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"Denmark in Central California" Top 5 Page for this destination Solvang by RedEaredPanda

Solvang Travel Guide: 273 reviews and 698 photos

Along the central california coast, about 45 miles north of Santa Barbara or 130 miles north of Los Angeles, Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators from the midwest who were in search of a site for a Danish-type folk school. Solvang meaning "sunny field" is nestled between the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountain Ranges, on a portion of the sprawling Rancho San Carlos De Jonata.
Included amongst the first arrivals were farmers, carpenters and other artisans who helped construct the first buildings, homes, hotel and the original folk school (Atterdag College was built in 1914 on a hill on the north side of the town).
In 1928, the church home for the congregation of Bethania Lutheran chuch was completed on Atterdag Road. It was patterned after a typical rural church in Denmark with interiors handcarved and woodwork on the altar, pulpit and altar rail.
Role of Atterdag college declined over years and in the spring of 1970, building was demolished to make way for the Santa Ynez Valley Recovery Residence, a convalescent facility.
Solvang's many Danish American residents continue to perpetuate their heritage in Solvang. Danish and Danish American fraternal and social organizations are active in Solvang, including Danish Brotherhood and Sisterhood Lodges, Dania Men's and Ladies Lodges and a Solvang Chapter of the Rebild Natinal Park Society.
A Danish Custom which has continued in Solvang to this day is the rejsegilde, a celebration at the raising of the highest rafter on a new building. This tradition is observed with most new construction in the area, spreading throughout the non Danish population of the Santa Ynez Valley. Another tradition of Sovlang's Danish backgroundis found in the array of artificial storks gracing the chimneys and roof lines of many of the Danish Style homes and commercial buildings. People is Solvang believe a stork on the roof will bring good luck. There are street illuminations in the form of old fashioned gas lamps, many of which at one time saw service in Copenhagen. Lending emphasis also to the Danish countryside flavor are Solvang's quintet of country-style windmills.
Tours of the town are provided daily via Honen "The Hen", a replica of a Copenhagen street car of the early 1900's which is powered by a pair of large blonde Belgian horses.
Solvang has 2 museums. First is the Elverhoj Museum devoted to the cultural heritage of Solvang and displays information about early Solvang history, examples of Danish furnishings and rotating exhibits of art. The second is the Hans Christian Anderson Museum featuring a large collection of the author's books.
The varied population of Santa Ynez valley includes Chumash Indians who live on a nearby reservation in Santa Ynez (visit the casino) and the Mexicans and Spanish whose forbears came to Solvang long before it was envisioned as a Danish Town.
Legacy of early settlers, the chumash and the mexicans and the padres is evident in the OLD MISSION SANTA INES, which was dedicated on September 17, 1804 as the 19th in the chain of 21 CALIFORNIA MISSIONS.

Getting there

From Los Angeles, It's one and half hour drive along highway 101 north.. Get to go through Santa Barbara so you could stop by and do some shopping or enjoy the beach meanwhile.

City Map

Walking Around, you pass by many many gorgeous specialty shops, restaurants and stores.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Walking around shopping and dining (lots of choices to eat)
  • Cons:Don't really need more than one or two days max to visit the little city
  • In a nutshell:It's definitely worth stopping by for a day or even a weekend
  • Last visit to Solvang: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (26)

Comments (23)

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2009 at 6:11 AM

    Darn! We won't have time to sample all the great restaurants you list in this unusal tip guide, but thanks for the anticipation

  • MikeStarr5's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2007 at 3:36 PM

    Det lyder meget godt (It sounds very good) - My mouth is watering - I love Danish food (dansk mad)

  • alywang's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2007 at 5:46 PM

    it looks like a interesting place:)

  • ChristinaNest's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2006 at 11:48 PM

    What a charming place with interesting history! greetings from chilly Sofia

  • margaretvn's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2006 at 5:12 AM

    really enjoyed your page and will have to try and get there one day - perhaps oin my next visit to my sister

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2006 at 8:54 PM

    Ever seen a show called "Stranded with Cash Peters"? There is an episode where he was dropped off in Solvang. Nice little town!

  • TinKan's Profile Photo
    Dec 31, 2005 at 10:31 AM

    Hope you have a wonderful New Year and may all of your travel dreams come true. Enjoy life with all that it has to offer.

  • tak_pap's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2005 at 4:56 AM

    great site - full of good comments and tips - thanks so much for your birthday wishes.

  • MissyWQ's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2005 at 8:52 AM

    I used to work as a Realtor-Associate in Solvang. For a treat my son is driving me there for my birthday to buy "Nokeloost" Cheese and a dinner. Thanks for remembering my birthday.

  • tpal's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2004 at 6:42 PM

    I thought I knew California, but...Solvang? Completely got by me. Always more to discover. BTW nice birth date...Tom


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