Solvang is a quintessentially Danish town located in the Santa Ynez Valley, 30-miles northwest of Santa Barbara. Visiting Solvang is like visiting Europe… but without having to cross the Atlantic or bring your passport. It’s a charming Danish town surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards, and adorned with classic Danish style architecture. It’s the perfect one-day or weekend getaway if you’re looking to spend time in a picturesque village without traveling (too) far.
Visiting Solvang – A Danish Village in the Heart of Central California Wine Country
The easiest way to get to Solvang is from Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. If you come from Santa Barbara, you’ll take highway 154 northwest 30-miles to Solvang. If you come from San Luis Obispo, you’ll take the 101 southeast, 60-miles.
If you plan to visit Solvang from Santa Barbara (or visit Santa Barbara in general), don’t miss California’s Best Kept Secret – Santa Barbara the American Riviera
In my opinion, the best time to visit Solvang is in the fall when the leaves start to change. Being in Central California, the weather is warm throughout the year, and by visiting in the fall, you can still anticipate nice weather while avoiding the heat that comes with California summers. Even better, try to visit in December when the town has decorated for Christmas. It might attract more visitors, but you can’t miss the Christmas charm in this Danish village.
Transportation and Lodging in Solvang
Being only 2.5 square miles, Solvang is not only accessible but easily walkable. You can most certainly see the entire town in one day, even if you’re just on foot! If you are driving up for the day, there are many metered places to park. If you have trouble finding parking, drive further outside of town, park on a side street, and walk to town.
For such a small town, there are tons of different style hotels to stay in. You can pick a traditional Danish-style hotel, a luxury hotel, or a quaint bed and breakfast. I stayed at the New Haven Inn and was in awe of the location and charm. The New Haven Inn is a boutique-style hotel with only 12-rooms to occupy. There are options for balconies with fire pits, suites, and they even offer bikes that you can take at your convenience for free.
Things to Do in Solvang
Although small, there are tons of things to see in Solvang. Start on Alisal Road, the main road in town. This is where the big windmill is located – Solvang Windmill – and where you can access all of the quaint side streets. While you’re on Alisal Road don’t miss stopping at the Solvang Windmill, and if you’re up for it, you can even wine taste at the top with CrossHatch Winery. Next to the windmill is the Solvang Bakery, where you can go for freshly baked loaves of bread, sweets, and cakes; and next to that is Vinhus, a store full of wine and picnic supplies such as meats and cheeses.
You’ll also want to make sure to venture down Copenhagen Drive, which branches off from Alisal Road. Copenhagen Drive is home to the impressive Christmas store, Edelweiss, and also home to many different restaurants and wine tasting rooms that are scattered along the street.
Bars and Restaurants in Solvang
There are tons of food options in Solvang, ranging from brunch spots to nice sit-down dinner spots, and even casual lunch spots. You really can’t go wrong! And with traditional Danish food to classic American food and even other international food like Meditteranean, there is surely something for everyone.
brekkies by chomp
If you’re craving classic breakfast food, don’t miss eating at brekkies. Located on Mission Drive, another fun street in town, you can dine on their outdoor patio or indoors.
With a large outdoor patio, I prefer to eat at Succulent Cafe for a late lunch after having some wine.
Mad & Vin
In the beautiful Landsby Hotel, Mad & Vin is a chic American restaurant. It’s open for breakfast, closes during the afternoon, and reopens for dinner. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a little bit of a nicer, sit-down dinner.
High Roller Tiki Lounge
If you’ve had too much wine, head to this fun and vibrant tiki lounge for cocktails or beer.
Visiting Wine Country from Solvang
There are tons of places to visit in Solvang, and better yet – around Solvang! This Danish town is situated in the heart of wine country within the Santa Ynez Valley. Only five miles north of Solvang you’ll come to Los Olivos, one of the most underrated wine regions in California. Los Olivos is home to tons of different vineyards, complete with a quaint downtown area of restaurants, hotels, and tasting rooms.
If you’re spending the weekend in Solvang and plan to venture up to Los Olivos, don’t miss stopping at the Wine Merchant Cafe in downtown Los Olivos for lunch, before venturing out wine tasting. For a list of vineyards to visit in Los Olivos, don’t miss this post.
Quintessentially Danish, Solvang is a fun European-style town in the heart of California. Escape for the day to feel like you’ve left the continent, without even needing your passport or crossing the Atlantic! Visiting Solvang is a great weekend escape, one I’d encourage anyone to take.
VISITING SOLVANG? DO IT IN STYLE!