Thankfully, Franschhoek lacks the boisterous buzz of its bigger companion, Stellenbosch – a university town. Indeed, many leave Franschhoek off the itinerary, feeling that a trip to Stellies covers it all. To be clear, it doesn’t – Franschhoek has an entirely different nature.
Lying in the fertile Huguenot valley allocated to French Huguenots escaping religious persecution in France in the 1680s, Franschhoek is a quality wine-producing region, due to the wine making skills of the original settlers.
Vineyards creep up to the mountain slopes, surrounding historic Cape Dutch farmhouses. The town’s single street is lined with cafes and restaurants and part of Franschhoek’s allure are these restaurants. Eight out of the country’s top restaurants are to be found here, lending to the town’s unofficial title as the foodie capital of the Cape.
Here, you can experience a range of wine varietals from 30 wine cellars, choose from 28 restaurants, follow the Four Passes Fruit Route, or hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. The Franschhoek valley has recently launched a Cap Classique route that includes nine cellars, within a distance of 4km and teaches visitors about the methods of making Cap Classique.
What to do in Franschhoek
Sophisticated wineries and restaurants are a given in French-inspired Franschhoek, but if you’re feeling outdoorsy, the area also offers the beautiful Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve. Be sure to check out the many museums for your hit of history too.
Where to stay in Franschhoek
Where to eat in Franschhoek