If on your California driving itinerary you are in Santa Barbara County and decide to make a detour inland, perhaps intrigued by the possibility of traveling a stretch of the Camino Real in search of the old Spanish missions, at some point it will seem like to be back in the Old Continent and more precisely in Denmark.No, you are not hallucinating but you are a Solvang which in Danish means "sunny field" and certainly seems to us a perfect name for the state in which it is located. Founded in 1911 by three Danes residing in America, thanks to its peculiar architecture it continues to be a popular destination for tourists and onlookers today.
- Where is it and how to get there
- What to see in Solvang
- Santa Inés Mission
- Food and wine tours
- The annual events
- Where sleeping in Solvang
Where is it and how to get there
What to see in Solvang
Surely the best way to enjoy the special atmosphere of Solvang is to park your car and take a walking tour of the town. For this I recommend starting from Visitor Center, where a nice gentleman in typical Danish clothes with a white beard welcomed me giving me all the necessary information. It is recommended to start from here not only to get a quick overview of the activities that can be carried out in the city, but also for the presence of a convenient parking lot where you can leave your car.
Whether you are short on time or not, the advice is to take the Solvang Heritage Walk which branches off through the streets of the city center where typical shops of both handmade souvenirs and culinary delicacies abound. Virtually a few blocks (between Copenhagen Drive and Alisal Road) are concentrated most of the attractions that Solvang has to offer.
Lovers of two wheels should not miss a visit to the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum (320 Alisal Rd) which exhibits the enviable collection of vintage motorcycles of many nations starting from the early 900s. The museum is open every weekend from 11am to 17pm and a $ 10 per person ticket is required to enter.
THEElverhoj Museum Of History & Art it stands on what was once the residence of the artist Viggo Brandt-Erichsen, who spent most of his life trying to preserve the original spirit with which the Danish-American pioneers founded the town. Walking through the rooms you can relive the history of Solvang through numerous testimonies such as photographs, videos and exhibitions. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 16pm. There is no payment of an entrance ticket but personal donations of at least $ 5 are suggested.
Being in a city that makes Danish tradition its strong point could not miss a Hans Christian Andersen Museum: a small but well-kept museum dedicated to the life and works of the most internationally successful “local” writer. You will find it on the second floor of the Book Loft Building a quaint independent book shop. Su can access the museum every day from 10 to 17.
A park north of the city is also dedicated to the writer.Hans Christian Andersen Park which is accessed by passing under a reconstruction of a castle. It can be an option to consider if you want to take a walk in the green or take advantage of the many picnic tables to eat outdoors.
However, I reiterate, beyond these interesting attractions, that the most suggestive thing to do is precisely that of stroll through the streets of Solvang letting himself be carried away by local folklore so unusual in these latitudes.
Santa Inés Mission
The flagship of Solvang. This ancient mission is part of the Camino Real, the old route that branched off along the Californian coast connecting the various Spanish missions.
Inside the mission, in addition to the church and the small museum, there is the possibility of visiting a garden that I found very relaxing and particularly well-kept. If you decide to pay a visit along the way, there are audio speakers which, if activated, will show you in detail the history of the mission and the rooms you are visiting.
Being in the United States and being in front of a windmill is not an everyday thing (unless you are passing through Frankenmuth and Holland in Michigan, but we understand that they can be two destinations that are a bit out of the way) for this stroll. on the streets of Solvang can prove to be even more interesting.
If you want to take a selfie in front of these particular buildings you will be spoiled for choice, there are in fact at least three to choose from.
- At the intersection of Copenhagen Dr and 2nd street (Hamlet Square)
- At the intersection of Alisal Road and Mariposa Drive
- In the parking lot of the Kronborg Inn (1440 Mission Dr) a hotel that can also be a good solution to stay overnight.
Food and wine tours
The area of Santa Ynez Valley it may not be Napa or Sonoma, but it is still renowned for its fine vineyards. For this Solvang can be considered one of the best places to experience tastings of wine and local products. The list of wineries is rich and varied but, if the time you have available is not much, the suggestion may be to rely on a comfortable organized tour that will take you to discover the delights of this land.
If you prefer to have as much freedom as possible and want to stay in Solvang you can take a look at this activity which has the advantage of having considerable flexibility and allows you to shape the itinerary according to personal preferences. If, on the other hand, you want to discover the wineries of the region of Santa Barbara you can consider a four-hour tour specially designed for small groups. For more detailed information you can click on the link below.
All-Inclusive Wine Tour from Solvang
The annual events
If you have a sweet tooth come to Solvang (or avoid depending on your point of view) in March when the Taste of Solvang, a real culinary festival where you can taste all the typical Danish dishes and the renowned wines of the area. You can find the complete program of the event on the official website.
If you happen to be around here in September you may be lucky enough to attend the Danish Days, a real feast of the Danish tradition in Solvang. Parades in typical costumes, artists and musicians who perform in every corner of the town, and Viking themed events will be the protagonists for an entire weekend. You can consult the program of this year's edition from the official tourism website.
In the month of December, it is the main place Solvang Christmas party, when the whole city is conquered by the atmosphere of the Christmas tradition which culminates in the re-enactment of the Nativity. The month of celebration ends with a bonfire near the mission of Santa Inés in which the large Christmas tree that stood between the houses of the city in the previous days is burned.
Where sleeping in Solvang
Solvang, in addition to being a curious town, can also be a convenient starting point to break your California itinerary. Its location, halfway between Los Angeles and Morro Bay, is particularly strategic if you want to avoid driving too many hours.
The Mirabelle Inn & Restaurant (409 1st Street) is a charming hotel located in the center of Solvang which, in addition to hosting a renowned restaurant, also offers a spa service and, if desired, a tour of the owner's winery the Coquelicot Estate . Perfect choice therefore for those who want to seek a little relaxation.
Another certainly particular hotel is the Wine Valley Inn which has a picturesque green space inside, accessible from some suites, and offers large and comfortable rooms, therefore particularly suitable for families.
Search among all hotels in Solvang
Another strategically convenient city in the area is the aforementioned Santa Barbara, so if you want to have an overview of the recommended hotels in the area, you can click on the link below.
Search among the hotels in Santa Barbara