Heading to Cape Town beaches? Below are the seven best and most beautiful ones, plus a map with the exact location of each at the end of this post 😉
A trip to Cape Town cannot be completed without visiting its pristine beaches!
Rich in natural beauty, with the breathtaking backdrop of the Cape Fold Mountain range, Capetonians beaches are among the most scenic in the world.
The Mother City has a diverse and fantastic selection of beaches along the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines to please everyone. Each of them has its unique charm and distinctive attractions.
Whether if you want to walk on soft white sand, relax, listening to the waves, admire a jaw-dropping landscape, take a dip in the sea, swim with penguins, surf, take a yoga class, boost your Instagram account or even soak up the sunshine completely undressed, you can do it all on the beaches in Cape Town.
With so many options to choose from, picking the finest is not only subjective, but also a challenging task.
I’ve focused on the 7 very best and most beautiful Cape Town beaches, chosen for their diversity, beauty of setting and uniqueness.
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Cape Town Beaches: 7 Best & Most Beautiful Ones
Clifton Beaches 1- 4
Clifton has some of the nicest Cape Town beaches, complete with powdery sand, crystalline turquoise water, gigantic boulders and stupendous views.
Located in the affluent Clifton neighborhood, this secluded collection of four beaches named 1st to 4th Beach are naturally divided by outcrops of granite rock. Each of the four beaches has its own special character and visitors.
First Beach attracts glamorous locals from the nearby luxury apartments, while Second Beach has a young party vibe.
Third Beach, previously one of the best-known gay beaches in Cape Town but now home to all tribes, including the LGBTQ+ community, has the imposing Lion’s Head as a backdrop.
While Fourth Beach is a Blue Flag family-oriented beach with amenities including toilet facilities, cold outdoor showers and a restaurant at the small parking area.
There are friendly vendors wandering back and forth selling cold refreshments and ice lollies as well as chairs and umbrellas for hire.
What I like most about the Clifton beaches is that they are the most sheltered in Cape Town, protected from the notorious southeastern wind, have a good vibe and provide beautiful views.
If you’re in Cape Town for summer, you just can’t miss them! Although the water is very cold (between 12 – 16C).
Camps Bay Beach
When we think about Cape Town beaches, Camps Bay is one of the first that springs to mind.
Featuring soft white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and a palm-lined strip that boasts boutique hotels, fashionable stores, restaurants, rooftop bars with sweeping views and trendy beach clubs, Camps Bay is the heart of Cape Town’s beach scene.
To top it all, Camps Bay is backed by the monumental Twelve Apostles Mountain range, which makes it not only one of the most beautiful beaches of Cape Town, but the whole world.
Camps Bay entices a wide range of people, but is mostly frequented by families and group of friends.
There are public restrooms, umbrellas and chairs for hire, a playground and plenty of space to lay your towel on the sand or grass underneath the trees.
The combination of majestic peaks, white sand and greenish-blue water is truly breathtaking and leaves me completely in awe.
I loved Camps Bay Beach the minute I set eyes on it!
It’s one of the most famous and best Cape Town beaches; so make sure to stop over regardless of the season.
If you’re looking for Cape Town beaches that provide unique experience, Boulders Beach should be on the top of your list.
This soft-sand and crystal-clear water beach is known worldwide for being home to a large colony of endangered African penguins and the only place in the world where you can get close to these cute animals.
The sheltered beach with inlets between ancient boulders has wheelchair-friendly boardwalks that allow visitors to observe its famous inhabitants whilst protecting their nesting and chicks.
But Boulders isn’t just a place to watch the penguins, it’s also a family-friendly beach where kids can climb over the boulders, explore the pools and swim on its calm and relatively warm waters.
I’ve never been closer to penguins in their natural habitats as I was at Boulders Beach! There are thousands of them, among 2000 to 3000, and they are all waddling freely, swimming and even mating in front of you.
Boulder Beach is one of Cape Town’s main attractions and can be easily combined with a visit to Cape Point. I recommend this tour that has very good reviews and price.
If you’ve ever seen pictures of Cape Town beaches, Muizenberg was probably among them.
It’s one of the most recognized beaches in the city because of its brightly colored Victorian beach huts that are a reminder of Muizenberg’s history (these were installed in the 1800’s so that ladies could change their clothes and discreetly enter the water).
This long white-sand beach with warm water is surrounded by towering peaks and considered to be one of the best places in the world to learn to surf because of its consistently good waves.
