On our trip back from Monterey we kept noticing signs for Solvang, and decided to stop out of curiosity. It was definitely worth the detour!
Solvang, which is Danish for “sunny fields,” is a small town in Santa Barbara County, California. It’s tucked away in the Santa Ynez Valley and it is only 2.4 square miles.
The town features Danish style architecture, several wine tasting rooms, a copy of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, a gorgeous windmill and a clocktower, and several bakeries and restaurants.
Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish-Americans. It included a school and a church to promote and preserve Danish culture. The city began to focus on new buildings with the Danish architectural style (old buildings were also remodeled) when an article was published in 1947, leading to a surge in tourism for the small town.
- Try any and every sweet that catches your eye in one of the various bakeries
- Buy a cookie tin to bring back to your friends and family (or to keep for yourself)
- Get pretzels
- Try Danish cuisine (the sausage plates are delicious)
- Check out the wine tasting rooms
- Visit one of the museums to learn a bit about Danish culture and history
- Walk around the small town to burn off some of the calories you consumed eating sweets, pretzels, and sausages
Solvang Visitors Center
1639 Copenhagen Drive
Solvang, California 93463
Open 7 days a week, 9 AM – 5 PM
Have you ever made an unexpected side trip? What did it lead you to?