The Ultimate 1-Week Cape Town Travel Guide
Cape Town is a perfect place to spend a week – especially if you are looking for a visit with a little bit of everything. There are so many incredible things to do in Cape Town that even a week might even be enough time to experience it all. Also known as the Mother City of South Africa, Cape Town is a great place to visit if you are looking for incredible hiking trails, stunning beaches, a bit of wildlife, and to learn more about Apartheid. In this travel itinerary, you will find all of this and much more. Read along for the ultimate 1-week Cape Town travel guide!
NB: A car is necessary for at least two days for this Cape Town itinerary to work.
Day 1: Wander the streets of Cape Town
For your first day in Cape Town, you should get to know the streets of the city. The first stop of the day is in the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap. Here you will not only find some beautiful Dutch houses in vibrant colors but also a neighborhood with a very complex history and rich Muslim culture. Wandering the streets of Bo-Kaap is one of the many great things to do in Cape Town.
From Bo-Kaap, you should head over to the District Six Museum. Here you will learn more about apartheid and how it affected the ‘colored’ residents of Cape Town. The museum is actually a memorial to the 60.000 residents who were forcibly removed from their homes in the mixed-raced community of District Six back in the 1970s. The District Six Museum is definitely worth a visit to learn more about the dark history of Cape Town and South Africa.
After your history lesson at the museum, we would highly recommend you find your way to Sea Point. In this part of the city, you will find various cute shops, a promenade with stunning views of the ocean, as well as the Sea Point Pavilion Swimming pool. Sea Point is a great area to spend your afternoon.
If you are up for it, you should tackle the Kloof Corner Hike for the perfect sunset spot overlooking the city and the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 2: A day with stunning views
When you ask around most people will tell you that your trip to Cape Town isn’t complete without a trip to the top of Lion’s Head. And we would probably agree. Your second day in Cape Town is therefore the day you tackle the Lion’s Head hiking trail. We would highly recommend you start your hike early – it gets very hot on the top, as there isn’t any shade. If you want to know all our tips and tricks, as well as an overview of the trail, you should read our Lion’s Head hiking guide right here!
Once you have made your way down from the Lion’s Head summit you should spend the rest of the day relaxing at one of the many beaches in Cape Town. We came to like the Clifton Beaches as it was easier to find a spot – even when there were a lot of people.
On the evening of your second day in Cape Town, we would recommend you find yourself some takeaway and bring it with you to Signal Hill. From here you will have a magical view during sunset. There is no better way to end your day in Cape Town than seeing the sun setting on the horizon.
Day 3: A history lesson in South African history
Today is mostly about South African history – but do not worry it is not boring at all. In the morning you should embark on the ferry to Robben Island. Here you will learn more about the history of the island, as well as its role during Apartheid in South Africa. It is the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned but there is also so much more to learn during your visit to the island. This is why we would highly recommend you visit Robben Island.
After your tour to Robben Island, you are sailed back to the V&A Waterfront. If you have the time and energy, this is a great place to spend some time wandering around. Here you will find various shops – especially the Watershed is a favorite of ours. As well as cool architecture, a harbor, and street art.
Day 4: Spend the day in nature
Today is the day for a perfect road trip! You are going to visit Cape Point Nature Reserve. This was one of our absolute favorite things to do while in Cape Town – hopefully, you will like it too. You should start your day early to arrive in Cape Point before the tour buses. Most people who visit Cape Point Nature Reserve only swing by the lighthouse and Cape of Good Hope. We would highly recommend you spend most of the day inside the nature reserve. Therefore, we have made this ultimate guide for visiting Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here you will find a detailed guide for every stop you should make, a list of the hiking trails within the park, and much more.
Once you are done in Cape Point Nature Reserve you should drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive on your way back to Cape Town. Along this 9-kilometers scenic drive you are rewarded with stunning views overlooking the cliffs and ocean. It is a perfect way to end a great day!
Day 5: An adventurous day
After spending most of the day before in the car your fifth day is going to be an adventurous one. Today you are hiking to the top of Table Mountain – via the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail. This trail offers you a direct route to the summit of Table Mountain. It is a rather straightforward and easy route when it comes to navigating the trail and finding your way. But it is also a very strenuous hiking trail, as it is very steep and has a lot of stairs. Your glutes and legs will be aching, but it will all be worth it when you see the views.
Once you reach the distinctive flat top of Table Mountain you should set aside some time to explore the mountain. This can either be done on your own or by joining one of the free walking tours. When you are done exploring you should head back down the mountain by embarking on the cableway.
Day 6: Penguins and coastal villages
Your sixth day in Cape Town is another day spent driving to some of the nearby attractions. And your first stop is going to be Boulders Beach in Simons Town. This beach is home to a colony of African penguins. They prefer the sun over the cold snow, which is why they call Boulders Beach their home.
After admiring the penguins at Boulders Beach, you should head to Kalk Bay. In this quirky fishing village, you will find the best fish & chips in Cape Town – served at Kalky’s at the harbor. Amongst the fishing boats in the harbor, you might also spot sea lions. Another great thing about Kalk Bay is that it is a perfect place to watch whales. So, if you are visiting in the month between May and November you should definitely keep your eyes open.
Not long from Kalk Bay, you will find Muizenberg. Before you head back to Cape Town you should stop by the colorful houses at Muizenberg Beach. There isn’t really that much to do but it is worth a short stopover. And if you are up for it you should take a dip in the ocean.
Day 7: A day among the locals
This last day on this Cape Town itinerary is moveable as it needs to happen on a weekend. But if you are visiting during the weekend, you should set aside a day for a visit to at least one of the markets in Cape Town. A visit to one of the many markets is the perfect way to spend your weekend. Our favorites were especially Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, as well as the Oranjezict Market near the V&A Waterfront. Both these markets have delicious food scenes and stunning stalls selling arts and crafts, flowers, and fresh produce.