5 Reasons Why Small Towns Make The Best Holiday Destinations

Step away from the stress of big city life.

Kirsten Curtis |

Feeling overworked and anxious? Sounds like you need a holiday. Whether you’re planning a trip for December or just need a quick weekend breakaway, consider a small town for your next break. While there are mountains of things to explore in cities in Cape Town and Jo’burg, small towns are often unexplored and underrated places to visit.

Picturesque views with a peaceful atmosphere are only two of the reasons why small towns are the best place to unwind. The locals are almost always friendlier, because they’re not rushing off to get to their 9-5. Small towns make the perfect getaway regardless of whether you’re looking for a family vacation, romantic weekend for two, or a place to catch up with friends.

Related: Planned Holiday Coming Up? These 5 Hacks Will Ensure It’s Stress-Free

Here’s why:

1. Less Pollution

Fresh air is hard to come by when you’re living in a big city. Hordes of cars, coupled with smoke from factories makes ruins the quality of the air we breathe. Making a quick getaway to a small town means you’ll reap the benefits that fresh air brings with it. Not only does it clear your mind, its also good for your digestive system and improves blood pressure and heart rate.


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Visit Coffee Bay, on the Wild Coast, for an uninterrupted whiff of fresh seaside air. It’s pristine beaches, and breathtaking views makes for a magical experience.

With a population of only 258 people, it’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a tranquil getaway.

2. The Stars Are More Visible

Less houses, shops and buildings mean less light pollution. Too many artificial lights in one space alters how we see the night sky. Sure you can see the stars from your yard, but the way you perceive it may be affected by the glow of artificial lights surrounding you, especially if you live within the city’s CBD.


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Adjust your eyesight, and make your way to Sutherland in the Northern Cape. The quaint town might be known for its cold winters, but its remote location and lack of light pollution make it the town with one of the world’s clearest night skies. One of the town’s major attractions is the South African Astronomical Observatory. You can teach your kids about astronomy or have a charming weekend under the stars with your significant other.

Related: 5 South African Adventures To Experience Without Leaving The City

3. More Adventure

Big City life may be thrilling with its host of night-time adventures (aka bars), but the best adventure awaits in small towns across the country. Revel in the spike of adrenaline adventures bring, while absorbing the views that surround you.


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Looking for a jam packed action weekend? Head to Hermanus in the Western Cape. The town is famous for it’s whale watching opportunities, and wine route, but it also home to some exciting adventures. Go Ziplining and Quad Biking with SA Forest adventures, or take a quick drive to Gansbaai for some shark cage diving with White Shark Projects. A 12km footpath surrounds the New Harbour, allowing you to take a slow walk whilst taking in the ocean views.

4. Immersive Cultural Experiences

Museums are great places to learn about the rich history of South Africa. But they’re not the sole gatekeepers of art and culture. When you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you get to know more about the people you’re with, learning the rich history of the small town you’re in together.


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If it’s culture you’re after, head to Clarens, which is widely known as the Jewel of the Free State. The picturesque town is famous for its multi-coloured sandstone formations. Spend your free time perusing the art galleries, arts and crafts shops, antiques, and mosaic art, all found in the town. It all makes for a richer experience.

Related: The Best Holiday Exercise You’re Not Doing

5. Experience The Great Outdoors

If you love hiking, you might have already exhausted your supply of mountains to climb in the city. While holidays are all about resting, and leisure, there’s no reason why you can’t get your heart racing with some physical activity.


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The best place to do this? Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. Walk through the indigenous forests that are home to romantic waterfalls, or go for a guided mountain bike tour. Prefer four legs to two wheels? Go horse riding. No matter your preference, Hogsback offers a truly unique experience.

READ MORE ON: adventure Hermanus holiday destinations holidays small towns travel

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