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Cradled by mountains and hills and surrounded by a patchwork of vineyards, Franschhoek is one of South Africa’s oldest European towns, known for its wine production and 17th-century Cape Dutch architecture. Its name, meaning ‘French corner’ in Dutch, harks back to the late-17th century when French Huguenots fled here to escape persecution — you can learn more about this period at the Huguenot Memorial Museum.

Being in the heart of the Cape Winelands, it’s no surprise that most people come here for the wine — you can hop between the many wineries for tastings, whether by bike or aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram. The town itself is set along a leafy main street lined with galleries, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. And, with so much untouched countryside on your doorstep, including Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, you’ll find hiking trails aplenty.

Private wine tour with an expert

Wine tasting, FranschhoekIf you’re a true wine connoisseur or simply want to delve deeper into the art of wine making, we can pair you with a private guide who’s an expert in viticulture. They’ll make note of your wine preferences and any specific interests so they can try to plan visits to wineries that match your tastes, all while sharing their knowledge of the field so you come away with an even greater understanding and appreciation of wine.

You’ll begin in nearby Stellenbosch, where you’ll enjoy a tasting at a well-established wine estate. There’ll also be time to browse the town’s shops and cafes. Then, after lunch, you’ll visit some of Franschhoek’s more intimate, family-run wine farms for tours and tastings.

Franschhoek Wine Tram

Not only providing a convenient way to get from vineyard to vineyard, the hop-on, hop-off Franschhoek Wine Tram also gives you a chance to soak in the mountain views while sipping on a complimentary glass of wine. You’ll also experience a taste of history — some of the double-decker, vintage-style trams run on tracks that were originally constructed in 1904 for farmers to transport their produce from farm to market.

Departing from Franschhoek itself, you can choose from ten different routes, each stopping at eight or nine wine estates which vary from intimate, family-run farms to long-established, sprawling estates. Each stop offers a different experience, whether you opt to have a wine tasting (sometimes paired with chocolate, cheese, or other complementary foods), enjoy a gourmet lunch prepared using fresh local ingredients, or learn more about the wine-making process by touring the winery.

It’s up to you where you stop on your line, though the number of stops may depend on the time of day you set off and the tram’s schedule, which you’ll be given before boarding.

A guided cycle ride between wineries

Vineyards in StellenboschYou can join a three-hour cycle tour of the wineries surrounding Franschhoek, departing from the town itself. You’ll pedal along mountain passes and backroads to avoid traffic, soaking in views over the fist-like mountains and vine-woven valleys.

There’ll be up to three stops at different estates so you can sample their best vintages. At each, your guide will tell you more about the region’s history and wine-making heritage, plus you can learn about the process from grape to bottle.

Some sections of the cycle ride are uphill, but you can upgrade to an e-bike to make the pedaling easier, and your guide will try their best to ensure the pace suits your group’s fitness levels.

Best time to visit Franschhoek

You can visit the Cape Winelands at any time of year and experience fine weather, but it’s warmest and driest between September and April. It can be busy between November and February, so visiting before or after these months gives you a quieter experience. To experience harvest season, visit in March and April.

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who's been there
Audley Travel specialist Roseanna

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Franschhoek by contacting one of our South Africa specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Franschhoek

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Franschhoek, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Franschhoek

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Franschhoek

    Accommodation choices for Franschhoek

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Franschhoek. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Franschhoek

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Franschhoek, and which use the best local guides.

    • Franschhoek Wine Tram
      Franschhoek, South Africa

      Franschhoek Wine Tram

      Franschhoek Wine Tram

      This unique tram service runs from the historic Franschhoek Village and stops at some of South Africa's oldest and most renowned wine estates.

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    • Wine tasting on horseback
      The Winelands, South Africa

      Wine tasting on horseback

      Wine tasting on horseback

      What better way to explore the beautiful Winelands than on horseback.

      View details