Feast on Cape Malay curries, drink in South African wine and admire some of the Rainbow Nation’s emerging art talent at these heart-of-it-all hotels.
South Africa’s capital lets you sample the country in microcosm. You can tick off the country’s emerging art scene by gallery-hopping at First Thursdays. Drink in some of the nation’s best wines, plucked from nearby Fransschoek and Stellenbosch. And absorb surely the world’s most scenic combination of coast and countryside – from the Twelve Apostles to Clifton’s cool beaches and up to the twin bluffs of Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. It’s easy to imagine living in Cape Town – and these hotels show you how.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
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.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
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.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
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.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
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.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
On a private quay between a quiet yacht marina and the vibey V&A Waterfront, this hotel gives a taste of Cape Town harbour life at its most glamorous. The 120 guest rooms and suites are all different, blending electronic essentials with antique furnishings and local artworks. Signal Restaurant serves old-school afternoon teas and multi-course gastronomic feasts, starring the likes of spiced-springbok bobotie (a moussaka-like speciality, regarded as the national dish of South Africa) and catch-of-the-day shellfish broth.
Created from the grain elevator of an old silo complex, rising six storeys above the Zeitz MOCAA museum on the V&A Waterfront, this architecturally arresting hotel puts the continent’s biggest collection of African art right at your feet. Striking multifaceted glass windows turn it into a glittering beacon in Table Bay harbour. The 28 rooms blend opulence with edgy industrial accents and African art. The Silo Rooftop, with its pool and panoramic views, is one of the city’s coolest spots to sip cocktails at sunset before digging into Cape seafood curry at the Granary Cafe.
Over 25 years, this private boutique hotel with 13 individually-designed rooms on the slopes of Lion’s Head above Bantry Bay has become synonymous with Cape Town’s sophisticated beach lifestyle. Two private villas have been added, each over several stories with extraordinary sea views, its own infinity pool and private chef. Rooms include a wine tasting each afternoon and South African craft-gin cocktails and canapés from a trolley at sunset. You also get guided tours of the impressive Ellerman House art collection and the obliging concierge will arrange curated experiences, from a 4×4 dune ride to a Spice Route tour.
There are just seven bright, airy suites in this elegant boutique hotel, each with a private balcony overlooking Clifton beach, Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles. The central pool deck is a great place for a glass of Cape wine while you take in one of the world’s best sunsets. Clifton has four beaches to choose from, each with its own following: 1st Beach draws the surfer crowd; 2nd is for families; 3rd the gay set; and 4th the trendies.
This award-winning Fair Trade hostel is safe, central and provides value for money with its funky dorms and private rooms coloured red, white and blue. A big buffet breakfast is laid on, there’s a kitchen available and you’ll find an inexpensive bar. The hostel embraces environmental sustainability and encourages participation in community projects such as the Stitch N’ Bitch programme (knitting blankets for the needy) or volunteering as a teacher’s aide, coach or helper at the Great Commission United Academy. Its location also makes it a great place for self-guided walks, before cooling off afterwards in the pool.
Set between Chapman’s Peak and the Atlantic Ocean, Tinswalo’s dramatic location makes it a prime wedding and honeymoon venue. Suites are themed: the seriously beautiful Robben Island Suite paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. The new Chef’s Warehouse serves dishes that are fresh, local and sustainable above the extraordinary view – oysters and risotto are always on the menu. The hotel provides its own adventure tours, from horse riding on Noordhoek Beach to snorkelling with seals at nearby Duiker Island (it’s just a rubber-duck ride away – wetsuits provided).
This retreat off Kloof Street in Cape Town’s City Bowl (natural amphitheatre) oozes Gallic charm in a 19th-century farm building among pomegranate, guava and olive trees. The five ensuite bedrooms blend vintage and modern, industrial and Provençal styles. The effect is elegantly quirky, with vividly painted clawfoot baths, whitewashed walls and French hand-embroidered linen. A traditional French breakfast includes fresh croissants, pain au chocolat, fresh-fruit salad and home-made muesli. The perfect start to a day spent browsing the city’s parks, galleries and museums.
This is a great base for exploring colourful Woodstock, a suburb just east of the City Bowl, between the docks of Table Bay and slopes of Devil’s Peak. It’s full of old factories, covered in street art or converted into cool design stores, such as the Old Biscuit Mill. Weekly Neighbourgoods Market, filled with street food, local handicrafts and fashion, is a must – as is The Test Kitchen restaurant (if you can bag a table). The Stock Exchange is part of a mixed-use building with retail outlets, eateries and an entertainment deck. The 33 trendy apartments are divided into playful themes – Urban Art, Urban Jungle and Urban Pattern – celebrating local design talent. A design map of Woodstock lets you buy similar décor items to support the area’s artisans.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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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!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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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.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.