens is always buzzing with activity, no matter the time of day. Its key attraction is undoubtedly Kloof Street, with a plethora of restaurants, pubs, shops and art galleries, such as Salon 91. On Orange Street, you will find the Labia Theatre, the oldest repertory movie cinema in South Africa, as well as the luxury Mount Nelson Hotel, which serves a delectable afternoon high-tea.
Hout Bay’s unique location, heritage and natural beauty all add to its endearing charm as a popular seaside town. The working harbour is the central component of the area. Here, you will find the Mariner’s Wharf – a seaside emporium with seafood restaurants and maritime curio shops. On weekends, the Bay Harbour Market is a vibrant meeting place for family and friends, where delicious street food, local goods and live music can be found under one roof. Besides visiting all the cultural attractions in the area, be sure to take a drive (or cycle) along Chapman’s Peak for the most spectacular views of the bay.
One of the hippest neighbourhoods in Cape Town, Woodstock has become a creative hub of workshops, art galleries, co-working spaces, restaurants and breweries. Most of the activity in the area is centred around Albert Road, where places like the Woodstock Exchange and Old Biscuit Mill mall are located. On Saturdays, it plays host to the ever-popular Neighbourhoods Market, where you can find artisanal foods, craft beer and local design. Woodstock also has some of the best displays of street art in the country.
Named after an observatory in the area, Obs is renowned for its distinctly bohemian vibe and fervent art community. The key attraction is Lower Main Road, which is a prime nightlife spot lined with laid-back restaurants, thrift shops and quirky bars. The local South African Astronomical Observatory hosts bi-monthly open nights, where you can attend intriguing talks on astronomy and tour the premises. The Observatory is also home to the Heart of Cape Town Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital, where Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant.
Muizenberg is a relaxed seaside suburb located along the False Bay coast. It boasts one of the most famous beaches in Cape Town, known as Surfers Corner. The long, sandy beach is a popular spot for swimmers and surfers because of the gentle tides and warmer waters. Surfers Corner is instantly recognisable by its brightly coloured change rooms lined up on the beach, and there are a few cafes and surf shops adjacent to the beachfront. Aside from surfing lessons, other water sports – such as paddleboarding, scuba diving, kite-surfing and sailing – are also offered at the beach or the Greater Zandvlei Estuary Reserve close by.
The little village of Kalk Bay is situated just 7 kilometres (4mi) from Muizenberg on the False Bay coastline. The town’s main road runs parallel to the ocean and contains numerous restaurants and cafes, including Olympia Bakery, thrift shops, art stores and retailers selling quirky bohemian clothing. The working harbour is a bustling spot, characterised by colourful fishing trawlers bobbing on the water, fishmongers selling their latest catch, and the popular seafood eatery, Kalky’s. You’ll most likely see a couple of seals playing in the harbour water or relaxing on the pier, much to the delight of passersby. Kalk Bay can get very busy on weekends, especially during the summer, so it’s best to go early or make a reservation if you’re planning on dining at one of the establishments.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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