If you’re looking for the ultimate day trip from Cape Town to Franschhoek, then look no further than the Franschhoek Wine Tram. The hop-on hop-off train, as it’s also known amongst locals, has become one of the most popular things to do in the Cape Winelands as it’s the best way to experience wine tasting in Franschhoek. We recently took a scenic drive to the Winelands with our little one to explore the Franschhoek Wine Tram purple line.
Discover the Franschhoek Wine Tram Purple Line
The wine tram currently has 6 tours available: Franschhoek Wine Tram purple line, orange line, blue line, green line, red line and the yellow line. These lines, or routes, take you on a journey through the Franschhoek Wine Valley where you decide what you want to explore and what you want to skip! The Wine Tram bus departs from the ticket office in the Franschhoek main road from where you’ll either be transported to the Groot Drakenstein station or your first wine farm (depending on the line you’ve chosen).
The list of Franschhoek wine estates to visit on the wine tram is extensive and on the purple line alone, you can look forward to exploring: Vrede en Lust, Plaisir de Merle, Allee Bleue, Noble Hill, Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Glen Carlou and Solms-Delta! Of course we didn’t get around to hopping off at every single stop, so below are the choices we went with on the day.
Vrede en Lust
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Our first stop was Vrede en Lust for breakfast at Lust Bistro and Bakery. They serve the most delicious crumpets which also has the most generous portion of bacon I’ve seen! The Terbodore coffee kept the coffee lover in me content. The staff were very helpful with our little one and assisted us with a high chair while constantly checking in to confirm if we were okay.
Vrede en Lust has beautiful gardens just begging to be explored. They also offer daily cellar tours and a delicious Lindt Chocolate and wine pairing. Franschhoek Wine Tram purple line patrons enjoy a R25 for 5 wines tasting. And if you happen to drive an electric car, you’ll be glad to know they’ve got a BMW charging station too!
What I particularly enjoyed (and baby did too!) at Allée Bleue is the tractor ride through the vineyards to the tasting room. The tasting room itself also has spectacular vineyard views both indoors and outdoors. You have the option of choosing between a set selection of wines (R25) or your own choice of wines (R45). We chose both and the Starlette Blanc was an outright favourite with me.
For the cheese lovers there’s a wine and cheese pairing (R100). They also serve delicious cheese platters (R165 each) which can be enjoyed with your wine tasting. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are their most popular wines and I could clearly see why with its crisp fresh taste.
We didn’t have a chance to pop in at The Marche farm shop and Bistro which is situated right at the entrance of the estate. Moms will be very glad to hear that Allee Bleue is child-friendly – with a jungle gym, jumping castle and kiddies menu to keep them happy for hours!
It wouldn’t be wise to choose the Franschhoek Wine Tram Purple Line and not hop off at Babylonstoren! Rows and rows of picture perfect fruit and vegetable gardens just waiting to be strolled in – there’s even a cacti maze! Their glass tasting room overlooking a section of the vineyards is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and has that ‘linger longer’ effect. I loved their Mourvèdre Rosé which was also voted amongst the top 10 rosés in South Africa.
Babylonstoren has two restaurants (Babel and The Greenhouse), an onsite spa as well as accommodation. There’s also plenty to keep the little ones entertained, like cute donkeys and a bakery which sells yummy goodies. Please bear in mind that the farm has an entrance fee of R10-R20 which will be added to your wine tasting account if you’re travelling with the Franschhoek Wine Tram or payable at the gate if you came with your own transport.
Good to know before hopping on the Franschhoek Wine Tram
There is no ‘best route’ or ‘best line’ on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. All lines lead to equally amazing Franschhoek wine farms and most of the routes feature the same estates so you won’t miss out by choosing either one. Wine Tram tickets cost R220 for adults and R90 for children under 17 and can either be bought online or at the Franschoek Wine Tram ticket office in Huguenot road, Franschhoek. The Wine Tram operates on a strict time schedule, so if you miss your departure tram at the ticket office, availability on the next departing wine tram cannot be guaranteed.
The tour operates in one direction; therefore you’ll only have one opportunity to hop off at each stop/wine estate – so choose wisely! We found the 1 hour pick up to be too short to properly enjoy a wine farm and 2 hours too long (unless you’re at Babylonstoren of course!). So my advice would be to plan your wine farm visits in advice by working out an itinerary for the day and making booking arrangements accordingly.
Contact: +27 21 300 0338 | www.winetram.co.za | firstname.lastname@example.org