10 U.S. Towns And Cities with European Charm
For U.S. travelers, a European vacation is highly unlikely this summer, and for the near future. The good news is that the United States is filled with towns and cities rich in European charms.
“There are great deals, and there are many European-style places to visit in the U.S.,” says James Ferrara, a personal travel advisor and president of InteleTravel.
Ten friendly towns offering European flavor:
Swiss vibe, New Glarus, Wisconsin: “America’s Little Switzerland,” combines European countryside and town. New Glarus Brewing Company includes an exceptional beer garden, and the small town offers cheese, chocolate, yodeling, charming chalets, and beautiful hillsides.
Swedish vibe, Lindsborg, Kansas: Lindsborg’s homage to its Swedish heritage is present through its cultural accents and hand-crafted wooden Dala horses around town, northern European architecture with pastel colors, Swedish folk dancers, and traditional Swedish pastries.
French vibe, Montpelier, Vermont: Named after Montpellier, France, this smallest capital of any state has the feel of a French countryside village with gorgeous hiking trails and green foothills, small shops and farmers markets, and touches of traditional European architecture. (You’ll also find plenty of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Cabot Cheese, maple syrup, and independent coffee houses.)
Dutch vibe, Pella, Iowa: The birthplace of sliced bread is also home to an authentic slice of Dutch heritage. There’s Dutch-inspired architecture, wooden clogs, canals and drawbridges, a Tulip Tower landmark, the tallest working grain windmill in the U.S., and pastries and cheeses created from old-world recipes.
Spanish vibe, St. Augustine, Florida: On the northeast coast of Florida, the city claims to be the oldest in the U.S., and is known for its Spanish colonial architecture. The Castillo de San Marcos is a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress.
Danish vibe, Solvang, California: In southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley, the city offers Danish-style architecture and many wineries. The Elverhøj Museum of History & Art explores the city’s Danish heritage.
VacationRenter cites these additional four U.S. cities, for European charm:
German vibe, Frankenmuth, Michigan: This city’s Bavarian-style architecture, annual festivals, and riverboat cruises provide a southern German atmosphere. Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Restaurant is famous for its traditional family-style chicken dinners.
English/Italian vibe, Boston, Massachusetts: The city’s vintage brick buildings, classic architecture and cobblestone roads evoke Old English charm. And Boston’s Little Italy is often recognized as the best Italian Village in the country.
Spanish/Creole vibe, New Orleans, Louisiana: With wrought-iron-accented buildings, outdoor patios, and a renowned food scene, New Orleans shows a distinct European flair. In the French Quarter with its colorful, Spanish-inspired buildings, you can stroll down Frenchmen Street to catch some live jazz music.
Swiss/German vibe, Leavenworth, Washington: This city’s landscape and architecture capture a mix of Swiss and German aesthetic. Nestled in the Cascades, Leavenworth also attracts outdoor-enthusiasts for activities including hiking, climbing and kayaking.
Lea Lane is an award-winning writer and communicator, author of Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries, and Travel Tales I Couldn't Put in the Guidebooks, available at Amazon as print and Kindle eBook. She writes for magazines, newspapers and on websites, including Forbes.com, The New York Times, Salon, and the Daily Beast.
Lea's travel podcast, Places I Remember with Lea Lane, is available wherever you listen to podcasts. She interviews passionate travelers and travel experts around the world.
She's authored eight books (including Solo Traveler, finalist for best travel book of the year from the North American Travel Journalists Association). She has contributed to dozens of other books, from encyclopedias to guidebooks. Lea wrote a column called "Going It Alone," for Gannett Newspapers, and was managing editor of "Travel Smart" newsletter. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers.
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