Cape Town is a vibrant and exciting multicultural destination. Offering unique experiences for backpackers through to luxury travelers, the city – named the World Design Capital 2014 – is packed full of world-class tourist attractions. The museums, vineyards, beaches, gardens and majestic scenery are all just the start. Scratch the surface of this inspiring destination and you’ll see Cape Town is a gem of a city packed with natural sights and authentic experiences.

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Cape Town has many incredible views. Here are five that will give you a unique perspective on the city:

The view from the water

Escape the bustling city streets and set sail on the pristine ocean, where you’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of Table Mountain. Drift past sandy bays and marvel at the luxurious homes that cling to the mountainside from the comfort of your yacht. There are many boats operating from V&A Waterfront, so whether you’re looking for a sundowner cruise, a nature safari or a thrilling powerboat experience, you’ll find something to suit your tastes. You might be lucky enough to see dolphins, whales, penguins, seals, birds and sharks, depending on the time of year and the sort of cruise you choose.

The view underground

Cape Town may be most famous for its mountain, but the slopes of the Cape Peninsula contain over 100 caves suitable for beginners as well as experienced caving enthusiasts. Combine a cross-country hike with a visit to some of the naturally formed fissures and tunnels that have been created by movement of the sandstone and erosion. Elephant’s Eye Cave, Peers Cave, Cango Cave and Woodstock Cave are all nearby and are accessible for tourists. Remember to follow local advice when visiting caves, and always make sure someone outside your group knows where you are going.

The view from above

You can see the city on walking tours or bus tours, but nothing will prepare you for the view of Cape Town from a helicopter flight. See the imposing mountains, the sparkling ocean and the sprawling city from above for truly breathtaking views. This is one flight you will never forget.

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head forms part of the Table Mountain range and provides a scenic backdrop to the City of Cape Town.

The view of the surroundings  

The dramatic Lion’s Head sits to the side of the iconic mountain’s plateau in the Table Mountain National Park. The trail takes you to heights of around 2,195ft (669m) above sea level, with chains to help you scramble up the steeper sections. Although challenging in places, your efforts will be rewarded with fabulous views of the city, with Table Bay on one side and the Atlantic coastline on the other. If you’re feeling brave and energetic, it’s a popular spot for paragliding and micro lighting due to the ideal wind conditions, or for an unforgettable experience take the hike during a full moon.

The view of real culture

Learn about the rich cultures of South Africa by visiting a township on a responsible tour. Tours usually involve a visit to some housing areas, a local church, a school and a tavern (shabeen). There may also be an opportunity to watch traditional dancers and musicians. Find out about some local projects, gain a better appreciation of the way in which people live around Cape Town and pick up some souvenirs so your money can filter directly back into these communities. Choose your tour wisely; townships aren’t tourist attractions, they are where real life happens, so it’s important to find a guide that will deliver the experience respectfully.

Experience Cape Town

Cape Town has many views to explore. Make sure you see as many aspects of this fabulous city as you can during your stay. You won’t be disappointed.

This article was supported by Emirates Airlines.