Where To Stay In Cape Town: A First Timers’ Guide

Are you looking for where to stay in Cape Town? You have come to the right place!

Cape Town is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is a fabulous mix of culture, history, art, nature, beautiful beaches and wildlife – Cape Town has it all. This is the kind of city you’re never quite done visiting. New attractions pop up all the time! For as hectic as it is, the Mother City is a fun place to explore. 

With more than 4.6 million inhabitants, Cape Town is vast. Picking the right Cape Town hotels may be a daunting task – especially for first time visitors. The good news is that by Western standards, this is a fairly inexpensive city. If you search properly, you will find some excellent deals with hotels and apartments for a real steal. 

In this post, I will help you find the best areas to stay in Cape Town by interest and point out to the best places to stay in each of them, by budget. 

Make sure to also read my post The Best Tips For Visiting Cape Town.

Cape Town hotels
There are Cape Town hotels for any budget

Table of Contents

Where To Stay In Cape Town – Best Options

Before I highlight the best areas to stay in Cape Town, let me give you a shortcut to my favorite places in the Mother City.

Best Hotel in Cape Town – Jardin d’ébène Boutique Guesthouse 

Who said that you have to spend a fortune to have a bit of luxury? This guesthouse in the City Bowl comes at a very reasonable price. Each room is different and each one shows the highest attention to detail. There is a swimming pool, a fabulous breakfast is served daily, and there even is room service. There only are five rooms – book in advance to secure your place!

Best Hostel in Cape Town – The Backpack

This isn’t just the best hostel in Cape Town. It actually is one of the best hostels you will ever stay at. Rooms are comfortable and spotless – you can pick between dorms, private rooms and even family rooms. There is an abundance of social spaces, including a kitchen and dining room, a bar, a lovely patio and even a pool. Breakfast is by all means above hostel standards and the help desk is always available to book tours or share information. 

Best Airbnb in Cape Town – Studio Pad with Table Mountain Views!

This lovely studio in the City Bowl is at a stone’s throw from Long Street, where you’ll find plenty of good restaurants and bars, and right across the street from the Company Gardens. There is a beautiful communal garden and even a swimming pool, and someone at the door 24/7 which means it is super safe. The apartment itself is small, but has everything you need for a perfect stay.

Lion's Head
The impressive views of Lion’s Head from Table Mountain

A Guide To The Neighborhoods In Cape Town

The Mother City is easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a lot to offer in terms of attractions, culture, entertainment, shopping, food (here’s a selection of the best restaurants in Cape Town, just in case!) and wine – the fabulous Cape Winelands are just a stone’s throw away and a real must-see.

My favorite place to stay in Cape Town is the City Bowl, as it is the most convenient part of town to move around (though granted, if you drive, finding a parking spot isn’t always the easiest thing). But I have also spent time in the Atlantic Seabord, and certainly done my best to explore the city through and through. 

Cape Town is roughly divided in two by Table Mountain. On one side you’ll have the City Bowl, which includes the famous Bo-Kaap, Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, Gardens, the CBD, the V&A Waterfront and De Waterkant, Woodstock and Vredehoek. On the other you’ll find the Atlantic Seaboard, with Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point, Llandudno, Green Point, Mouille Point etc.

Finding good hostels or Cape Town hotels and even Airbnbs is not hard. There are many good places to stay and there is something for every budget. The city is normally busy with tourists year round, thanks to the typically good weather. Make sure to book well in advance to grab a better deal. 

Where to stay in Cape Town
You won’t have troubles finding good hotels in Cape Town

City Bowl

North of Table Mountain, City Bowl is one of the best areas so stay in the Mother City for first time visitors. You will find plenty of accommodation options for any budget, lots of bars and restaurants to pick from – make sure to check out the ones on Long Street and Bee Street – and endless shopping opportunities.

The main downside of the City Bowl is that you have to be wary of your surroundings at night – Long Street can be dodgy when the sun goes down. Call an Uber even to cover short distances – it works super efficiently in South Africa.

Another thing to consider is that this is the busiest part of town, so there can be quite a bit of traffic and – should you be renting a car – parking isn’t always the easiest thing. Advanced bookings for hotels and Airbnbs in this part of town are definitely recommended.

Continue reading for a brief description of the main neighborhoods in the City Bowl.

