Napa Valley Tour Guide-FAQs (2020)
The City of Napa is 70 km north of San Francisco airport and 48 km north of downtown San Francisco. Most tourists come to spend 2 to 3 days at Napa valley after spending 3 to 4 days in San Francisco. A day trip of Napa Valley is hectic and visitors may not be able to see much of a valley. The local and international tourist travel either by rental car, taxi or public transport to Napa city. Local and International tourists who come just to visit Napa Valley, travel straight from San Francisco airport to hotel or resort in one of the cities in Napa Valley either by taxi, Uber, Lyft, or rental car.
Several cities in Napa Valley offer decent rooms at the hotel for a reasonable price. The southernmost city of Napa Valley is Napa and the northernmost city of the valley is Calistoga. There are other cities like Yountville, Oak Knoll, and St Helen located between the city of Napa and Calistoga. Tourists can choose any one of these 4 cities depending on their choice of travel. Tourists in most cases prefer city and hotel depending on cost, ease of travel, and also the distance from wineries they want to visit. A visitor driving a rental car gives more preference to the town and hotel.
Tourist can drive to train station for train tour, visit multiple wineries and other places by rental car. The reason to visit Napa Valley is to explore the scenic vineyard and trip to the winery for wine taste. The trip to 2 or 3 wineries, as well as train tours, can take 4 to 8 hours each. It is difficult and may take an additional few hours to see vinery by public transport.
Most visitors see the valley and winery either driving by rental car or join one of the guided tours. Joining the guided tour is in most cases is a cost-effective way to see the valley and winery. The tourists travel with 20 to 30 guests on a guided tour and may not be allowed additional time to see the place or spend time in the gift shop. Also, the guided tour will take to popular places that are described in the itinerary.
How to Go to Napa Valley?
From San Francisco Airport to Downtown San Francisco
The visitor may decide to stay for a few days at a hotel in San Francisco before going to Napa Valley. Tourists can rent a car at the airport and drive to the hotel at San Francisco or take a taxi, Uber or Lyft. Make sure the hotel has a parking place. Parking is expensive in the city. Alternatively, visitors can take the BART train or shuttle bus to the city center. The train station is within walking distance and located close to the baggage claim.
From San Francisco Airport to Napa Valley
Most hotels and resorts offer a pickup vehicle from San Francisco airport to the hotel in Napa Valley. Alternatively, tourists can rent a car at the airport. If visitors do not want to rent a car and hotel transport is not available then guests can travel by taxi, Uber or Lyft. The driving distance is about 60 miles. Three highways are connected to Napa city. Driving from the airport can be difficult unless one is using GPS. The western highway 49 B goes north to the city of Mill Valley on the way to Napa Valley. The eastern highway goes to the city of Berkeley and then to Napa Valley. The driving distance to Napa city is about 60 miles either way and the time needed to reach Napa city is about 1 hour 30 minutes.
From Downtown San Francisco to Napa Valley
The fastest way to reach Napa Valley or one of the cities of Napa Valley is to rent a car or hire a taxi or Uber. Alternatively, visitors can take a ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf to sail across the bay of San Francisco to a small town known as Vallejo. The walk to the harbor of Fisherman’s Wharf from most hotels located around downtown is about 10 to 15 minutes. The ferry starts at Fisherman’s Wharf and in 15 minutes reaches the port of Vallejo across the bay. The travelers can see the beautiful view of the entire Angle and Alcatraz island. The coastal view of San Francisco is the best view to take a picture from the middle bay. Tourists can take a public bus from the port of Vallejo to Napa Valley. The bus service is known as “Napa Valley Vine Bus System”. The bus “Route 10” takes the passengers from the city of Vallejo to one of the 4 cities in Napa Valley. The distance between Napa city and Vallejo is about 20 miles and the distance between Napa city and Calistoga is 30 miles. The overall time needed to reach any one of the hotels in Napa city is about 2 to 3 hours from Fisherman’s Wharf and Calistoga could be 3 to 4 hours. The traveling costs range between $ 20 to $ 30.
