If you’re planning a trip and want to get the most out of your visit this Cape Town 3-day itinerary is what you need. It’s written by locals (us) for tourists. The suggested itinerary includes the city’s best, recommendations, and insider tips. It includes the must-see places in Cape Town. Let us help you to make the best out of your Cape Town visit!
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Our Cape Town 3-day itinerary
This is the standard itinerary for spending 3 days in Cape Town. The itinerary allows you to visit the main attractions in Cape Town. You can switch days around depending on weather conditions, days of the week, your own priorities, etc. Below every attraction, you can find a table with the opening and closing times that will help you adjust the itinerary to your needs.
If you’re not planning to rent a car you can visit most of the places in this 3-day itinerary using Cape Town City Sightseeing Bus. You can buy 1 or 2-day tickets on the hop-on-hop-off bus.
Cape Town 3-day itinerary
Day 1. Natural landmarks
- Morning. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
- Afternoon. Constantia Wine Route. Bo Kaap Neighborhood.
- Evening. Table Mountain (cable car). Sunset.
Day 2. Historical Cape Town
- Morning. V&A Waterfront. Robben Island.
- Afternoon. Woodstock Neighborhood. The Castle of Good Hope.
- Evening. Lion’s Head, sunset.
Day 3. The scenic drive
- Morning. Sea Point, Clifton, Camps Bay, Hout Bay. Chapman’s Peak Drive.
- Afternoon. Cape Point National Park. Boulders Beach, Muizenberg.
- Evening. V&A Waterfront. Sunset cruise.
Find out when is the best time to visit Cape Town to plan your trip accordingly.
Day 1 of the Cape Town 3-day itinerary. Cape Town’s Natural Landmarks
If you’re planning to include several attractions in your Cape Town 3-day itinerary buying a City Pass might be worth it. The Cape Town City Pass includes access to over 80 city sights and free use of the hop-on-hop-off bus for the duration of your pass.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardne
- Opening hours – September to March, daily from 8 am to 7 pm; April to August, daily from 8 am to 6 pm.
- Entrance fee – adults – ZAR210/US$11, children (6-18) – ZAR30/US$1,5, children under 6 – free.
- Drive time from City Bowl to Kirstenbosch – 15-25 min.
- Parking – there is a parking lot on the territory, in case of a concert or an event it gets full quite quickly, and you’ll have to park your car outside the Garden.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is a perfect place to start the morning. There are a couple of places inside the garden where you can have breakfast. One can spend the whole day or just a couple of hours here. There are several easy walking routes and a couple of longer trails in the garden. The Skeleton Gorge hike is one of them. It starts in Kirstenbosch and goes all the way to the top of Table Mountain. You’ll need 3 hours to complete it.
The Sky Bridge is a not-to-miss attraction in Kirstenbosch, from here you can get a nice view of the Garden and the surrounding area.
Constantia Wine Route
- Opening hours (Groot Constantia Estate) – daily (except Good Friday and Christmas) from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Cost – from ZAR100/US$6 per person
- Drive time from Kirstenbosch to Groot Constantia – 12-20 min.
- Parking – there are a couple of parking lots on the territory.
Visit Constantia with a tour
Visiting a couple of wine farms in Constantia is a must-add to your Cape Town itinerary. Constantia is one of the most famous wine routes in Cape Winelands. If you’re looking for a lesser-known alternative you can visit Durbanville wine farms instead. Both Constantia and Durbanville are located just outside Cape Town, it’s a short drive from the city center.
Groot Constantia is one of the most famous wine estates in Constantia. It has a tasting room, a museum, and two restaurants on its territory. The area is beautiful on weekends and holidays; it gets very busy. Tasting is from ZAR 100/US$5 for 5 wines including a wine glass that you can take with you as a souvenir. We usually pay for one person they pour enough wine to taste and someone always has to drive. Wine tasting and lunch can take between 2 and 3 hours depending on how many estates you visit.
Bo Kaap neighborhood
- Drive time from Groot Constantia to Bo Kaap – 30 min.
Visit Bo Kaap with a tour
To continue the day head to the colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood – one of Cape Town’s postcard images and probably one of the most photographed areas of the city. It’s fun to walk around the houses painted green, red, blue, yellow, etc. and to take photos, you won’t need more than 1h-1.30min. for that.
- Opening hours (cable car) – times vary depending on the month. You can find the up-to-date timetable here.
- Cable car tickets – adult from ZAR 340/US$18 return, children (4-17) from ZAR 195/US$10 return.
- Drive time from Bo Kaap to Table Mountain cable car station – 10-15 min.
- Parking – there is a parking lot at the bottom but it’s quite a walk up from there, most people park their cars along the road before or after the station.
