Franschhoek Wine Valley
Breathtaking scenery, world-class cuisine, fine wines and a village atmosphere: these are the hallmarks of the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, settled more than 300 years ago by the French Huguenots.
Experience the Food and Wine Route, the Artisan Food Route, the Rond en Bont cultural route or the Cap Classique Route. Treat yourself to a Mystery Weekend or go to one of the festivals covering food and wine, art, literature and music.
In Franschhoek, breathtaking scenery, warm hospitality, world-class cuisine and the finest wines all combine to create lasting memories.
Franschhoek has long boasted a disproportionate number of South Africa’s top restaurants. Leading chefs create everything from cutting-edge cuisine to stylish light meals using the freshest produce of the valley, paired with magnificent local wines.
A member of The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World, Franschhoek boasts several of South Africa’s top 100 restaurants and has become known as the country’s culinary capital.
With numerous romantic venues from which to choose, Franschhoek is also a wonderful place to get married. A host of shops and galleries line the Main Street, providing a wonderful choice of boutique fashion and jewellery studios, world-class collections of artwork and photography, speciality delis and produce, and interesting bric-a-brac to browse.
For the more energetic there are numerous walking trails in the surrounding mountains – particularly in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve and in the Berg River area. You can also hire a bicycle and explore on your own, or go wine tasting on horseback. Visit Val de Vie for polo, or play golf at the breathtaking and award-winning Pearl Valley golf course.
The valley was originally settled in 1688 by French Huguenot refugees, who brought with them their age-old wine and food culture. There are a variety of cellars, from small boutique wineries that cater for those in search of something unique, to large cellars that offer organised tours and conducted tastings.
There is an array of cellars, ranging from quaint, boutique wineries to large cellars offering visitors organised tours and tastings. The area also produces some of the country’s most extraordinary Méthode Cap Classiques, which can all be enjoyed on a trip along the Franschhoek MCC Route.
Franschhoek is the place to relax, and is home to a host of premium-quality and serene wellness centres, spas, health shops and beauty parlours. Try spa facilities on wine farms, such as Holden Manz or Babylonstoren, or explore the variety of walk-in salons in the town itself.
For wine tasting with a difference, take a ride on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. Passengers on the hop-on, hop-off tour get to see the Franschhoek Valley in a unique, leisurely way aboard an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus, stopping in at wine estates.
- Climb aboard the Franschhoek wine tram: journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus, stopping at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates.
- Visit the gardens of Babylonstoren: beloved for its magnificent gardens that are laid out over eight acres, this historic Cape Dutch farm’s gardens comprise fruit, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a clivia tunnel and a plethora of trees of historical and botanical importance
- Explore the Franschhoek Cap Classique Route: the valley, renowned for producing outstanding Méthode Cap Classique wines, has a total of 24 producers, giving visitors to the area an all-round experience of what Franschhoek has to offer
- Wear your beret at the annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival: be French for a day and sample the superb wines on offer, or tickle your taste buds with the selection of delicious gourmet fare available from some of Franschhoek’s well-known eateries
- Learn to cook at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards: cooking classes are presented in the state-of-the-art and exceptionally well equipped Leopard’s Leap kitchen, accommodating 22 students per class. Each student has his/her own cooking station, with individual stove and utensils
- Enjoy tea with a Franschhoek local: visitors to Die Teesakkie are welcome to enjoy morning or afternoon tea in the beautiful garden, set among fruit trees and vegetable plants. Owner Ruth Paulse (known as Aunty Ruth) is famous for her carrot cake, and her produce is likely to come fresh from her garden
- See Franschhoek from the top of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve: the reserve is situated in part of the UNESCO Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve Situated in the Franschhoek Mountains, the reserve boasts spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley (on a clear day one can see as far as Table Mountain), diverse plant life and well-maintained hiking and walking trails. Spectacular fynbos diversity includes proteas, pincushions, ericas, restios and more
- Look back at more than 100 years of motoring history at the Franschhoek Motor Museum: its collection exceeds 220 vehicles – from an 1898 Beeston motor tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar – more than 80 of which are on view at any given time
- Indulge in some handcrafted Belgian chocolates: the perfect way to end your day in Franschhoek – Huguenot Fine Chocolates, in the main street of Franschhoek, offers a delicious range made with the finest imported Belgian chocolate in view of visitors. There is also the regular Chocolate Experience, a half-hour programme of tasting demonstrations and chocolate history
Franschhoek prides itself on its annual Bastille Festival, the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival and Franschhoek Uncorked. Watch the media for a variety of art shows, events and concerts throughout the year, including the Franschhoek Literary Festival in May.
The Most Spectacular Gardens in South Africa’s Winelands
Spring and Summer in South Africa is the ultimate time to hit the road in search of gorgeous gardens. From the natural splendour of the Namaqualand wild flowers, to perfectly manicured wine estates, and the national treasures of botanical gardens in between.
Our wine routes and valleys play host to a vast variety of gardens that can be experienced in many different ways.
Top Winter Winelands Experiences
Bianca Coleman, journalist and curator of Eat.Play.Drink.Cape Town, writes for us on her top winter experiences that make venturing out to the Winelands worthwhile.
It's almost time for the annual Franschhoek Summer Wines festival!
Summer is in full swing and it’s the perfect opportunity to sample seasonal inspired wines at the annual Franschhoek Summer Wines on Saturday, 3 February, at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards. An intimate and exclusive social calendar highlight where the Franschhoek Vigneron’s choices for Summer will be showcased.