Visiting Solvang, California

Latest visit: July 2018

Tips for visiting Solvang:

  • Solvang seems like a slow pace, touristy town.
  • You will find a lot of bakeries (like A LOT), wineries and breweries.
  • Solvang was founded in 1911 on almost 9,000 acres (3,600 ha) of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata Mexican land grant, by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish colony far from the midwestern winters. The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. (from wikipedia)
  • You will also find a copy of Copenhagen’s little mermaid in a small courtyard area on the corner of two passing streets.
  • The Oscar award-winning film “Sideways” was filmed almost entirely on location throughout Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley.
  • I had breakfast at the Belgian Café. It was okay, nothing fancy, very basic but if you sit outside you get a nice glance at the street and get a feel for the local vibe.
  • Not far outside of Solvang, you will find an ostrich farm. I didn’t visit it but my friend did and she said it was the highlight of her trip to Solvang.
  • You can also visit orchards and lavender farms in the outskirts of the town.
  • Wineries that I visited close to Solvang’s city center:
    • Kalyra winery– for a surfer vibe, older-style winery. Very laid back but nice porch to enjoy the view while wine tasting.
    • Gainey Vineyard – for a more traditional winery environment. Our wine tasting took place in their old wine cellar which still held decorative barrels.
    • Sunstone Vineyards & Winery-Had a beautiful outdoor space, perfect for hanging out in the sun and playing games. I believe you can also bring your own picnic or purchase some bites from the mini fridge next to the tasting counter.
  • Hotels I was looking into:
    • The Landsby– offers rooms styled the way I love. It’s also located in the town, which is practical if you want to wine taste and not have to worry about driving.
    • The Hamlet Inn– styled in a tasteful way but more basic than the Landsby and also well located in town.
    • Alisal guest ranch and resort– for an American-style ranch where you can ride, golf, bike, etc.

Impressions of Solvang:

Welcome to the mini-touristy American version of a small town in Denmark. The architecture of many of the façades and buildings reflect the traditional Danish style and makes you feel like you just landed in another country.

We wandered the streets a little bit, then stopped for brunch and picked a table outside, on the sidewalk. We watched tourists walk by and counted a few locals that seemed to be heading to work. I’m not sure if it’s because it was the middle of the week and in the morning, but the pace of living felt very quiet and relaxing.

We resisted all the bakeries and decided to head out to the more traditional wine tasting set up, in a winery. Solvang does have many tasting rooms within the city center but we were looking to be immersed in the wine environment.

If I were to come back to Solvang, I’d try more of the local beer and wine tasting room, visit the ostrich and lavender farms and try ALL the bakeries.


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