Paarl is the third oldest European settlement in South Africa and is famous for its Pearl Mountain or ‘Paarl Rock’ that has been compared in majesty to Ayres Rock, and which overlooks a number of Paarl's wine estates. The rock was named by the explorer Gabbema who wandered through the area in 1657 and decided the granite rock, when glistening in the sunlight after a rainfall, looked liked like pearls and diamonds.

There are magnificent Cape Dutch buildings (17-19th Century), scenic drives, hiking trails and the Paarl wine route, with its many wine tasting opportunities and excellent restaurants. Among Paarl's most famous estates and wineries are Nederburg and KWV winery, the latter of which produces brands like Roodeberg and Imoya.

Paarl is actually where the foundations of the Afrikaans language were laid by the Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners, you can learn about this in the Afrikaans Language Museum and there is also a monument to the Afrikaans language on the slopes of Paarl Mountain.