The last time I was at Muizenberg Beach, I was a bit surprised because even though people told me that it’s good for swimming, I saw a shark flag on the beach.
Although False Bay, where Muizenberg is located, is a popular spot for Great White Sharks, few incidents have occurred since the Shark Spotters Program started in 2004.
Shark spotters are positioned at elevated points along the Cape Peninsula, using polarized sunglasses and binoculars to scan the water for sharks.
Color coded flags, based on water conditions, are used to inform swimmers about their safety. When a shark is seen, a siren is sounded and a flag is raised on the beach, signaling to the swimmers to leave the water and only return when the appropriate “all clear’ signal is given.
Surfers and families flock to Muizenberg to enjoy its water, as it’s one of the “warm beaches in Cape Town”. But they are not the only ones…
Because of its vivid photogenic beach huts, Muizenberg is an Instagrammer’s paradise and the perfect scenery for film and commercial shoots.
The water was indeed warm, 23C but the flag was black, indicating poor spotting conditions. So I decided to relax a little and take some pictures for my Instagram.
Hout Bay Beach
Located in the prestigious suburb of Hout Bay, this is one of the largest Cape Town beaches, at almost 1km long.
The protected bay surrounded by dramatic mountains, soft sand dunes and calm water, attracts visitors and locals alike, especially families and surfers.
Hout Bay Beach is perfect for long walks, horse riding, kayaking, swimming, playing volleyball, cricket, etc.
However, if you want a more meaningful experience for your body, mind and soul, you can join one of the free yoga classes. They are open for everyone, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8h30min, during the spring and summer months.
I spent half a morning on Hout Bay during the high season and the beach was very quiet and a bit windy.
There is a public restroom and plenty of space to lay down your towel and sunbathe, but there aren’t chairs and umbrellas for hire, nor much shade, either.
For me Hout Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town, especially from the viewpoints where you can admire all its splendor.
A visit to Hout Bay cannot be completed without visiting its harbor. There is an excellent popular craft market, souvenir shops, fish & chips restaurants, and seals all over.
In fact, you can go snorkeling with seals from Hout Bay Harbor or take a boat trip to Seal Island.
During my endeavor to find the best Cape Town beaches, a Capetonian friend recommended Sandy Bay to me.
The secluded cove of Sandy Bay comprises a long stretch of beaches inter-spaced with large granite slabs.
Because of its remote location, south of Llandudno, tucked away from the city center, the beach is only accessible via a 20min walk along a path from Sandy Bay Parking.
This unspoiled white sand beach with deep blue water is set amid jagged peaks and sand dunes covered with pristine fynbos (South African native vegetation).
Sandy Bay is perfect for those who like wild and hidden beaches, but also to tan and bathe completely naked, as it is the one & only nudist beach in Cape Town.
I went to Sandy Bay Beach during the week and despite the high temperatures of January, it was practically deserted. It was a bit windy, but I found a great spot near some rocks to protect me from that, and the sun.
This gorgeous beach is mostly frequented by old gay men, but there are also few straight couples.
The contrast between the white sand, the green vegetation and the blue sky with the towering mountain as a backdrop in just spectacular!
Sandy Bay Beach is completely untouched, so there aren’t amenities and lifeguards. Make sure to bring water, a towel (there is a large stretch of sand), umbrella (no shade) and chair. The sea is cold though.
The last of my list is one of the Cape Town beaches with the most striking views.
Situated in a suburb along the Table Bay shores, 15Km north of Cape Town city center, Bloubergstrand is a long white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean, very popular with kite- and windsurfers.
In fact, the bay on the west side of Bloubergstrand, known as Big Bay, is one of the world’s best kitesurfing destinations.
The long and flat sandy beach is great for sun bathing, running, walking, flying kites and specially admiring the most beautiful view of Cape Town.
From Blouberg you can take in the two emblematic symbols of the Mother City: the colossal Table Mountain, one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, and Lion’s Head, an iconic piece of Cape Town topography.
Because Blouberg isn’t shielded by a mountain range, it can be very windy and unpleasant. And this was exactly what happened during my last visit. I could barely walk on the beach without being buffeted by the strong gusts.
So, when you visit Boulbergstrand Beach, don’t forget to check the weather forecast, bring towels and an umbrella.
There are public bathrooms with many shops and restaurants nearby. And if you feel adventurous, you can even take some kitesurfing lessons.
