3 Days in Cape Town: Itinerary Ideas

by Cristina on October 17, 2011

by Cristina | October 17th, 2011  

Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa and offers plenty of things to do . Before figuring out what you want to here, decide when to get here. If you want to soak up the sun on the beaches, then January is the best time for your vacation. If you want to explore the vineyards or hike the mountains, it’s best to come here from May until August, but dress a little warmer as the weather gets cooler.

Itinerary assumptions:

  • you will be flying in and out of Cape Town
  • you have booked the hostel ahead of time
  • during your stay, rent a car so that you won’t have to relay on the public transport schedules or to book guided tours

With that being said, it’s quite impossible to capture even a small part of the city and its surrounding areas during a 3-day vacation. Still, we’ve put together an itinerary which can serve as a guide for planning such a short stay here.

Day One

Base yourself either near the Waterfront or in Long Street, which is known as a backpacker’s heaven. After you checked-in , make sure to also rent a car.

Boulders Beach

Then star with a trip around Cape Peninsula. If you have enough time on your hands, follow the False Bay and stop in several places. Otherwise, drive to the Boulders Beach, stop for a while to socialize with the penguins and then continue all the way to Cape Point.
Should you plan your visit in spring, you’ll be able to spot whales at False Bay.

If you prefer to visit the city on your first day, catch the open-top double decker Cape Town CitySightseeing Bus. There are 17 stops to choose from.

Day Two

Table Mountain


If the weather is not good, then it’s not possible to get to the top of the mountain, so this part of the itinerary really depends on luck.
Either walk up the mountain or take the cable car. Allow for time at the top for exploring the area.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

If the weather proves to not be in your favor, then visit the Botanical Garden, the first one in the world to be established (1913) to protect the flora. There are several walking trails within the garden and you can stop for a picnic as well.

Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Before you leave, make sure to pick up a wine route map from the tourist office. Both areas have excellent wine routes, which are well signposted. There are plenty of places to grab some food. Be prepared for quite a bit of driving, though.

For dinner, try at least one of the local foods. Ask for restaurant recommendation at the hostel.

Day Three

V&A Waterfront

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has become the most visited destination in South Africa. It’s a busy harbor set in the middle of an entertainment area, filled with restaurants, shops and pubs.
Get here for breakfast, maybe do some shopping before taking the ferry to Robben Island.

Robben Island

Visiting the sights on the island will probably take about half a day. The trip includes a tour around the island and a tour of the prison. Make sure to book it in advance.
There aren’t places to eat on the island, so either pack something or get back to the V&A Waterfront and have lunch.

Now it’s time to get to the hostel and travel to the airport for the flight back home.

Check out these indie travel tips for Cape Town.

Photo credits : Boulders Beach , Table Mountain cable car , Robben Island

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