Vacations in Napa Valley are not just about touring wineries and wine-tasting. Although those activities are not to be missed, there are also lots of other things to do and places to go in the world-famous Californian wine region.

For starters, you would probably want to see the bigger picture of the Napa Valley as well as more convenient transportation. One of the great suggestions is going around the Napa Valley Wine Train, a fantastically-restored 19th-century line of railcars which runs from Napa to St. Helena. Enjoy sightseeing, on-board gourmet dinner as well as wine-tasting in this train’s three-hour-long ride.

If you’re travelling in a small group, experience touring Napa by a shuttle service. Worry- and hassle-free, this service includes a fixed itinerary, or an itinerary requested by the clients themselves. Visit wineries hand-picked by the operators, and their friendly chauffeurs will point other sites of interest as you go from one winery to the next.

If you’re a first-time traveler, you may feel intimidated about visiting wineries by yourself. They may be too expensive, or arranging for reservations may seem like too much of a hassle. Napa isn’t easy on the budget for the first-timer; most tastings run from $15-$20. But if you’re in the quest for cheaper wine-tasting, check out some great deals. You can take advantage of the $30 tasting card that Napa offers (https://donapa.com/wine-tasting-card/) which grants you access to any tasting rooms.

You may also visit smaller, boutique wineries that may not need a reservation or an appointment. Check out a few wineries that welcome walk-in visitors such as Pine Ridge Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, or the Hess Collection. When you feel like having a stopover for a sip, you may visit such wineries. However, please consider the occasion. Special days, like Valentine’s Day, may not be available for a walk-in visit. You’ll want to contact the winery to get more information. Many of these wineries feature spectacular views of the winery and some of them (such as the Hess Collection) also double as an art gallery or boast architectural wonders (like in the case of Castelo di Amorosa, a fortress/winery inspired by medieval Tuscan style).

A hot air balloon ride is also one of the things to do in Napa Valley. It will give the best vista out there — at an altitude of over 2,000 feet, you will be able to see stunning views of the Napa landscape — well-arranged rows of vineyards, valleys, and rolling hills as the sunrise greets them.

You may do the hot air balloon rides and visiting wineries without ever allotting your budget on each of them. Score great tours packages with Balloons Above the Valley where you can fly and at the same time visit wineries on the ground, depending on your preference. You don’t have to second-guess about the price because the rates have been established, which helps you to allow for some better budgeting. Some of our packages include:

  1. Sunrise Balloon Flight and Champagne Brunch ($209 per guest)
    • pre-flight breakfast
    • sunrise hot air balloon flight (usually for an hour)
    • post-flight champagne brunch
  2. Sunrise Balloon Flight, Champagne Brunch, Wine Tour ($608 per two guests)
    • pre-flight breakfast
    • sunrise hot air balloon flight
    • post-flight champagne brunch
    • 6-hour wine tour (wineries change daily)
    • picnic lunch at one of the visited wineries
  3. San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour ($836 per two guests, for two days)
    • 7-hour wine tour from San Francisco downtown inside a bus limo
    • stop at a vista point near the Golden Gate Bridge for photos
    • visits to two wineries in Napa and two in Sonoma
    • picnic lunch at one of the visited wineries
    • olive oil tasting
    • vineyard production tour at one of the wineries
    • pre-flight breakfast
    • sunrise hot air balloon flight
    • post-flight champagne brunch
    • optional shopping (at Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets) or sightseeing
    • transfer to ferry back to San Francisco (with free ferry tickets)

Aside from the wines, the Napa Valley is rich with offerings for the tourists. That’s why you’ll never get bored when you vacation in Napa Valley, whether you’re going only for the wine-tasting, having a hot air balloon adventure, or enjoying some of the other activities available in the area.

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