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 always excellent. The Hats Unlimited was one of our favorite destinations and the Ingeborg’s Danish Chocolates was the place we kept coming back for more sweet stuff :).
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 especially the Fresco Valley Cafe for breakfast. 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 was overall better and the wait time significantly less. For dinner, we really liked the Ramen Katori 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.
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.
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