If you had to design the perfect city, it would probably end up looking something like Cape Town. With a string of beaches and stunning Table mountain, as well as innumerable vineyards around the South African city, there's also centuries of history to explore as well as its own unique cuisine and fantastic music.
If that's not enough, there's great shopping, stylish bars and fashion, jazz and wine festivals every year, plus plenty of sun. Best of all, as there's hardly any time difference, you could even make it for a long weekend... just don't forget to sleep on the plane.
Starter for 10: Cape Town
For a spot of glamour, you can't beat Camps Bay – slightly out of the city, there's more than a hint of Miami, with bars, restaurants and beautiful people lining the beach. Although most places have prices to match, Villa Surprise has just six bedrooms, a small pool, incredible views and rates start from around £110 per night. Book with i-escape
Or head to The Grand Daddy, famous for its rooftop Airstream trailers, and some seriously chic suites, all in the heart of buzzing Long Street. Rooms start from around £100.
But if you really want to splash out, the Victoria & Alfred hotel on the city's Waterfront, has been home to more than a few celebs who love the monochrome styling and views up to Table Mountain. Prices start at around £185.
But if you fancy something more active, head over to Hout Bay. One of the favourites for windsurfing, paddleskiing and surfing, there's also a string of shops and restaurants along the harbour if you don't want hours in the sun.
Or if you'd rather share with a different kind of local, you can't beat Boulders Beach. Part of a conservation area, it's home to a colony of African penguins, and you can explore on the walkways or grab a spot on the beach if you get there early. There's an entrance fee.
Luckily there's also a cable car which will whisk you up the side, rotating the whole way so you get a view down to the sea and of the cliff face. From the top you'll be able to spot some of the city's bays, see out to neighbouring Devil's Peak, and if you're lucky, spot a dassie – the furry rock hyrax looks like an overgrown guinea pig but is most closely related to the elephant... Buy your tickets in advance at tablemountain.netto skip the queues, priced around £18.50.
Pick the right tour and you'll get to meet the welcoming locals, who genuinely appreciate people learning more about their lives and living conditions, while some of the cost goes to help train the people you meet as well. Yes, there's shacks and whole families crammed into tiny spaces, but they're also home to professionals who own larger detached houses and plenty of entrepreneurial spirit.
The oldest building in the country, and one of the few places where it's legal to fly the former apartheid South African flag, it still has furniture and art from the former Dutch governors, including a table seating 100, as well as a temporary exhibition on Cape Town's carnival. Entry costs around £2.50.
And don't miss a wander around the Bo Kaap district, the Cape Malay quarter where freed slaves made their home. All the buildings are painted in bright candy shades, so each street is a blaze of colour – it's also a great spot to buy spices and try the local curries and bobotie.
Or head to Marco's African Place, to try anything from crocodile carpaccio to springbok, impala and kudu on the menu for around £9, along with live African music in the background courtesy of the multitalented percussionists and singers.
But for something a bit different, one company, Homes of Africa can arrange for you to have a meal with a local Cape Town family – you'll be matched by interest, and get to chat about life in the city over an authentic meal, from bobotie to squash and guavas with custard.
Not that Cape Town is short of bars, of course. Long Street is packed with places to drink, and stays buzzing into the night.
For something more stylish, Avoova specialises in eco-friendly ostrich shell products from bowls to bracelets, or Imagenius on Long Street is set over three floors for everything from shoes to sofas made from suitcases. You'll also find stylish homewards at Still Life, as well as African music, funky clothes and more beaded jewellery than you can carry at a whole string of shops along the same street.
Tickets cost around £18.50 for a three and a half hour visit, including return boat trip, and do need to be booked in advance during high season and weekends, in particular. Some companies also offer tours of the island, and may have availability once the tickets on the website have sold out.
South Africa is two hours ahead of GMT, but only one hour ahead of British Summer Time.
Visit southafrica.net for more information.