Where to stay in Cape Town? Without a doubt one of the most important aspects of booking a trip to any destination is finding the most suitable accommodation for your trip and the tastiest restaurants so you can discover the most traditional meals in the area.
Or is that just me always thinking of food?
Either way, lucky for me, the city is filled with many amazing hotels in Cape Town, as well as delicous places to eat and adventure activities to be found all close to the city. With award-winning restaurants and hiking trails to scenic views, there is a lot to choose from and it can be overwhelming to find the best fit for your trip. I’ve attempted to make that process easier for you by suggesting the best places to stay in Cape Town as well as the restaurants in Cape Town South Africa you won’t want to miss.
This list has the safest neighbourhoods in Cape Town for visitors to stay in, accommodation options for all travel budgets, restaurant suggestions with a mix of local and international flavours and much more. Let’s start discussing the best areas to stay in Cape Town.
Below I’ve listed the best neighbourhoods to stay in Cape Town as many tourists think that South Africa and the city of Cape Town is dangerous and unsafe. I don’t believe this is not necessarily true and discuss in greater detail what to expect from the safety in Cape Town in other blogs. For now, let’s have a closer look at the most common places to stay in Cape Town.
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Cape Town
The newly built area of the V&A Waterfront is one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Cape Town as it’s a hot spot for tourists. It’s filled many trendy hotels, restaurants, and bars all conveniently within walking distance of one another. Known for being a hub for visitors, the V&A is one of the safer neighbourhoods in Cape Town also. It has a friendly set of seals that frequently visit the area and allow for close up photos, an impressive Aquarium, ferry access to Robben Island, local shopping centres and much more. A popular option for those staying in Cape Town.
Similarly to V&A, City Bowl is close to many local clubs, bars and restaurants as well as upmarket hotels, budget-friendly hostels and boutique backpackers. Known for being a ‘melting pot’ of diversity and culture, City Bowl has been dubbed a ‘must visit’ for first time Cape Town tourists. Potentially the best neighbourhood in Cape Town to base yourself as a tourist.
One of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town, Woodstock is known as a hub for artists and entrepreneurs. Here you’ll find most of Cape Town’s young professionals, exchange students and small businesses. Along with hip restaurants, cafes, Woodstock is a vibrant place to stay. A Cape Town neighbourhood with plenty to offer and you can find out more here.
Sea Point is known for being a suburb filled with ‘character and quirkiness’, it’s where you’ll find a collection of gay bars and clubs as well as noisy and lively restaurants, bars and shops. The Sea Point Promenade is a point of interest for many as it travels for several kilometres along the Atlantic Ocean. Its Cape Town location is a big plus for many when it comes to finding a hotel in Cape Town.
Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap is one of Cape Town’s most distinct neighbourhoods due to its rich history and brightly coloured houses that line its cobblestone streets. Conveniently located near the city centre and De Waterkant, I would suggest completing a walking tour of this area early on during your vacation to Cape Town. If you fancy colourful houses and history then this is the best area to stay in Cape Town for you.
Finding a hotel in Cape Town – Hotel Options for Every Budget
Below is a list of hotels in a variety of Cape Town neighbourhoods with great reviews for almost any travel budget. I personally only stayed in a few of these during my multiple trips to Cape Town but have seen these areas all first hand.
Accommodation in Cape Town:
Accommodation For Backpackers in Cape Town
Green Elephant Backpackers Hostel (4.1 stars)
Average Price Per Night: $20
Located in the area of Cape Town known as Observatory. Green Elephant Backpackers Hostel offers accommodations to a variety of people looking for the best budget accommodation in Cape Town. The crowd here is a mix of backpackers, medical interns, volunteers, students or people looking to meet fellow travellers. Ideal for people travelling solo and where to stay in cape town if you are looking to make some travel friends.
In my opinion, the Observatory area is a little far out and staying closer to Long Street is the best place to stay in Cape Town.
Amenities: Free Parking, Free Wi-Fi, outdoor plunge pool, outdoor lounge areas, dorm-style or private rooms available.
Things to do Nearby: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and V&A Waterfront
Bohemian Lofts Backpackers (4.3 stars) –
Average Price Per Night: $25
As with the backpackers mentioned above the Bohemian Lofts Backpackers is also located in Observatory. Slightly more expensive than the Green Elephant yet offers free breakfast during your stay. A great way to save some extra $$$ off your daily budget is to eat a good solid breakfast to avoid wasting cash on extra food throughout the day. Again this is in a Cape Town location I think is a little far out yet for the price and free breakfast it is worth considering.
Amenities: Free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly, colourful lively space, dorm-style or private rooms, open-air balconies and outdoor seating areas.
