Is Adelaide Worth Visiting? 11 Reasons To Say Yes!

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My father is probably not going to speak to me about letting the cat out of the bag; but Adelaide is Australia’s hottest city break destination.

Many people come to Adelaide as a gateway to Barossa Valley, to drive the Great Ocean Road, or to take the iconic Ghan train up to Darwin through the outback, but you might be wondering; is Adelaide worth visiting as a destination in itself?

Adelaide in a modern and vibrant city that has a laid-back, small town feel. Its position makes it a great base for exploring other iconic areas of South Australia, it’s surrounded by stunning beaches, rolling hills and vineyards, and it’s also more affordable than other cities in the South such as Melbourne.

Adelaide has charm, sophistication, history, elegant beauty and a fresh, gentle, fun way of living that doesn’t zap your energy like the big buzzing cities of Sydney and Melbourne do.

This is just a snapshot of why Adelaide is worth visiting, but if you need more convincing, then keep reading to see all the reasons why we love Adelaide!

Reasons To Visit Adelaide

Here are eight reasons you should forget Sydney and Melbourne for your next getaway and head to Adelaide.

1. It’s A Beautiful, Breathable City

A view of Adelaide city from above

It may not have the stunning wow factor of Sydney, but Adelaide has a softer gentle beauty with the surrounding hills to the east, beautiful beaches to the west, luxuriously wide boulevards, many parks and gardens, enormous skies and wide-open spaces.

Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide offers you space to breathe.

Everything you need is only 20 minutes away and with a population of only 1 million, you can swing and spin with arms wide open while appreciating all it has to offer.

2. The Food Capital Of Australia

woman eating chocolate strawberries Adelaide central market

One hour spent exploring the 143-year-old Adelaide Central Market convinced me Adelaide was the food capital of Australia.

It has over 80 stalls, cafes and restaurants all showcasing local produce.

You can watch cheese being made, feast on chocolate, enjoy coffee from an Italian family with a 55 year history in the markets.

Alternatively, buy from green grocers who’ve been operating for more than 35 years. There is even a food tour you can do around the markets.

In the city, highly awarded fine dining restaurants exist alongside pop up bars and food trucks. There’s over 100 pubs in the city and plenty of hip bars and watering holes in arcades and hidden laneways.

I highly recommend Cibo Espresso in Glenelg, Cafe Zuma for breakfast at the Central Markets, and Ky Chow in Chinatown.

3. The Wine Capital Of Australia

people holding drinks and smiling
Wine tasting in the Barossa

There’s nothing I like more during the winter than to sit around a cosy fire on a vineyard with a superb glass of Australian Shiraz.

There are wineries all around Australia and near to the capital cities, but in Adelaide, there are several within an hour’s drive of the city centre.

You’ll find some wine tasting experiences of Australia’s most recognized brands such as Penfolds, Yalumba, Wolf Blass and Jacob’s Creek.

It’s the place where some of the best wine in the country is made. With a nation full of superb wine growers, this is a statement that must be tested.

You’re spoilt for choice: Barossa Valley, Mclaren Vale, Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills (your boutique stuff). There is no other capital city in Australia that offers you such easy access to many different wine regions.

How can you not love a city where Australia’s best food and wine meet?

4. There’s A Greater Adelaide

Mt Lofty Summit, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Mt Lofty, Adelaide Hills

If you move just a short distance in any direction from the CBD, you’ll discover a diversity of regions to satisfy any person’s interests: Wine regions, beautiful beaches, historical towns, unusual villages in the hills, abundant wildlife and stunning landscapes.

Most of Adelaide’s beaches are within a 30-minute drive and with the warm climate can be appreciated almost all year round. Glenelg, the main tourist beach is only 12km from town.

When I visited the resident seal waved to me while swimming 5 metres from shore!

5. You Can Explore The City By Bike

bike riding Adelaide

Adelaide is an easy city to explore by bike: it’s flat, with beautiful biking trials through gorgeous parklands, and well-marked and safe bicycle lanes on the city streets.

I enjoyed a lovely bike ride along the Torrens River and through the parklands of East Adelaide.

