Who wishes they were in Cape Town right now? We certainly do. To console ourselves, we've put together a list of our five favourite beaches in and around the city so we can gaze at them wistfully while we plan our next trip...
Not only is Llandudno our favourite beach in Cape Town, it comes pretty close to being our favourite beach in the entire world. About twelve miles south of the city along the Atlantic Seaboard, a steep winding road leads down past upmarket holiday homes and apartments to this glorious sandy cove, sheltered at each end by giant, smooth granite boulders. It's a wonderful sunbathing spot - with truly fantastic sunsets - but the water is jaw-clenchingly freezing so be warned.
Noordhoek is a small, scattered hamlet at the southern end of Chapman's Peak Drive, with a film-set-worthy beach that stretches all the way to the village of Kommetjie about three miles further south (triple that if you were to drive between the two, as the road detours inland). This broad sweep of white sand attracts beachcombers, surfers and horseriders in the main - the powerful waves and often fierce winds mean swimmers and sunbathers are better off sticking to more sheltered spots. Try the Dunes Riding and Racing Stables if you fancy a ride.
Camps Bay has to be one of the most perfectly-situated city beaches in the world and is one of Cape Town's most exclusive places to stay. The sands are backed by a line of tall palms and grassy parkland, behind which the main drag buzzes with pavement cafes and expensive cars. Behind the commercial strip, residential roads hiding showpiece homes snake up into the Twelve Apostles' hilly slopes, where the clouds roll down from Table Mountain at the end of every day. Camps Bay is easily reached via Cape Town's excellent hop-on hop-off bus service, so attracts a good mix of locals and tourists.
Over on the opposite side of the peninsula, Muizenberg itself has a slightly faded air. But its beach is long, clean and safe and comes complete with a row of cheery Victorian 'bathing boxes' - making this one of the most photographed spots on the Cape. The waters here are safe for swimming, and it's an excellent spot to learn to surf - try Gary's Surf School or Surfshack Surf School for lessons.
Back in the city, the four separate coves that make up fashionable Clifton sit in front of the priciest stretch of real estate in South Africa - hardly surprising when you consider that these luxurious apartment buildings often have direct beach access and the most coveted views in town. Numbered one to four, the beaches are safe for both swimming and surfing with First Beach usually the least crowded, Second and Third beaches filled with the young and the beautiful (Third Beach is generally considered the gay beach), and the Blue Flag Fourth Beach most popular with families, partly due to its less steep approach.
Virgin Atlantic operates seasonal direct flights to Cape Town from London Heathrow.
Header shot of Llandudno © flowcomm
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.