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8 Places in US that Look Like Just Like in Europe

Do You Miss Europe? Visit America!

The United States of America is famous for being a nation of immigrants. After all, the American dream lured millions of people to come here and pursue it. That’s probably one of the reasons why there are plenty of places across this wonderful country with a distinctly European vibe.

For instance, Coastal California has an uncanny resemblance to the Mediterranean seashore without July’s blazing temps and swarms of tourists. At the same time, mansions in Rhode Island definitely give French castles a run for their money.

Hiking in Colorado could also make the Swiss Alps seem quite small. You can get a proper taste of Europe if you decide to visit any of these American destinations with a certain allure that resembles the “Old Continent.” In fact, even the most discerning Europhile might be pleasantly surprised by it. Let’s see what America has to offer in European fashion!

Photo by Kirk Fisher from Shutterstock

If you enjoyed Bavaria, Germany, you have it at home in Leavenworth, Washington.

The beer is Bavarian. Even the timber-framed buildings are Bavarian. In fact, their seasonal celebrations, like Oktoberfest, are pretty much Bavarian-inspired celebrations. Probably the only thing that’s not Bavarian in Leavenworth is its location. Although the snow-capped Cascade Range that surrounds the city resembles the Bavarian Alps, even that is quite debatable.

The mimicry is intentional, however. In the 1960s, after facing years of economic turmoil, Leavenworth decided to reinvent itself as nothing less than a tourist magnet. Taking the example of the natural scenery, the community worked together to model the city after the mountain villages found outside Munich.

And their plan worked quite nicely. Nowadays, Leavenworth draws millions of visitors who are looking for a slice of German life and a base for exploring the Wenatchee National Forest. In fact, things get even more “Deutsch” around Christmas time and in the fall (when Oktoberfest is “blooming”), as plenty of tourists nosh pretzels everywhere around the town.

If you like Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, you should try California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

From the redwood forests close to Mendocino all the way to the sun-kissed sands below Los Angeles, California’s Pacific Coast Highway, commonly known as the PCH and Hwy 1, scoops its way through tiny beach towns and along dramatic cliffs resembling the drive from Dubrovnik to Split along Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline.

This beautiful rite-of-passage road trip has unmatched beauty. Big Sur’s rugged shores, alongside the hiking trails, lead you to San Simeon, where Hearst Castle rises gracefully like a mirage from the ocean’s summertime fog. This unique Mediterranean Revival mansion is basically the West Coast equivalent of old-world grandeur. If that’s something that deeply fascinates you, this is the place for you.

If you like France, then you should visit Newport, Rhode Island.

Probably the ritziest summer escape you can think of will lead you to Rhode Island, where Gilded Age glamor is in bloom. To be fully honest, the place gives Louis XIV a good run for his money. If you wonder how this beauty ended up in Rhode Island, let me backtrack a bit: in the 1850s, American business tycoons initiated constructing palatial summer cottages in Newport, somehow inspired by the Beaux-Arts mansions but also by Italian Renaissance villas and Elizabethan manor houses admired by American architects who went to Europe.

Nowadays, we have Bellevue Avenue, where the elite built their vacation homes. And it really feels like the American answer to Versailles. However, it’s worth noting that touring the ostentatious estates might inspire serious envy.

If you like Denmark, then you’ll love Solvang, California.

If you veer east off the 101 as you drive between sunny Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, you will get “sucked” into a portal to the one and only 18th-century Denmark. It’s gorgeous. The streets of Solvang look just like the set of a Hans Christian Anderson story.

There are half-timbered homes, a handful of windmills twirling around the city, and even a Little Mermaid fountain, copied after the bronze beauty that patiently sits in Copenhagen Harbor.

If you love Spain’s Mediterranean Coast, you should try St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine is still the first occupied city in America established by Europeans. It was founded by Spanish settlers in 1565, and it still bears the stamp of its imperial “father” (or mother?). And because of the Spanish Renaissance architecture of the one and only Gilded Age railroad tycoon Henry Flagger, the Spanish colonial buildings date all the way back to the 1700s, especially Castillo San Marcos, a gorgeous 17th-century fort overlooking the ocean.

In fact, much of this town resembles the historic heart of a Mediterranean town. And for those of you who are interested in traveling through time, St. Augustine’s Colonial Quarter has an immersive look at life in the former Spanish colony, filled with cartoon-worthy reenactments.

If you like Switzerland, you should try Ouray, Colorado.

If Ouray’s outdoor offerings don’t impress you in the first 30 seconds, I truly don’t know what will. I mean, probably the best telltale sign that this place is authentic lies in the fact that locals like to call it the Switzerland of America.

The impressive San Juan Mountains that are flanking the river valley scrape the sky, exactly like Switzerland’s Matterhorn. Moreover, the mineral-rich geothermal waters at Ouray Hot Springs are just as therapeutic as those around Saint Moritz.

Seasonal activities like hiking and ice climbing also imply that the only iconic Swiss thing that’s missing is basically the sheep. In fact, can someone fix that, please? Thank you.

Napa Valley Europe
Photo by Michael Warwick from Shutterstock

If you like Tuscany, Italy, you should see how great Napa Valley, California, is.

They say that they charm the tourists who visit Tuscany through their taste buds. Can you imagine? Well, if Tuscany is too far, you can always go to Napa. They also say that the Italian countryside has an impressive supply of wineries (if not them, then who?), but also sustainable farms and agritourism outposts that have welcomed foodies to the area’s rolling green hills for many years.

This leaves visitors buzzed by the booze and the beauty at the same time. It’s honestly a heaven-made combination. Even if northern California’s wine industry is just a couple of hundred years old, Napa Valley vintners managed to “borrow” the best of Tuscany.

Napa Valley boasts over 400 wineries and an increasing roster of family-run farms. You can try tours and classes, and of course, enjoy a proper vacation stay on those farms, which are only one hour away from San Francisco.

If you like Germany’s Rhine River Valley, then wait until you visit Hermann, Missouri.

As soon as you get to Hermann, Missouri, all that lush landscape will remind you of the Rhine River Valley. Its founders needed very little to realize that Hermann’s soil was very different from any farm on the Rhine, and building their new German society would be way more demanding than they initially thought.

However, the community didn’t give up, and thank God they didn’t! They managed to cultivate a crop that’s perfectly suited for Missouri: grapes. Nowadays, German-style wines attract lots of travelers, who simply hop on the Hermann Trolley on their way to local vineyards.

If you found this article interesting, we also recommend reading: 8 Unreachable U.S. Destinations You Must Visit Without a Car

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