Five U.S. Towns That’ll Make You Feel Like You’re In Europe
It’s no surprise that travel looks a bit different in 2020. If you’ve been dreaming of a magical European getaway, don’t give up hope just yet. America is full of charming cities and towns that harness the food, culture, history and architecture of a destination across the sea.
Oktoberfest in Munich might have to wait another year, but beer and bratwurst shouldn’t have to. Here’s our list of five great small-town getaways that will make you feel like you’ve touched down in a different country.
1. Solvang, California
Solvang is a popular destination for travelers looking for the classic feeling of being in Denmark. The Southern California town boasts gingerbread architecture, twirling windmills, authentic Danish bakeries and more one-of-a-kind experiences. Don’t miss the famous replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower, or Rundetårn, in the town center. The best part? Solvang is situated near 120 vineyards right in the Santa Ynez Valley, providing the perfect stop on a wine tour through Santa Barbara.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley
2. St. Augustine, Florida
The small coastal town of St. Augustine is a history lover’s paradise. Full of Spanish heritage and centuries-old architecture, it is commonly called the “Nation’s Oldest City.” Step back in time during a visit to the city’s Colonial Quarter downtown, which offers a peak into the lives of 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century residents. No trip is complete without a visit to The Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress with views of the St. Augustine Inlet.
3. Fredericksburg, Texas
There’s no place quite like Fredericksburg, a German settlement situated in the epicenter of the Texas Hill Country. Fredericksburg was recently named “Best Small Town in Texas” by Southern Living for the third consecutive year, and it embodies the feeling of “German heritage with Texan hospitality.” German architecture, beerhalls and a rule that no chain stores are allowed in its Historic District keep the town’s historic roots alive. Make time for wine tasting, as Fredericksburg is also home to over 100 wineries and vineyards.
Where to stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Fredericksburg
4. New Glarus, WIsconsin
If you love the Swiss staples of chocolate and cheese, add “America’s Little Switzerland” to your travel bucket list. The town closely resembles Glarus, Switzerland through its geography and architecture, and the community keeps Swiss-German culture alive through annual festivals, music, tradition and more. Pay a visit to the town’s museums for a true dose of history and appreciation.
Where to stay: Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
5. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Referred to as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth has embodied a German feel for over 170 years, dating back to when it was a Bavarian mission colony for Lutherans in 1845. Locals are incredibly proud of the town’s heritage, and you will feel it through their food, festivals, European architecture and warm hospitality. If you’re looking for the ultimate holiday experience, pay a visit to Bronner’s, the world’s largest Christmas store.
Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bay City – Riverfront