Franschhoek, which translates from Dutch to ‘French Corner’, is a tiny slice of France in the spectacular Western Cape. The picturesque town is steeped in history that tells the story of the French Huguenots, who escaped religious persecution, bringing their culture and culinary expertise to South Africa in the late 1600s. A gourmand's dream, Franschhoek is the foodie capital of South Africa, with superb restaurants and wine estates on the menu.
Franschhoek is only a short drive from Cape Town, making it an ideal choice for a day trip or weekend getaway. Accommodation ranges from quaint cottages in town to delightful wine estates and countryside retreats, while the surrounding valley beckons with things to do on your Franschhoek getaway, from wine tasting tours to mountain biking trails.
Why we love holidays in Franschhoek
As the culinary capital of South Africa, the dining offerings are superb. Sit at chefs’ tables and enjoy their signature dishes in some of the country’s best restaurants.
You can hop on the Wine Tram and sample wines at excellent wine estates in the Franschhoek Valley.
Visit historic Babylonstoren, founded in 1692, to explore its magical garden and sample legendary produce at the Farm Shop, bakery or restaurant.
Enjoy a picnic on a wine estate.
Shop for collectables, homeware and food at Die Handelshuis.
Enjoy an artisanal chocolate tasting at Huguenot Fine Chocolates.
Take part in numerous outdoor activities, including fly-fishing, golf and cycling.
Irresistibly beautiful and with its own distinct personality, Franschhoek is a charming holiday destination. Experience the best of the little town and its magnificent surrounds on a holiday package in the Cape Winelands.
The nearest main centre serving Franschhoek is Cape Town.
You can fly into Cape Town and hire a car to drive to the Winelands.
Flight duration from Johannesburg to Cape Town: 2 hours, 5 minutes.
By road from Cape Town to Franschhoek: 1 hour, 13 minutes via N1.
You can also travel by car or train to Franschhoek. By car from Johannesburg: 14 hours, 8 minutes.
You can explore the Franschhoek town on foot. The best way to get around the surrounding Franschhoek Valley is via the hop-on-hop-off Franschhoek Wine Tram.
What must I pack?
Visiting the Cape Winelands is a mostly relaxed affair. You can get by with casual, comfortable clothing on most tasting tours. However, be sure to check the dress code at any fine dining establishments you plan to visit.
Flat, comfortable shoes are a must – especially if you're keen on vineyard or garden tours.
The sun can be scorching in the Winelands, especially in the summer – be sure to pack a sunhat, sunglasses and don't forget your sunscreen.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
Be water-wise. Franschhoek is in a water-scarce region and visitors need to use water as sparingly as possible.
Support the local economy. Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
Be safety conscious. Don't wander alone at night, and don't display cash and valuables.
What do I do in an emergency?
Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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