If you’d love to visit Denmark, but don’t have the time in your schedule to fly across the globe, then we’re here to fill you in on the next best thing to Copenhagen. Tucked away in the rolling hills of Southern California’s wine country (just 35 miles north of Santa Barbara, in the Santa Ynez Valley) lies the cozy and charming town of Solvang.
Travel Guide to Solvang
From luxurious hotels that embody the “hygge” lifestyle (a Danish term that the Oxford dictionary refers to as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”) to laid-back, dog-friendly places to hang out, learn why you’ll find your bliss in this happy Danish town.
Where To Stay in Solvang
While Solvang is known mostly for quaint Danish inns and B&Bs, finding an upscale hotel that boasts modern amenities, spacious living quarters, gorgeous outdoor spaces with relaxing fire pits, and a chic Scandinavian atmosphere is like discovering a gem in a haystack.
When looking for a luxurious, dog-friendly hotel in Solvang, we were happy to find The Landsby – a trendy boutique hotel that boasts warm hospitality and refined, stylish accommodations.
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From the exterior, The Landsby resembles a modern castle, which naturally exudes a whimsical and enchanting first impression. Upon entering the updated 50-room hotel, you’re greeted by a friendly and attentive staff that instantly makes you feel at home. As you walk through the hotel, you’ll discover homey reading nooks, an inviting bar, and a comfortable, casual living space to relax and enjoy.
To encourage you to unwind in style, the clean, contemporary furnishings are accented with warm and sumptuous textiles, like shaggy fur pillows and woven rugs.
The cozy setting continues into the guest rooms, where you’ll fall into a deep slumber when you rest your head on the dreamy plush bedding. Hand-crafted wood furniture gets a glam touch with brushed brass accents, while the hip decor and artwork by regional artists give off a “globe-trotter gone-off-the-grid” vibe.
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In the morning, step out onto the sun-drenched patio for a cup of coffee. Enjoy the peaceful landscaped courtyard with views of the nearby mountains and fairytale-inspired architecture that can be seen throughout the town.
Since we often enjoy traveling with our dog, Wellesley, The Frenchie, we were especially excited to learn that The Landsby recently launched a Stay & Play Pet Package. The package includes a dog toy, dog wine Apollo Peak, dog bowls for use during your stay, waste bags, and yummy treats. You can only imagine the smile on Wellesley’s little face when he discovered his deluxe new toy waiting in our hotel room!
Where To Eat in Solvang
When it comes to finding good places to eat, there’s no shortage of restaurants and bakeries in Solvang. If you’re only in town for a brief visit, then there are a couple spots we’d definitely recommend visiting. From casual, family-friendly eateries to upscale, trendy restaurants with gourmet cuisine, here are a few of the best places to eat.
For breakfast, head to Mortensen’s Danish Bakery for a cup of coffee and a delicious pastry, like a decadent Cream Cheese Danish. Featuring mouth-watering, flaky pastries, all-butter shortbread and real whip cream napoleons and chocolate eclairs, this landmark bakery has been serving the town for over 40 years.
For lunch, head over to CHOMP for a juicy burger, fries and a shake. Not only does this popular, All-American eatery offer both indoor and outdoor seating, it has a covered patio that’s dog-friendly as well.
Make sure to bring your appetite, as your eyes might be bigger than your stomach when you see the menu! A couple of our favorites are the Miss Candi Burger and the Wrangler (a western-style burger that comes with Hickory bbq sauce, double bacon & onion rings on top). Even if you aren’t in the mood for meat, CHOMP also offers salads, fish and poultry options. Plus, it’s a budget-friendly option which makes it ideal for families with kids.
For dinner, if you’re looking for gourmet dining in a relaxing setting, head to Mad & Vin (which means “food and wine” in Danish). Ideal for romantic date nights and intimate get-togethers with friends, this elegant restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating (which is great if you plan on bringing your pup).
The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from California’s central coast. A few of our recommendations are the Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, Short Rib Skillet, and Farmer Salad.
What To Do & Where To Go in Solvang
Aside from eating your way to happiness, there are a number of other ways to enjoy your time in Solvang. From wine tasting at the Lucky Dogg Winery and the Wandering Dog Wine Bar (which are both dog-friendly) to shopping for traditional Danish designs at The Copenhagen House and Amber Museum, there are all types of fun things to do in Solvang.
Since the Santa Ynez Valley is known for producing exceptional wines, it’s worth your while to do a little wine tasting while in wine country. The best part is – you don’t even need to drive anywhere. Located within walking distance from most of the hotels in Solvang are several wine tasting rooms, breweries, and bars.
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If you’re in the mood for a cold beer, down the street from The Landsby is a tucked-away locals’ spot known as The BackRoom – a cool hangout spot which is literally hidden behind a door (that looks like a bookcase), located within the Valley Brewers’ facility. They offer a selection of 16 continually rotating taps of specialty craft beers and provide guests access to a private, dog-friendly patio.
If you’re up for something novel and out-of-the-ordinary, then head over to Ostrichland USA, which is located just outside of downtown Solvang. This kid-friendly place enables you to feed the beautiful ostriches and emus while getting up-close to them in their sprawling outdoor habitat which resembles the natural desert setting they’re from.
In addition to these activities, Solvang also has great boutique shopping and art galleries to explore, an outdoor theater that puts on fun productions throughout the Summer, and even a peaceful park that’s ideal for picnics. As you can see, a vacation in Solvang is always a good way to make your family (and even your puppy) happy.
For more travel tips and vacation ideas, check out the Travel section on Inspirations & Celebrations.
Complimentary accommodations and services provided by The Landsby, CHOMP, and Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau.