Cape Town world’s Best City 2014

Cape TownCape Town, South Africa has done it again, being named Best City in the World in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 by its readers for the third year in a row!  Vancouver and Venice follow in second and third positions respectively.

As your plane banks over Cape Town, you see a city dwarfed by a mountainous spine that runs the length of the peninsula: a jagged, curved finger in a blue expanse that stretches almost 3,000 miles to the nearest landmass. The Gorinhaiqua named the Cape’s iconic flat-topped mountain Hoerikwaggo (“sea-mountain”), its flanks dropping in parts almost perpendicularly into the ocean; the surrounding valleys they called Camissa, or “place of sweet waters”. The proximity of the mountain’s fresh spring waters attracted the first European seafarers, and in 1652 the Dutch East India Company made the prudent decision to establish a supply station here.

Three centuries later the city that grew around the Company Gardens is still dominated by nature, its sophisticated urban heart beating right in the middle of one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. You can go almost anywhere to experience the city’s in-your-face beauty – adrenalin junkies plunge into the marine-rich waters around Dyer Island to go nose-to-nose with Great Whites; shoppers scour Woodstock for the latest in Afro-chic design, then quench their thirst with local craft beer; foodies are spoilt for choice in valleys carpeted with vines, where world-class chefs prepare Michelin-rated fare at bargain prices.

Cape Town is also a city that is rediscovering its heritage – replanting the Dutch kitchen garden that spawned the colony 362 years ago; creating walking routes that reveal the early days of the iniquitous slave trade. You can also follow in Mandela’s footsteps, be guided by maps that highlight the city’s architectural treasures, or take tours of its underground canals. Despite all this, tourism to Cape Town remains highly seasonal, which keeps a cap on development – and the number of beds. So like most things, it pays to plan ahead. This is a city that has only really been open to the world for the last two decades, and it still offers excellent value for money and a sense of new discovery. Small wonder then that Cape Town has – for the third year in a row – won our readers’ vote as the best city in the world to visit.

The Top 20 Best City in the World list is as follows: Cape Town, Vancouver, Venice, Sydney, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Florence, Rome, Istanbul, Barcelona, Seville, St Petersburg, Krakow, Melbourne, Boston, Hong Kong, Berlin, and Vienna.

Almost 90,000 people voted for their favourite travel companies and destinations, making it one of the most comprehensive, wide-ranging and reliable reader travel surveys in the world.

Photo-credit Wim Van Den Heever

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