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Highlights of One Week in Cape Town, South AfricaWondering how to spend one week in Cape Town, South Africa – don’t worry, I got you! Read on to find out my 13 highlights from my 7 days in Cape Town…

Cape Town: what can I say that hasn’t already been said?

This city truly is one of the most spectacular in the world. White sand beaches, tons of wildlife, gorgeous mountains, cosmopolitan culture, cultural diversity, quaint seaside villages, and rugged natural beauty. It is a must-add to any South Africa Itinerary.

It really has it all and is right up there with Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney and Seattle as one of my favorite cities.

On my last visit, I spent 1 week in Cape Town in summer and it was mostly endless sunshine, I explored places I didn’t get to last time as well as revisiting others, knocked out a couple of incredible hikes, ate lots of delicious food, did some great Cape Town day trips, chilled out by the pool in our rental apartment and generally had an amazing time. Summer is definitely the best time to visit Cape Town!

Views from the hike up Table Mountain, one of the highlights of Cape Town

Seeing Cape Town in a week may seem like a decent amount of time but there is honestly so much to do, especially if you love the outdoors.

I was busy every day and still didn’t get a chance to revisit some of the sights I saw on my first visit, such as Robben Island, the District Six Museum, the boat to Seal Island, and the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton – all of which I highly recommend. 

There was just so much other stuff to do and I was running around like a crazed tourist trying to do it all.

Here is my list of the best places in Cape Town that I visited during my 7 days in the city, hopefully this will help you with planning a trip to Cape Town.

The Perfect 1 Week in Cape Town Itinerary

Browsing the Stalls of the Neighbourhood Goods Market

Start off your Cape Town 1 week itinerary at the Saturday Neighbourhood Goods Market in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Woodstock. I love me a market and seek them out wherever I travel, and this one didn’t disappoint.

With a bustling tent full of artisan producers, bakers, grocers, and butchers, the market aims to bring together the community and to help educate people about what we buy and eat. There are numerous food stalls serving dishes from around the world such as poffertjes, paella, and Thai curries.

Long wooden tables with candelabra and vases of flowers fill the middle of the tent where people sit to eat their breakfast or lunch.

Neighbourhood Goods Market in Cape Town - a must for any Cape Town Itinerary Inside the Neighbourhood Goods Market - a Cape Town highlight

I was there in the late morning and there were already people drinking wine and cider, having a gay old time. The atmosphere was alive and chaotic, exactly how I like my markets.

The Old Biscuit Mill itself is an old brick warehouse and courtyard that has been converted into an attractive specialty shopping village full of eclectic shops and al fresco dining options.

I browsed the fashion, arts, and crafts, wishing I lived nearby so I could come back to this amazing place every Saturday.

Hiking Table Mountain

Cape Town’s most famous attraction and for good reason: Table Mountain is a sight to behold. Rising up high above the Mother City, the flat-topped mountain is the perfect place for a view over the downtown and surrounding coastline.

Most people that visit the top of Table Mountain take the cable car and the day that we went there was a two-hour wait to get to the top. So I hiked up instead.

Hiking up Table Mountain via the Platteklip Gorge trail - a must if you are visiting Cape Town for a week

There are numerous routes you can take to the top but I decided on the thigh-burning Platteklip Gorge hike, 3km of steep switchbacks ascending to the top. I won’t lie: it was very hard going, especially in the hot midday sun, but the further I climbed, the more spectacular the view.

The temperature dropped rapidly once I neared the top and there was a mist hanging over the summit. Once the mist cleared and I saw the 360-degree views, it was worth every bead of sweat.

Table Mountain is a must-do if you are in Cape Town for a week.

Wandering the V&A Waterfront

It may be touristy but the V&A Waterfront is definitely still worth a look in my opinion.

Fat seals swim lazily in the harbor, wooden buildings painted bright shades of pastel line the still waters and the mist-shrouded form of Table Mountain dominates the landscape.

Wandering the V&A Waterfront - a great addition to your Cape Town 1 Week Itinerary

It is a beautiful place for a wander and if you have lots of money (I don’t), to shop. Also, I ate seafood, and a day where seafood is eaten is always a good day.

