The United States’ premier winery region, Napa, is also among the world’s best. The Napa and Sonoma Valley houses over 600 wineries which compete with the best wineries in France, Spain, and Portugal. Napa especially serves as the unofficial headquarters of the wine region and is a city filled with beautiful vacation rentals, world-class restaurants, and the best wineries and vineyards in the country.
Napa is known for producing great wines as well as its natural beauty. Those that like the outdoors can visit the Land Trust of Napa, which consists of 55,000 acre land for hiking, biking, and kayaking. Those that would like to rent bikes can enjoy the 11 mile bike trail along the Calistoga. Located in the Carneros Hills, visitors can visit the 217 acre di Rosa + Nature Preserve, which houses some of Northern California’s best pieces of art founded by the eccentric Rene di Rosa.
There’s no surprise that most of the activities in Napa are centered on wineries and restaurants. Some of the more popular restaurants include Bistro Don Giovanni (great Italian food with indoor and outdoor seating), Celadon (upscale comfort food served in an intimate environment), Morimoto Napa (high end Japanese cuisine), Ristorante Allegria (Italian-Californian cuisine), and Zuzu (Riverfront restaurant offering Spanish tapas).
Some of the town’s best wineries include Beaulieu Vineyard (one of the region’s oldest producers of wine serving Cabernet), Robert Sinskey Wines (intimate sized tasting room with wine made from organic and biodynamic grapes, range of white and red wines), and Saintsbury (leading producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
For those that opt for a less expensive option there are numerous budget restaurants and establishments including Gott’s Roadside, popular for their burgers, sandwiches, fries and shakes, Hog Island for oysters, Tra Vigne for pizza, Goose & Gander for burgers & cocktails, and Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ. In addition, the area has dozens of free wine tastings and beautiful hills that make for fantastic picnic lunches.
Napa is part of the larger Napa Valley/Sonoma region so there are various other towns that are a bus ride or quick drive away. American Canyon is located at the southern end of Napa Valley and offers opportunities for wine tasting in the neighboring Carneros district and is a great starting point for anyone touring the Napa Valley. Lake Berryessa which is just east of Napa is known for its numerous water related activities such as boating, water skiing, swimming, and fishing. The town of Yountville boasts more Michelin star restaurants per capita than any other place in North America. The most popular restaurant in Yountville is French Laundry (three Michelin stars), Bouchon, Botega, and Bistro Jeanty. Referred to as the heart of Napa Valley, St. Helena is a charming town that has an extensive history with winemaking dating back to the 1800s. Calistoga enjoys breathtaking hilltop views while visitors taste their wine. Visitors can walk or take a shuttle to various family owned wineries, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and spas. Visitors can also visit neighboring Sonoma which is a wine capital in its own right as well as drive 90 minutes to the exciting city of San Francisco.
Napa enjoys a variety of intimate and picturesque inns, bed and breakfast establishments, and hotels. When thinking of accommodation in Napa, the priority should be location. A prime position next to the region’s best wineries and restaurants is vital to enjoy your experience in Napa. Some of the best known hotels include Auberge du Soleil (offers stunning views of Rutherford and the rest of Napa Valley), Avia Napa (cozy hotel with great views), and Beazley House (Napa’s first bed & breakfast near downtown Napa).
Napa is a walkable city (especially downtown) and visitors that are interested in exploring the countryside, the easiest option would be joining a bus tour of the city’s wineries. Some of the popular tours include Napa Valley Tours & Transportation, Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service, and Platypus Wine Tours.
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