Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city that loves to lure in adventurers from all around the world. Here you can find dazzling beaches, award-winning wine and food, stunning nature, and vibrant city culture. So if you want to join our South African adventure, read on to learn where to stay in Cape Town!
Why You Should Visit Cape Town in 2023
Cape Town is a prosperous, modern city on the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s the most beloved tourist spot in South Africa and a true jewel of the country.
It’s surrounded by the majestic Table Mountain that proudly reigns above it. Because it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, it boasts beautiful and dramatic scenescapes that’ll mesmerize even the pickiest travelers.
Cape Town has a lot to offer — no doubt about that. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll certainly love this city. We’re sure you’ve already heard about the wine regions in and around Cape Town that produce spectacular wines.
The same goes for the food — what’s a better recipe for fresh and delicious local food than a fair amount of sun, the salty breeze coming from the ocean, and the hardworking hands of the Capetonians?
But enough idle chitchat about Cape Town. Let’s delve into the neighborhoods themselves! While exploring Cape Town, you shouldn’t miss its most notable areas that will help you truly immerse yourself in the unique South African city culture.
The 4 Best Parts of Cape Town
- Cape Town City Centre: The place to be if you’re spending your first time in Cape Town and want to explore all the main sights.
- Victoria & Alfred Waterfront: Ideal for people who want a more luxurious experience of the city.
- Bo-kaap: Perfect for those looking to explore local communities and their rich cultures.
- Camps Bay: The best place for beach lovers, families, honeymooners, as well as adventurers.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Cape Town
Cape Town has a lot of accommodation options, and it’s a very affordable city, making it the perfect vacation spot for many tourists. The same goes for restaurants — you can choose affordable and super-tasty street food or fine-dining experiences in high-end African eateries.
Whether you have big pockets and don’t care about hotel and restaurant prices, or you want to see as much as you can while staying on a fixed budget, Cape Town extends a warm welcome.
1. Cape Town City Centre
If this is your first time visiting Cape Town, you must attend its city center. It’s a unique blend of busy business areas, commercial districts with fashion boutiques, surf shops, chain stores, and countless restaurants and coffee shops.
We’d say that Long Street is a great place to start your exploration since it’s filled with ethnic cuisine restaurants, night venues and bars, and interesting shops and galleries such as The Cape Gallery, which features rotating exhibits of South African paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.
The heart of the city center is Greenmarket Square, a historical square in Cape Town that functions as a flea market. In this place, you can find handmade, artisanal products, as well as international food — from spices to samosas.
It’s the perfect place to get a souvenir for home and fill up your belly when you find yourself craving some good old street food. The city center area is a great spot to experience the vibrant energy of Cape Town’s creative scene.
Our advice is to do this on First Thursdays — an initiative that happens every first Thursday of the month, allowing the arts scene in Cape Town to flourish. Galleries and cultural spots in the center are open till very late at night, and the whole city comes alive, with restaurants and bars joining in the fun and vibrant atmosphere.
The best thing about it is that most exhibitions and performances on First Thursdays are free! You can find cultural venues on Church Street and Bree Street.
Things to Do
- Visit the Company’s Garden — a park from the 17th century that offers a peaceful oasis within the busy city core. It has a beautiful rose garden, monuments, and flower beds.
- You can also visit the colonial Castle of Good Hope inside the park. It’s a notorious colonial structure, built with slave labor and turned into a military and art museum.
- Cape Town City Hall is a beautiful, monumental city hall dating from 1905 that is now used by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The Eastern Food Bazaar is a must-visit for all of you food gourmands out there. It’s open every day (yes, even on Sundays!) from 10 am to 9 pm and serves delicious and fresh street food from Asia, Turkey, and the Middle East.
- The District Six Museum is the perfect place for history buffs. It’s a museum devoted to specific events during the Apartheid era in South Africa — the forced clearance of more than 60,000 residents and the demolition of their homes in the 1970s.
- The Labia Theatre is an arthouse cinema with four screens that opened in 1949. It’s perfect for movie lovers because it plays old and contemporary arthouse films.
Where to Eat
- The Company’s Garden Restaurant is the perfect brunch spot. Coffee, juices, tea, matcha, eggs benedict, avocado toast — they have it all!
- Arnolds Restaurant is a modern restaurant that serves an eclectic array of dishes — seafood, burgers, South African game, and much more. It also has impressive mountain views.
- Belly of the Beast has been hailed by reviewers as a hidden gem within the heart of Cape Town. Everything seems to be just right — the food, the service, the atmosphere. The restaurant constantly comes up with new and exciting flavor combinations while retaining the good old classics.
- Kloof Street House is a bit more expensive, but if you’re prepared to spend a few more bucks, it’s definitely worth the experience. It has both an elegant and a homey, cozy atmosphere, paired with some of the best dishes you could find in Cape Town.
- Nelson’s Eye Restaurant is a beloved steakhouse in Cape Town’s center. It serves mouth-watering, juicy stakes and specialties, such as springbok and ostrich, in a laid-back, unpretentious atmosphere. After all, you have to be truly good at your job to beat the fresh seafood coming from a seaside city!
Cape Town City Centre Budget Hotels
- ONOMO Hotel Cape Town – Inn On The Square is a three-star hotel with a great location and an even better price. You get a heated rooftop swimming pool, a fitness center for a fair price, clean, modern rooms, and a hotel restaurant serving South African dishes that also makes a fantastic breakfast.
- Cape Town Lodge Hotel is a three-star hotel with a great location and many amenities, such as an outdoor pool and a fitness center, for a very fair price. The hotel boasts great views of Table Mountain. It also has a restaurant serving quality grilled meat dishes, often featuring live music.
Cape Town City Centre Mid-Range Hotels
- HOTEL SKY Cape Town is a four-star hotel that’s great value for money. It has terrific reviews, and people love it for its staff, cleanliness, great breakfast, and amazing service. The hotel has two swimming pools and a fitness center that guests can use.
- Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore is a four-star hotel from the Radisson group. It’s a lovely hotel in a great location, with modern, sleek rooms and friendly and professional staff. The hotel has an outdoor plunge pool and a fitness center, as well as a bar and restaurant.
Cape Town City Centre Luxury Hotels
- The Westin Cape Town is a five-star hotel from the Westin brand. This is one of those hotels where you always know what you’re getting for your money — excellent service, comfortable, spacious, clean rooms, and many luxury amenities such as two swimming pools, a fitness center, a spa, and a wellness center. Our favorite part, though? The fabulous, buffet-style breakfast.
- Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town is a magnificent five-star luxury hotel. If you’re looking for a calm refuge from the hectic city center — and willing to spend a buck — look no further than this hotel, a short distance from the Company Gardens. Make sure to participate in the hotel’s legendary afternoon tea ritual. Alternatively, you can swim in one of the pools, play tennis on the courts or try out other wellness amenities.
2. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
This historic neighborhood is located north of Cape Town City Center. It was named in honor of Queen Victoria and her son Alfred. But the title is not the only thing royal.
This area is arguably the most luxurious and expensive in Cape Town, and its waterfront location only adds to its upscale atmosphere and high prices.
Once you start your stroll around Victoria & Alfred Waterfront (commonly called V&A), we’re absolutely sure you’ll fall in love with the gorgeous views and scenery that’ll unfold in front of you — the harbor with its charming ships and boats, the Atlantic Ocean stretching ever further into the distance, and the mountains spreading in all their majestic beauty eastwards and westwards.
This neighborhood is also very apt for couples. If you’re honeymooners, celebrating an anniversary, or just want to spend some romantic quality time together, Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront will deliver an unforgettable experience.
But it’s not only the seaside romantic dinners that make this place magical — the bars and the nightlife also make it pulsate with life. Remember that if you’re seeking a calmer waterfront area, you should look elsewhere, like Camps Bay and Sea Point, on Cape Town’s eastern shore.
Another great thing about this neighborhood is that it’s very close to the city center, and you can easily explore that part of the city on foot.
Also, the waterfront location makes it a great starting point to explore Robben Island. This nearby island has an infamous history as being the place where the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for eighteen years.
Things to Do
- Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the perfect spot for art lovers who want to discover the latest and greatest African artists. The space of this museum is in itself a remarkable sight since it’s a repurposed and redesigned silo.
- Cape Town Diamond Museum is, as its name says — and you’ve read that correctly — a diamond museum. What better position for this museum than the most luxurious part of Cape Town? It’s where you need to be if you’re a diamond and precious jewelry lover who would like to learn about the history and science behind these special stones!
- The Watershed is a market where you can find over 150 shops selling locally designed clothing goods, furniture, crafts, and the like. It’s perfect for people who want to buy unique items during their trip to be reminders of the good time they had.
- Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre is the largest mall in Cape Town’s central area. It has everything — luxury boutiques, cosmetic stores, bookstores, jewelry stores, grocery stores, and great restaurants.
- Two Oceans Aquarium is an indoor aquarium and conservation center. For those of you enamored by the sea world, you can see sharks and other types of fascinating sea creatures.
Where to Eat
- Gibson’s is an American-style restaurant that serves mouth-watering grilled meat dishes like ribs, chicken, burgers, and much more.
- Pigalle Restaurant is an upscale restaurant that serves Portuguese cuisine. Imagine seafood and steaks paired with great wines and live jazz or salsa music.
- Quay Four Restaurant is a trendy spot on the V&A Waterfront. It serves terrific, locally sourced seafood, has the best harbor views, and has a tavern that regularly features live bands.
- Willoughby & Co. is a popular Japanese restaurant in the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. It serves the perfect sushi (and other Japanese dishes), using creative ideas and mixing different ingredients. It’s a bit expensive, though.
- Grand Africa Café & Beach is another popular cafe and restaurant in Cape Town. It’s located in a historic waterfront warehouse. It has its own private beach and a great wooden deck terrace where you can select your favorite dish among a wide choice of options.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Budget Hotels
- The Grey Hotel is a three-star hotel that offers a lot for its budget-friendly price. It has a rooftop bar, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant. Reviewers love it for the staff’s friendly faces and helpful demeanors and also for the spectacular balcony views.
- Never at Home Green Point is a hostel in the Green Point neighborhood, close to the V&A Waterfront. It has both dormitory-style rooms with shared bathrooms and private ones with en suite bathrooms. It’s been rated high for cleanliness, superb location, and friendly staff. An extra reason to love this hostel — it has a pool!
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Mid-Range Hotels
- Sugar Hotel is a chic four-star hotel in the trendy Green Point area near the V&A Waterfront. It’s a great place to stay if you want higher-star accommodation paired with great prices and some perks usually seen in luxury hotels, such as a spa and wellness center and a great restaurant and bar.
- Protea Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront Breakwater Lodge is a four-star hotel similar in price range and facilities to the Sugar Hotel noted above. It also has a spa and wellness center and a great restaurant that offers superb views of the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Luxury Hotels
- The Table Bay Hotel is a luxury five-star hotel located on Pienaar Marine at the V&A Waterfront. If it doesn’t lure you in with its opulent, baroque interiors, outdoor pool, spa, and fitness center, it will undoubtedly capture your heart with its fantastic breakfast.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is a five-star hotel from the famous Radisson group. It serves the most amazing sea views you can find in all of Cape Town. Pair that with super comfy rooms, their rich and delicious breakfast, and their fantastic spa and fitness center, and you’ve got a winner.
- The Silo Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel, as luxurious as it gets, and we’re not kidding. Here we have something truly out of the ordinary — starting with the hotel building, which is a work of architectural art, and continuing with the wild, quirky, but opulent room decor. Also, let’s not forget the amazing marina and city views. It comes with a high price per night, but it’s super worth it if you can afford it!
Bo-kaap is a small but incredibly charming neighborhood adjacent to the city center. It’s also a historically significant area, home to some of the oldest and most interesting houses from the 1700s, painted in different colors — from blue to orange, from lilac to yellow, and green.
It’s a whole rainbow out there! The majority of inhabitants of the Bo-kaap neighborhood are Muslims from East Asia. Their descendants were brought as slaves centuries ago from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa.
Nowadays, their ethnic and historical diversity makes a very rich neighborhood in terms of food and culture. Here you can find a number of great restaurants and cafes with the most delicious Asian delicacies!
There’s a lot to be enjoyed about Bo-kaap — its history, cobbled streets, architecture, and color, proximity to the city center, and great restaurants where you won’t stay hungry even for a minute! And there are some fun things to do as well, like visiting the Bo-kaap Museum and the Auwal Mosque, established in the 1790s.
What’s more, you’ll hear the Noon Gun fired every day at Signal Hill at — you guessed it — noon. It’s a tradition dating back to the 19th century whose function was to signal the exact time for the arrival of ships on the dock.
As you can see, Bo-kaap is a neighborhood full of surprises that will leave you wanting more. You’ll love it if you’re a fan of small neighborhoods with a distinct personality, rich history, and lots of local culture to discover.
