If you are planning a trip to Europe, you do not have to think much to plan it. Take a trip to Solvang, California. It is popularly known as “The Danish Capital Of America.” There is a town in the Santa Ynez Valley of California that would give you the vibe that you have stepped foot in Denmark. 

Because of the convenient location, the quaint destination is a perfect stop while taking a road trip from San Fransisco and Los Angeles. It is also just a half-day trip from Santa Barbara. Also, if you have plans to visit the other locations in the Santa Ynez Valley, like Los Olivos, you can easily drop in.

In between the charming shops, authentic architecture, and mouth-watering bakeries, Solvang will truely take you to some other place. Even though it is small in size, there is a lot you can do in Solvang.

Best things to do in Solvang

Discover some of the best activities you can do in Solvang and explore the charming European-inspired town.

Take a tour of Mission Santa Ines

Explore the 214-year-old Mission Santa Ines, and learn about its culture and history. See the manuscripts, artifacts, and paintings in the self-guided tour. There is also a museum in the mission that you can explore, and there are gift shops as well.

Soak in the Danish Architecture

Solvang has authentic Danish architecture, which is a major part of the town, and has a unique charm to it, and was founded back in 1911, by the Danish people. Solvang has its own unique style with old-fashioned skills, thatched roofs, and obviously the windmills, which is the reason why California stands out. If you want to take a self-guided tour, you can purchase and download an audio tour and then follow it.

Visit a wine-tasting room

Solvang has more than 20 wine-tasting rooms. It is not difficult to walk around and spend a day visiting them. Just visit one of Solvang’s boutiques, restaurants, and bakeries to change the tasting experiences on your self-guided tour.

Visit Wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley

The Santa Ynez Valley is one of those places which is popular for its wineries. You can hire a driver and take a small group tour of the wineries this place has. This would let you kick back and not think about who is driving afterward and have a more private experience. 

There is a lot of variety that you will get in this place. Starting from Sauvignon Black to Chardonnay to Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Sauvignon. Taste the local wines as well, and it is needless to say you will get amazing scenery.

You can try another thing, and that would be taking a bike tour and a wine-tasting tour. You will ride a bike in a small group, go through the local wineries and stop for a gourmet lunch.

Visit one of those Danish Bakeries

There are plenty of bakeries to try from and a number of pastries you can sample. Taste them all and spend the whole day trying these delicacies. There are various sweet treats like cream puffs, waffles, butter cookies, and Danish rolls. Aebleskivers are also there, which are actually dough balls that are given the shape of tennis balls and the covered in raspberry sauce and powdered sugar.

If you are confused and cannot decide where to start, then take a food tour, and they will take you through all the best places. You will get to learn about their history while tasting their sweet treats.

Explore Solvang Village

There are various ways in which you can explore Solvang. The place is walkable, and all the main spots are within a mile of one another. Biking is also a great option. Or, if you want to feel the vintage life of Solvang, take the Solvang trolley. It is a replica of the old-fashioned streetcar which the Belgian draft horses drive.

Visit the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art

Elverhoj has three objectives in Solvang. It documents the history of Solvang. It recognizes the Danish-American immigrant experience and their culture, as well as promotes the artists and fine arts. The museum hosts special events and admission is also free.

Go Christmas Shopping Year-Round at Jule Hus

Juls Hus is popularly known as the “Christmas Store” as it brings holiday vibes throughout the year. You will find traditional decoration items, wooden nutcrackers, brown glass ornaments, and some other Scandinavian handicrafts. However, this is an amazing place to have a photo session and get into the holiday feel ahead of time.

Do Not Miss Out On The Farmer’s Markets

The farmer’s market happens every Wednesday on Solvang’s First Street. The local farmers sell their breads, fruits, cheese, flowers, nuts, as well as other products. It happens from 2:30 in the afternoon till 5:00 in the evening. This happens irrespective of all seasons and climate conditions.

Explore the Art Galleries

Even though Solvang is a small town, it has quite a few art galleries and sells one-of-a-kind pieces. You will get various forms of art like puzzles, prints, and jewelry. You can check out different places and see what they have for sale.

Go Souvenir Shopping

Do not go for the keychains and tacky magnets that you get from those tourist destinations. In Solvang, you will find a lot of amazing stuff in the local markets. You will find fancy stores selling glassware and dishes that have their own Danish style incorporated into them.

Hans Christian Andersen Park

There is a lot that you can do in Hans Christian Andersen Park. This park offers music, a skate park, and a rock climbing wall for the older kids, as well as two grounds for the younger kids. This is an amazing place if you are visiting with family. Moreover, you will see picnic tables that are spread across the park, which makes it an ideal place for eating outside.

Come During The Danish Days Festival In September

If you want to get the complete Danish experience, visit the place during the Danish Festival. Moreover, it celebrates the town’s heritage, and you will find traditional music, dance, food, parades, and a lot more. There is no cost for entering the festival, and it is also a family-friendly event.

What else?

There are a lot of things to do in Solvang. It will not fail to surprise you and will offer an amazing experience. When you take a tour with a professional or a self-guided tour, you will have an amazing time in Solvang.


Subhasree Nag

Subhasree is a content writer who is passionate about traveling, writing, and reading books. In her leisure time, she is seen listening to music and watching web series. Writing along with music and dance are ways in which she expresses herself.

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