So you want to go to Europe but don’t quite have the time or money to make it over? Believe it or not, you’re in luck! Hundreds of places around the world have been inspired by the architecture and culture of major European cities. Some have even gone so far as to replicate the original.
If authenticity doesn’t matter to you as much as budget, you may just find the European escape of your dreams right in your own backyard. Here are 7 of our favorite Fake European Towns That Won’t Break the Bank:
1. Solvang, California
Nicknamed the “Danish Capital of America,” this Santa Barbara-area town was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes who wanted to establish a Danish colony outside of the cold Midwest. The town features Danish bakeries, shops and restaurants, and a replica of the famous Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen.
2. Thames Valley Khao Yai in Ban Mu Si, Thailand
This unique hotel in the lush Khao Yai region of Thailand was designed to resemble an English countryside village along the River Thames corridor, complete with tea rooms and traditional English pubs.
3. Frankenmuth, Michigan
Nicknamed “Little Bavaria,” this Michigan town is home to many Bavarian-themed shops and restaurants, as well as Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a 7-acre store billed as the “World’s Largest Christmas Store.”
4. Leavenworth, Washington
This formerly sleepy railroad town in central Washington was transformed into a mock Bavarian village in 1962 and is now home to a popular Oktoberfest celebration and the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which houses more than 5,000 nutcrackers!
5. Québec City, Québec
Okay, Québec City is not exactly a fake European city. But it is heavily influenced by its French heritage. Besides hearing Canadian French spoken around every corner, you can expect to see romantic architecture, sidewalk cafes, and traditional French bakeries all over this beautiful and historic city.
6. Helen, Georgia
Modeled to look like a Bavarian alpine village, this small town of 500 keeps it “authentic” with street performers, Oktoberfest celebrations, and a Denny’s that is actually designed to fit the Bavarian architectural style!
7. Las Vegas, Nevada
Of course, if you’re looking to get the most European flair from a non-European city, there’s no better place than Las Vegas. Where else in the world can you visit the top of the Eiffel Tower and ride in a Venetian gondola within the same hour? Well, maybe in Europe if you hurry. But Vegas is definitely the next best thing.
Fake European towns won’t satisfy all of your cravings for a classic European adventure, but they will provide a taste of Europe and will keep your wallet happy at the same time. To see more fake European towns around the world, check out the full list here, and don’t forget to share your own European discoveries (real or otherwise) on Trover this summer!