Franschhoek: Superb Wine & So Much More

Franschhoek is the prettiest of the Cape Winelands towns. Tucked amongst vineyards and craggy mountain peaks, this small town (a village, really) has one main street lined with cafes, bistros and fine dining restaurants.

That’s what draws visitors to Franschhoek: superb food and award-winning wine. But it might surprise you to hear that families love Franschhoek as much as foodies do. Why? In the words of Giltedge Senior Consultant Amina Brandt:

“Going to Franschhoek feels like a holiday!”

There’s so much to do in this beautiful valley. To give you a small taste, read about Amina and a few of her colleague’s recent one-night stay at La Clé des Montagnes.

La Clé des Montagnes: Luxurious Home in the Winelands

We arrived in the early evening at La Clé des Montagnes, a lovely property on a working wine estate. La Clé has four villas, each with its own unique feel; the rich colours, patterned fabrics and original artworks all working beautifully together.

All the villas have butler service. We were welcomed with drinks and sushi served out on the patio of Le Colonial (a 4-bedroom villa). And later – after opting for a relaxed evening in – our butler ordered pizzas and baked us a malva pudding (a delicious South African dessert). We were so well looked after; we couldn’t help but feel at home.

Each villa at La Clé has comfortable living spaces and huge bedrooms. Start your days with breakfast on the patio, and when you tire of exploring come back to relax around your private pool. Amazing! You feel like you’re right out in the Winelands with those wonderful vineyard-and-mountain views, yet it’s actually just a few minutes’ walk to the centre of Franschhoek.

A great Winelands getaway that’s highly recommended for families or special occasions.

Escape+Explore: Cycling in the Winelands

The next morning after breakfast we were picked up by our guide from Escape+Explore. These guys have got it right when it comes to fun days that are organised yet flexible. So if you wake up after one too many glasses of chardonnay and cycling no longer sounds like fun – no problem! There’s always a Plan B (C and D) up their sleeves.

Our guide took us into Franschhoek where he arranged mountain bikes, helmets and a map. Then we set off cycling through town and out along dirt tracks past vineyards and mountains with everything looking so fresh and green. Such a beautiful cycle!

We cycled to GlenWood Vineyards for a wine tasting and cellar tour. Here we were met by the winemaker herself, who took us through the wine making process while sharing anecdotes about her journey as a winemaker. This made the experience really interesting and personal. It’s amazing how much work goes into every bottle of wine!

From there we cycled back to Franschhoek, and stopped in at Terbodore coffee roasters for a cup of their delicious coffee. Our guide then drove us to Boschendal wine estate via an incredible viewpoint. At Boschendale he organised picnic baskets packed with cheeses, cold meats and freshly baked bread – while we lounged about on picnic blankets.

So yes, our brief winelands getaway did involve a fair amount of really good wine! But if you’re travelling with kids, don’t scratch Franschhoek off your list! La Clé des Montagnes is such a great spot for families, and Escape+Explore will arrange days around you: mountain biking, horse riding, family picnics, SUPping on a beautiful dam … there really is something for everyone.

Franschhoek lies about an hour’s drive from Cape Town and is a fantastic addition to any Cape Town holiday.

Contact a Giltedge consultant to find out more.