Top 4 Cape Winelands Areas to visit for a Wine Country Vacation
The Cape Winelands has made a name for itself throughout the world for many reasons - not just because some of the world’s best wines are produced in these areas - or for its profound beauty that is sure to dazzle even the most seasoned traveler. You can expect a combination of century-old architecture, awe-inspiring foods, and a good dose of adventure - A great blend for those looking for a wine-focused vacation.The Cape Winelands encompasses rolling valleys and vast mountains, spanning across 15 unique towns and villages. There are however only four areas that really stand out from the rest and are well worth the visit - Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Constantia.
The Cape Winelands is the perfect setting for a picnic, boasting breathtaking mountain and vineyard views.
4 Reasons why the Cape Winelands is worth visiting
These wine farm regions:
- provide the ideal micro-climate for award-winning wineries,
- boast some of the world’s top restaurants,
- exude a rich history, and
- are easy on the eyes with their picturesque landscapes.
Tourists and locals alike flock to the regions that make up the Cape Winelands. The wine route begins only 50 kilometers from Cape Town’s city center, making it possible for everyone to sample some of the Cape’s best wines or spend the day exploring the quaint towns which are dotted with some of Cape Town’s most sought-after restaurants and landmarks. The Cape Winelands is fantastic for families as there is plenty of activities to do, apart from wine-tasting. Wine-tasting is very much part of the Cape Town culture so it’s imperative that you fit this into your itinerary!
Looking to combine your trip to the Cape Winelands with the famous Garden Route?
Favorite Places to Vacation in the Cape Winelands
The name Franschhoek comes from the Afrikaans word Fransche Hoek, which means ‘French corner’. In 1688 French Huguenot refugees, who brought with them knowledge in smart agricultural practices, populated the valley of Franschhoek and established many of the farms, which they named after places in France - presumably the towns from which they came. The Huguenot Monument has now become a famous landmark in Franschhoek as it documents the arrival of the early settlers and commemorates the great history of Franschhoek.
Top activities in Franschhoek
- Art galleries and boutiques
- Franschhoek wine-tram
- Mountain biking
- Hiking trails
- Horse riding
- Huguenot Fine Chocolates
- Open air cinema
- Franschhoek Motor Museum
- Huguenot Monument and Museum
- Over 50 award-winning wineries throughout the valley
- Trout Fishing on the Wemmers River
- Markets and farm stalls
- Annual festivals such as Bastille Day
Where to stay in Franschhoek
- La Residence HotelKnown for: private wine tastings, cellar tours, chocolate tastings, horse riding, wine trams, fine dining and five-star comforts.
- Le Quartier FrancaisKnown for: Five star service, tantalizing cuisine, comfortable rooms and impeccable attention to detail.
- BabylonstorenKnown for: Wine cellar tours, South African cuisine, wine tastings, impeccable gardens, their beautiful garden spa and five-star service.
- Mont Rochelle HotelKnown for: eco-friendly practices, cuisine made of local produce, luxury amenities, picnics, five-star service.
- Le Franschhoek Hotel and SpaKnown for: Sauvage - their sought-after restaurant, picturesque setting, luxurious interiors and five-star service.
- Franschhoek Country House and VillasKnown for: wine tastings, cellar tours, fine dining, chocolate tastings, quad biking, horse riding, helicopter rides and five-star service.
- Le Cle Des MontagnesKnown for: modern styling, wine tasting, beautiful views of the Franschhoek Mountains, five-star amenities and service.
- Leeu EstateKnown for: wine-tasting, manicured gardens, impeccable food and five-star service.
- Leeu HouseKnown for: wine-tasting, fantastic food, five-star service, homely atmosphere.
Some of the country's top wines come from the vineyards in Stellenbosch. It is a popular destination for travelers who enjoy walking tours.Stellenbosch is a small town situated +- 40 minutes outside of Cape Town. It may be a little far out from the center of town, but don’t underestimate this University town - it oozes energy; not to mention it is incredibly beautiful. The quaint town is surrounded by vineyards - most of which produce some of South Africa’s greatest wines. While you can spend your days sipping on award-winning wine and feasting on delicious food; you could also squeeze a hike or two into your itinerary. Stellenbosch has some fantastic hiking trails, including Jonkershoek Nature Reserve as well as Simonsberg.