Visit Table Mountain with a tour
- Cape Town: Table Mountain Cable Car, Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Cape Town: Table Mountain Scooter Tour
- Table Mountain, Boulder’s Penguins & Cape Point Private Tour
It’s time to visit Table Mountain – the most iconic attraction in Cape Town and a must-include in your Cape Town 3-day itinerary. You can see it pretty much from anywhere in the city but going up Table Mountain is a must-do. If you’re planning to take a cable car, the evening is a better time, the mountain is often in thick mist in the morning you might have no views at all, but it usually clears up by midday.
If you want to go up following one of the Table Mountain hiking trails it’s better to do it in the morning when there are more people, the evening is not the best time. There are several routes that lead to the top of Table Mountain. The Platteklip Gorge is the most popular one. The India Venster is the most challenging. And the Skeleton Gorge is the greenest one. The other two routes are the Kasteelspoort and the Diagonal Trail both leading to the famous Diving Board.
Guided Table Mountain hikes
- Platteklip Gorge Half-Day Hike on Table Mountain
- India Venster Hike & Cable Car Down
- Kasteelspoort and the Valley of the Red Gods Hiking Trail
- Skeleton Gorge to Table Mountain summit
Day 2 of the 3-day itinerary (option 1). The Historical Cape Town
On the second day of your Cape Town 3-day itinerary, you can visit some important historical landmarks in the city.
- Tour departure times – daily at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm (only between 1st September and 30th April)
- Price (return boat + guided tour) – from ZAR 400/US$21 (South Africans), ZAR 600/US$31 (foreigners) per person
- Drive time from City Bowl to V&A Waterfront – 10-15 min.
- Parking – there is no free parking lot at Waterfront, so you’ll have to park your car at one of the paid parking, it’s quite expensive to park here, for 4-hour parking expect to pay between ZAR40-50/US$2,5-3,5.
Visit Robben Island with a tour
Head to V&A Waterfront there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to go to for breakfast with the view.
Robben Island is an essential historical place in Cape Town. The Island is famous for the prison where Nelson Mandela spent the last years of his sentence. To get to the Island you’ll have to take a ferry that departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island in V&A Waterfront. It takes 30-45min. to get to the Island. The entire tour (including the return boat ride) takes 4 hours.
During the summer months of December, January, and February it’s highly recommended to buy your ticket in advance, 9 am tours are often sold out.
If you have some time before or after visiting Robben Island you can do a 30-minute boat cruise to find out more about the history of the Waterfront and to spot some seals.
To get the best views of Cape Town and great memories do a helicopter flight. The helicopter leaves from the V&A Waterfront Helipad.
- Opening hours – Mon – Fri from 10 am to 4 pm, Sat from 9 am to 2 pm, Sun from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Drive time from V&A Waterfront to Woodstock – 10-15min.
- Parking – from Mon to Fri you can park within the Mill. On Saturdays, there is paid parking (ZAR10/US$1) at the College of Cape Town (in front of the market).
Woodstock used to be a shabby neighborhood of Cape Town but in the last couple of years, it turned into a hipsters’ hub with many small young businesses opening in the area it became one of the most popular places in the city where you can find small art galleries, conceptual coffee shops, organic food markets, and breweries. Espresso Lab is one of our favorite coffee shops in Cape Town.
The most famous and busiest place in Woodstock is The Old Biscuit Mill market. There are many different food stalls, organic farm products, hand-made souvenirs, crafts, etc. The Mill is one of the favorite Capetonians’ places to meet up with friends and family. It’s a very popular place to come on Saturday morning, every Saturday there is a big Neighborhood Market.
The Castle of Good Hope
- Opening hours – daily from 9 am to 3.30 pm
- Entrance fee – adults – ZAR50/US$2,5, children – ZAR25/US$1,5
- Drive time – from the Old Biscuit Mill to the Castle – 5-10 min.
To continue with the history of Cape Town do a quick visit to the Castle of Good Hope the birthplace of Cape Town. It was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East India Company as a bastion fort. The visit will take between 1-1.5 hours. The Castle is on the way from Woodstock to Lion’s Head no need to do any extra driving to get there.
- Drive time to Lion’s Head/Signal Hill from the Castle of Good Hope – 15-20 min., from the Aquarium – 17-25 min.
- Parking – on the slopes (along the road) of Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, it might be difficult to find a spot if you arrive too late.
Visit Lion’s Head with a tour
- Cape Town: Lion’s Head Sunset Hike
- Cape Town: Lion’s Head Sunrise Hike
- Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Experience
Time to visit another iconic location in your 3-day itinerary – Lion’s Head. It’s one of the most popular hikes in Cape Town and a great spot for watching the sunset. It’s better to arrive earlier to find a parking spot. To get to the top you’ll have to hike up the mountain. The Lion’s Head hike includes some rock, chain, and ladder climbing at the end. If it’s too much for you you don’t have to go all the way to the top just find a good spot at a lower level.
