Paarl is scenic town where wine, history, nature and culture meet to create an experience unlike any other.
Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa and lies deep within the Cape Winelands, tucked away in a beautiful valley between the Drakenstein Mountains and Paarl Mountain with the characteristic three enormous granite boulders landmark. It is the largest of the winelands towns with a deep-rooted history and culture.
Renowned for its beautiful countryside, excellent wines and incredible architecture, the town of Paarl is but an hour’s drive from Cape Town and only 30 minutes from Stellenbosch. The town was settled in 1687 where some the finest examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Gregorian architecture can be found. One such building is the famous Nederburg Wine Estate, built in 1800 in the form of an H with yellowwood shutters, beams and doors, Batavian floor tiles and a beautifully proportioned Cape Dutch gable. Paarl is also home to the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.
Paarl has a deep-rooted history that dates back as far as 1657 when the fiscal Abraham Gabemma arrived in the valley and named the area “de Diamondt en de Peerlberg”, translating to “the diamond and pearl mountain). The Paarl Museum provides an in-depth look at the town’s history from the early beginnings to European colonisation and slavery. The Afrikaans Language Monument (Taalmonument) and Museum, built on the sloped of Paarl Mountain in the mid 1970’s is one of the towns major attractions – Paarl is the birthplace of and where the struggle for recognition of Afrikaans as a written language, a creole based language previously known as “Kitchen Dutch”, took place.
The town of Paarl, big enough to be a small city with a 12km long main road, is unique in character with vineyards that grow throughout the town and in between the residential neighbourhoods. The Paarl Wine Route, consisting of over 25 wine cellars, is also known as the “Red Route” because of the large variety of grapes that grow here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The warm temperatures, fertile soil and amount of rainfall are ideal for growing vineyards. The famous Co-operative Wine Growers’ Association, better known by its Afrikaans initials, “KWV”, is located here and has international reputation for the quality of its brandies.
Besides wine and history, Paarl is a beautiful town where nature is the reality of everyday life. There are many outdoor excursions that can be had on the Boland and Drakenstein Mountains. The Limietberg Nature Reserve has many hiking, walking and cycling trails and is a place of true tranquillity and conservation. Day trips to the Drakenstein Lion Park where captive born predators are given sanctuary is always a great family outing as are fullmoon picnics held at the Afrikaans Language Monument and every Saturday the Laborie Lazy Dayz Market presents itself to a lovely outing for family and friends.
Accommodation in Paarl presents itself in a variety of beautiful and luxurious guesthouses, self-catering units and bed and breakfasts on wine estates with views of the spectacular Cape Winelands. In addition, Paarl accommodation considers all travellers with a variety of needs and budgets. Whatever experience you are seeking in the Cape Winelands, Paarl will cater to your needs.