Bredasdorp was named after its founding father, Michiel van Breda, who was the first mayor of Cape Town. Van Breda is also regarded as the father of the merino sheep industry as he was the first to introduce this valuable breed of livestock to the area when he started farming sheep on his farm Zoetendals Vallei.

With the town established and finally laid out, the Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of town was erected in 1842. The growing population of the town and growing church community made it necessary for the church to be enlarged in 1856. The thriving community also soon saw the building of what is now known as the very centre of town, the Du Preez Building. This building was erected in 1894 and is presently home to the Cape Agulhas Tourism Offices. 

Bredasdorp is probably best known for its Shipwreck Museum, which is the only one of its kind in the country. It offers an extensive collection of artefacts and furniture from ships wrecked along the coast and also showcases pieces specific to the Overberg. One of the rooms in the Shipwreck Museum is a tribute to South African author, Audrey Blignault, who was born in Bredasdorp..

The Heuningberg Nature Reserve at the top end of Van Riebeeck Street in Bredasdorp is a must for nature lovers and birders and offers various short hikes and walks in the nearby mountain.