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.
I visited this down during the week up to Christmas.
I started off at the Hans Christian Andersen Park at Mission Drive and followed the drive to Olsen Danish Bakery. Now, there are several “Danish Bakeries” which have opened up more recently around the area, hence be careful about going to the authentic Danish one. Olsen is a safe choice and its delicacies are flakier, less sweeter and more finely flavored than the commonly available pastries in chain stores in the US.
Then, I walked 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.
Then, I visited the Copenhagen House near it, and checked 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.
There were also a variety of wineries, traditional toy-stores, museums and restaurants.
I walked east towards Alisal Road where the Clock Shop jewelers displayed a variety of mechanical cuckoo-clocks in traditional Danish woodwork. Nearby, there’s also the Vintage Motorcycle museum and a Village Square around it.
The place had beautiful windmills at every turn paying homage to it’s Danish roots. There was also an ostrich farm nearby which I will visit during my next time.
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.