A two-hour drive from Los Angeles, along the Pacific coast and into the mountains, takes you to a slice of Europe, a veritable Danish, German, or Dutch village in the middle of the American states. It’s a small town called Solvang, built by immigrants from Denmark. Cute, fabulous, a little ginger even, but at the same time – the most authentic European country town.
Small half-timbered houses decorated with wooden beams, windmills, forged European signs on the workshops and stores, lanterns and flowers, flowers, flowers. It is difficult even to convey all the magical atmosphere that fills the city. It is definitely worth visiting.
A page of history
Solvang is a young town. A little over a hundred years ago a group of immigrants from Denmark came to California and founded their settlement, calling it “Sunshine Area” (so translates from the Danish Solvang). They bought nine thousand acres of land for $360,000 (think of the price) and built houses, a church, and schools on it.
They expressed their Nordic, but also Southern, character in the architecture of the buildings. Here we see both old and modern Solvang homes built in the Danish style.
An idyllic town
Every hotel, every restaurant in town is as beautiful as Solvang itself. If not at the entrance, then behind the building is sure to be a courtyard where you can sit down and relax with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, for which Santa Barbara is so famous. After all, Solvang is located in this county.
You’ll find tables full of flowers and smiling waiters and hotel managers on patios tucked away in the green and smiling courtyards.
In the streets, you can’t hear the sound of engines, it’s quiet. Horse-drawn carts drive through the city. And in the evening in Solvang silence comesthat you can even hear the chirping of crickets. The peace and idyll is complete.
And the people are so nice and sociable. Danes there, of course, are few, perhaps only their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the Americans themselves are very friendly. They love tourists (they don’t get bored with us), easily communicate with them, always smile and don’t rush anywhere. Still, genes take their toll.
Danish Bakery in Solvang
There are a lot of bakeries in Solvang. If you haven’t had a good breakfast, you should visit one of the Solvang bakeries. From the morning, the scent of scones and Danish doughnuts wafts through the city. It’s a favorite dish of Solvang’s citizens. Sweet donuts with jam fillings in powdered sugar, waffles with fruit sauces and syrups. Mmm! Oh, and coffee, they make good coffee here, too.
It’s also worth stopping by a Danish bakery to buy a bottle of white, dry wine made in Santa Barbara County as a gift for friends and family. You will not regret it. And in the souvenir stores you won’t find banal Chinese magnets or other small things. All the souvenirs here are handmade, made by Solvang artisans, or brought from the same Denmark.
The center of Solvang and its attractions
It takes you a few hours to walk around Solvang. The city is small. All the infrastructure is located in the center – stores, restaurants, hotels, museums, wine shops and tasting rooms, breweries. Therefore, the sightseeing tour should go on foot, leaving the car even at the entrance to the city.
The central streets somewhat resemble the main promenade of Disneyland – as bright and toy-like, with flowerbeds and street lamps, with ginger houses in which there are souvenir shops, cafes, etc.
In Solvang there is an exact copy of the Rundetarne Tower, as in Copenhagen, although the size is three times smaller.
Theater in Solvang
There is also Hamlet Square and an outdoor theater, something from Britain. Also, only in Solvang you can see the only thatched house in the states.
Because Solvang is a Danish town, you’ll see Vikings, the favorite symbol of the Scandinavians, everywhere. They are everywhere – in store windows, in advertising signs, in some restaurants you will also be served by Vikings. And on the streets you can meet living statues of Vikings.
Monument to Andersen and The Little Mermaid
The settlers also brought the beloved children’s writer and characters from his works to Solvang. There is a monument to Andersen and The Little Mermaid in Solvang.
Solvang Christmas Shop
Solvang even has a year-round Christmas store where you can buy Christmas toys at any time of year. Imagine how beautiful Solvang is at Christmas time when the streets are lit up, store windows are festively decorated, Santas are walking around the city, and there is a Christmas market with tourists flocking like butterflies to the light.
Vintage Motorcycle Museum
A visit to the Museum of Retro Motorcycles will be interesting. The vintage motorcycles were collected and displayed by speed enthusiast and avid motorcycle racer Virgil Ellings.
The Spanish Mission in Solvang
Like all of California, there is something Spanish in Solvang. And that “something” is an old Spanish church called Old Mission Santa Inés. It was built before the Danish colony, in 1804. After all, these were the lands of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata. The tower, bell tower, and arched entrances are all in the Spanish Catholic tradition.
Solvang is the very “Danish capital of America. Could the first settlers think that by building such an unusual town, their grandchildren would do business in it? But anyway, Solvang is loved by travelers, and once in Santa Barbara County, they never miss it!