An hour north of Santa Barbara and located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley you will find the historic towns of Solvang and Los Olivos. In the past decade the towns have become a popular destination for wine aficionados thanks in part to the Academy Award-winning movie, “Sideways.” There is, however, more than meets the eye to Solvang and Los Olivos than good wine. You will find scenic drives, dozens of fantastic bike trails, award- winning restaurants, warm, friendly people and of course some of the best vineyards and wineries in the world. Whether you’re looking to get away for the weekend or drive up for the day, here is your guide to enjoying the area. And if you’re planning to head up there with your kids, check out our family-friendly guide.
How to get there:
Head on Highway 101 North for approximately two hours (135 miles)
Exit 140A for CA-246 toward Lompoc/Solvang
At the top of ramp, turn right onto CA-246 E and continue 3 miles to Solvang.
Where to Stay
Solvang and Los Olivos offer a range of accommodations. From boutique hotels to quaint inns, you are sure to find something to fit your budget.
Solvang’s newest hotel is home to state of the art amenities and over one hundred comfortable rooms and sixteen specialty suites. Every room is appointed with incredible views, comfortable beds, flat screen TVs and high speed Internet. Hotel Corque is an elegant yet rustic luxury hotel that will cater to your every need. The hotel also boasts a fitness room and access to local spas. Hotel Corque is the perfect place to unwind after spending the day discovering the beautiful surrounding area.
Where to Eat
Solvang and Los Olivos are home to a myriad of restaurants that can accommodate any taste and budget. From breakfast at a quaint country store to fine dining at an award-winning restaurant, you can have a variety of experiences in one trip.
Paula’s Pancake House
Hours: Open 7 Days 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
This traditional breakfast eatery is known for it’s delicious Swedish pancakes is a must stop on a visit to Solvang. This popular joint is known to have lines out the door but is definitely worth the wait. Try a plate of delicious Danish pancakes and be prepared for pancakes that are anything but ordinary. Weekends are extremely busy, be prepared for a wait.
Los Olivos Café and Wine Merchant
Los Olivos Café is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. You will find a lively vibe with superb food. Los Olivos Café is known for its out of this world menu and great selection of wines. Come hungry and be prepared for a leisurely meal. This quaint café is the perfect spot for lunch.
Petros is a hidden gem located inside of the Fess Parker Inn and Spa. You will enjoy amazing dishes in a relaxed country atmosphere. Petros offers Mediterranean and Greek cuisine and also a great selection of wines. Petros is known for great food and service and is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of discovering the area.
What to do
Solvang and Los Olivos are home to dozens of wineries, farms, shops, and so much more. You will find a hard time choosing what to do with the abundance of activities. Here are some of our favorites.
Take a sweet smelling side trip to this family owned and operated lavender farm. Grab your camera and prepare to learn all about the ins and outs of lavender farming. Wander through acres of lavender and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop to stock up on lavender goodies.
Santa Barbara Wine Tours
You can’t visit Solvang and Los Olivos without experiencing a wine tour. Stagecoach Co offers tours of the Santa Ynez Valley and is locally owned and operated. They are the only locally owned and operated tour company in the area. Tours include pickup at your hotel or from downtown Solvang. They also include tasting fees at four boutique wineries, a tasty “Wine Lovers lunch” featuring food from the area. You can also customize your experience and create your own tour.
Old Mission Santa Ines
This beautiful church is the 19th of the 21 missions build in California and connected by El Camino Real. Nestled in a grove of olive trees the area surrounding the mission is breathtakingly beautiful. A taped audio tour is available in the gift shop to guide visitors through the Museum rooms, church, and garden.
Santa Barbara County Wine Cycling Tours
Enjoy the cycling haven of the Santa Ynez Valley with either a half day or full day tour with Wine Country Cycling. Daily guided cycling tours leave from Santa Ynez and include bike rental, helmet, map, water bottle, and professional tour guide. From a leisurely tour for the novice rider to an epic all day ride for the experienced rider, you will find a tour that suits your needs.