Solvang is a small town outside Santa Barbara near Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1850s when Danish pioneers escaped the harsh economy of Denmark at the time, and founded a settlement over the Santa Ynez mission. Today, the town has redesigned its architecture as a tribute to the idyllic Danish lifestyle.
Start off at the Hans Christian Andersen Park at Mission Drive and follow the drive to Olsen Danish Bakery. Don’t miss some of the authentic Danish delicacies, which are flakier, less sweeter and more finely flavored than the commonly available pastries in chain stores in the US.
Then, walk around Molle Way and Copenhagen Drive. Find Copenhagen Sausage Garden and have beer and sausages from Germany, Poland, Austria and Denmark. This place is a beautiful outdoor Beer-House (in the style of German Hofbrauhauss) and has 25 to 30 different types of mustard and other condiments from different regions of Central Europe.
Walk into the Copenhagen House near it, and check out their historic Amber museum. This is a tiny place with historic artifacts dating back to the stone age and then the golden era of Vikings.
Walk around Copenhagen Drive, 1st Street and 2nd Street checking out a variety of wineries, traditional toy-stores, museums and restaurants. Beware though, check out Yelp and Google for the originals as there are a lot of shops that are post-expansion and don’t hold up to the standards of the real historic places.
Walk east towards Alisal Road and check out the Clock Shop jewelers who display a variety of mechanical cuckoo-clocks in traditional Danish woodwork. Come south along the same road to the Vintage Motorcycle museum. Walk around the Village Square by it.
Don’t forget to take pictures with the windmills. There is also an ostrich farm near Solvang which you can check out before returning.
Introvert Solo Travel Ratings –
Sensory Peace – High. This is off the freeway and not a major junction.
Solo-Friendliness – High. Most places are casual and “for one” is fine.
Commute Friendly – High. You need to get here by car. Plenty of parking is available and the whole town is tiny and walkable.
Predictability – High. Beware of modern bakeries with similar names as original ones. Yelp them beforehand. The place closes down early, so plan your timings. Get sunscreen and stay hydrated.
Safety – High.
Nerdy stuff – Low. Unfortunately, the museums and history are tiny. People come here mostly for wine, cake and the cute architecture.