Cape Town, also known as the Mother City of South Africa, is a fantastic place to spend a few days exploring. With stunning scenery, cool architecture, and a rich and cultural history there are so many great things to do in Cape Town. Below you can find the ultimate itinerary for exploring Cape Town in just 4 days. In this itinerary, you will find some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town, a glimpse into the rather dark history of the city, stunning beaches, as well as amazing viewpoints. Read along for the perfect 4-day itinerary to Cape Town!
NB: A car is necessary for at least one day for this Cape Town itinerary to work.
Day 1: An adventurous start
Your first full day in Cape Town is off to an adventurous start – if you feel like it. This day you have two options to choose from: the Platteklip Gorge hike or the Pipe Track Hike. Both hikes are some of the great ones in Cape Town. However, they are very different when it comes to difficulty.
First option: Platteklip Gorge
If you opt for the Platteklip Gorge hike you should start your day early. This hike is the most popular one to the top of Table Mountain. This hiking trail offers you a direct route to the summit of Table Mountain. But it is also a strenuous trail, as it is very steep and with a lot of stairs. The Platteklip Gorge hiking trail is, therefore, not for everyone. However, we as beginner hikers made the trip to the top of Table Mountain. It was a difficult hike, but it is well-marked and definitely worth the muscle aches once you reach the summit.
Second option: Pipe Track hike
The Pipe Track hike was actually one of our favorite hiking trails in Cape Town. It is an easier hike, which makes it perfect if you aren’t that advanced at hiking. The trail starts near Table Mountain and winds its way along the mountain to Camps Bay. Along the route, you are spoiled with amazing views overlooking the city, Lion’s Head, and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you end up choosing option 1 with Platteklip Gorge, you will end at Table Mountain. You should therefore set aside some time to explore the flat top of the mountain when you reach it. Whereas, if you choose option 2 with the Pipe Track hike, we will highly recommend you start your day at Table Mountain. The queue to the cableway tends to be long so it is a good idea to visit early in the day. When you reach the top of Table Mountain it is possible for you to join a free guided tour. There are 3 tours to choose from ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes in length and the guides are very knowledgeable.
The rest of your day can be spent in Camps Bay at either the beach or tidal pools. Especially Maiden’s Cove tidal pool offers a stunning view at sunset.
Day 2: Colorful streets and a history lesson
Your second day in Cape Town starts in the famous rainbow streets of Bo-Kaap. This is a very popular neighborhood for tourists to visit so we would highly recommend you visit first thing in the morning. The houses in Bo-Kaap are painted in vibrant colors making them very Instagram-worthy. But there is also so much more to this area. Bo-Kaap has a very rich Muslim culture, with most of the residents being Muslim, as well as a complex history.
From Bo-Kaap, you should walk over to the District Six Museum. This is one of the places you simply must visit when in Cape Town. Back in the 1970s, about 60.000 residents of mixed race were forcibly evicted from their homes in the District Six area due to Apartheid laws. Nowadays, the museum works as a memorial to the residents of District Six that lost their homes. During your visit, you can listen to the stories of former residents and learn more about how Apartheid affected the ‘colored’ people of Cape Town. The District Six Museum is well worth a visit!
From the museum, you should head over to the V&A Waterfront. Here you will find various shops, street art, and a harbor. It is a fun place to spend some time exploring. One of our favorite places is the Watershed, where you can find handmade goods and all sorts of cool souvenirs from local vendors. There is also a food market at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, as well as other restaurants. It is a great place to eat lunch with a view overlooking the harbor.
Once you are done exploring the Waterfront, we would recommend you head over to Sea Point. You can actually walk along the ocean promenade all the way from the waterfront to Sea Point. Along the promenade, you will find a lot of street art, as well as locals walking their dogs or going on a jog. When you reach Sea Point you can go for an afternoon swim at the Sea Point Pavilion Swimming pool, find a nice place for a cocktail, or shop in some of the boutique stores. Our absolute favorite is BLINK, which sells ceramics and other home essentials.
If you are up for it, you should swing by Kloof Corner at sunset. To reach the corner you must walk up quite a number of stairs, but it is very doable. When you get to the top you are rewarded with a beautiful view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Lion’s Head.
Day 3: Driving Cape Peninsula
For your third day in Cape Town, you will need a car if you don’t already have one. Because today you are going on a Cape Peninsula road trip. From Cape Town, you should head to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here you should definitely stop by at the lighthouse and Cape of Good Hope, as well as some of the other sites inside the nature reserve. If you are visiting in the months between May and November, you might spot whales swimming just outside the peninsula.
Your next stop on the road trip is the famous Boulders Beach. Here you can visit the African penguin colony that calls the beach it’s home. This is one of the things you simply must do when in Cape Town. From the penguins at Boulders Beach, you should drive toward Kalk Bay. In this quirky fishing village, you will find various shops and good restaurants. Our favorite is Kalky’s down at the harbor – they have very good fish & ships. Down by the harbor, you might even see some of the resident sea lions. Afterward, you should swing by Muizenberg Beach with the colorful beach huts.
The last stop of the day is the incredible Chapman’s Peak Drive. On this 9-kilometer scenic road, you drive right on the cliff side. Along the way, you are rewarded with stunning views – especially if you visit around sunset. It is the perfect way to end your Cape Peninsula road trip!
Day 4: The perfect last day
A visit to Cape Town is never complete without climbing Lion’s Head. So, this is what you are going to be doing on your last day in the Mother City. This is one of the most popular hikes in Cape Town. It is understandable why. With an elevation of 669 meters, you are rewarded with incredible views while circling the mountain to the top. The Lion’s Head hike isn’t one of the easiest hikes as it requires a bit of rock climbing, and you encounter a few ladders on your way – even if you take the easy route. However, it is all very worthwhile once you reach the summit.
After getting back down from Lion’s Head you should head to one of the city’s many beaches. But if you are visiting on a weekend, we would recommend you swing by one of the many markets in Cape Town. And then hit the beach afterward.
For your last evening in Cape Town, you should order takeaway and bring it with you for a sunset picnic at Signal Hill. This is the perfect way to end your 4 days exploring Cape Town!