The city of Cape Town in the Western Cape. Picture: Supplied

It is no secret that Cape Town is one of the world’s most popular cities to visit, and it’s not just because of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Camps Bay - let’s say it’s because of the vibe, the nightlife and the idea of being in the Mother City.

However, sometimes travelling to the Western Cape doesn’t mean having to stay or pass by Cape Town - as there are other towns in the coastal province that are just as beautiful as Cape Town (if not better).

Here are a few places to stay in the Western Cape that aren’t Cape Town.

Hermanus

Hermanus. Picture: Supplied

The breathtaking town calls tourists and visitors from all walks of life to bask in the natural beauty that the hub of a town has to offer - providing visitors with a serene spot of the Western Cape that includes the occasional appearance of whales.

Besides whale watching, Hermanus offers a variety of activities; from horse riding, paragliding, kayaking, shark cage diving, fishing, hiking, plane trips to simply swimming and sunbathing at one of many gorgeous beaches, Hermanus caters for every desired taste.

Stellenbosch

The town of Stellenbosch. Picture: Supplied

A university town and part of the wine route - Stellenbosch has cemented itself as one of the Western Cape Towns that cannot be explored.

Apart from its wide variety of wines and its famous university, Stellenbosch is rich in history from the Dutch settlers who resided in the small town from as early as 1679.

Stellenbosch also boasts several local artists who have gained international acclaim. Their work is on display in the many art galleries in town and on wine estates.

One of the flagship artworks on display in front of the Stellenbosch Town Hall is the Nelson Mandela memorial piece by South African land artist Strijdom van der Merwe.

Knysna

The town of Knysna. Picture: Supplied

A very popular stop on the Garden Route, Knysna is a town of the beloved - because it is loved not only by its residents but also by its visitors.

The town gives off a sense of calm for tourists and visitors as they wander around, playing a round of golf or relaxing by the beach.

Diverse in its mix of people and its surroundings, this diversity is reflected in a range of choices of eco-tourism, cultural-tourism and heritage-tourism. Situated on the country’s only lake, Knysna is also home to the country’s largest permanent estuary.

Although the town becomes very busy during the peak season, it is still a marvelous destination to visit - and can be one of the great answers to escaping the busy city life of Cape Town.

Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Bay. Picture: YouTube

A very popular resort town with mountains, white sand and crystal-blue water, Plettenberg Bay has easily made itself one of the most popular towns not only in the Western Cape but also in the country.

As a result, things can get very busy, but the town retains a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and does have excellent accommodation options.

The highlight of the Plettenberg Bay can be debated as the rivers, beaches and the bay with its ideal conditions for all types of watersports, including sailing in the safe waters of the Bay, superb rock and surf fishing and scuba diving spots.

For those who prefer calmer activities, there is horse riding, walking along the beach, cycling and wild game viewing.

Paarl

The town of Paarl. Picture: Supplied

Known to the locals as the pearl of the Boland, Paarl is known as the third oldest town in South Africa and is located in the Cape Winelands region of the Western Cape.

Paarl’s national claim to fame is being the birthplace of Afrikaans as a written language. It is a premier tourist attraction for those wishing to experience wine country, and like most affluent towns, Paarl is known for its wine estates and Cape-Dutch styled homes from the 17th century.

A great example of these homes would be the Nederburg Wine Estate.

A wondrous feature of Paarl is Paarl Rock - a massive granite rock formed by three outcrops which make up Paarl Mountain. 

Situated in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, Paarl Rock is made up of intrusive igneous rock and provides perfect hiking contours with views stretching out over the town - a firm favourite with nature lovers, hikers and birders.

Other great features and activities to do in the town include Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm, Simonvlei Winery, DV Artisan Chocolate, Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and Graceland.