Traveling the world is amazing, but it’s not exactly easy to jump on a plane and jet off to Europe over the weekend.
As it turns out, there are tons of places on American soil that are modeled after European villages. You don’t have to leave the country to get a little taste of Europe, you just have to visit one of the following places!
This little Dutch-inspired slice of the Netherlands is actually located in Holland, Michigan. Dutch settlers founded the town back in 1847 and injected all of their homeland culture into the new community.
The town is home to the DeZwaan Windmill, the only authentic and operational Dutch windmill in the United States.
The town of Fredericksburg, Texas was founded by German immigrant settlers in 1846. Today, the charming town boasts a combination of German heritage with classic Texas southern hospitality.
The downtown strip features specialty shops and authentic biergartens like the ones that can be found throughout Germany. If you’re looking for a stein, this is the place to be.
It’s almost impossible to overlook the similarities between Venice, California, and the famous city of Venice in Italy. It’s clear that the American tribute city, filled with canals, bridges, and wrought-iron balconies, was committed to replicating their inspiration city.
The manmade waterways don’t compare to the natural ones in Italy, but it is a nice escape within the U.S.A.
St. Augustine, Florida
The city of St. Augustine, Florida was founded by Spanish settlers in 1565, making it the oldest occupied settlement in the United States.
St. Augustine’s is a uniquely modern city filled with Spanish colonial architecture, especially in the Historic Colonial District where 36 colonial-era buildings still stand. The coastal climate adds an enticing touch to the oldest city in America.
Frankenmuth, Michigan is described on the Frankenmuth tourism website as “Michigan’s little Bavaria.” Inspired by the German state, the village was founded as a Bavarian mission colony for Lutheran settlers in 1845.
The town has since become famous for Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland which operates a Christmas village year-round and claims to be home to the largest Christmas store in the world.
Huntington, New York
Huntington, New York is a miniature version of the Palace of Versailles located right on Long Island.
The luxurious French-style chateau is called the Oheka Castle and holds the title of the second-largest home ever built in America. If you think the castle looks familiar, you might recognize it as where Taylor Swift filmed the “Blank Space” music video.
Another village inspired by the traditional German state of Bavaria is Leavenworth, located about two hours northeast of Seattle in Washington. The quaint town is characterized by Alpine-inspired architecture, German cuisine, and traditional themed hotels.
It wasn’t always a German-themed village. Like many tourist locations, before it was colonized, the land was occupied by local Native American tribes including the Yakama, Chinook, and Wenatchi tribes. It wasn’t until the 1960s that town leaders decided to rebrand the town as a German village to boost tourism.
Healdsburg, California radiates luxury small-town vibes in one of the busiest states in the country. Today, wine is the primary industry in the Healdsburg area which is surrounded by sprawling vineyards reminiscent of the Italian Tuscany region.
The Italian influence in the area is hard to miss with grand archways visible in the architecture and wineries located off of every side road.
Solvang, California is known as the Danish capital of America and the town has earned its title. The charming Denmark-inspired town is called Solvang after the Danish word for “sunny fields.
CityofSlovang.com details the history of the town that was “founded by three Danish immigrants who purchased nearly 10,000 acres of prime land in the Santa Ynez Valley.” In the 1930s, residents would begin building their homes in the Danish medieval style.
Some people are familiar with Vail, Colorado as a ski resort town that feels a little bit like an Americanized version of a Swiss Alps ski town. The similarities are not by mistake— Vail was actually modeled after the town of Zermatt, Switzerland (located at the base of the Swiss Alps).
Decorative features like ornate balconies and detailed woodwork line the buildings and shops.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a culturally rich Louisiana city known for its eccentric nightlife, incredible food, and diverse culture. Originally called La Nouvelle-Orleans, New Orleans was founded by a French settler named Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville in 1718.
But the city had a tumultuous history and was temporarily ceded to Spain, which accounts for all of the Spanish Colonial-style architecture influence in the area. The Spanish contributions to the city can be seen in “wrought-iron balconies, patios (courtyards), above-ground cemeteries, and the city’s earliest expansion, the Suburbio Santa Maria, today’s Central Business District.”
Tarpon, Springs Florida
Tarpon, Springs Florida is the Greek-influenced Gulf Coast town you never knew you needed to visit. The Florida town feels more like a charming Eastern Mediterranean island than like America thanks to its rich cultural history.
At the turn of the 20th century, the coastal port was flooded with Greek immigrants who settled and began building a community in America with values, architecture, and cuisine rooted in their homeland.
Montpelier, Vermont is named after Montpelier, France. The town was founded in 1781 and drew much of its inspiration from the French version of the town.
Today, the historic district is famously home to early architecture, local theatre, live music, and the Savoy arts cinema. Vermont Vacation describes the town as “the largest urban historic district in Vermont.”
Prior to the 1800s, the valley where the Bavarian-themed Georgian town Helen is now located was the cultural center of the Cherokee People. Following brutal colonization, the Cherokee people left the area on the Trail of Tears and settlers began building communities.
By the 1960s, the town leaders met to plan a resurrection of the boring town and turn it into a tourist destination. Their artist friend John Kollock was reminded of his service in Germany when he saw the valley and his visits to Bavarian towns inspired the new city plans.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri’s downtown Country Club Plaza was architecturally designed to mimic the city of Seville, Spain. The Spanish influence is strong in the area that is filled with towering pillars and lush courtyards featuring elaborate fountains.
According to KCHistory.org, “The origin of modern-day Kansas City, Missouri, dates back to the 1830s when John McCoy founded the settlement of Westport at what is now Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Hermann, Missouri was handpicked by German colonists because of its close proximity to the Missouri River, which served as a vital trade route and reminded the Germans of their beloved Rhine River back home.
The local climate is also ideal for vineyards to thrive which has made the area home to many local wineries.
Charleston, South Carolina
Lots of people associate Charleston, South Carolina with classic southern charm. If you’ve ever walked the streets, you know that it’s also reminiscent of many European cities with its towering grand churches, cobblestone streets, and Victorian-style buildings.
The history begins with the city’s name which was given to the settlement in honor of King Charles II of England.
Poulsbo, Washington was founded in the 1880s by a Norwegian immigrant named Jørgen Eliason. The major Scandinavian influence in the town’s architecture and culture earned it the nickname “Little Norway on the Fjord.”
Each year the town is host to an annual Viking Festival that celebrates the town’s Nordic roots.
Natchitoches, Louisiana is a one-of-a-kind place considering it is the oldest permanent European settlement in the Louisana state. The town was founded in 1714 and was heavily influenced by French culture from the beginning.
Today, the French architectural influence can be most easily seen in the Historic Landmark District where wrought iron balconies line the roads.
Boston, Massachusetts has a lengthy and unique history as one of the main port cities in the USA during the colonization period. Acorn Street is one of the most popular places in the whole city because it looks just like old England.
The cobblestone streets are lined with red brick buildings, standing lanterns, and shutters on windows.