Things to do nearby: Lions Head, Castle of Good Hope, Table Mountain
Ashanti Lodge Gardens – The best place to stay in Cape Town on a budget
Average Price Per Night: $13 (8 -bed dorm room) or $45 (standard double room)
This is my choice for the best backpackers and mid-range accommodation in Cape Town. You have the choice of dorm rooms or double room options with or without a private bathroom. Ashanti Lodge Gardens is located within one of the best areas in Cape Town to stay. It has easy access to the city centre and Long Street as well as having the choice of two large supermarkets nearby. If booking accommodation for Cape Town again on a budget I would choose here every time. The best area of Cape Town to stay in my opinion.
Amenities: Free breakfast, free Wi-Fi (works slow), dorm-style or private rooms, open-air balconies and outdoor seating areas, pool
Things to do nearby: Lions Head, Table Mountain, Long Street
Budget-Friendly private accommodation in Cape Town
Cape Heritage Hotel (5 stars) – Among Cape Town best areas to stay
Average Price Per Night: $139
Located on Bree Street in Heritage Square, this boutique was originally built in the 18th century. It is close to all the action and attractions in the city. A great spot for families staying in Cape Town that are trying to minimise the daily walking for children.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, sauna, bicycle rentals, kids stay free, free breakfast, hot tub, complimentary welcome drink. Rooms with mountain or city views available.
Things to do Nearby: V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head
The Grey Hotel: (4.5 stars)
Average Price Per Night: $81
Renovated Victorian house from the 19th century, located right in the Cape Quarter. Offers 13 individual rooms and two villas. The rooftop pool is a real winning feature to this hotel in Cape Town South Africa.
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, onsite evening entertainment, rooftop pool and Skybar with views of Table Mountain
Things to do Nearby: Table Mountain, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Two Oceans Aquarium.
Mid-Range Hotels in safe Cape Town neighbourhoods
POD Campus Bay Boutique Hotel (5 stars)
Average Price Per Night: $295
Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, lap pool, rooms with walk-in showers, same-day laundry service. Offers luxury rooms with their own sunbathing patios and plunge pools, as well as rooms with mountain or ocean views.
Things to do Nearby: Campus Bay Beach, Theatre on the Bay, Greenpoint Park
Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel (4.5 stars)
Average Price Per Night: $199
Original Georgian-Victorian townhouse with National Monument status is suitable for every type of traveller. From its individually decorated rooms to its cozy lounge with fireplace there is something at this hotel for everyone.
Amenities: Offers 2 classic single rooms, 5 classic rooms, 7 luxury rooms and 1 superior luxury suite. Pool, study nook, private travel concierge, free Wi-Fi, babysitting and bicycle rental.
Things to do Nearby: The Labia Theater, Planet Bar, Kogelberg Nature reserve
Splurge-Worthy Hotels in Cape Town (too expensive for me) – Best places to stay Cape Town
Tintswalo Atlantic (5 stars)
Average Price Per Night: $612
Overlooking Cape Town’s iconic Sentinel mountain, this hotel is the only one permitted to operate within the boundaries of the world-renowned Heritage site which instantly makes it towards the top of Cape Town best places to stay. This exclusive 12-suite hotel is nestled at the base of the ocean perched on a pebbled beach.
Amenities: Free Parking, Wi-Fi, On-site beach, private balconies, Spa, suite-only rooms.
Things to do Nearby: Silvermine Nature Reserve, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Constantia Valley
Ellerman House (5 stars) – Best hotel in Cape Town South Africa
Average Price Per Night: $752
Once a Cape Edwardian mansion, Ellerman House is considered to be one of South Africa’s most exclusive and most luxurious grand hotels. Offering 13 individually styled rooms and two villas, this hotel is known for having one of the best local art collections in the country. If you love art and have the $$$ this could be one of the best places to stay Cape Town for you.
Amenities: Free parking, Wi-Fi, fitness centre, heated pool, private balconies, and library.
Things to do Nearby: Clifton Beaches, The Point, Saunders Rocks Beach
- The best area of Cape Town to stay in is close to Long Street
- The best place to stay in Cape Town on a budget is Ashanti Lodge Gardens
- One of the best places to stay in Cape Town and all of South Africa is Ellerman House
Safety in Cape Town
Contrary to popular belief, Cape Town is relatively safe for tourists if you follow some basic rules and avoid putting yourself at extra risk. Here are some tips to help keep you safe on your trip.
- Try to walk as little as you can: Take a Taxi, Especially at Night: Muggings and robberies are one of the top reported crimes in Cape Town. Try to avoid this by taking a marked taxi cab wherever you’re trying to go.
- Don’t be flashy: Pickpocketing and muggings are a problem in every major city, but just to be on the safe side don’t pack any flashy jewellery or super expensive clothes for your trip.
