Planning a Cape Town itinerary means including a little bit of everything – beach, mountains, city life, and, of course, wine. This post is all about the wine…the Franschhoek wine region in particular.
If you want to experience the best of the beautiful Cape Winelands, make sure to include a visit to the Franschhoek wine district.
Why the Franschhoek wine region?
Boasting a huge 20+ wineries, Franschhoek is renowned for its ever popular wine tram tours, exquisite food and five star accommodation.
The relaxed nature of the town, stunning scenery and slow place make this the perfect relaxing break, city escape or fantastic day trip.
Franschhoek has a huge French influence, with the name meaning the ‘French corner’ in Afrikaans.
Where is Franschhoek?
This incredible destination is located 60 kilometres outside the hustle and bustle of the Cape Town city and 30km to the ever popular wine district of Stellenbosch (here’s a few things to do in Stellenbosch). The town lies between the Franschhoek Valley and the Wemmershoek Mountains.
Join a Franschhoek wine tram tour
This is the number one attraction in Franschhoek, with trams covering 8 tram lines and 8 to 10 stops on each line (you can stay aboard and skip some stops if you wish). Tram times run every hour allowing some wine tasting, food and a look around before heading off to your next destination. Be aware though, the last tram runs at 4pm, so if you settle in to a winery for a few hours be sure to keep one eye on your watch or it could be a long walk.
Two wine stops you must make
Set on the side of the hills with views of the stunning Franschhoek mountain range and neighboring Stellenbosch, Dieu Donne offers a sense of freedom and a world away from everything.
Top Tip: This is the best place in Franschhoek to see the sunset.
Eikehof is a smaller, more family oriented winery and you really get a sense of what it might feel like to grow up immersed in this world. The family shared some great stories such as the history of the 1940’s Ford on display – which belonged to the owner’s grandfather who used it to plough the fields back in the day. Such intimate stories shared by the owners added to the warm experience we had here.
Food in Franschhoek
Franschhoek is known unofficially as the culinary capital of South Africa. It boasts first class fine dining, while still creating a relaxed aura and feel that is Franschhoek.
Our favourite restaurant in Franschhoek
For us it has to be the Monneaux restaurant, a restaurant set with a relaxed yet intimate environment. With three rooms and the flow of a house, this really set a scene of comfort. This certainly was an environment we could feel comfortable in while still appreciating all the formalities and professionalism of a top end fine dining restaurant.
The food prides itself on locally sourced suppliers and artisans, seasonal menus and simplicity with a view of not over complicating things.
We enjoyed a small plates tasting menu trying 4 dishes and dessert. This is the way we like to eat getting many different flavours and textures. Presentation is fantastic and every dish was well executed.
Where to stay in Franschhoek
We stayed at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas a short 10 minute walk from the center of Franschhoek. 5 star accommodation at it’s finest. With complimentary champagne on arrival and a great breakfast of freshly cooked dishes, fruits, pastries, meats and cheeses laid out each morning.
Get poolside and enjoy some sun with poolside dining and cocktails, the fresh views of the mountains and the old fashioned passing wine tram.
The hotel also has an onsite spa with many many options of packages to unwind and rejuvenate.
5 Other Things To Do In Franschhoek
Staying for a few days? Here is five other great things to do in Franschhoek.
1. Franschhoek Motor Museum
With over 100 years of history and over 200 cars the Franschhoek motor museum is a must for any car enthusiast.
2. Franschhoek Pass
The Franschhoek pass takes you into the mountains with stunning drives and views that you can only imagine exist.
3. First South African Perfume Museum
Franshhoek was once a budding perfume district with a whole host of perfumeries. At the museum you can find out all about the history behind this industry in this area.
A little fact the restaurant we ate in the, Monneaux was actually home to one of the first Perfumeries in Franschhoek.
4. Soul Barrell Brewing
If you’re all wined out and fancy a change, then look no further than Soul Barrel Brewing. A selection of independent craft beers with taproom and tours available.
5. Hike Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve
Mont Rochelle is a Unesco World Heritage Site situated just outside Franschhoek. With over 30 kms of hiking trails and is also home also to Richard Branson’s stunning hotel and vineyard.
If this doesn’t get you excited for some down time I’m not sure what will. We suggest going to unwind, slow down the pace and take it all in your stride.
A good three or four days would be a suitable trip, enough time to relax but enough time to tick a few trips off.
Placing this on a Cape Town trip is just perfect with the busy nature of Cape Town and so much to do, Franschhoek is just a perfect way to end.