Solvang is known as “California’s Little Denmark”. It is a beautiful little city located in the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County, California. Home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark. The atmosphere is very relaxed and it is a great place for a family trip.
Solvang’s population is less than 6,000 people. It was incorporated as a city on May 1st, 1985. It looks and feels like a small Danish town. There are plenty of parking spaces available and overall the city did not feel crowded to us. Decorations were everywhere and we can only assume that it would be a blast to be there during the end of the year holidays.
There is a copy of the famous Little Mermaid statue from Copenhagen, as well as one featuring the bust of famed Danish fable writer Hans Christian Andersen. A replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower or Rundetårn in the scale 1:3 was finished in 1991 in the town center.
Solvang’s main streets are packed with various small and medium-size stores, cafes, and places to eat. There is an amazing leather store, more than a few great chocolatiers as well as various other interesting gift shops, shoe stores, etc. We found that the quality of the items we bought on our trips to Solvang to be excellent. The Hats Unlimited was one of our favorite destinations and Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates was the place we kept coming back for sweet stuff. There are also quite a few bakeries if chocolates are not your thing.
Logging and Food
For logging, we chose Hotel Corque which is conveniently located right on one of the main streets. Simply walk out of the hotel and you are right in the center of Solvang.
Another good choice and usually significantly less expensive is the Wine Valley Inn & Cottages. Both hotels are located right in the center of Solvang and are usually booked weeks in advance. Have that in mind and plan accordingly.
Food-wise we liked Paula’s Pancake House and the Fresco Valley Cafe for breakfast. Brekkies was also very very good. The first one is quite popular so you might have to wait 30 minutes or more for a table. Honestly, we thought the food in Fresco Cafe and Brekkies were overall better and the wait time there significantly less. For dinner, we really liked the Ramen Katori (Ramen Noodles) and Chomp (Burgers) but there are various other options as well. For those of you who are big wine fans, Solvang has a lot to offer. Plenty of wine-tasting bars and spots scattered around the main streets. Almost always packed and buzzing with great music.
We spend most of the time in Solvang just walking around the beautiful main streets exploring and enjoying the atmosphere. Mission drive and Alisal Road are our favorite main streets overall. The town has this European feel to it which we absolutely love. The buildings, stores, cafes, and especially the windmills really make Solvang unique. All you need is a day to walk around the city to really experience it and appreciate it. We usually stay about two full days there and leave energized, refreshed, and relaxed.
Walking is the name of the game in Solvang. The main streets are short and you can easily go through all of them in few hours. There are also various other means of transportation which seemed quite appealing to tourists. There are the electric mini cars (which seemed quite popular with the younger crowd), and then there are also the famous Solvang Trolley. The latter is quite desirable during the warmer months.
Solvang At Night
Solvang looks amazing after the sun goes down. Especially close to Christmas everything is beautifully decorated and there are lights everywhere. Prices double and quadruple for the hotels around that time but it is still an awesome place to experience if you can. We noticed that decorations on many of the places remain throughout the year. They really should. It really looks one a small town from a fairytale.
On the Way to Solvang
We also visited Ostrich Land on the way to Solvang which was quite an entertaining experience for the whole family. You get to see and feed the ostriches as well as take some entertaining pictures.