- Stay in touristy areas: V&A Waterfront, City Bowl, Campus Bay
- Be aware of common scams such as luggage theft and ‘tourist police’
Read more Cape Town safety tips
Restaurants Cape Town – Where to Eat
Aside from finding where to stay in Cape Town, locating restaurants in Cape Town offering good places to eat while on vacation is one of the most important parts of planning your trip. Here are some crowd favourites that I really enjoyed while in the city. These Cape Town restaurants are in no particular order.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market:
A weekly staple for Capetonians. Located in one of the safest areas of Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront, locals stop by to do their weekly shopping, stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and desserts such as gluten-free brownies. More of a farmers market than a traditional restaurant in Cape Town but worth calling into.
The Pot Luck Club:
The Pot Luck Club is located on the sixth-floor level and boasts 180-degree views of the city, harbour and Table Mountain. Described as a ‘relaxed yet edgy environment’ this restaurant’s focal point is its plate-sharing concept, similar to the tapas style you find in Spain. The shared plates, however, are divided into four flavour profiles: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami. A team of highly trained floor staff help guide patrons through their tailor-made dining experience.
The Pot Luck Club is open for Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner. For more info and to browse the menu’s to discover why I rate this one of the best restaurants in Cape Town go here. If you are unlikely to hike to the top of Table Mountain or Lions head then this is another way to get an aerial view of the city of Cape Town.
Located in Bree Street, this farm to table restaurant is noted for its sustainable focus with its nose-to-tail philosophy. Popular dishes include Mussels Leeks & Bacon, Grilled Green Beans, Chicken Liver Parfait and Octopus, although their menu changes daily. They are open for lunch and dinner. Find out what is being served on the menu at the moment and see if it’s a restaurant in Cape Town that interests you.
With two locations, one on Kloof Street and the other in Observatory, close to two of the Cape Town backpackers accommodation I recommended earlier, this vegan/vegetarian cafe is perfect for those who love beachy-vibes and conscious living. They offer plant-based salads, CBD smoothie bowls, gourmet sandwiches on freshly made gluten-free bread, vegan broths and more.
Kyoto Garden Sushi:
Located near Kloof Street, Kyoto is known for serving some of Cape Town’s most authentic Japanese cuisine. Stop in for some fresh oysters, sea urchin, sake-steamed mussels and more.
The Test Kitchen:
Notably not only one of the best restaurants in Cape Town but also one of the country’s best restaurants (and one of the world’s top 50), the restaurants three-month waiting list is worth it, although planning well ahead before your trip is generally required.
Once there you will be in food heaven with each diner getting a memorable experience with their 21-course tasting menu. Get more info here.
That is a list of some of the restaurants in Cape Town I enjoyed the most. If I wasn’t searching for the best restaurant in Cape Town then I was looking for the most authentic African food. Here is a list of the strange, unusual yet tasty meals I found while travelling not only Cape Town but also wider areas in Southern Africa.
The Best Time to Visit Cape Town
When looking to visit Cape Town, remember that if you’re coming from the northern hemisphere the seasons are opposite. For example, if its winter in the northern hemisphere its summer in the southern hemisphere and vice-versa. Cape Town sees over 1.5 million international visitors a year and the majority of those visit during the “peak” tourist season of December through to March. So, if you want to experience Cape Town during a little more of a relaxed period, that will also assist you to keep your travel costs lower and be minus all the extra tourists, March to May will be one of the best times for visiting.
For a breakdown of the best times to visit, check out this blog that goes into further details of the best time to visit Cape Town, South Africa.
Enjoy your time in Cape Town, I hope this helps narrow down your choices of where to stay in Cape Town plus inspires you to discover some of the best restaurants in Cape Town. If you have any other suggestion or think I should add a hotel in Cape Town or a food venue let me know in the comments section below.
Popular things to do in Cape Town
Cape Town Blogs of Interest:
Organise Your Trip: Travel Advice and Tricks I Personally Use
Book Your Flight
Heading to either Skyscanner or Momondo are my methods of choice for this. They are my favourite as they search for flights from different companies all over the world. You can filter the results to suit your needs and ensure you land the best price every-time.
Book Your Accommodation
This is an important part of any holiday you’re going on. Read all the reviews and get the right accommodation via TripAdvisor. They even show you the best prices available at the time for that room from suppliers like Booking.com.For booking a hostel your best bet is to start with HostelWorld or possible even use CouchSurfing if you’re on a real budget.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance is a must these days so you have a piece of mind you’re covered for anything that could go wrong while on your trip. I now never go on a trip away without travel insurance. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past few years.
My favourite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (little more expensive but covers everything)
- SafetyWing (cheaper option to just cover you for health issues)
Looking for the best companies to save money with?
As I have been travelling frequently over the last few years I’ve learnt some great tools to use for saving money when travelling. I have a travel resource page that lists all the trusted companies I personally use and rely on. I think you will find them good as well.
The Best Place To Book Your Tours
If you are someone you likes to have the best tours in one place and read reviews from other travellers about their personal experiences of each different tour then the best platform to use is GetYourGuide.
They offer the best tours, have money-back offers in case your trip is cancelled and ensure the price of each tour is the lowest possible.
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