Paarl is more than a wine destination

Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Tulbagh, and Wellington form the backbone of the Cape Winelands. But it’s the town of Paarl that surprised us the most; offering more than wine tasting.

With its giant granite outcrop with three rounded domes, Paarl is only an hour away from Cape Town and happens to be the third oldest European settlement in South Africa.

Pronounced ‘Pêrel’ in Afrikaans, it’s actually spelled Paarl in both English and Afrikaans. When it rains, the round domes shine like a ‘Pêrel’ hence where the name derived from.

Boasting the longest main street in the country – all 12 kilometers of it, Paarl has so much history and culture which is evident when you walk along the main street.

With Paarl being the birthplace to Afrikaans, separate from Dutch; the town has many examples of Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and Cape Dutch buildings, it’s still one of the most beautiful and fun parts of the Cape Winelands to visit. 

As much as Paarl is home to a diverse range of wineries, there are many other activities in and around Paarl to keep you and your family entertained.

Do a Hike with Hero Adventures Trails

Paarl is spellbound by nature and, Hero Adventure Trails utilized its beauty with two trail starting points: Hero Adventure Rhebokslook and, Hero Adventure Spice Route – each with various trails ranging from beginners, moderate and difficult.

We did our hike from Spice Route with our trusted guide, Darren Herbst whose passionate about getting more people to do outdoor activities yet creating a tourism opportunity that can benefit the community of Paarl.

What makes these trails so unique is the stopover points. From restaurants, wine, and olive tastings, visiting museums and other artisans shops, it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

For only R80.00 per adult, receive a day pass to the entire trail network or, purchase an annual permit; giving you unlimited access to all the Paarl Adventure Trails and Hero Adventure Trails for R1000.00.

Spend some time at Spice Route

Spice up your weekend at Spice Route

I’ve been to the Spice Route before so for anyone who visited in the past will know a return visit is a must!

Spice Route is not only for wine lovers. It’s a fun-filled outing for the whole family or, even a group of friends to appreciate. And no. It’s not about spices. It merely showcases the best in artisanal produce that allows artisans to share their love for what they do in their unique fashion; food, wine, and crafts.

Wine and Brandy Tasting at KWV Emporium

To be fair, you can’t explore Paarl without at least one tasting experience at any of the wineries. KWV Emporium offers more than one; providing you with enticing pairings you never thought would work well together.

If you want to do a tasting than the usual wine one, try the brandy one. Even if brandy isn’t your drink choice, it’s the experience that counts.

There are 4 tastings ranging from 5, 10, 15 and, 20-year-old brandy for R45.00. I also learned that brandy doesn’t mature in the bottle as wine does. It actually ages in the barrel itself.

Besides the tastings, you can also book a 90-minute wine or brandy tour. Or if you want another level of beverage experience, do the Brandy Blending Experience with the Brandy Master.

Do a Tour with Paarl Historical Tours

I’ve had guided tours before but I never enjoyed a historical walk the way I did with Hybré van Niekerk from Paarl Historical Tours.

Her passion for Paarl and her knowledge of the historical occurrence during the establishment of the town is impressive. The manner in which she does storytelling is so captivating that we really did not want it to end.

It’s worth every minute booking a tour guide that with every question you have about a person, building, or cultural events that took place in Paarl, Hybré will surely know the answer too.

Have Lunch at Backs

There’s nothing like an easy and quick lunch treat than going to Backs in the Main Street of Paarl.

With a relaxing setting and a cozy atmosphere, you bound to stay longer than expected. I had the Hake and Chips encased in a special CBC beer batter, served with triple fried potato chips, and a side salad. Or, have their Beef Burger which Courtney loved.

Explore the Taal Monument

Erected in 1975 to commemorate the semi-centenary of Afrikaans as an official language, Taal Monument is an iconic structure shaped in a number of tall obelisk style columns.

The views from up top are spectacular; overlooking the town of Paarl and sights of Table Mountain. Make a day out of it by having a bite to eat at the restaurant on top of Paarl Mountain with the best seat in the house.

The entrance fee is R40.00 per person and opens from Monday to Sunday from 08:00–17:00.

Visit the Alpaca Loom Farm

Unique experiences are often hard to come by but visiting the Alpaca Loom Farm is just the right amount of fun.

Get to see Alpacas up close and personal. I had them run directly to me and it’s not a pretty sight but I laughed so hard that it will forever be a memory ached into my mind.

Spend some time feeding them, browsing around the handcrafted alpaca wool products, having a slice of carrot cake at the coffee shop or, do the Alpaca Barn Tour.

Where to be staying in Paarl

There is definitely no shortage of accommodations in and around Paarl so you won’t be stranded if you booking your next getaway in this Winelands gem.

We stayed at Foundations Stone Guesthouse, situated in Main Street which is within walking distance of various restaurants, shops, and museums.

They can accommodate up to 8 people with options for couples and solo travellers alike. Each room facilitates a bathroom, TV, a mini-fridge with a coffee and tea section as well as a desk area for people who are on business.

The establishment has been operating the last 4 years and, it’s a beautiful venue for anyone looking to unwind. It’s affordable and, you won’t have to worry about breakfast since it is a B&B.

There is something for everyone in Paarl. It’s rich in history and culture with gorgeous architecture, perpetual vistas of vineyards and, many activities both families and friends can enjoy.

There’s plenty of hiking, walking, and cycling opportunities; offering spectacular views, fresh air and, an amazing experience of the Western Cape outdoors.


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Till the next adventure.

Stephanie Marthinus Blog

DISCLAIMER: I was invited by Drakenstein Municipality. The information and images are my own. It’s written in good faith and will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the websites.