Bo-Kaap – A truly colorful area

Bo-Kaap definitely wins the contest for the most colorful and multicultural neighborhood in Cape Town. The majority of its resident are descendants of slaves coming from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and other places in Africa that once freed settled in the area. It’s where you will find the iconic, colorful houses, most of which were originally built in the 1750s. Bo-Kaap is where the famous Cape-Malay cuisine was created: you absolutely have to try when in town. 

Bo-Kaap is a bit of a hit and miss area when it comes to safety. Some streets are totally cool and safe, but take a wrong turn and you may be in trouble. Avoid walking around alone at night, and call an Uber if needed. 

De Waterkant – The best area for LGBTQ travelers

Not far from the colorful houses of Bo-Kaap, De Waterkant is the city’s main gay and lesbian hotspot, and one of the most lively areas at night. With its cobbled streets, the lovely Cape Quarter Square, shopping opportunities, bars, restaurants and clubs, this small part of the City Bowl is a real gem. 

There aren’t many places to stay in this part of town, so make sure to do your research and book well in advance.

things to do in Cape Town

Woodstock – Best for lovers of street art

10 minutes away from the heart of the City Bowl, Woodstock is Cape Town’s artists hot-spot. Wander the streets and you will be endlessly marveled by the street art – of both local and international artists. There’s so much of it that it’s often been compared to Brooklyn. As it is a bit cheaper than the rest of the City Bowl, it’s where many young entrepreneurs have established their offices. It’s also where the Old Biscuit Mill with its farm stalls is located, and a prime location for festivals.

Woodstock is very affordable but not the safest area in town.

Cape Town hotels

Central Business District (CBD) – Perfect for business travelers

The CBD is home to some of the best hotels in Cape Town for business travelers. Adding to the good selection of hotels, you will also find good restaurants, bars and the many shops of Bree Steet. This is also where the First Thursdays take place every first Thursday of the month, providing access to to art galleries, bars, restaurants and shops until late!

The Central Business District is within walking distance from Long Street, Gardens and Green Point. Opt for an Uber at night. 

Gardens – For a lovely local feel

If you are looking for a more local experience, the Gardens are a great area. Within walking distance from Kloof Street and Long Street, it’s where the historic Company Gardens, established by the Dutch East India Company, are located. The area is usually safe – but much like in the rest of town, keep your eyes open at night.

Free parking is scarce in the area!

Oranjezicht is a cool place where to stay in Cape Town for stunning all-encompassing views

Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof and Higgovale – For great views of the city

If you are looking for a room with endless views going from the harbor to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof and Higgovale are perfect. This neighborhoods are mostly affluent, so expect the prices of accommodation to be a bit higher than in the rest of the City Bowl.

These areas are walking distance from Kloof Street and Gardens.

Cape Town Hotels
The V&A Waterfront has some of the best Cape Town hotels

V&A Waterfront – one of the best areas to stay in Cape Town 

The V&A Waterfront (AKA the Victoria and Albert Waterfront) is a great part of town, packed with great restaurants and bars, a food hall with all sorts of options, a crafts market for endless shopping opportunities, and – in case you want to shop more – a massive shopping mall. 

It is a working harbor, and it’s where tours to Robben Island, the prison were Nelson Mandela was held, depart from. It’s also were the hop-on hop-off buses go by. Make sure to ride the Ferris Wheel for great views of Table Mountain!

The V&A Waterfront is a safe area. The main downside of staying there is that hotels tend to be a bit more expensive.

Observatory – Best for budget travelers

Popular among backpackers and budget travelers, the Obs – as it is locally known – is a nightlife hotspot. You will find many affordable hostels. The City Bowl is at easy driving distance.

Where there are backpackers, there are parties and hence noise. Don’t stay in this part of town if you are a light sleeper.

Where to stay in Cape Town
The City Bowl is where to stay in Cape Town for first timers

Where to stay in the City Bowl

Here is a selection of the best places to stay in Cape Town that are all located in the City Bowl, by budget.


Devonport House

Located in Tamboerskloof. It is a fantastic bed and breakfast, a great haven from the city where you’ll find a beautiful room, a swimming pool and a reserved parking space. It’s right by Signal Hill, so perfect if hiking is your thing. It’s at easy walking distance from the South African Museum and Planetarium, while the V&A Waterfront is at 30 minutes walk or less than 10 minutes drive.

