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10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

By Noreen Kompanik, TravelPulse

Who doesn’t love Europe? After all, many of us share family DNA from one or more European countries. And while we always enjoy hopping on a plane to one of our favorite destinations in Europe, most of us are limited by time or budget restraints. Thankfully, we have several places right here in the U.S. that offer us a taste of Europe. Some will actually make you feel as if you’re actually there. Here are some of our favorite U.S. cities that definitely transport you to Europe—no passport required.

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Solvang, California

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

If you’re dreaming of a Denmark visit, the city of Solvang in Santa Barbara County will almost make that dream come true. In Danish, Solvang translates to "sunny fields" and is often dubbed "The Danish Capital of America." You’ll not only be in the heart of wine country here, but the charming town is full of old-world European architecture, inviting boutiques and shops, wonderful Danish bakeries, and horse-drawn streetcars.


Helen, Georgia

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
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This Bavarian-inspired town in Appalachian Georgia didn’t always look like an alpine village. It was during the 60s that city planners and business owners decided to recreate this town as a Bavarian village. After all, though Helen is located in the Southeastern U.S., it is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains with trout streams running right through the center of town. It’s also the site of a huge Oktoberfest celebration each fall with lots of beer and bratwurst.


Holland, Michigan

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

If you visit this Michigan town, you’ll feel as though you’ve literally stepped into a Dutch paradise. The town of Holland was founded by Dutch settlers and is home to the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the U.S. And when they put out the welcome mat along with their variety of attractions, they really mean it. Every May, the city hosts a stunning tulip festival with fields of more than 25,000 colorful blooms of tulips and flowers. Artisans work on wooden shoes, earthenware, and Delftware designs to the delight of visitors. And let’s not forget the spiced windmill cookies and smoked wurskel we all love.


St Augustine, Florida

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

As the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the U.S., St. Augustine is about as close to Spain as you’ll find without crossing the Atlantic. With its narrow cobblestone and brick streets, Spanish Colonial architecture, and Castillo de San Marcos, you’ll honestly believe you are walking through the streets of a Spanish town. You can even visit the Fountain of Youth whose waters Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon believed would give him eternal youth.


Vail, Colorado

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
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Though Vail is renowned as one of the top ski resorts in the states, the charming Colorado Rocky Mountain town is filled with a myriad of unexpected surprises. Vail Village was constructed with a quintessential alpine-theme, reminiscent of the fanciful small villages we’ve visited in the Tyrolian Alps. Inspired by Zermatt in Switzerland, the quaint town of Vail is filled with typical Swiss architecture and ornate balconies brimming with flowers. Guests will love the waterfall hikes in spring and summer, the quaking of golden aspens set against bluebird skies in the fall, and the myriad of winter skiing and snow activities that even includes sleighrides. And yes, you’ll find restaurants serving Swiss cuisine.


Tarpon Springs, Florida

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

Who would ever guess that a Gulf Coast Florida town would be one of the most fascinating we’ve visited in this region? Known as the "Sponge Capital of the World," this coastal community located along the Anclote River attracted a huge Greek population after the discovery of natural sponge beds in the early 1900s. Today, Mediterranean-style boats still line the docks with their sun-bronzed Greek captains and crew. Of no surprise, restaurants and shops feature lots of authentic Greek food and merchandise in its eateries, bakeries and shops. And don’t be surprised to hear a lot of the Greek language still spoken here. After all the town boasts the largest percentage of Greek-Americans of any other U.S. city.

Read More: The 7 Best Street Markets in the World for Foodies


Leavenworth, Washington

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

With its spectacular setting on the eastern slope of Washington state’s Cascade Range, the lovely town of Leavenworth is a small slice of Bavaria. It feels like one of the most authentic U.S. German towns we’ve ever visited. Leavenworth is so beautiful; it actually looks like a movie set. Even though the town is faux alpine, the half-timbered buildings, gabled roofs and flower boxes are utterly charming. Festivals are a big part of life in Leavenworth and the town is especially known for its Oktoberfest celebrations. You’ll not only get your fill of good German food and beer, but we love their Nutcracker Museum featuring more than 5,000 hand-carved nutcrackers.


Napa Valley, California

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

Why, you may ask is Napa Valley included in this list of destinations? Because anyone who’s ever visited here will say that Napa’s lush rolling hills, towering cypress trees, winding roads and vineyards make you feel as though you are in the heart of Italy’s Tuscany region. To boot, visitors can stay in charming Italian-inspired inns and villas dotted throughout the valley’s small towns and vineyards while enjoying some of California’s best award-winning wines.


Frankenmuth, Michigan

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
Ⓒ Provided by TravelPulse

Pubs pour lots of German beer in Frankenmuth, but you’ll also see lots of traditional dirndl dresses rarely viewed outside of Germany. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, one of the largest holiday stores in the world is reminiscent of the Christmas shops of the alpine ski town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Looking like a page right out of a storybook, Frankenmuth was founded by settlers from that region in 1959, and is fondly known as Little Bavaria. Of no surprise, visitors will find plenty of authentic German food and crafts here.


Poulsbo, Washington

10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
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Even the sign coming into the town reads "Velcommen til Poulsbo." The historic town affectionately known as Little Norway is located on Washington’s picturesque Kitsap Peninsula. Norwegian immigrants discovered areas of Washington that looked a lot like home and founded Poulsbo in the late 1800s. The walkable downtown district is filled with museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes and boutique shops, all in a picturesque family-friendly Norwegian setting. Honoring its heritage, the farming and fishing community hosts a number of Norwegian festivals throughout the year. Viking Fest is held on Norway’s Constitution Date of May 17. Others festivals of note include the Summer Solstice Festival, Arts Festival showcasing Scandinavian arts and crafts and the pre-Christmas festival Julefest.

Read More: 10 Best U.S. Destinations You Can Visit Without a Car


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Travel Magazine: 10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
10 US Destinations That Will Travel You to Europe
These American cities and villages provide visitors with a taste of Europe without the need for a passport or a transatlantic flight.
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