Paarl
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Introduction

The town of Paarl is nestled in the Western Cape winelands and is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Cape Town. It was founded in 1720 as a farming and wagon-building town and is now the largest of the inland towns in the Western Cape. It boasts one of the country's longest main roads stretching for over 10 kms and is home to an impressive array of Dutch and Victorian architecture. An early Dutch explorer christened the valley as the "Pêrelvallei" or "Paarl Valley" because the glistening boulders of the Berg River towering over the valley reminded him of a diamond and pearl hill. A visit to Paarl is recommended for tourists and locals alike. If buildings and history are just not your thing then the notorious wine farms are sure to captivate you!
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What to See


Taal Monument
Taal Monument
Three linked columns form the "taal", translated as language, monument erected on the top of the hill overlooking Paarl. It is symbolic of the origins of the Afrikaans language owing the creation thereof to the people of Africa and the eastern and western worlds. The views of the valley from up here are wonderful and its locality has been utilised for an amphitheatre for showpieces in the summertime.

Strooidakkerk
Strooidakkerk
Literally translated as "straw roof church" is situated on Main road near the centre of town. As the name depicts, the roof of the church is thatched and therefore easy to spot. Its gardens are home to a cemetery.

Oude Pastorie
This beautiful building is directly opposite Strooidak Church. It was originally the parsonage and is now a Cape Dutch museum containing furniture, copper and silverware from years gone by.

Toring Kerk
Toring Kerk Church
This church dominates its surrounds on Main Road with its whitewashed walls and bell tower. Situated behind it is Paarl Museum featuring the history of Paarl. The façade of the museum is straight out of a picture book.

La Concorde
You will find the headquarters of the worlds largest wine co-operative KWV (Ko-operatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging) in this building. The wine and brandy cellars that are open to the public can be found on Kohler Street. Here you can go on a cellar tour and participate in tastings.

Zederberg Plein
The Plein or square has some beautifully kept buildings and is worth a quick look.


What to Do


Paarl Tour Guide
To experience Africa and Paarl from a local point of view, you can visit our associate specialist tour guide, Cape Options, based in Cape Town for - Paarl Guided Tours.

Wine Tasting
Laborie
Paarl is a major wine producing region of the world, wine tasting in Paarl is an excellent way of discovering the intricacies of the excellent red and white wines and brandies produced in the region.

You'll find more on the areas vineyards and wineroute at www.paarlonline.com or with the links to some of the vineyards in the Paarl region listed below.

 

Walking and Hiking
The Paarlberg Nature reserve caters for nature lovers with routes that are easy and short, to those that are longer and more challenging. For more details you can approach the Nature reserve directly or alternatively contact the Paarl Tourism and Information office at Paarl Online.

Eat out
Whether you fancy a lazy lunch under the trees on a picnic blanket sampling some of the locally produced virgin olive oils and cheeses or a sit down meal, there are plenty of places to satisfy your hunger in Paarl. Drive along Main road and take your pick, visit a restaurant on a wine estate or be enchanted by what the farm stalls have to offer.

Sightseeing
Paarl Museum
Visit the museums, galleries and churches for what makes for an interesting history lesson about Paarl.

Cellar Tour
Public access for the KWV Cellar tour is on Kohler Street. Find out more about KWV wines and see the huge wine barrels that are used as a venue for parties and other occasions! The tours are scheduled at various times of the day so contact the cellar directly or the Paarl Tourism and Information office to plan your day accordingly.


What to Eat


Beer
South African beers include Castle, Hansa, Black Label and Amstel alongside the popular Namibian imports Windhoek and Tafel. Complementing these are a wide range of foreign imports such as Heineken, Becks and other big names.

Boerewors
A South African speciality sausage very popular at braais. Different varieties of boerewors are widely available. Dried boerewors, or droewors is also very nice as a snack.

Cape Wines
The Western Cape has excellent red and white wines grown locally. There are plenty of varieties and styles to please even the pickiest of palettes. Local wine estates are open for visits, sales and tastings to the public. The prices are affordable and the settings are beautiful. The wine producing areas of Franschoek, Stellenbosch, Robertson and Paarl are of particular interest to wine connaisseurs.

Cap Classique
Cap Classique is South Africa's very own bubbly. The traditional Methode Champagnoise is used to produce this excellent southern hemisphere champagne. Not all wine estates produce Cap Classique but it is worth a try if offered on the tastings card.

Seafood
Being a coastal region, fresh crayfish, lobster, mussels, fish and prawns are widely available in restaurants and shops. Calamari is particularly popular in the Western Cape and a fish called snoek, similar to barracuda is good smoked or fried.

Biltong
Biltong is dried beef or game meat. The most popular types are beef, kudu, impala and springbok and come in different flavours including chili. It's a great snack but not the best for the old ticker.

Pies
Pies are widely available as a quick bite to eat while on the go. They aren't very healthy but will do when time is pressed.

Potjiekos
A Potjiekos is a meaty South African type of stew done in a steel pot on an open fire called a braai. Lamb, beef, chicken and curries are all commonly done in a Potjie.

Bobotie
A traditional South African Cape Malay dish. It consists of rice, minced beef, egg and sultanas with spices. Delicious, especially with some mango chutney.

Treats
Milk tart and koeksisters are great desserts. For breakfast, have some rusks and dip them in your coffee.

Braaivleis
Barbecued meat - enjoy the meats of South Africa, they are of great quality and delicious when cooked properly. Game is particularly good and is a healthy alternative to beef.


Where to Sleep


Hotels
You can find excellent hotels in Paarl and South Africa. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Paarl. Find Hotels.

Hostels
There are hostels and cheap accommodation in Paarl. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable.

Bed & Breakfast
There are numerous excellent bed & breakfast accommodation options available in and around town, try one our booking services mentioned above to find a place to lay your head down at night.


How to Move


Airport
The closest airport to Paarl is Cape Town International and is about 45 minutes away from town.

The national carrier of South Africa is South African Airways and you can book flights with them at www.flysaa.com

Find out more about the airport of Cape Town at www.airports.co.za

Car
A car is the best way to visit Paarl and the surrounding area. The roads are in good condition but drivers are not to be trusted, drive defensively. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road here. Some areas, notably townships, are best avoided while driving. Stay to main roads and highways to avoid any possible mishaps.


Locals


Language
South Africa has 11 official languages so you will hear a variety of dialects. The most widely spoken in Stellenbosch are Afrikaans and English.

Time Zone
GMT +1 or +2, depending on the time of the year.

Currency
South African Rand

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