Up until this point in the trip, we had been sleeping in tents, on planes, or roughing it along the Garden Route. We a holiday from our holiday, as annoying people say. Luckily we were on our way to Franschhoek, which is maybe one of the most gorgeous and relaxing places in the world.
The drive in was out of this world, actually. The landscape was stunning – it felt a bit like I was back in Spain in the Picos de Europa, but even more gorgeous. The couple we met and ended up spending most of our time with had hiked up these mountains, and they said it was one of the most exhausting hikes they’d ever done, but also one of the most beautiful. It’s easy to understand why.
Buzzing from our drive in, we got to our Airbnb and were pleased to find a big, beautiful space, along with a bottle of local wine, waiting for us. Our host was amazing, even offering us an extra night for free because no one had booked!
We took the first night easy, walked into town for a chill one and after a bit of an exploratory wander we decided on pizza at Col’Cacchio Pizzeria. There was live music, good pizza, and a lively vibe. We loved Franschhoek instantly.
franschhoek wine tram
We woke up early the next morning to do what was a huge highlight of the trip – the wine tour on the Franschhoek wine tram! Imagine this… you’re in one of the world’s best wine regions. The sun is shining, the landscape is out of this world gorgeous, and you have nothing to do all day but sip on wine and maybe snack on a cheese board or two. What could make it better? Perhaps a beautiful tram that picks you up and drops you off a new location each hour, ensuring you pack as much into your day as possible without ever having to worry about logistics!
It lasts for about 6 hours, and be sure to pace yourself – they don’t pour taster sizes and it would be so easy to overindulge. Luckily our group kept it mostly together, and it was an INCREDIBLE way to spend the day. We linked up with another couple from Finland but who were living in the UAE, and had such a great time seeing the absolutely gorgeous wineries and sipping the insanely delicious wine. We brought one bottle back to London with us (it was all we could fit in our bags!) and it’s still there, waiting for us to drink it.
There are a few different routes, and we chose the Red Line because it focused on wines that are sold in the international market – there’s a chance we could find some of the wines we loved so much right here in London! Our highlights were Eikehof, Chamonix, and Dieu Donne. They all had very different vibes. Leopard’s Leap had the best wine, but was very modern and hotel-y, which was a less charming ambiance than Eikehof which was family run with gorgeous outdoor seating. Dieu Donne had incredible views, and the drive in and out to Rickety Bridge was the best of the trip (it becomes a wine tractor at one point!). We had to skip a few, and missed out on Franschhoek Cellar and Maison. I can’t think of one I’d have swapped out, so I think we made the right plan!
It ends early enough to grab dinner, and we were home with enough time to have a completely relaxing evening full of rehydration and He’s Just Not That Into You, a perfect way to end our time in the wine region.
- It cost about £12 per person for the tram, which included a welcome wine at most of the stops.
- The set tasting menus varied, but you were generally about £5 per winery. While not inexpensive, it doesn’t break the bank!
- It departs at 10:30 and 11:30 every morning. There are 8 stops and if you leave at 10:30 you can fit in six of them max, and at 11:30, five.
- Eat a lot of food! Most wineries offer a cheese board, some do a full lunch. Get breakfast at BICCCS which is delicious and has outdoor seating, and we obviously liked Col’Cacchio for a cheap and cheerful dinner.
You can find more details on the tram here here, but trust me that if you enjoy wine, camaraderie and incredible scenery, you do not want to miss this!