This is my list of the 7 best and most beautiful beaches of Cape Town and when you’re in the city make sure to visit some of them.
Best Cape Town Beaches Map
I created a Cape Town beaches map below so you can have a better idea of the exact location of each.
Extra Tips for Visiting the Beaches in Cape Town
- If you’re looking for a restaurant after visiting Clifton Beaches, my recommendation is The Bungalow, a stylish restaurant with an ocean-view terrace. It’s also nice for sundowners.
- Camps Bay can get crowded in the summer, especially on the weekends. To beat the crowds, head to the nearby Glen Beach.
- There are a good number of rooftop bars in Camps Bay and my favorite is the brand-new Baptiste, which has a nice pool and incredible views.
- After Muizenberg, head to Kalk Bay, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Cape Town. It’s just 20min on foot.
- There is a conservation park fee that you have to pay to visit Boulders Beach. It’s R160 (US$ 11) per adult and R80 (US$ 5.5) per child.
- Boulders Beach has three different sections and the part where you can swim is located on the opposite side to the one with the boardwalks. If you want to swim, make sure to come at low tide, as beach space depends on the tides.
- Do not touch and feed the penguins.
- There was some rape cases on Sandy Bay in the past, but apparently it’s safe now. Even though, be careful and avoid going alone.
- I recommend that you don’t go to Bloubergstrand if the southeastern wind is blowing strongly. Unless you want to go to watch the sunset, which is extraordinary, by the way.
- Always bring sun blocker, hat, towel, sunglasses and plenty of water no matter which beach you go to.
- Be safe and be brave when getting into the water. It is cold in most of them, but it can feel very nice.
Safe travels and enjoy the Capetonian beaches.
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- Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jump: One of the Scariest Experiences of My Life!
- 6 Reasons you Should Visit Johannesburg & 1 You Shouldn’t
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Planning a trip to Cape Town
Where’s Cape Town?
Cape Town is a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain (check exact location here).
How to Get to Cape Town
You can get to Cape Town by car, bus, air place and cruise ship.
There are flights by all the major airlines from around the world to Cape Town International Airport and you can find the best deals at Skyscanner, that website that I use, trust and recommend.
There is hop on hop off bus from Johannesburg to Cape Town and it’s a very good option if you’re a solo traveler. Check prices and conditions here.
Best Time to Visit Cape Town
Cape Town is a year-round destination, but December, January and February are the best time to visit Cape Town thanks to the excellent weather conditions.
If you want to skip the crowds and high accommodation prices, you can visit Cape Town during the shoulder seasons (from March to May and September to November). The weather is still good this time of the year.
Where to Stay in Cape Town?
I stayed at V&A Waterfront Luxury Apartments and loved it. If you’re looking for a place to stay, I also recommend:
- Budget: A Sunflower Stop Backpackers and Long Street Backpackers
- Middle-range: Cape Heritage Hotel and Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town
- Luxury: South Beach Camps Bay Boutique Hotel, Cape Grace Hotel & Spa and One & Only
Cape Town Tours That I Recommend
- Book Your Flight Find deals on airlines on my favorite search engine: Skyscanner. Be sure to read my How to find cheap flights article.
- Rent A Car Rental Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal.
- Book Accommodation Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. But Hotels.com and Hilton Hotels have very interesting reward programs. If you prefer to rent locals’ apartment, the best option is undoubtedly Airbnb. Here is US$ 30 credit towards your fist booking.
- Protect Your Trip Don’t forget travel insurance! I always use World Nomads for short-term trips and SafetyWing for long-term ones. Find out why Travel Insurance: Much More Than a Precaution, a Necessity.
- Book Tours in Advance Book unforgettable experiences and skip-the-line tickets with GetYourGuide or Viator .
- Book Ground Transportation BookaWay offers a stress-free experience with secure payments and no hidden fees. You pay online and receive your itinerary by email.
- Luggage Solutions Rent your luggage with Cargo or if you need to drop off your own luggage and enjoy your time without dragging it all over a city, find a LuggageHero shop here.
- Get a Travel Card Revolut Card is a pre-paid debit card that enables cash machine withdrawals in 120 countries. I’ve been using my Revolut Card for over a year and never paid foreign-transaction fees again. Get your Revolut Card with free shipping here.
- Packing Guide Check out my How to Pack a Carry-on Luggage For a Five-month Trip to help you start packing for your trip. Don’t forget your camera, chargers and other useful travel accessories.