Free Things To Do in Cape Town
- #2View all Photos#2 in Cape TownSightseeing, Tours, Wineries/Breweries, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, Tours, Wineries/Breweries, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Today, South Africa boasts a flourishing wine industry, churning out crisp whites and robust reds. And Constantia Valley—located about 10.5 miles south of central Cape Town—is where it all began in the late 17th century. The region is characterized oak-lined streets and stunning historical mansions, in addition to its wineries. The oldest vineyard, Groot Constantia, features sweet dessert wines and has welcomed the likes of Napolean Bonapart, King Louis Philippe of France, and Jane Austin. According to one TripAdvisor user, "The Groot Constantia is a beautiful property and the history of the vineyard was so interesting. Great wines, fun tasting room and beautiful views."
The Groot Constantia is included on the valley's wine route, which leads visitors to tours and tastings at nine of the region's wineries. You will need a car to tour the Constantia Valley, and each venue features its own prices and hours of operation. However, if you're simply interested in sightseeing, you can explore the valley for free. To learn more about the valley and the wine route, visit the Constantia Valley website.
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The Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront buzzes with activity at all hours of the day. This bustling harbor—built in the late 19th century by Queen Victoria's second son, Alfred—has acted as the stopover point for European ships for centuries. Today, the waterfront caters to tourists and residents alike, boasting beautiful views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, a wide array of shopping venues, restaurants, and notable attractions, like the Two Oceans Aquarium. This is also the jumping off point for whale-watching tours and excursions to Robben Island. When the sun sets, the V&A Waterfront comes alive with music flowing out over the ships as steadily as cocktails are poured into glasses at the neighborhood's many bars.
Recent visitors love the V&A Waterfront's lively atmosphere, saying that the numerous roaming performers will keep you entertained for hours. According to one TripAdvisor user, "Here's a tourist shopping paradise, it's one of the largest shopping centres, with restaurants and a few side attractions in the Waterfront. Not to be missed."
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Skirting the western edge of Table Mountain is Camps Bay, a vast stretch of soft sand flanked by cute cafés and bustling bars. Like Clifton Beach, the Atlantic waves lapping this stretch of shoreline are too cold for swimming, but Camps Bay's non-windy climate and family-friendly atmosphere make this a great spot to soak up the sun and enjoy the outdoors. Also, the beach-side restaurants provide a great atmosphere for evening cocktails and people-watching. According to one TripAdvisor user, "The beach is truly beautiful and very close to many superb restaurants. Sipping cocktails while watching the sun set is amazing on this beach."
Camps Bay sits just south of Clifton Beach and is accessible by car from central Cape Town via Victoria Road (the M6 highway) or Camps Bay Drive (the M62 highway). You can visit the beach at any time, day or night, for no fee. For more information on Camps Bay, check out the Cape Town Tourism website.
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Separating the Atlantic Ocean from the decadent mansions of Cape Town's "Millionaire's Row" are the sugary-white sands of Clifton Beach. Divided into four beaches by huge stone boulders, Clifton draws the seen-and-be-seen crowd, as well as adrenaline-hungry surfers. This is one of the city's most popular shores thanks to its location: Sitting on the western edge of Table Mountain, Clifton stays protected from Cape Town's notoriously chilly winds. The water, however, remains cold throughout the year, which deters many swimmers.
Although this isn't the ideal place to doggy-paddle, recent visitors recommend spending some time at Clifton to stroll along the sand or people-watch from one of the nearby restaurants. As one TripAdvisor user puts it, "The water is cold but everything else is hot."
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Located just a short walk from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Greenmarket Square is one of South Africa's oldest public squares. Originally a slave market, this cobblestone plaza now fills with local vendors selling everything from painted fabrics to hand-crafted trinkets. While you're perusing the merchandise, various "buskers" will keep you entertained with music, dance, and even mime. Just be prepared: Greenmarket's merchants are extremely friendly, but they can also be aggressive when it comes to selling their wares. If you're not interested, do not approach the stall or say a polite but firm "No, thank you."
According to one TripAdvisor user, "Venture a block in each direction around the square if you have a bit of time—it is much the same sort of fare and also very interesting."
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Sitting near the heart of the city at the foot of Signal Hill (one of Cape Town's most easily recognizable mountains), this vibrant neighborhood houses Cape Town's Muslim community. Bo-Kaap is truly a treat for the eyes, characterized by its brightly colored houses and fascinating community. The residents of Bo-Kaap are the descendants of "Cape Malays," slaves brought by Dutch settlers from Malaysia, Indonesia, and numerous African countries. To learn more about the origins of this neighborhood's residents, visit the Bo-Kaap Museum, which occupies the area's oldest building. For 10 ZAR (a little over $1 USD), visitors can explore this small yet fascinating museum between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Recent visitors say that a visit to Bo-Kaap is worth it for the photo ops. But according to one TripAdvisor user, "Bo-Kaap is good to see because of the colorful houses and the diverse feeling of the place. However, there isn't much to do here."
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