Visiting the African Penguins of Boulders Beach

As my regular readers know, I love penguins. I was even a Volunteer Penguin Warden in Sydney. So a visit to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without a visit to my Little Penguin’s African brothers, the African or ‘Jackass’ penguin.

The cool thing about the African penguins is that they hang out on the beach all day, and there are hundreds of them. You can watch them preen, sit on eggs, waddle up the beach, and clumsily land from the sea.

Visiting the Boulders Beach penguins in Simons Town - one of the best day trips from Cape Town Visiting the Boulders Beach penguins in Simons Town

Walking along the boardwalk out to the beach there were stray penguins sitting along the pathway, within centimeters of us.

Every time I visit Cape Town I will be sure to revisit these cute little guys as I don’t know anywhere else in the world where you can get so close to wild penguins.

And it doesn’t hurt that Boulders Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town too.

Getting to Know the Small Villages of the South Peninsula

I love the small seaside communities that line the coast from Noordhoek in the West to the surfing community of Muizenberg in the East.

There are lighthouses, antique stores, a penguin colony, funky boutiques, bohemian shops, sheltered beaches, colorful beach huts, and even a train that passes within spitting distance of the water that travels from Simons Town to Muizenberg.

Exploring the South Coast Communities in Cape Town - one of the best Cape Town day trips Colorful beach huts in St James, Cape Town

If I lived in Cape Town, I would quite likely live somewhere along this golden coast.

Exploring Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope

My biggest regret from my last trip to Cape Town was that I ran out of time to visit the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. I wanted to see the baboons!

On this trip, it ended up being the favorite of my day trips from Cape Town. I saw lots of baboons, including babies, as well as Eland (a type of large buck), ostrich, and dassies.

Baboons at Cape Point - one of the best day trips from Cape Town

I hiked along windswept coastal paths above a stunning beach and to a rugged lighthouse. It felt like I was at the end of the world, and I kind of was. Read more about my day trip here.

Hiking Above Constantia Nek

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I parked in a small pullout by Constantia Nek. I had driven through the area earlier and I loved the cool expanse of pine trees and vineyards and I wanted to go back to explore more.

Hiking above Constantia Nek - a great Cape Town hike Hiking trail in Cape Town, South Africa

I stumbled upon a hiking trail that was blissfully quiet and followed it upwards until I was tired and covered in dust. It turned out to be a great idea and one of my favorite hikes in a while.

I wrote in more detail about my random afternoon Cape Town hike here.

Seafood and Seals in Hout Bay

I spent five nights in the seaside community of Hout Bay in a beautiful sea view home with a communal swimming pool.

Beach time at beautiful Hout Bay - one of the best beaches in Cape Town

The beach here is wild and rugged with bleached white sand dunes and choppy waters. Although the water here is too cold to swim in, it is a great spot to see some of the local seals and to check out the colorful fishing boats in the harbor while gorging yourself on seafood at Mariner’s Wharf.

Cheeky seals at beautiful Hout Bay

It definitely doesn’t feel like you are anywhere near a city.

Llandudno – The King of Beaches

Possibly my favorite beach in Cape Town, Llandudno is tucked away down a quiet road between Hout Bay and Camps Bay. The beach was largely deserted compared to its neighbors and is simply stunning.

Llandudno - one of the best beaches in Cape Town

Sheltered by the surrounding cliffs, Llandudno is a popular spot for surfers and a great spot to sit for a while and escape the raging winds that tear up Cape Town in early summer.

I wandered along the beach and climbed the small rocky hillside at the end for a great view over the clean white sand. It’s just a shame that the freezing Atlantic waters on this side of the peninsula make it just too cold to swim although I did see some brave souls out in the waves.

Llandudno - one of the best places to visit in Cape TownGetting My Squirrel Fix at Company Gardens

I know it sounds stupid to all of you that live in North America or Europe but I’m going to say it – I love squirrels! We don’t have them down under so they have always been a novelty to me and I have missed getting to hang out with them in London’s parks since I moved away.

Company Gardens is a beautiful park in the city center with trees from around the world, flower beds, regal statues, and even a cute garden café.

