In the hustle and bustle of the modern world, they say that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Those fortunate enough to have travelled internationally will know the feeling of renewed zest and appreciation you get from having experienced other cultures and places.

Yet, planning an overseas trip can also involve a lot of head-scratching. Where should you go? Does it offer enough attractions to make the expense worthwhile? What about transport? Is the destination safe enough? The list goes on. Thankfully, one city ticks all the boxes: Cape Town.

Located on the scenic southwest coast of South Africa, Cape Town has so much to do and see that travellers often extend their trip! Established in 1652 as a ship-supply station on the Spice Route to the East, this beautiful city boasts a rich, colourful history, spectacular scenery, pristine beaches, world-class shopping, hotels and fine dining, along with every activity imaginable. Unsurprising, then, that The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph named Cape Town “The Best Place in the World to Visit”.

Below are just some of the attractions that make Cape Town a must-visit destination.

Table Mountain

Sheer cliffs rising to over 1000 metres, this flat-topped mountain forms a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town. Accessible by cable car or hiking trails for the more adventurous, Table Mountain rewards visitors with panoramic views of Cape Town, Table Bay, harbour, Robben Island and the Atlantic seaboard. Table Mountain is flanked by Lion’s Head and Devil’s peak, which also offer hiking trails and photo opportunities of this iconic landmark. Set on the eastern slopes, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens forms part of this UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts millions of visitors every year.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Located in the oldest working harbour in the Southern hemisphere, The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a visitor’s paradise. The area has some of the world’s finest hotels, with the timeless elegance of the Victoria & Alfred Hotel, built in 1904 and named for Queen Victoria and her second son, Prince Alfred, the Silo Hotel, a modern, industrial take on luxury accommodation, Dock House Boutique Hotel and Spa, and One&Only Cape Town with its own marina and famous restaurant, Nobu.

Marvel at the beauty of an African sunset and expansive views of the city and Table Mountain as you cruise aboard the Spirit of Victoria. Savour delectable cuisine at Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre with over 80 different eateries, catch a movie or shop-till-you-drop at any of the 450 retail outlets (shopaholics can also visit Canal Walk, South Africa’s third-largest shopping centre located in Century City just off the N1 highway). Thrill-seekers can get up close with ocean predators at the Two Oceans Aquarium, explore the wonders of the Cape peninsula on a helicopter ride or relive a bygone era on a historical guided walking tour of the V&A Waterfront… you’ll need to set aside enough time to experience everything this spectacular development has to offer.

Robben Island Museum

South Africa’s chequered history comes alive as you tour this infamous island prison where Nelson Mandela was kept for over seventeen years. A UNESCO Heritage Site, visitors reach Robben Island on a half- to one-hour ferry trip across Table Bay from the V&A Waterfront (travellers prone to seasickness may need to take nausea tablets an hour before embarkation). On the four-hour visit to this former maximum-security prison, the guides are former prisoners who share their experiences during the apartheid era. The tour includes a multimedia exhibit, Mandela’s cell and the lime quarry where prisoners were subjected to back-breaking labour. For a more in-depth experience, visitors can book a guided Cape Town Township Tour that includes Robben Island, the District Six Museum and nearby townships of Langa and Gugulethu.

Cape Point / Cape Agulhas

The most south-westerly tip of Africa, Cape Point lies about 60 kilometres from Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park and Cape Floral Region. Take the Flying Dutchman Funicular or tackle the steps up to the Cape Point lighthouse for sweeping vistas of the coastline, whale-watching, shipwreck-spotting and nature walks. The drive from Cape Town offers thrilling scenic coastal views along Chapman’s Peak drive, penguin-viewing at Boulder’s Bay in Simon’s Town and a relaxing stopover at the quaint fishing harbour town of Kalk Bay. For an even more rewarding day trip, Cape Agulhas is 150 kilometres from Cape Town at the southernmost tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Built in 1848, the lighthouse is the second oldest in South Africa.

Cape Winelands

Spectacular scenery, sprawling vineyards and Cape Dutch architecture are ready to greet visitors within a short drive from Cape Town. With historic wine farms dating back to the 1650s, the Cape Winelands Wine Route includes Stellenbosch, Constantia, Helderberg and Durbanville. The Franschhoek Wine Route has a distinct French Huguenot heritage with the quaint village of Franschhoek offering guests boutique hotels, antique shops, art galleries and restaurants. A highlight is a leisurely trip on the Franschhoek Wine Tram.

Peak Season in Cape Town is during the summer months from December to February. During the “Shoulder Seasons” (March to May, September to November), visitors enjoy thinner crowds, cooler weather and lower prices.