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Solvang (Danish for "sunny field") is a little Danish village in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. Founded in 1911 by a group of Danish teachers, its quaint architecture, windmills, shops, Danish bakeries and restaurants, make it a tourist attraction a brief drive from Santa Barbara, and close to Santa Ynez wineries. Mission Santa Inez is just outside of the center of town.

We went for an early morning walk in search of coffee. Streets were wet from the overnight rain, but the clouds held back while we wandered the still empty streets.




We found coffee, and did our best to avoid the Danish pastry shops that seemed to be in every block of town.


We continued to wander around town as the shops began to open.





No clogs were purchased, but I did find some great walking shoes in the Solvang Shoe Shop!

I remember visiting Solvang as a child and thinking it was a magical place. The last time I was there was probably 20 years ago. Maybe it was the gloomy weather, but it seemed to have lost some of its "magic". The shops were mostly filled with touristy junk, and a few of the nicer stores were closed or gone. Houses in the residential streets were mostly kept up, and many former shops have now been replaced with wine tasting rooms for local wineries. Since the purpose of our visit was really to get Brad's car, the disappointment was minimal. It was time to have breakfast and head home to some sunshine!

Comments (8)


The last time I visited Solvang was with our friend, AnnieK. She lived in Arroyo Grande then and we were on our way to the Chumash Casino where we "invested" and lost. LOL

We had a nice lunch and we did a bit of looking around... Like you, not a shopping trek though.


I love Solvang!

I used to go there every year in April when the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival is held. Stayed right downtown in one of those picturesque little motels.

Great wine there too!

Terry (teaberry):

It does seem like an unlikely town to see in California. Looks very quaint on the surface.

Palma, I have to say I agree with you. I went there in November and found it very cheesy. Here is my blog post on it: http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/chiocciola/2008/12/solvang_wow.html

Palma, my last visit to Salvang was also more than 20 years ago. I really liked it. It sounds like I might be disappointed today.

Fun to see your pictures. I think it is prettier in sunny weather. Too bad the stores are filled with more touristy junk. It's been at least 10 years since I was there.

In the photos, it looks like a cute little town (and surprising to find it in California). But I had the same reaction to Helen, Georgia, which is supposedly a little German village in the north Georgia mountains. I thought it was an appalling tourist trap. (e.g. The Hansel and Gretel ice cream shops).

The weather was much nicer when I was there....

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