When I set off on my road trip around California I didn’t really have a plan past the first few days. I knew I was setting off from LA. I knew I wanted to see the Sequoia Trees, and hike through Yosemite, and see the crystal clear water of Lake Tahoe. However, beyond that, I had no idea. Thus was born my trip of quirky little towns in California. Solvang is a little Danish city that was founded in 1911. You walk the streets and you instantly feel transported to Europe.
The Danes came over here in a time where Denmark was experiencing economic hardship. While most set up shop in places like Utah, Wisconsin and Minnesota, one pastor wanted to start a Danish colony on the west cost. And so Solvang was born.
The initial architecture of the town was built in the same style as the surrounding areas. It wasn’t until after World War 2 that there was in interest in the concept of a ‘Danish Village’. In the mid 1940’s, after a trip to Denmark, an architect returned to Solvang to build the first Møllebakken (the Danish styled home). Over time it grew and grew until the city of Solvang became a tourist attraction in it’s own right, with now over one million visitors a year.
Now personally, one of my favourite things about Solvang is the absolute abundance of bakeries. Even currently sitting at the window of my hotel room, I can count three. I mean, the first thing a tourist would want in a Danish themed town, is a danish! Am I right? (I know this because I am currently eating one for breakfast)
Immerse yourself in Danish Heritage
As for things to do in Solvang, if you’re interested in learning about Danish history and culture, you’re in for a treat. There are three museums in town; The Elverhoj Museum, devoted to preserving Danish heritage. The Hans Christian Anderson Museum, which presents the author’s life and works, as well as the Vintage Motorcycle Museum, which is pretty self explanatory.
You wont be short of streets and avenues to wander. You can shop your way through all the Danish themes stores, be it souvenirs, sweets, or authentic Danish garb. There are also a few wine tasting rooms which could be a lovely way to cap off an evening.
So if you’re aimlessly driving around California wondering what to do like I was. Or you simply want to see something a little different on your travels, I cannot recommend stopping by Solvang enough. I promise, you’ll love it.
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