Solvang, California, is known for its authentic Scandinavian culture and hospitality. A Danish getaway without a passport needed. During our weekend visit to the Central Coast of California, we spent a day exploring one of the top-rated vacation destinations in North America.
The interesting buildings in Solvang are lined with Denmark’s farm-style architecture. They have beautiful stores for shopping and more restaurants that not only offer Danish cuisine but also give you a taste of California’s wine-country.
If you are planning to visit the Central Coast of California, I highly recommend adding Solvang to your list.
Here are my tips for visiting Solvang, California!
How to get there
Solvang is located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. It is 35 miles from Santa Barbara Beaches and about 2 hours from the metro of Los Angeles. During our last trip to the coast, it took us about 3 hours to get there from our home in Bakersfield. We opted to stay at the Embassy Suites in Lompoc which is basically 15-20 minutes away from both Solvang and Santa Barbara.
The drive along the central coast is always mesmerizing for me. You’ll get to see farms of different crops, vast vineyards, landscaped mountains and of course, the coast.
Another option also is taking Amtrak Pacific Surfliner line to Lompoc and Uber from there. If you are staying in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo, their is a thruway bus service that will take you to these points as well. Check out more details at SolvangUSA.
READ MORE : Tips for Visiting Santa Barbara Zoo
What to do and Where to eat
When you’re Solvang, I suggest you to come early and come hungry. The best of Solvang is to first experience their Danish Breakfast. They have 5 authentic Danish bakeries and If I may recommend, we like Solvang Restaurant. You should try their famous Danish specialties – the ever-popular aebleskiver and their Danish sausage is amazing. Aebleskiver is a Danish pancake balls dusted with powdered sugar and served with their Scandinavian raspberry jam. Solvang Restaurant also has their homemade mustard which is a perfect match to their sausage.
Stroll and enjoy the charming architecture, lined with flowers along the street.
The village itself is very much pedestrian-friendly, and parking is very convenient. Despite of how the town can be very touristy, their parking areas are impressive and within walking distance to everything. The town has free parking but they also have 3 Public lots that you can enjoy while visiting the Danish Town.
- 1639 Copenhagen Drive
- 464 Alisal Road
- 1616 Oak Street
Solvang has more than 150 exceptional stores. What we mostly enjoyed from the village was their gourmet food shops. They have many chocolate shops of different kinds, a fudge house, ice cream shops, and my favorite, the cheese shop.
Solvang is the epitome of shopper’s paradise.
This little village is filled with photo-ops. They have 4 windmills which are Solvang’s trademark. Another popular photo-op also is the giant red clog that is found at the corner of first street and Copenhagen drive.
If you’re ready for lunch, head over to Bit O’Denmark for a large smargaasbord which is available daily plus they have a full bar. If you opt to have a light lunch, I recommend their charcuterie (still struggling to pronounce it). But anyway, charcuterie in Bit O’Denmark is an exceptional appetizer served with cured meats, artisan cheeses, olives, nuts, fig bread, jam and crackers.
Whether you’re fascinated with impressive architecture or interested in history, be sure to download the free app of the new Solvang Heritage Walking Tour Audio App. You will get more details about Solvang’s History, culture, arts and attractions.
Other Points of Interest:
- Birkholm’s Bakery
- Old Mission Santa Ynez
- Hans Christian Andersen Museum
To sum it up, Solvang is indeed a gorgeous little town that continues to share its Danish architecture, traditions, food and history. There’s so much to do and see in California’s Denmark and it’s definitely worth a visit even for just a day trip.