The Winelands Holidays

South Africa's wines are internationally renowned but the Winelands region is fast turning into a foodie destination too. It's also incredibly scenic with picturesque vineyards that extend as far as the eye can see and traditional Cape Dutch architecture. Just 45 minutes from Cape Town it's an easy day out, but why not stay a couple of nights and sample the produce in a more leisurely fashion?

The Winelands district contains the earliest European settlements at Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Somerset West, each with its own wine route, on which you travel from one estate to the next to taste the wines. If you're looking to drink in the scenery, rather than the wine, the Winelands are best explored by car, however if you are keen to taste the local wine, then you can join a tour or perhaps hire bicycles to explore one of the wonderfully scenic wine routes.

The Stellenbosch Winelands are considered to be the capital of the South African wine industry with some of the world's most acclaimed wines produced on these estates. Surrounded by mountains it's an elegant town, characterised by oak-lined streets and whitewashed buildings, many of Cape Dutch origin. The town's wine route comprises five different options encompassing some 100 estates, which are open to the public, including one of the most well known at Spier.

The town of Franschhoek owes its name, which means French Corner, to the Huguenots who settled there in the 18th century. Lying around 17 miles north east of Stellenbosch the Franschhoek Valley is lined with spectacular mountain peaks with vineyards clinging to the slopes. Franschhoek is also home to some of South Africa's top restaurants, which along with the strong winemaking heritage, have helped make it what many describe as the 'food and wine capital' of South Africa. You'll also find wonderful crafts, antique shops, galleries and for the more energetic there are numerous walking trails in the surrounding mountains, cycling and horse riding.

Founded in 1687 Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa. It quickly established itself as a centre for fine wines, many of which are considered amongst the best in the world, particularly red wine. Surrounded by mountains and vineyards and set on the banks of the Berg River, Paarl is a charming town home to Cape Dutch architecture, a good range of places to stay and like its neighbours it has a wine route and some excellent restaurants.

    Why visit The Winelands?
  • Breathtaking scenery
  • Fine wines
  • Warm hospitality
  • World class cuisine


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Essential facts about The Winelands
Local Time

GMT +2 hours

Currency

South African Rand

Travel information

Many of the towns in the Winelands are within driving distance of Cape Town, which in turn is approximately 12 hours flight (non-stop) from the UK.

Best time to go

The Winelands are located within the Western Cape and can be visited throughout the year. The peak season is during the summer when you can expect fine weather, from around October to March. From around June to August the weather can be cold and rain can be expected, however as most of the hotels have welcoming log fires you can still enjoy the wine!

Travelling with children

Parents travelling with children into or out of South Africa may be asked to show the child’s unabridged full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, parental or legal consent for the child to travel (eg an affidavit from the other parent, a court order or – if applicable – a death certificate). You should travel with these documents in case you’re asked to provide them. There are other requirements for children travelling unaccompanied or with adults who are not their parents. For more information, contact the South African High Commission www.southafricahouseuk.com or the South African Department of Home Affairs www.dha.gov.za.