Solvang is certainly California’s little European delight. If you’re like me and are kinda obsessed with Europe, a weekend getaway to Solvang might just satisfy that yearning for a little European love in your life! This summer, we spent a long weekend exploring Solvang and Santa Barbara and wanted to put together a post on how to spend a weekend in Solvang. I’ll include a more condensed version of our itinerary at the bottom of this post, and I’ve also included other links for hotel and restaurant reviews that we’ve done if you want to get a little more details on those recommendations.
WHERE TO STAY
There are a ton of great places to stay in Solvang, and many, if not most, are Danish-themed (at least on the outside). Traveling here on the weekend (especially during the summer) can get a little spendy, so we suggest checking in on a Sunday to get the most for your money. If you simply cannot extend your weekend stay to a weekday, make sure you book your hotel nice and early so you can guarantee yourself a weekend room! Also, most of the hotels here are in close proximity (walking distance) to activities in town and you won’t really need a car if you are just exploring downtown Solvang.
Hotel Corque – This was by far my favorite hotel during our stay in Solvang. It is on the pricier side, but it’s beautiful, modern, and clean. You can read a full review on our stay at Hotel Corque here.
Wine Valley Inn & Cottages – We stayed here on our first night in Solvang as there was no availability at Hotel Corque (Saturday & summertime!). The grounds of this hotel are so cute, and the Wine Valley Inn is generally a more affordable option for the quality of hotel in Solvang. You can read all about our experience at the Wine Valley Inn here.
WHERE TO EAT
This is probably our main priority whenever we are traveling – where to eat! Like I always say, food is a very important part of travel, especially for us. We are constantly researching places to eat or grab a good drink. We love to find places within walking distance to where we are staying, and in Solvang, that’s a pretty easy thing to do!
Succulent Cafe – Whether it’s for breakfast, happy hour and charcuterie plates, lunch, or dinner, this place is a really great find. Their menu selection rotates seasonally, but you can always find an amazing charcuterie plate on their menu. We liked it so much, we visited Succulent Cafe three times on our trip there, and we dedicated a whole post to it! Their bourbon vanilla french toast for breakfast is amazing, and I’m not usually a sweet brekky person. And if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, they will always have an option for you to choose on their menu (which can be a little difficult to find in Solvang).
Aly’s by Alebru – If you want a fantastic French-inspired dining experience in Solvang, definitely head over to Aly’s. They serve dinner only, but you will feel transported to a small bistro in Paris when you walk in here. The owner/host is so friendly and accommodating, and the food is just simply fantastic. This really was an unexpected gem to stumble upon! If you want to read all about our favorite meal in Solvang at Aly’s, check this post out.
Root 246 – If you’re staying at Hotel Corque, this restaurant is right next door (also owned by the Chumash, who own Hotel Corque). We visited during happy hour only so we could take advantage of the happy hour prices. Sometimes, you just gotta think about that budget! They have great options, including fish tacos (2 fish tacos for $6.00 is a steal for a tasty dinner in Solvang), charcuterie plates, lamb lollies, carpaccio, etc. They have drink specials too, of course, but I’d probably stick with wine or beer here.
Copenhagen Sausage Garden – If you want a quick and casual bite to eat, Copenhagen Sausage Garden is pretty much the bomb. Yes, the 90’s kid in me really just said that. Not only do they have a serious sausage selection for meat eaters, they also have several veggie (pretty sure vegan) sausage selections to choose from. We were both in sausage heaven here, and they have a killer sauce and mustard selection to boot!
Solvang Brewing Company – This isn’t necessarily a recommendation to eat, but to drink! If there’s a brewery in town, you bet we are going to check it out. They have some decent IPAs on tap, and a casual bar vibe.
You can’t come to Solvang and not do a little wine tasting! Well, maybe you can, but it’s just so easy to pop into the little tasting rooms around town and not have to worry about having a designated driver. When we stayed at the Wine Valley Inn, they gave us several coupons for two-for-one wine tastings so you better bet we took advantage of that! If you are a wine fan, you will know that money adds up quickly between tasting fees and wine purchases – especially after you have had a few glasses of wine and proceed to buy bottle upon bottle of your favorites.
Pro tip: try to limit yourself to one bottle of wine at each location to help save you some money. And, of course, use the coupons!
We visited two wineries on our walk around Solvang – Lucky Dogg and Carivintas, both of which are totally dog-friendly! We saw a ton of visitors (maybe residents) walking their pups so it seems like Solvang is a super dog-friendly town. Our favorite at Lucky Dogg was the Pinot Noir, which we ended up with a bottle of to take back to our room.
I kind of wish we had made it to Carivintas first because I enjoyed their wine a little more than Lucky Dogg. We didn’t end up buying a bottle here simply because of budget and the fact that we already had purchased a bottle at Lucky Dogg, plus some delicious local beers that we wanted to try. I loved the atmosphere in here, and it’s a great place to cool off in the summer. Carivintas also donates a portion of their proceeds to local animal welfare groups too and they have cool animal art on their bottles! My favorite was the Rosé of Tempranillo. It was one of the more unique wines I’ve ever tasted. Their 2013 Triple Threat was also quite tasty, with a hint of jalapeno. Definitely put Carivintas on your wine tasting list in Solvang!
Hans Christian Andersen Museum – A tiny “museum” dedicated to the famed children’s book author – FREE entry!
Browse gift stores like The Mole Hole
Visit a Danish bakery like Mortensen’s – a must-do in Solvang. Try the Florentine cookies or traditional aebleskivers!
Windmill spotting – Because you can’t go to a Danish town and not get a pic with a windmill right? There are 5 total, allegedly.
Snap pics of and admire all the Danish architecture – There are a ton of cute hotels and buildings to photograph here!
Arrive at Wine Valley Inn for late afternoon check-in
Happy hour drinks + charcuterie at Succulent Cafe
Extended happy hour at Solvang Brewing
Dinner at Succulent Cafe
Brunch at Succulent Cafe
Self-guided walking tour of Solvang – snap lots of pics of Danish buildings!
Wine tasting at Lucky Dogg Winery + Carivintas Winery
Visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum
Arrive at Hotel Corque for afternoon check-in
Happy Hour/Dinner at Root 246
Relax in hotel room with a bottle of wine after walking around all day
Take a little break from Solvang and visit Santa Barbara for a day trip
Dinner at Aly’s by Alebru back in Solvang
Finish other bottle of wine you may have purchased the day before
Check out of Hotel Corque
Brunch at Copenhagen Sausage Garden
Visit a Solvang bakery (like Mortensen’s) to fill up a box of pastries to take home
Head back home!
Thanks for checking out our Solvang weekend tips! Be sure to head over to our YouTube channel to see our Solvang and Santa Barbara vlogs.