When to Visit Napa Valley?
The harvest season is August through October and that is the best time to visit Napa Valley. Alternatively, visitors can spend time in the valley between March and May when it is less crowded.
How Many Days Should Visitors Stay at Napa Valley?
Tourists may need to stay 3 nights or more at Napa Valley. On arrival day most tourists explore the town and the resort. The following day of arrival, visitors generally take a train tour or tour with a local tourist bus to see the Napa Valley. The third day is spent at three or four selected wineries to taste the wines.
How To Plan A Visit To Napa Valley?
Local and International tourists need to plan the Napa Valley vacation ahead of time since most tourists try to visit the valley between August and October. The flights are less expensive if the tickets are purchased 3 to 6 weeks before the date of departure. The good hotels and resorts are sold out fast so it is better to reserve the hotel or resort accommodation at least 3 months ahead of the date of arrival. Similarly, the Napa Valley train tour or rental car should be reserved before arrival. Tourists should check with the resort or hotel if the airport pick up is available or not.
Where To Stay In Napa Valley?
International tourists stay at San Francisco downtown and take a train trip through Napa Valley to spend only one day to see and tour the valley. Though most local and few international tourists prefer to stay at the east side of Napa Valley at one of the cities between Napa and Calistoga. While some tourists prefer to stay west side of Napa Valley at one of the hotels or resorts in Sonoma county.
Visitors who may take a train tour prefer to stay in Napa city or close to Napa city. Those who try to explore the entire valley often stay 2 days at Napa city and 2 days at one of the resorts or hotels of Calistoga. Few tourists may prefer to stay at a resort in St. Helena or Meadowood. There are more than 400 vineries between Napa and Sonoma county
How Many Tourists Come To Napa Valley Every Year?
Every year over 3.5 million tourists come to Napa Valley. The majority of tourists come from different states of the USA. The number of tourists and dollars spent at Napa Valley has substantially increased over the last decade.
How To Select The Resort Or Hotels To Stay and Taste The Wine?
There is fierce competition between various wineries to attract tourists at their property. The Napa Valley wineries offer various deals like free drop and pick up from airport, spacious room, complimentary transport to the Napa railway station, and complimentary meals are included with the room fees. Few tourists also look for various features like a garden, lounge, and room furniture at the facilities. The prices for a hotel room in Napa Valley range from $ 120 to $ 300 per night per room with 2 occupancies. The resort fee ranges from $ 200 to $ 700.
The Tour of Napa Valley Wine Train?
The train track was originally built in 1864. The train starts at Napa City and ends at St. Helene. After a break, the train returns to Napa City in the evening. The tourist may be eligible for a complimentary round trip transportation from nearby hotels by the Napa Valley Wine Train. The “Napa Valley Train Tour” tickets can be purchased online. The scenic train journey crosses through several vineries. Few of these vineries have been established since 1868. The tourists enjoy traveling on a train that has a classy interior decoration and beautiful fixtures. The memorable scenic journey is relaxing for those who love to have a red or white wine while relaxing in a comfortable chair or sofa. The outstanding hospitality of the train service is matched with the well-served and cooked breakfast as well as lunch. In most cases, breakfast is served in 15 minutes once the journey begins. The train stops at 3 wineries for wine tasting. Between stops, lunch and desserts are served at the table. The cost of train traveling and meals ranges from $ 325 to $ 375.
The Tour in Napa Valley Wine Tram?
The tram tour lasts about 6 to 8 hours. The tour includes breakfast and lunch. The tour stops at four award-winning wineries for wine tasting. The guided commentary during a drive through the Napa Valley gives detailed information of most wineries that are seen during the tour. The lunch while driving through a scenic view is exceptional. The tram is a motorized replica of 1890 cable car. The cost of the tour per person is between $ 290 and $ 325.
What Do Tourists See While Riding A Train?
