The Little Mermaid is alive and well in the enchanting village of Solvang, (aka Dutch Town) in Santa Barbara County. Suspend your sophistication and allow this unique and charming village to captivate your fanciful imagination. The historic downtown facades, scrumptious pastries and many flavorful dishes carry the mark of the Danes who first arrived here in the 1800s. The surrounding rolling hills are a beautiful backdrop, and the vibrant colored flowers adorn the streets as you meander through this very walkable town.
The works of Hans Christian Anderson, son of a shoemaker turned mythical storyteller, are lovingly preserved in a museum at the Book Loft. The museum stores rare copies of Anderson’s books) as well as modern takes on his fables such as The Princess and the Pea, Thumbalina, Snow Queen (the inspiration for the wildly popular Disney movie Frozen) and of course The Little Mermaid. In all, Andersen penned over 150 fairytales.
One only needs to walk into one of the many bakeries to catch a whiff of the rich warm, buttery scents to understand why a “Danish” has become synonymous with an unforgettable baked sweet. Enjoyable craft beers are found at the Solvang Brewing Company. Or try a bit of the grape at the several wine tasting locations in the town and wine tours throughout the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country.
The diversity of the town of Solvang will truly amaze you with museums that feature Danish history and heritage to motorcycles, California missions to natural history. Unique festivals such as Danish Days, Julefest and a Taste of Solvang are held throughout the year. Golfing, shopping, live theater, cycling, horseback riding and boating are available to entice outdoor enthusiasts to culture lovers.
Enjoy the warmth and wonderment of Solvang, a town that truly lives up to its Dutch name of “sunny fields.”
And if you are visiting Solvang, by car and are continuing north along the California coast, check out our blog on California Road Tripping.