If you want a more big-city vibe, head to the city center or the V&A Waterfront. Alternatively, you should choose Camps Bay, where you can enjoy some beach time.
Things to Do
- Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum is worth the visit if you want to know more about the history of the neighborhood and its past inhabitants, the Muslims who have been there since the 19th century and contributed a lot to the diversity of the South African culture.
- The Bo Kaap Cooking Tour is another experience that will familiarize you with the local culture and history of the neighborhood through food. We’re 100% certain that food gourmands will love it and will learn something new about Cape Malay’s food and culture.
- Stroll through the charming streets of Bo Kaap and enjoy the rows of colorful houses. You’ll be sure to stubble upon a cafe or an ethnic food restaurant if you get hungry.
Where to Eat
- The Village Idiot is a fantastic place that perfectly unites a watering hole atmosphere that serves all kinds of drinks (vodka slushes were reviewers’ favorites), loud music, and outstanding cuisine, from ribs to burgers, from finger food to mac and cheese — this place has it all.
- Biesmiellah Restaurant is a local food joint that serves delicious, well-portioned Cape Malay dishes and other South African meals. The curries are personal favorites and are a must-try!
- Marco’s African Place is a restaurant in Bo-kaap that serves a selection of the best African dishes and international cuisine. The meals are delicious, and the best part is that you get to enjoy them with live music.
- Bokaap Deli is a great brunch spot where you can have tea, coffee, cakes, shakshuka, eggs benedict, wraps, pasta — you name it!
Bo-kaap Budget Hotels
- Signal Hill Lodge is a three-star hotel that reviewers rate as a great value for money. It has spacious, modern rooms with en suite bathrooms and an outdoor pool that guests can use anytime. The hotel offers breakfast for an additional fee.
- 91 Loop Boutique Hostel is a hostel just a couple of streets away from the Bo-kaap neighborhood. It’s a stylish, ultra-modern hostel that offers shared and private rooms. It has a great location, and the best thing about it is that the staff often organize activities for their guests, like free walking tours around Cape Town and movie nights.
Bo-kaap Mid-Range Hotels
- Casa Del Sonder is a three-star hotel with a charming rooftop terrace and plunge pool. Its sun-kissed rooms will immediately capture your heart, as will its great location and even better room prices!
- The Capital Mirage is a four-star hotel between the City Center and the Bo-kaap neighborhoods. It’s a modern hotel with spa and wellness amenities and clean and spacious rooms. There are options to rent whole private suits with private kitchens and bathrooms for an excellent price.
Bo-kaap Luxury Hotels
- Hyatt Regency Cape Town is a five-star hotel located on the border of the Bo-kaap neighborhood and the City Center. It’s a hotel that perfectly blends modern and contemporary style with elegance, including subtle touches of luxury. The hotel has a pool and a very delicious breakfast included in the room price.
- Cape Heritage Hotel is a four-star, elegant hotel on Heritage Square that borders the Bo-kaap neighborhood. You’ll love the antique-style furniture and the wood-adorned rooms that bring a solemn, restful-like, but also incredibly sophisticated quality to the room. The hotel has an airport shuttle service, as well as room service from which you can order breakfast in bed.
4. Camps Bay
Camps Bays is one of the most beloved beachside neighborhoods in Cape Town. It’s a laid-back area filled with white and golden beach sand, many hotels and guest houses, and plenty of seafood restaurants, chill cafes, and cocktail bars overlooking the waterfront promenade.
It also has amazing views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range and peaks. While Camps Bay is technically considered a suburb of Cape Town, it’s only a ten-minute drive from the city center, so it’s not far from the city’s heart.
It’s a great spot for families, especially those looking to combine a bit of sightseeing with a beach vacation. But it’s also suitable for honeymooners and adventure travelers, who — we’re sure — would love to take the countless hiking routes on Table Mountain and visit the famous Twelve Apostles peaks.
If you’re looking for a cheaper stay, however, or a more dynamic city experience, opt for the center instead or any of the other neighborhoods we’ve mentioned here.
But we’re sure Camps Bay won’t leave anyone with a sour impression. After all, it has all the main ingredients for a fun vacation spot: sun, beach, great seafood, cocktail bars, breathtaking sunset ocean views, and mountain ranges.
Nature lovers will particularly have a field day here because Camps Bay is so close to Table Mountain National Park.
The park has more than 2200 plant species and animals, such as chacma baboons, rock hyraxes, and caracals, as well as more than 350 hiking trails where you can hike as much as you please, with your family, friends, or alone.