Chasing squirrels at Company Gardens in Cape Town Hanging out at Company Garden in Cape Town's city centre

It has the refined air of a Royal London park and the squirrels (that were brought over from the UK) add to that air even more. When I was there they were frantically digging holes for their nuts (hehe). So cute!

Relaxing in the Stunning Grounds of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Set against the slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch definitely has one of the most stunning settings of any Botanical Gardens that I have ever been to.

Exploring Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town

It is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon wandering the pathways through cool forests, among the treetops on the canopy walkway and past beds of bright flowers.

I went on New Year’s Day and laying under a big Oak tree in the shade was a blissful way to help recover from a hangover.

Exploring Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town - a must for your Cape Town itinerary Friendly Locals and Colorful Buildings in Bo Kaap

This quiet corner of the city is the historic home of Cape Town’s Malay population and is known for its distinctive brightly painted buildings and cobbled streets.

It doesn’t take long to walk around but is definitely worth a look for the architecture, the friendly locals (a few people greeted us with big smiles and hellos) and for some great photo opportunities.

Exploring colourful Bo Kaap in Cape Town - one of the best places to visit in Cape Town Exploring colourful Bo Kaap in Cape Town - a must visit if you are spending 7 days in Cape Town

I would love to eat here next time I visit and maybe even take part in a cooking class. There are some great walking tours of Bo Kaap you can take as well.

The more I saw in Cape Town, the longer I wanted to stay there – a week in Cape Town is not enough!

Plan Your Cape Town Trip

Where to Stay in Cape Town

If you are wondering where to stay in Cape Town, I highly recommend renting a house or apartment – there are lots of great choices on VRBO and Booking.com. I loved staying by the beach personally so these choices are in beach communities.

Beautiful beach at Cape Point - one of the best places to visit in Cape Town

Stay at the Camps Bay Ruby Suite with modern amenities and right by the beach, or the Surf Way Beach Cottage, a one-bedroom apartment with a private pool and only minutes from Long Beach in Kommetjie.

If you are traveling solo to Cape Town and you want to meet people, there are so many amazing Cape Town hostels in different parts of the city. My top hostel picks based on ratings and location are Mojo Hostel in Sea Point, Cape Capsules Backpackers in Muizenberg, and A Sunflower Stop in Green Point.

If you are looking for something a little more luxurious, my picks for the Cape Town hotels and B&Bs by the seaside villages are The Muize Bed and Breakfast in Muizenberg, Protea Point B&B in Simon’s Town, South Beach Boutique Hotel in Camps Bay, and Hout Bay Breeze Guesthouse in Hout Bay.

Wandering the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa

Insurance for Your Cape Town Trip

Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with – it auto-renews every month unless you turn it off so you don’t have to think about it on longer trips

Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.

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Highlights of One Week in Cape Town How to Spend One Week in Cape Town, South Africa 13 Best Places to Visit in Cape Town

11 Comments on Highlights of One Week in Cape Town

  1. I’m so glad I stumbled over this post right now. Next month we’ll head down to Cape Town for a few days before we’re joining in on an Overland Group Tour. And this post made me even more excited about visiting Cape Town. Thanks for sharing, loved it!

  2. Well done. I am a Capetwonian and love to read what other people share about Cape Town. You did great thing and took lovely photos. The two guys framed in the door is lovely and colourful. Unique.

    Cape Town can be your home. We just bought a flat in Green Point and it’s not getting cheaper. So this is a good time to invest and we will rent it out for you. 😉 The holiday rental market in Cape Town is so very popular.

    Most articles I read is how Cape Town rank ad one or two in the world. Today Clifton was ranked the 2nd beach beach by National Geographic.

    Have fun and travel peacefully.

    • Hi Johan, thanks for your kind words. I really do love Cape Town but I also love Sydney where I am living now. I probably couldn’t afford to buy in either place I’m afraid! We could potentially move in a few years time to live there for a couple of years but will most likely end up in NZ in the end 🙂

  3. Cape Town is an incredible city, and this post makes me want to revisit so badly! Llandudno looks beautiful, and I wish I would have known about it when I visited because it was insanely windy the week I was in Cape Town.

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