Famous for its small historic towns, its dramatic landscape with vines stretching across rolling fields surrounded by imposing mountains, its great food, and of course its fabulous wine, the Cape Winelands region is a must for most people visiting Cape Town.
Sample the wine and even enjoy a picnic out on the lawn at some of the 150 wine estates, many in grand manor houses with beautiful gardens in picture-perfect settings. Stay at Mont Rochelle Hotel or Hawksmoor House for classic architecture amongst endless vineyards. The main towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Tulbagh, Wellington and Somerset West are all within easy driving distance from each other and only an hour’s drive or so east of Cape Town.
Franschhoek, considered the prettiest town in the Winelands, is the region's gourmet hotspot, and La Residence has opulence and fine dining in spades. Stellenbosch, the region’s capital, has the largest number of estates. For a more rural experience, the additional hour or so up to Hermon or Tulbagh is well worth it. Consider spending a few days in this region to make the most of all the other activities on offer besides wine tasting, including golf, fly-fishing, hiking and ballooning to name a few.
The West Coast above Cape Town is also idyllic, with lesser-known vineyards, nature reserves and a quiet white-sand shoreline. We especially like Paternoster, a quaint fishing village and secret foodie destination. It's 2.5 hours north of Cape Town but well worth the trip, popular with weekending Capetonians.