There is no shortage of incredible things to do in Cape Town. But if you are traveling on a budget, you might find some of the things a bit outside of your budget. Fortunately, you can still have a great time in Cape Town without a lot of money. There are actually some things that you are able to do for free in the Mother City. Therefore, we have gathered this list of 10 free things to do in Cape Town. Hopefully, you can find some inspiration for your next budget-friendly trip to Cape Town.
1. Swim at the stunning beaches
The first free thing to do in Cape Town is of course swimming at the stunning beaches. And there are a lot of them. Dotted around the city you will have no problem finding a beach that suits you the best. Whether you are looking to get your surf on, a children-friendly place, or just want to get your tan on – There is a beach for everyone in Cape Town. A bonus for visiting the beaches of Cape Town is that you will be rewarded with some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. If you visit around sunset, you are definitely in for a treat with some magical light.
2. Watch the sunset from Signal Hill
Another great thing to do for free in Cape Town is watching the sunset from Signal Hill. Located right next to Lion’s Head, with Table Mountain in the background you will have an amazing view overlooking the city. As well as a stunning view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while the sun is setting on the horizon. Even though it isn’t free we highly recommend you bring a picnic. A sunset picnic at Signal Hill is the best way to end a day exploring Cape Town.
3. Explore the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap
An absolute favorite thing for us to do in Cape Town is to wander the streets of Bo-Kaap – and it is totally free. Exploring the colorful neighborhood is therefore a must-do in Cape Town. This is also why the colorful houses have become a very popular place to visit. With its vibrant colors, the neighborhood of Bo-Kaap is not only very beautiful, but it is actually one of Cape Town’s oldest and most fascinating multicultural areas. The Bo-Kaap neighborhood has a complex history and a rich Muslim culture – making it a very interesting place to visit. Walking around the streets of Bo-Kaap is therefore a great thing to do for free!
4. Visit the incredible markets
What better way to experience some local culture than for free? Visiting the local markets in Cape Town is a great way to get a feel of the local vibe. Even though you may end up spending some money on food, a visit to the markets can be done for free. You can easily spend a morning browsing the stalls with fresh produce, arts and crafts, and delicious food. To give you an overview of the many markets you can find our list of the best markets in Cape Town right here.
5. Go hiking
An amazing thing to do in Cape Town if you are traveling on a tight budget is go hiking. There are so many incredible hiking trails in Cape Town. Whether you are an advanced hiker or a beginner you can find a hike that suits you the best. With beautiful views and stunning scenery, hiking is a great thing to do in Cape Town.
Some of our favorite hikes in Cape Town are the following:
- Lion’s Head: A great hike for panoramic views of the city.
- The Pipe Track: One of the easier hikes in Cape Town – perfect for a more relaxed hike.
- Kloof Corner: A perfect sunset spot
- Platteklip Gorge: The absolute hardest of our hikes in Cape Town. Hiking to the top of Table Mountain but well worth it once you reach the summit.
6. Visit galleries on First Thursday
On every first Thursday of the month, the galleries in downtown Cape Town open their doors for people to visit for free. This is a great way to explore the city center on foot while getting a cultural kick. There is usually a cool atmosphere with locals and tourists alike visiting the many galleries. So we would highly recommend you swing by downtown if you happen to visit Cape Town on the first Thursday of the month.
7. Take a dip in the tidal pools
With the city’s location right by the ocean, there are a lot of tidal pools. They are all ready for you to get in – and then even for free. They can be a great place to spend a day without worrying about the currents in the ocean. You might even be able to spot some marine life while floating around in the water. As a bonus, you will have some stunning views from each of the tidal pools in Cape Town – the nature here is incredible!
8. Admire the colorful houses at Muizenberg Beach
Along the coast of the Cape Peninsula is the small coastal town of Muizenberg. You might have seen pictures of this town as it is home to the famous colorful houses. The Victorian beach huts have become an iconic part of Cape Town – and a must-visit when in the Mother City. Swinging by the colorful houses at Muizenberg Beach is yet another great thing to do for free in Cape Town.
9. Visit quirky Kalk Bay
Not far from Muizenberg actually is the quirky little town of Kalk Bay. This place is a fun place to spend a day wandering the cobbled streets. The harbor is especially worth a visit as it is home to sea lions. And if you are visiting in the months between May and November you might be able to spot whales out in the ocean. Kalk Bay is a very great whale-watching spot, so you can easily spend hours looking for the whales on the horizon.
10. Explore V&A Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a great place to explore if you are traveling on a budget in Cape Town. There is a lot of street art, cool buildings, and a harbor to wander around. The Watershed market is also worth a look, even if you aren’t going to buy anything. Local vendors sell their crafts, and it is a cool place to visit to see more of the African heritage.