Cape Heritage Hotel

Located on Bree Street, this fantastic boutique hotel is right in the heart of the city. It features beautiful, large rooms curated in every detail. It’s definitely where to stay in Cape Town if you have the budget to splurge.

Taj Cape Town

Walking distance from all the main attractions in town, it features a pool and a fitness center. Rooms are incredibly spacious and fitted with anything you may need for a perfect stay.

The Capital Mirage Hotel

By De Waterkant, it has very large suites which also include a fully equipped kitchen. There is a fitness center and even a spa and a restaurant.

hostels in Cape Town
The Backpack is one of the best hotels in Cape Town


Nazari House

Located in Bo-Kaap, for a very reasonable price you can get a large room or a small, fully equipped apartment.

Long Street Boutique Hotel

Conveniently located on Long Street, you will be close to restaurants, bars and shops and on the route of the City Sightseeing bus. Rooms are spacious and go from the small basic to the large premium.

Tintagel Guesthouse

Set in one of the most charming buildings in the Gardens, it has small rooms that have everything you need for a great stay. Breakfast is included in the price.


High Rise Condo with Mountain and City Views

The perfect place to stay for a couple. The apartment is beautifully furnished, right in the center of the City Bowl and has everything you need for a fabulous stay. It’s very conveniently priced.

Cozy Downtown Loft

A superb apartment with stunning views of the city. The wooden beams and exposed brick give it a hipster touch. It’s small, but it really has everything you need. You will also have access to a pool and a fitness center.

Charming Central Flat in a Refurbished Building from 1916

Centrally located, so you can access all attractions. It’s fully equipped and comfortable, and larger than most Airbnbs in the city – so a great place where to stay in Cape Town for a more prolonged period of time. There is a lovely internal garden.

Mouille Point
Mouille Point is a lovely area to stay

Atlantic Seaboard

This part of the city is where the rich and famous live, in gorgeous villas overlooking the ocean. It stretches across the Northern and Western coasts around Table Mountain, and is home to some of the best beaches in the country. Here, you will find plenty of fabulous hotels – including some excellent budget options! I will mention the various neighborhoods in the order in which they go (anti-clock wise) around Table Mountain.

Green Point – A great area for adventure junkies

Home of the iconic Cape Town Stadium – the one that looks like a UFO, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – Green Point is 20 minutes walking distance from the V&A Waterfront, and close to the Sea Point promenade and many stunning beaches. 

Green Point is a large sports event location, so it can get incredibly busy when they are being held. You will have no shortage of good accommodation options here, but book in advance!

Mouille Point – If you want a proper break

Located between the V&A Waterfront and Sea Point, and close to Green Point, Mouille Point is known for the high-rise apartment buildings and the candy-striped Green Point lighthouse – the oldest operating lighthouse in the country. This is a fairly quiet part of town – don’t expect the bars and glitter of the V&A Waterfront! 

This is a great place to stay for longer periods of time.

Sea Point
Sea Point certainly is one of the nicest areas in Cape Town

Sea Point / Three Anchor Bay – The best place for sports enthusiasts

Named after the Sea Point promenade which goes all the way from Bantry Bay to Mouille Point, Sea Point is a locals favorite for outdoors sports – walking, biking, running and more. With outdoor gyms, parks perfect for children; a pool open during the summer months, it’s a great area for families with children (and sports enthusiasts, of course). 

If you need a break from all the work-out, you can always people-watch, or visit an art gallery. Need more? This is one of the safest areas in Cape Town.

Accommodation options abound in Sea Point. 

Fresnaye – A lovely (yet expensive) area to stay in Cape Town

Fresnaye is known to be the most expensive neighborhood in Cape Town – and for a good reason. It provides easy access to the gorgeous beaches, it has views over Table Bay and Robben Island, it’s sheltered from the cold winds that regularly hit the city. What’s not to like about it? 

Consider staying elsewhere if you are traveling on a budget.

Bantry Bay –  For more ocean views

If you want to stay in a part of town that is close to the ocean but relatively quiet, Bountry Bay is the place for you. It’s nicely sheltered from the winds, and the views are lovely.