You can do a guided sunset hike up Lion’s Head if you don’t feel confident enough or just don’t want to walk alone. Watching the sunset from Lion’s Head is the best way to finish the second day of your Cape Town itinerary.
Another option is to go to Signal Hill (the neighboring mountain) instead of Lion’s Head. It might be a better option if you travel with children as well. You can drive all the way to the top. Parking might be a problem, so make sure to arrive early.
Day 2 (option 2). The safari drive
Including a safari drive in your Cape Town 3-day itinerary might be a good option for people with children and for those who are not planning to visit any safari parks in South Africa during their trip. You can do a day visit to one of the nearby safari parks to see the famous Big Five; lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard. The nearest to Cape Town game lodge where you can see all of them is Aquila Private Game Reserve, about 2 hours drive from the city.
If you have more time you can stay at the game reserve for a couple of days, it’s a great getaway from Cape Town. Spending two days here you’ll have time to do a day and a night safari drive and see more animals. You can drive there yourself and join a safari tour there or book a tour from Cape Town that includes driving to and back and safari drives inside the park.
If you drive that way you can stop in Stellenbosch, there are many great things to do there.
After visiting the safari park you’ll still have enough time to get to Lion’s Head for the sunset.
Day 3 of the 3-day itinerary. The Cape Peninsula scenic drive
The last day of the suggested Cape Town 3-day itinerary is the most scenic one. The drive around the Cape Peninsula is truly spectacular, it’s one of our favorite day trips from Cape Town. The road waving along the rugged coast offers some of the best views in the whole country; unspoiled white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, cozy towns, and diverse marine life. It’s possible to join a small group full-day tour around Cape Peninsula.
Start the coastal drive at Green Point, and drive to Hout Bay through Cliffton and Camps Bay (where you can stop for breakfast). Stop at Haut Bay harbor there you have a good chance of seeing Cape Fur seals scavenging on fishermen’s leftovers. If you want a closer encounter you can go snorkeling with the seals from the Hout Bay Harbor. These guys are very curious and playful snorkeling or diving with them is a lot of fun.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Drive time from City Bowl to Hout Bay (through Clifton) – 40-50 min.
- Parking – you can park at the harbor for free.
The famous Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most scenic drives in Cape Town. It starts at Hout Bay, it’s not a very long but absolutely stunning drive with several lookouts and viewpoints. There are a couple of hiking trails that go up the mountain but I’d strongly recommend not venturing up there, the area is not safe, and in the last couple of years, there were several attacks on hikers there.
If you want to stretch your legs a bit there are many great trails at Cape Point National Park – the next stop on the way. I’d suggest driving to Cape Point through Kommetjie (there are some nice beaches there), not through Simons Town, you’ll drive through Simons Town on the way back anyway.
Cape Point National Park
- Opening hours – daily from 7 am to 5 pm
- Entrance fee – adults – ZAR360/US$19, children (2-12 yo) – ZAR180/US$10.
- Drive time from Haut Bay to the Cape Point entrance gate (through Kommetjie) – 1h-1h10min.
- Parking – there are several free parking areas inside the park, the main one is at Lower Funicular Station.
Visit Cape Point with a tour
- From Cape Town: Cape Point and Boulders Beach Full-Day Tour
- Cape Point Xplorer
- Cape Town: E-Bike Cape Peninsula Tour
Cape Point National Park with its breathtaking scenery, white sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and spectacular lookout points definitely should be in your Cape Town itinerary. The famous Cape of Good Hope is situated in the park. Some people think that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point of the African continent but it’s not right. The southernmost point of the continent and the meeting point of two oceans is Cape Agulhas it’s 250km up the east coast in the small town of Struissbai.
Cape Point National Park highlights
- Dias Beach – a fantastic white sand beach surrounded by rugged cliffs it’s just a pity that the water is very cold.
- Cape of Good Hope – the famous point where you’ll probably have to line up to take a photo. By the way, at Cape Agulhas (the actual southernmost point of Africa) there are usually very few people.
- The Old Lighthouse – it’s a short hike from the parking spot as an option you can take a funicular almost all the way to the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is quite nice but the views from there are breathtaking.
There are several hiking routes in the park and it’s safe to walk there, I’d say it’s the best area in Cape Town for hiking.
- Opening hours – daily from 8 am to 5 pm
- Entrance fee – adults – ZAR170/US$9, children (2-11 yo) – ZAR85/US$4,5
- Drive time from the Cape Point entrance gate to Boulders Beach – 15-20 min.
