The town of Hermanus 'proper' sits on the western cove of Walker Bay between magnificent sea cliffs and the mountain.

Hermanus Pieters, an itinerant teacher of Caledon farmers' children, was the first permanent resident in the early 1800s. Having come across a fresh spring and greener pastures he settled on the shore of this enchanting bay. The news of good summer grazing spread to the surrounding areas and soon farmers from neighbouring districts would come in the summer months, bringing their livestock to benefit from the fresh grazing and carting their families along to enjoy the sea. Misty Waves Hotel is built next to this very historic spring... The spring came to be known as Hermanuspietersfontein but was shortened to Hermanus when municipal status was given to the town in 1904. The bay was named after a Royal Naval officer called Walker. The farmers may have discovered Hermanus, but it was the fishermen who settled here. With an abundance of fish, the village attracted more and more families. By the early 1900s word of the excellent fishing, outstanding beauty and "healing" air had spread across the world. It even became fashionable for Harley Street doctors in London to prescribe visits to Hermanus' "champagne air" to their patients.
The village holds a Passion Play in the Old Harbour every year; celebrates the arrival of the whales in the bay with the Whale Festival (which is an art and environmental feast); offers some of the best local and national theatre productions (mainly in Afrikaans) at the Kalfiefees; serves the most glorious seafood at the Hawston Sea Festival (December); and chases away winter chills at the Food & Wine Fair (July) with delicious cuisine and delectable wines from over 60 exhibitors.
Hermanus was, and is, an excellent holiday venue. One of the first regular visitors to Hermanus was Sir William Hoy, general manager of the South African Railways. He was so taken by the tranquillity of the village that he saw to it that the Bot River railway line never reached Hermanus. His legacy lives on in the Hermanus Station that has no lines or trains and the hill that lies in the middle of the village, Hoy's Koppie, where he and his wife are buried. Hoy's Koppie not only provides an easy walk though fynbos to a lookout point over the village, but is also an important link to the earliest inhabitants of the area, the Khoisan. Klipgat Cave, a large overhang on the southern side of the koppie, has archaeological evidence of these indigenous people inhabiting the cave long before Hermanus Pieters came across it.

The Hemel-en-Aarde Village is situated behind Sandbaai and has a variety of shops - farm stalls with delectable home-made items, restaurants, ceramic studios, galleries, jewellers, wineries, nurseries and more. It is the first stop on the Hermanus Wine Wander up the serene Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The valley truly is the epitome of its name making the Hermanus Wine Wander an extremely pleasurable experience.

The easternmost part of Hermanus, at the foot of the Kleinriviersberg which stretches to Stanford, is the residential area of Volklip. This is where beaches are dotted in coves along the shoreline culminating in the long Grotto beach, which stretches out to meet the magnificent lagoon at the mouth of the Klein Rivier. On the opposite bank lies of the lagoon lies Die Plaat, part of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, 12 km of unspoilt beach that goes all the way to De Kelders.

Hermanus, also known as the Riviera of the South, is attractive to travellers not only because of its wondrous setting, but also because it offers a myriad of activities all year round. The sun and pristine beaches in summer and land-based whale watching in the green months; fishing, diving, hiking, cycling, fly-fishing, boating, bird-watching, paragliding, golf, bowls, riding there is always something to do.

Fernkloof Nature Reserve in the saddle between Lemoenkop and Olifantsberg hosts one of the richest floral kingdoms in the world.It has 50 km of hiking trails and a mountain biking track. The walk along the 14 km cliff path is spectacular, especially in whale season and has earned the village the reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world. Hermanus has the worlds only Whale Crier who sounds his kelp horn to announce where whales have been sighted. The Old Harbour Museum gives visitors an insight into the history of the village. There is a telescope above the Old Harbour for visitors to see the giant visitors when they are far out in the bay. De Wet's Huis Photo Museum provides a fantastic photographic documentation of the history and development of the town. The beauty and magic of Hermanus have attracted many famous artists. The town has thus become home to a number of galleries that house both local and international work.