The slow-moving train and tram pass through the spectacular green countryside. The tourists are mesmerized by the amazing rural scene that is mixed with ups and downs of green hills, winding train track, and age-old woodlands. Such natural scenes and exposure to the beauty of nature is unique and seen only at Napa Valley. The best time to explore the beauty of hills and the green valley is between August and October. The train during the beginning of the journey passes through the industrial area of Napa city and slowly merges into the spectacular spread of green valley with hills sloping up and down. Tourists during the journey can sip the wine of their choice from the menu and taste amazing food while looking at natural beauty.
Where is Sonoma?
Napa Valley has cities on the east and west side of the valley. City Sonoma is on the west side of the valley. Most resorts and hotels are built on the east side. Most of the tourists prefer to stay on the east side of the valley between the city of Napa and Calistoga. Most elderly tourists prefer to stay at Sonoma, where the evening is less noisy. The hotels are less expensive in the city of Sonoma. The facilities are otherwise very much comparable in terms of hospitality services. If visitors want to take a tour on the train then the drive to Napa railway station is about 14 miles. In most cases, the train services have a pick service from hotels in Sonoma to Napa train station. If not then tourists can take a taxi or Uber to the Napa Railway Station.
Is It Difficult To Get A Reservation For Wine Tasting?
There are close to over 400 wineries in Napa Valley and about 280 wineries offering wine tasting. During the popular time at Napa Valley, tourists must take an appointment and reserve the table for wine tasting.
What Should One Wear During The Visit To Napa Vineries?
The wine tasting is casual events and tourists should wear a casual dress like denim or cotton pants. Tourists should also wear walking shoes since in many cases prolonged standing is necessary at the bar during the wine tasting. The walking shoes are helpful since a visit to vinery results in a long walk the may involve going up and down the small hills and slope.
Can Tourists Travel To Different Cities In Taxi Or Uber Around Napa?
Tourist can travel between two locations by taxi, Uber or Lyft. Wine tasting and a visit to the winery can take 2 to 4 hours. In such cases, tourists are better off taking a complimentary car provided by the winery or drive to the winery by rental car. Tourist from different cities can take a taxi, Uber or Lyft to go to Napa railway station and return to hotel from their location using taxi, Uber or Lyft.
Which Is The Most Beautiful Vinery in Napa Valley?
Check the following link that gives the top 12 wineries of Napa Valley:
Do You Have To Pay For Wine Tasting At Vinery?
Yes, the cost for just wine tasting ranges from $ 15 to $ 50. The cost is higher if tourists decide to add lunch or dinner with the wine tasting. The cost of lunch or dinner with wine tasting can be $ 75 to $ 150 per person depending on the quality of food and wine.
How Many Vineries Should You Visit In One Day In Napa?
It depends on the number of days the visitors wants to stay at Napa Valley. The tourists get to see and taste wine at 3 or 4 wineries during train and tram tours. If visitors decide to spend an additional 2 or 3 days then most tourists visit 4 to 5 wineries a day for wine tasting. The wineries charge is $ 30 to $ 50 for each person for wine tasting. Few wine lovers may stay longer like 5 to 7 days and visit 4 to 5 wineries a day just to taste different wines.
Where Do Celebrities Stay In Napa Valley?
Most celebrities stay at Meadowood Napa Valley Resort. The resort room with double occupancy costs from $ 700 and up. There are several other similar resorts available for less price. Tourists must check the facilities provided at the hotel or resort, as well as the location of the hotel or resort, before confirming the booking.
What Is There To Do In Napa At Night?
Most tourists after tiring day love to relax in the room, and get ready for the next busy day. Few young people, as well as couples who are staying for several days, like to explore some evening activities. There are theatres in most towns of Napa Valley where during season, tourists can see classic comedy shows or drama for a reasonable price. Look for an indoor or outdoor concerts performed by the local or outside artists. Few bars at some of the cities may host a live classic or Jazz music during dinner time Few couples or elderly prefer to spend their evening after dinner at the night museum or art show. There are spa all over Napa Valley and tourists can always schedule a massage after tiring day.