Bountry Bay doesn’t actually have its own beach, but you can easily access the ones in other neighborhoods.

Clifton is one of the trendiest places to stay in Cape Town

Clifton – Best for access to incredible beaches

Clifton has four beaches which are easily among the most beautiful in the world. Sand is nice, soft and white; the giant boulders give it an extra fun look and the clear waters are calling your name.

The four beaches vary little in terms of what they look like and of the views (all of them face the stunning Twelve Apostles), but are different in terms of what’s on offer. Clifton First Beach is perfect for a sporty crowd – you will see people playing volleyball and other sports. BONUS POINT – dogs are allowed! Second Beach is gay-friendly. Third Beach is open to topless visitors. Finally, Fourth Beach is more family friendly as it is a bit larger and there are lifeguards on duty. 

Remember that water temperatures are frigid in this part of the country!

where to stay in Cape Town
Looking for stunning coastal views? Stay in Camps Bay

Camps Bay – For stunning coastal views

White sand beaches, views of the Twelve Apostles (even more impressive at sunset), swimming and surfing opportunities, bars and restaurants galore make Camps Bay one of the best places to stay in Cape Town. The only minor downside is the regular wind. 

This is a very popular part of town in the summer months (November to July) and traffic can get quite hectic.

Beta Beach Cape Town Beaches
Photo by Jarred Pincus @shutterstock

Bakoven – For a more local experience

With fine sand, clear waters and giant boulders Bakoven is Camps Bay’s baby sister. It is a hidden gem that locals like to keep to themselves. There isn’t much on offer for tourists and public services are somewhat scarce, but a quick drive will take you to the more equipped Camps Bay.

Bakoven has a good range of accommodation options, from luxury (the area above Victoria Road) to more basic (below Victoria Road).

Llandudno Beach
Gorgeous views of Llandudno Beach

Llandudno – For a quieter retreat

Llandudno is at the bottom of the slope of the Twelve Apostles. This crescent-shaped beach is one of the most beautiful in South Africa, and the perfect place for all sorts of sports, among which surfing. It’s a great place for sunbathing and family time! Much like Bakoven, Llandudno doesn’t have many restaurants and shops, but Hout Bay is just 5 minutes drive in case you need anything. 

This is the perfect place to stay if you are in search of a quiet area.

Table Mountain
Swiping views from Table Mountain

Where to stay in the Atlantic Seaboard

Here is a selection of the best places to stay in the Atlantic Seaboard, by budget.


Ocean View House

A fantastic boutique hotel located in Camps Bay. Rooms are very spacious and perfectly equipped for a wonderful stay. They have breathtaking views. The onsite pool and the superb breakfast complete the picture.

Sea Star Rock Boutique Hotel

This hotel offers large rooms with ocean views and a hot tub. It’s located in Camps Bay, at easy distance from the beach. If you have the budget to splurge, go for the Penthouse Suite or for the room with a private pool.

The Tree House Boutique Hotel

In Green Point, this hotel offers you the option of picking between rooms with garden view and ocean view. Guests can enjoy a pool, a bar and even a spa and wellness center.

Cape Town food
Cape Town is a fantastic destination for food lovers


The B.I.G Backpackers

This excellent hostel is in Green Point. You will have a selection of spacious private rooms and well equipped dorms. There is an on-site pool and a very good breakfast is included in the price.

Anchor Bay Guesthouse

A lovely small guesthouse in Three Anchor Bay. With only two rooms available to guests, you can be sure you will be nicely taken care of.

The Villa Rosa

In Sea Point, it offers small but beautiful, comfortable and beautifully decorated rooms in a cozy environment. The included breakfast is scrumptious.


Hip Beachfront Apartment with a Minimalist Vibe & Best Views

In Clifton Second Beach, it is fully equipped with a spacious kitchen, in case you want to prepare your meals. The stunning views and the free parking are definitely great bonuses.

Stroll the Beachfront Promenade from a Period Apartment

This is a beautiful apartment located in Bantry Bay. It’s a fantastic place to relax and you will have easy access to the nearby beaches.

401 Cosmopolitan

This Airbnb is located in Sea Point. It’s a spacious apartment with everything you need for a relaxing stay, and the price is more than reasonable considering the location.

Further Readings

Make sure to read my other posts to help you plan your trip to South Africa:

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