Road Trip: Solvang, CA

Solvang, a quaint village in California's Santa Ynez Valley, embodies Danish culture with its distinct architecture, windmills, and culinary offerings. Established by Danish immigrants in 1911, Solvang showcases historic buildings, cobbled streets, and windmills reminiscent of Denmark's countryside. Recognized for its bakeries offering pastries and treats, Solvang is a haven for foodies. Visitors can explore Danish heritage at landmarks like the Little Mermaid statue and enjoy a wine tasting at nearby vineyards. Festivals and events throughout the year celebrate Solvang's unique cultural legacy, making it a must-visit location. Here are some travel tips if you plan on visiting Solvang, CA.

Travel Tips for Solvang, CA

Plan Your Visit: 

Research Solvang's attractions, events, and accommodations before your trip to make the most of your time in the Danish-inspired village.

Explore Danish Culture: 

Learn Solvang's Danish heritage by visiting landmarks such as the Little Mermaid statue and the replica of Copenhagen's Round Tower.

Sample Danish Treats: 

Enjoy authentic Danish pastries, candies, and cuisine at local bakeries, cafes, and restaurants throughout Solvang.

Visit Windmills and Architecture: 

Admire the village's iconic windmills and half-timbered buildings, perfect for photo opportunities and leisurely strolls.

Shop for Souvenirs: 

Browse boutiques, galleries, and specialty shops offering a variety of Danish-inspired gifts, handicrafts, and imports.

Wine Tasting: 

Explore Solvang's surrounding wine country with guided tours or self-guided wine tasting experiences at nearby vineyards and tasting rooms.

Attend Festivals and Events: 

Check Solvang's event calendar for seasonal festivals, parades, and cultural celebrations showcasing Danish traditions and local artistry.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities: 

Take advantage of outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and horseback riding in the scenic Santa Ynez Valley surrounding Solvang. We even saw tricycles and 4 wheel bicycle rentals on the street! Ostrichland is not one to miss. (More on that later).

Take a Historic Walking Tour: 

Join a guided walking tour of Solvang's historic district to learn about the village's founding and architectural landmarks.

Relax and Unwind: 

Find a cozy spot to relax in Solvang's parks, gardens, or outdoor cafes, enjoying the laid-back atmosphere and Danish hospitality.

Trip Recap

After my 16.5-year old Chihuahua/MinPin Corona passed away on August 22, 2020 (during the Coronavirus pandemic), I was depressed and heartbroken. My friend Melissa told me that it helps to travel after saying goodbye to a beloved furry four-legged friend. So, three months after Corona crossed the Rainbow Bridge due to Canine Kidney Disease, my two brothers and I booked a VRBO in Solvang, CA and decided to take the 2-hour road trip during Thanksgiving weekend from Los Angeles, CA. The trip was therapeutic and I was able to bond with my brothers and kick off our quarterly family trips.

To kick things off, my brothers Sean and Steven, picked me up and we started the road trip by filling up on a full-tank of gas. We took the scenic route from Marina del Rey, CA driving up PCH, connecting to the 101 and then finally making a pitstop at Arroyo Burrow off-leash dog beach in Santa Barbara. All the dogs we saw were so happy, running around while barking, speeding into the water to chase toy balls, and I loved that there was a section for small and big dogs. I did get a little sad seeing all the happy dogs while mine wasn’t with me anymore. I wished that I took Corona to that very dog beach but he barked at everyone, especially men who would get too close to us on walks.

After spending some time walking on the sand, we made our way through the Santa Barbara mountains heading towards Solvang. I remember all the fall colored leaves as we drove towards Solvang at sunset. We were definitely not in Los Angeles anymore. 

As soon as we arrived at our VRBO rental, we we were welcomed with a fridge full of food and a greeting on the kitchen chalkboard. 

After picking our rooms and resting a bit, we headed to downtown Solvang and picked up Danish pastries and then ate at the Solvang Brewery Company for dinner. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we sat outside and it was extremely cold! Next time, I'll remember to bring a thick jacket instead of a sweater. Anyway, my blue cheese burger was delicious and my Michelada beverage was so refreshing. Once dinner was over, we headed back to our rental cottage and my brothers watched a UFC fight while munching on Danish pastries. 

Day 2 of our trip consisted of coffee and chai tea lattes in the morning followed by feeding all the chicken that were in the front yard. Our hosts left us chicken feed in a jar in front of our door so we ventured out and made friends with all the animals (dogs and chicken). 

Once all the chicken were fed, we decided to make our way to Najoqui Falls to check out a waterfall. To our surprise, and due to the lack of rain, the waterfall we expected to see was just a stream of water trickling down the side of a super tall cliff. Although we didn't see a raging waterfall, it was still an enjoyable easy hike where my brothers and I enjoyed all the fresh air and being immersed in nature. 

We then made our way back to the coast and stopped by Gaviota State Park and then Refugio State Park, which was enjoyable and we saw paddle boarders, surfers, along with amazing sea caves. 

With our hunger growing from all the sightseeing, we headed back towards Solvang. 

Luckily, Ostrichland was on our way back so we decided to feed ostriches. It was so fun seeing these well fed tall birds that tried to steal the entire bowl of food from me!

After feeding all the ostriches, we headed back to the VRBO and cooked up some carne asada tacos. Best way to end the last night of our trip! The final day of our long weekend consisted of an ATV tour in the Santa Barbara mountains booked through Enjoy the Mountain. Our tour guide was amazing and documented our dusty adventures along the way. 

Overall, the trip was fun and it took my mind off of the sadness of missing my little Stinker Corona. We decided to make family trips a quarterly thing. It was great reconnecting with family and we recommend riding ATVs since it's the perfect socially distanced activity where you can enjoy the outdoors. 

Don't forget to PIN this post! 😁

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