With the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain in one direction and the glittering expanse of Table Bay in the other, Cape Town has a reputation for being one of the world's most beautiful cities. It's both rugged and delicate, and rough and pristine, and photogenic as heck. On top of the beauty the city has a reputation for being laid back and friendly and many of the best places to stay in Cape Town reflect this attitude with their great personal service.
The vineyards just out of the city, the surfing off the golden beaches and the lush green botanical gardens are also reasons to visit. Cape Town is a top place to enjoy the great outdoors.
As well as seeing Table mountain from a distance it's also worth heading up, something which can be easily achieved using the cableway. And while we're listing outdoor highlights, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Cape of Good Hope National Park, the Lion's Head and Signal Hill - with its noon gun -and the waterfront area are all wonderful places to take in. And from Cape Town the wine regions of Stellenbosch and Constantia - South Africa's very first wine region - are just a short drive.
The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great place for meeting more of the locals. And if you're a qualified diver you're even able to get into the water.
If you have time, and it's the right time of year, it's definitely worth travelling to Hermanus for the whale watching. This is one of the best places in the world (on land) to whale watch - a key spot on the migration route of the Southern Right whales.
Then there's the rich culture, influenced by traditions coming from all over the world. And given South Africa's challenging history Cape Town's proud multiculturalism is hard won and the cumulation of a thousand different stories - some of which you'll hopefully hear on your visit.
Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, is another site most people will want to visit for themselves. Likewise the District Six Museum, commemorating this no longer existent district.
Most of our picks of the best places to stay in Cape Town are found in the centre of the city, but for those who want to make the most of the views, we have a couple of gems just off the beaten track. Our selection offers something for everyone from cheap and cheerful guesthouses to top notch luxury hotels.
Our favourite gay-friendly hotel in Cape Town in Sea Point, a wonderful location near all the best restaurants and bars. Charming white on white suites with splashes of colour. Casually chic with fantastic personalised hospitality.
A delightful Victorian guesthouse in the central Tamboerskloof District. Some of the 'African Zen' contemporary rooms boast balconies with views of the iconic Table mountain. Walking distance from some of Cape Town's best restaurants and bars. A stylish city escape.
Well-located and chic guesthouse in a leafy cul-de-sac of Cape Town. The elegant and comfy rooms are tastefully decorated and adorned with personal charm. An urban sanctuary for families or city visitors near to the best restaurants, bars, and museums.
Cape Town (Tokai)
South Africa's first registered farm, built in 1682, this sumptuous hotel is all about infusing the old with the new. The rooms are tastefully modern while remaining an obvious part of the traditional farmhouses. Located in the Constantia Valley, unmissable views and lots of wine tasting!
Cape Town (Colinton Road, Newlands)
A Cape Country house on six acres of stunning gardens, in Newlands. The sleek and chic decor exudes calm, with white on white and clean lines. A one of a kind retreat with phenomenal spa facilities and gourmet cuisine. A oasis of clam, ten minutes from the center of Cape Town.
A small stylish hotel in Higgovale, on the Table Mountain foothills. This intimate spot puts emphasis on peace and tranquility, each room comes with private balcony, most with phenomenal views of the city and bay. Check out nearby Kloof Street, Capetown's hottest spot for restaurants and bars.
Cape Town (Constantia)
An elegantly converted old manor house on a wine estate, on the slopes of Table Mountain. The sleek rooms are white on white with splashes of bold fabric, utterly chic! Spectacular views, award winning gardens, spa services and an extensive wine cellar will make it hard to leave. Blissful.
Cape Town (Camps Bay)
Named after the mountains that surround it this hotel has two restaurants serving modern European and seafood menus, plus a bar. There is an award winning spa, two pools and cinema. The rooms are decorated in a chic, Capetonian style with nautical hues of blue and white. A honeymooners' heaven!
A beautiful hotel in the centre of Cape Town’s vibrant V&A Waterfront. Excellent service, sumptuous classic interiors, a great restaurant, trendy bar and its own spa. There are magnificent views of Table Mountain and the marina which can be enjoyed from the privacy of your own balcony.