Visit Boulders Beach with a tour
- Cape Town: Penguin Watching at Boulders Beach Half-Day Tour
- Cape Peninsula & Boulders Beach Private Day Tour
After spending some time at Cape Point head to Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, a small and beautiful white sand beach with huge boulders and many African penguins walking around. Those guys are very small and cute, watching them is a lot of fun. I’d recommend stopping here for lunch there is a place with a balcony from where you can see the penguins and the beach while enjoying your meal.
Simon’s Town is a popular place for diving and kayaking. If you’re a qualified diver you can do a couple of dives to see seals, cow sharks, blue sharks, Mako sharks, and many nudibranchs. There are a couple of places where you can do shark diving in Cape Town.
If you’re in Cape Town between July and September, you might see Southern Right whales from the boat. The best place for whale watching is Hermanus, a small town 120 km from Cape Town.
From Simons Town continue driving along the coast to Muizenberg, this town is famous as a good spot to learn surfing and its colorful wooden beach cabins. It’s just a short stop to take photos after that you can start heading back to Cape Town.
- Drive time from Boulders Beach to Muizenberg – is 35-45 min., there is always a traffic jam at Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay.
- Drive time from Muizenberg to V&A Waterfront – 45min.-1h.
- Parking – one of the paid outside or inside parking lots.
Go out for dinner or drinks at V&A Waterfront or Camp Bay you might be in time for another beautiful sunset in Cape Town. For a really special end to your Cape Town trip, instead of having drinks or dinner on land, you can join a sunset Champagne cruise.
From Cape Town, you can continue your South Africa trip and do a road trip on the Garden Route. You can do it as a self-drive trip; rent a car in Cape Town and drop it off in Port Elisabeth or join a tour.
- 4-Day Garden Route Adventure & Safari
- From Cape Town: Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park: 5-Day Safari
After exploring Cape Town you can continue your trip and visit the spectacular east coast and the famous Garden Route.
Where to stay in Cape Town?
City Bowl. The best area to stay for backpackers, solo travelers, party lovers, and those who come to the city for business. Bree and Long Streets are the main places to go out in Cape Town with many bars and clubs, if you’re up for a pub crawl or party it’s the place to be.
- Low-end | Long Street Backpackers | 91 Loop Boutique Hostel |
- Middle price | Signature Lux Hotel by ONOMO | Long Street Boutique Hotel |
- High-end | Taj Cape Town |
V&A Waterfront/Seapoint. The best area to stay for families with children, older travelers, and couples. For me, it’s the best area to stay in the city, the main reason it feels safer here than in City Bowl is that you can walk in the evening along the promenade, there are many people, and it always has a festive vibe.
- Low-end | Never@home Cape Town | A Sunflower Stop Backpackers |
- Middle price | Fairmile on Main (apartment) | The Greenhouse Guesthouse |
- High-end | Radisson RED Hotel |
Camps Bay. The posh area of Cape Town is a perfect place for a luxury stay. It’s the best area to stay in Cape Town on your South Africa honeymoon holiday. The area is safe with many restaurants and bars, beautiful white-sand beaches and some surfing spots, just remember the water here is ice-cold, it’s nice to walk around in a bikini but to do anything in the water you’ll need a wetsuit.
Renting a car in Cape Town
To drive in and around the city, you don’t need a big 4×4 car, a normal sedan car will be more than enough unless you’re more than 5 people a minivan is a better option. The smaller your car the easier it’ll be to park on the streets of Cape Town. The best and the easiest is to rent a car at the airport on arrival and drop it off there on the way back.
Safety tips for your Cape Town 3-day itinerary
- Don’t walk at night in the city if you go out, take a taxi back to your hotel and try to stick to a crowd of 4 or more.
- If you rent a car don’t leave anything inside when parking, not even a book or an old jacket, otherwise you risk finding your car with broken windows.
- When driving, make sure your doors a locked and windows are not wide-opened.
- Keep your valuable stuff with you all the time, don’t put it on a seat next to you, it’ll disappear before you notice it.
- If you venture to hike up Table Mountain do it at the right time of the day when there are other people walking it, not late evening on your own carrying an expensive camera.
- Don’t take your passport and all the valuable stuff with rather lock it in a hotel safe or locker.
- Use a reliable taxi service, not any random guy that stops on the street.
- To draw money use an ATM in a bank office, mall, or supermarket. You can pay by card in most hotels, restaurants, and ticket offices.
Travel resources to plan your itinerary
- What are the best activities in Cape Town? | Amazing things to do in Cape Town |
- Places to include in your Cape Town itinerary | 17 Must-see places in Cape Town |
- Plan a perfect weekend road trip from Cape Town | Cape Town to Cape Agulhas – best weekend road trip |
- Find the best car rental deals in the city | Rent a car in Cape Town |
- Buy one ticket to visit over 90 city attractions | Cape Town City Pass |
- How to stay safe in Cape Town? | FAQ & answers about safety in the city |
The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.