Travel to Europe but never leave Santa Barbara County. The small hamlet of Solvang seems completely out of place in Santa Barbara County because it's steeped in Danish culture. Here you'll find a cornucopia of all things Danish from bakeries and food to museums and windmills.
As in much of Southern California, immigrants established colonies in Solvang which explains the combination of an historic California mission (Santa Inez) with Danish architecture.
A California wine footnote: Joseph John Chapman, the first American known to have planted a vineyard in California (in Los Angeles) worked at this mission, among others.
Velkommen to an Uncommon Wine and Food Experience
The Solvang Wine Walk is a fun way to experience what the town has to offer in a walkable area. There are over a dozen wine tasting rooms and wine bars along with restaurants, shops and galleries. Most of the wine tasting rooms and bars are within a four square block area along Copenhagen Drive. You can also take a wine tour to the area's vineyards.
A couple of blocks from the wine walk is Sante Wine Bar and Lounge which features a variety of local Santa Barbara wines. Across the street is the farm-to-table destination restaurant Root 246. Stay at the Hotel Corque next door and don’t miss the neighboring Vintage Motorcycle Museum.
Solvang is a foodie haven, with dozens of restaurants, diners, authentic Danish bakeries, and a ‘sweets trail.’ For lunch, visit Solvang Brewing Company where you can wash down a Danish burger with local brews. For pizza and pasta, try Leonardo’s Ristorante & Pizzeria.
The Great Dane and the Chumash Indians
Famous Dane and children’s author Hans Christian Andersen is popular in Solvang. Visit the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, the Hans Christian Andersen Park, and the Little Mermaid Statue. The statue is half the size of the one in Copenhagen and is across the street from the museum. The Elverhøj Museum is another important museum featuring Danish-American history.
Great accommodation options include The Landsby, which has been remodeled for a contemporary Scandinavian feel. Signature restaurant 'Mad & Vin' specializes in wine country-inspired dishes made by chef Beto Huizar. Follow their envy-inducing Instagram feed for special deals at @thelandsby.
Bright but cozy with thoughtful details in a The Landsby bedroom. Credit: David Tsay
The Lobby bar, The Landsby. Credit: David Tsay
Another Side of Solvang
For a different perspective of Solvang, visit some of the local sites such as The Wildling Musuem, Neverland Ranch (Michael Jackson's former home,) or Nojoqui Falls.
Solvang, Your Close-to-Home European Adventure
Indulge your desire for European travel but stay close to home while tasting fabulous Santa Barbara County wines in Solvang.