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7 Stateside Cities That Feel Like European Escapes
If you’re dreaming of European travel but want something more accessible and affordable, consider a trip to one of these 7 US cities.
Anyone else getting wanderlust from watching “Escape to the Country”? We’ve been dreaming about visiting Europe and escaping our daily routine. Currently, Americans are not able to travel to most of Europe, and while there is hope that this will change soon, we’re ready for a trip now! So, we’ve found 7 destinations a bit closer to home that feel like Europe. No international flights needed, yet these cities will make you feel like you’re in a completely different world.
Feel Like You’re in Denmark in Solvang, California
Located within Santa Barbara wine country, Solvang is “a little slice of Denmark in Southern California.” The small village is decorated for Christmas all year round, and every morning you can smell the fresh Danish pastries like aebleskiver (a Danish dessert similar to donut holes) being baked. This small town has several souvenir shops that sell authentic Danish gifts, like wooden shoes and cuckoo clocks. And yes, there’s a windmill.
Feel Like You’re in Spain St. Augustine, Florida
This coastal city in Florida was settled in the 1500s by Spanish explorers, which explains the architecture reminiscent of the streets of Madrid. This is America’s oldest city, and you can feel it’s European flavor with centuries-old buildings, horse-drawn carriages, hidden courtyards and Spanish cuisine. To fully experience the Spanish heritage, walk along Aviles Street in the historic downtown district and visit Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental US, which was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World.
Feel Like You’re in Germany in Leavenworth, Washington
Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Region, you’ll find yourself in this Bavarian village that could easily be mistaken for Germany. Find shops and restaurants with all the classics - bratwurst, wienerschnitzel, and of course, German beer! Visit the Nutcracker Museum and enjoy an alp horn serenade every morning as horns ring out from the balcony of the Enzian Inn. Summer is a great time to visit and plan ahead for 2022, because of course, this town celebrates with its own Oktoberfest!
Feel Like You’re in France in New Orleans, Louisiana
Aspects of New Orleans’ French-inspired heritage are still strongly present amongst the culture, language and cuisine in the city. Visit the aptly named French Quarter, step into Saint Louis Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in the US, and indulge in some French-Creole cuisine. Visit soon and experience the 2021 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience from June 9-13.
Feel Like You’re in Switzerland in New Glarus, Wisconsin
Visit “America’s Little Switzerland” in Green County, Wisconsin. This village was established in 1845 as a colony of Swiss immigrants. Its alpine style is showcased in its Swiss chalet-style architecture and culture. Indulge in some Swiss chocolate sold throughout the town and dine on an authentic Swiss meal at New Glarus Hotel Restaurant. Partake in the “Cow Parade” to find all 16 painted cows placed throughout the town. This was inspired by a similar cow parade at the Zurich airport.
Feel Like You’re in Norway in Thief River Falls, Minnesota
About half of the residents in this town are of Norwegian descent, and they take great pride in their heritage. Visit Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village which was recreated to look like the town’s early Norwegian settlement. Feel like you’ve gone back in time as you check out places like the schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and the church. The town will hold its Norwegian Heritage Week Festival next week featuring live performances and authentic food, and due to COVID, some virtual events, as well.
Feel Like You’re in England in Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Visit Cape Cod and the gorgeous coastline will remind you of the ones seen in “Escape to the Country,” particularly in the town of Cornwall. Just like Cornwall, Cape Cod is a seaside town, so delicious seafood is abundant. For the quintessential New England character, visit Sandwich, one of Cape Cod’s oldest towns. Stroll the quaint shops and elegant colonial homes, or spend the day at the beach. Lying on the beach in Cape Cod will feel as though you’ve just traveled to Godrevy Beach in Cornwall.
You can travel from the comfort of your home by watching Escape to the Country!