Close to the ground.

GPS: S 33 43.873 E 018 57.770 pop. 130,000 | elevation 120 m/394 ft

Paarl Mountain proves a dramatic backdrop to the industrial hub of the winelands and the area's largest city. Notably marked by a behemoth monument, the town is a bastion of Afrikaner culture and heritage and if you look closely you'll see exquisite examples of traditional Cape Dutch architecture still standing side by side with Main Street's car dealerships. While the town itself pales in comparison to the beauty of its neighbors, top-notch surrounding vineyards and exceptional accommodation options make Paarl a pleasant base for wine touring.

Taal Monument

Taal Monument is a goliath structure perched atop Paarl Mountain. Though it may appear that it is giving a giant middle finger to the world, this monument's symbolism pays tribute to the roots of the Afrikaans language and the three continents that contributed to its evolution and development. Numerous shaded benches surrounding the monument offer a quiet respite. Free guided tours are available upon request.

Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is 1,910 hectares of rugged mountain and plateau of fynbos. The large network of hiking paths and roads make it extremely accessible. Highlights include the three large granite rocks dotting the peak of the reserve for which the town was named, pristine mountain lakes and the Meulwater Wild Flower Garden, which is perfect for picnics. There are multiple lookout points, but for the best views scale Bretagne Rock - on a clear day you can see False Bay and Cape Town's Table Mountain in the distance. None of the hiking trails are too strenuous, but some can be long, so it's best to consult the trail maps available at the Taal Monument or at the Tourism Information office on Main Street before you head out. For an easy two-hour stroll, try the Circular Route that starts at the Taal Monument. If nothing else, you should at least make sure to drive along the unpaved Jan Phillips Mountain Drive to take in the great views of the city. It's a sight not to be missed.

Afrikaans Language Museum

Afrikaans Language Museum is housed in the former home of Paarl businessman Gideon Malherbe, one of the founding members of the Association of True Afrikaners (ATA). The two-story museum explores the roots of the Afrikaans language and pays tribute to famous Afrikaners and others who struggled to elevate the language to a written form. The nominal multimedia exhibits include a map of the Afrikaner diaspora, various audio lessons, children's games and an oversized scrabble board.

Paarl Museum

Paarl Museum has a good collection of antiques, artifacts and photographs that depict the history and development of Paarl.

Wine Valley Horse Trails

Wine Valley Horse Trails offers a variety of packaged tours of the countryside on horseback or quad bikes. Tours can include wine tasting or dinner and can accommodate riders of all ages.

Paarl Mall

Paarl Mall has more than 100 stores and restaurants for all your shopping needs including department stores, fashion, home decor, and sports gear. There are also multiple ATMs and a Pick 'n Pay.


Berg River Resort

Berg River Resort is located 5 km south of Paarl and has riverside campsites with electricity and 15 self-catering chalets spread over the 1.5 km of river frontage. The river is perfect for swimming or canoeing (canoes are available for rent from the on-site café) and there is a small animal farm and kiddie pool with a waterslide. Head south out of Paarl on Main St/R45. About 1 km after passing under the N1, turn left onto R45/Franschhoek Rd. Continue 1.2 km to the signed left turn into Berg River Resort.


BelMonte Guest House

BelMonte Guest House is a newly constructed B&B perched on the slopes of Paarl Mountain that has excellent views of the valley below. The six sophisticated and spacious rooms and one private apartment feature paintings by local artists and offer a balcony or private garden access. The pool view can't be beat, there is easy access to Paarl Nature Reserve hiking paths and the organic vegetable garden stocks local restaurants with fresh produce.

Aan De Paarlberg

Aan De Paarlberg is a romantic guesthouse with chic yet rustic décor, tucked away among the rocky slopes of Paarl Mountain outside of the main city center. Each of the luxurious rooms, aptly named after area wine specialties, is uniquely decorated and offers a balcony, private garden or Jacuzzi for your pampering pleasure. The swimming pool and lapa have a braai and there is a fire pit in the nearby courtyard.

De Oude Paarl

De Oude Paarl is a lodge located on the main drag with 26 en-suite rooms that each look completely different from one another in décor and floor plan. Rooms surround a courtyard and swimming pool. There is also a steak house restaurant and a tapas and cocktail bar in the building.

Rodeberg Lodge

Rodeberg Lodge is a 1899 Victorian house-turned-B&B, run by two retired attorneys. The lodge has six bright and simple en-suite rooms. A hearty South African breakfast is served in the conservatory overlooking the lush backyard garden.

Top End

Grande Roche Hotel

Grande Roche Hotel offers exceptional service and lavish living in beautifully restored Cape Dutch buildings spread across a massive vineyard estate. Modern suites are tucked into the historic houses and are surrounded by an expanse of immaculate gardens. There are two onsite gourmet restaurants and a central swimming pool sundeck.

Paarl's scenic vineyards offer the best dining options in the area. Many employ gourmet chefs and meals are luxurious affairs when paired with the region's top wines. For dinner at a vineyard, it's best to book ahead. Other tasty options in town include the following.

Café Juno

Café Juno is a funky and arty bistro that doubles as an art gallery and winery. Picnic table dining in the front or on the back balcony is perfect for all-day breakfasts or long lunches. During 'Sunset Hour' (4pm-6pm), only snack platters of olives, hummus, cheeses and baguettes are available, but they are a tasty accompaniment to Juno wines.

Terra Mare

Terra Mare is an upscale second story restaurant with attentive service, exceptionally fresh fare and a hip vibe. The menu boasts a mix of Mediterranean and Italian fare, a variety of tapas and a large selection of fine local wines.

Marc's Mediterranean Cuisine & Garden

Marc's Mediterranean Cuisine & Garden broadly terms Mediterranean everything from Alsacean tarte flambée to Lebanese mezze, but the fare is delicious and is served in healthy portions. The restaurant has a warm and simple front room but head straight back to its namesake garden for lovely alfresco dining.


Noop is a local favorite with a large menu of salads, pizza, pastas, sushi, steak and a full page of desserts. Courtyard seating caters well to families and large groups. Meals start off with gourmet bread, fresh olive oil and balsamic vinegar infused with anise.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova is a cross between a wine cellar and sports bar that has specials on pizza and Jack Daniel's. It draws a sizeable crowd on the weekdays but is the heart of Paarl nightlife on the weekends. Find it above the La Romantica Bar.

La Romantica

La Romantica is a sports bar that serves brandy and oysters (R90/12). It was previously a 23-and-over cigar bar but is now open to a greater cross section of the general public.