And if some of you don’t want to walk but would hate to miss out on nature’s wonders, you can take the Table Mountain cable car. That way, nobody will miss out on the fun!
Things to Do
- You can trek on Table Mountain through the Cape Trekking Guided Hikes and marvel at the panoramic city views and the fantastic bay views. Don’t miss out on the famous Twelve Apostles peaks.
- Theatre on The Bay is a great place to check out a performance of a comedy show, a theater play, a musical, a cabaret, or something entirely different. Also, don’t miss out on their chic bistrot.
- Camps Bay Beach is the most well-known beach in Cape Town. It’s a great place to enjoy coastal walks, bathe or sunbathe, and play sand sports. There are also many excellent restaurants nearby you can lunch or dine in.
- Glen Beach is another beautiful local beach, very close to Camps Bay Beach. It’s popular with surfers, so if you’re enamored with this sport — it’s a no-miss!
- You can also visit the four Clifton Beaches less than two miles from Camps Bay. Family-friendly, with white sands, and super charming, they’re definitely worthy of a visit.
Where to Eat
- The Hussar Grill Camps Bay is a meat and grill restaurant that reviewers say has the best steak in Cape Town and some great desserts like the malva pudding.
- Codfather Seafood & Sushi is a beachfront restaurant with delicious sushi dishes and other fresh seafood. It’s a bit on the expensive side, though.
- The Lawns at the Roundhouse is a restaurant in a former guardhouse at the foothills of Table Mountain. It serves contemporary European dishes with a South African twist. We highly recommend this place, although this too is on the expensive side.
- Tiger’s Milk Camps Bay is a pub-like restaurant with great beers, burgers, cheese balls, and pizzas.
- Café Caprice is a beachfront mix between a cafe and a relaxed bistrot that works till midnight and serves everything — from cafes and brunch to cocktails and burgers.
Camps Bay Budget Hotels
- Beachwood Camps Bay is a guest house in Camps Bay, close to the beach. It has an outdoor pool, great bay views, a peaceful atmosphere, and clean, bright, spacious rooms with fully equipped kitchens and private bathrooms.
- African Vibes Camps Bay is a three-star hotel that offers good value for money. It has a swimming pool and a small fitness room you can use as guests. The rooms are clean and airy, have a private bathroom and comfy beds, and boast incredible views of the bay.
Camps Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- Camps Bay Retreat Hotel is a charming four-star hotel nestled in the foothills of Signal Hill. It’s a lovely place for rest — peaceful, small, and with lots of greenery, as well as two pools and a spa center that’ll ensure you are unbothered by anything during your whole stay there. The hotel is also super close to the beach, so you can hop in the sea or sunbathe on the golden sands whenever you like!
- Ocean View House is a four-star hotel on the north side of Camp Beach. Since the place where the hotel was built is slightly elevated, you get a great view of the bay and the surrounding hills and mountains. With a spa and wellness center, as well as two pools, you’ll feel relaxed as ever here. Take advantage of the private terraces and balconies for an extra joyful hotel stay!
Camps Bay Luxury Hotels
- Atlanticview Cape Town Boutique Hotel is a five-star hotel on a hill overlooking the ocean in Camp’s Bay. It’s an amazing hotel with two pools, a spa and wellness center, and a fitness center. Rooms are air-conditioned, spacious, and light, and all have lovely terraces with either mountain or sea views. There are hiking trails behind the hotel that you can use if you’re up for this kind of adventure.
- The Marly Boutique Hotel is a five-star hotel on Camps Bay beachfront — with the sea at your fingertips. Because of its superb location, it also has unrivaled views of the beach, visible from the hotel’s suites. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a hip private terrace bar where you can sip cocktails and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. There are also two-day spas at the hotel and a hair salon for the guests that want to look extra glitzy every day.
So, Where Should You Stay in Cape Town?
|🏆 Best for First Timers||Cape Town City Centre|
|🥂 Most Luxurious||Victoria & Alfred Waterfront|
|🎵 Best for Cultural Experience||Bo-kaap|
|⛱️ Best for Beaches||Camps Bay|
Cape Town is a diverse city with many neighborhoods that beckon you to walk its streets. That being said, since Cape Town is not a small city, it’s best to focus on a few neighborhoods during your stay.
Choose according to your needs and interests, and we’re sure you’ll have the best time in South Africa. Happy travels!