Top activities in Stellenbosch
- Monuments and museums
- Eagle encounters
- Segway tours
- Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre
- Hop- on- hop-off tours
- Mountain biking
- Restaurants and bars
- Beer tastings
- Over 140 world-renowned wineries in the area that offer daily tastings and tours
- Hiking and bird-watching in Helderberg Nature Reserve and Jonkershoek
Where to stay in Stellenbosch
- The Spier HotelKnown for: biking, picnics, Segway tours, heritage and river walks, eagle encounters, spa treatments.
- Oude Werf HotelKnown for: Cape Wine tasting, cheese and chocolate tasting.
- Majeka HouseKnown for: Biking, wine-tasting, sophisticated bar and restaurant, a revitalizing spa and five-star service.
- Delaire Graaf EstateKnown for: wine-tasting, incredible views, luxurious amenities, five-star hospitality, world-renowned art displays, and an award-winning restaurant.
- Devon Valley HotelKnown for: Food pairing, Devon Valley tours, hiking, biking and impeccable service.
- De Zalze LodgeKnown for: art galleries, museums, beautiful boutiques, antique shops, jewelers, farm stalls, award-winning restaurants, bistros, and brasseries.
Constantia is the perfect place for travelers who enjoy the countryside but wish to be within close proximity of Cape Town's top attractions.Constantia forms part of the Cape Winelands, although it is situated quite a way away from the other Cape Winelands’ areas. Constantia is a residential town, located around 10-15 minutes outside of Cape Town CBD. The suburb is known for its incredible natural beauty, which include rolling hills and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Constantia is home to some of Cape Town’s most jaw-dropping wine farms, which are known to produce top quality wines and serve some of the most delicious meals in the Cape.
Top activities in Constantia
- Cellar tours and wine tastings at several wine farms (home to 8 award-winning wineries)
- Antiques and Collectables Market
- Mountain biking
- Nature walks
- World-class restaurants (home to the number 1 restaurant in South Africa)
- Zip-lining in the Silvermist Estate
- Golfing at Steenberg Wine Estate
- Spa Day at Constantia Uitsig
Where to stay in Constantia
- Alphen Boutique HotelKnown for: the dreamy location, fantastic service and luxurious comforts that feel like home.
- The Cellars – Hohenort HotelKnown for: incredible restaurants, amazing wine, beautiful surroundings and five-star service.
- Glen Avon LodgeKnown for: its convenient location, homely setting and friendly staff.
- The Last Word ConstantiaKnown for: its exclusivity, personalized service, convenient location and five-star service.
- Vineyard HotelKnown for: its beautiful setting, amazing food, five-star service and luxurious comforts.
- Nova ConstantiaKnown for: its personalized service and quaint setting, delicious meals and friendly staff.
Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa. It is also the oldest of the European settlements in the country; making it a town rich in history. Paarl is also known to be the largest of the Cape Winelands’ towns and is situated between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek - around 40 minutes’ drive from Cape Town central. It is a quaint town; quiet, serene and beautiful - and it doesn’t hurt that there are many fantastic wine farms dotted throughout the town.
Top activities in Paarl
- Go wine tasting at the many wine farms
- Visit the Paarl Taal Museum and Gallery
- Visit the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Farm
- Play a round of golf at Paarl Golf Club
Where to stay in Paarl
- Grand Roche HotelKnown for: five-star hospitality, modern comforts and gorgeous views.
- Cascade Country ManorKnown for: serene atmosphere, beautiful grounds and exceptional service.
- Perle Du CapeKnown for: its homely feel, modern interior, friendly staff and personalized service.
When planning a vacation in South Africa, it's important not to exclude iconic destinations such as Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. The combination of rich culture, picturesque landscapes, exceptional cuisine and award-winning wines makes the Cape worth visiting. Let one of our Experts help you plan the trip of a lifetime.