There are plenty of sightseeing places along the way, I preferred losing myself in the stunning Botanical Gardens. The bike path does a loop around the city or you can even cycle out to the beaches.

The best news is that the city of Adelaide hires bikes out for FREE!

6. Tons Of Festivals And Events In Adelaide

people dancing in the street
Photo Credit:Lev Kropotov Shutterstock

Another reason Adelaide is high on our bucket list is the wide variety of festivals and events on offer. You get the party and fun without the maddening crowds.

Now’s the season for the sports mad to experience the thrill of a live AFL game.

Mad March is when you throw your party boots on as it’s the hot festival time.

The most known festivals in Adelaide are the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival, WOMADelaide, Tour Down Under, and Tasting Australia.

But Adelaide also has many smaller, just as fun, festivals and events such as Splash Adelaide, which focuses on bringing the city’s streets and spaces to life with pop-up street parties and restaurants, performances, night markets, and mobile food vendors.

Discover more fun festivals in Australia

7. It Has An Eclectic Lifestyle

LEnzerheide restaurant in Adelaide
German restaurant

It might have a lot of history, being Australia’s first free settlement, but Adelaide is overbrimming with multiculturalism which is reflected in their suburbs, food experiences and festivals.

German influence is strong in the Barossa Valley and the Adelaide Hills – a must visit suburb is Hahndorf.

The Irish founded the Clare Valley and Italians, Greeks and Asians have a strong influence in the region’s dishes.

8. It Has Kangaroo Island

seal in the ocean
Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island

My heart bursts every time I think of Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island is Australia’s answer to the Galapagos Island and is only two hours from Adelaide, and is as the name suggests, the best place to see kangaroos in Australia (especially the rare red kangaroo).

It’s a remote and undiscovered destination that has stunning beauty, unique and abundant wildlife, awesome sunsets, 4WD drive adventures and no crowds. I’m booking myself in for a month.

9. Amazing Sandy Beaches

glenelg beachfront
Glenelg Beach

Adelaide may be a big metropolis city but it’s surrounded by nature, including amazing sandy beaches.

Some of the most popular beaches are Glenelg Beach, Henley Beach and Moana Beach.

To discover some of Adelaide’s hidden gems, head to Maslin Beach, Brighton Beach or Myponga Beach.

10. Everything Is Close By

woman feeding kangaroos
Adelaide Hills

Adelaide has a cute nickname as “the 20 minute city” because everything is said to be within 20 minutes from the city centre.

Whether you want to explore wineries, beaches, or the Adelaide Hills, it’s only 20 minutes to the top attractions in the city by public transport.

There is a tram that connects most of the main attractions in the city making getting around a breeze.

Even the airport is only 20 minutes from the city.

11. Year Round Good Weather

Sunrise from Mt Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Unlike other cities on the South Coast (cough, Melbourne), Adelaide has an all round decent climate which makes it a great destination to visit year round.

In the summer, the weather is warm and dry, with a comfortable average temperature of 29°C (84.2°F).

In the winter, it can get cool, but snow in Adelaide is very rare (you may get a bit in the Hills, but the city is usually dry).

The best time to visit Adelaide though is definitely in the Spring from March to May, as well as the Fall from September to November.

February and March are the busiest months to visit Adelaide and is when you see the most tourists.

June to August is the rainy season and is when you see the least amount of people in Adelaide.

Final Thoughts

Do the Mt Lofty summit hike in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia
Adelaide Hills

Adelaide is pretty Rad! I’m penciling in a couple of weeks to explore more deeply next time we’re in Australia.

Now your toughest decision is what do you explore first?

As Lonely Planet said when it named it in their Top 10 must visit cities for 2014, it’s a “A gateway to some of Australia’s most accessible wine country, Adelaide is effortlessly chic – and like a perfectly cellared red, it’s ready to be uncorked and sampled.”

Time to uncork it!

More South Australia Travel Tips

Need more inspiration for visiting South Australia? Here are some other helpful guides…

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What are your reasons to visit Adelaide? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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