If you’re dreaming of spending the afternoon sipping Bordeaux in a Paris cafe or stopping by a gelato shop to grab a scoop of nocciola (also known as hazelnut) on your way to see the Trevi Fountain, you may be wishing you could be in Europe right about now—especially on board a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Luckily, there are charming towns in the U.S. that offer a taste of European adventure. So until you’re sailing through towering Norwegian fjords or alongside the peaceful Jurassic Coast on the English Channel, you can start picturing your cruise vacation in Europe by venturing out in the states.
Here are six places to visit in the U.S. that can transport you to Europe until your cruise across the pond.
Where: Poulsbo, Washington
What it’s like: Norway
Poulsbo’s historic Little Norway is one of Washington’s Kitsap Peninsula favorites. It’s been home to a Nordic population since it was founded in the 1880s, and you can see the culture alive and well throughout the town—in its shops, restaurants, architecture and more. On top of that, Poulsbo is located on an inlet of Liberty Bay, providing a similar feel to the landscape of the famous Norwegian fjords.
Where: Tarpon Springs, Florida
What it’s like: Greece
Tarpon Springs is known for its Greek character—after all, immigrants from Greece built the city’s sponge industry, thereby creating the “sponge capital of the world.” But there’s more where that came from. Wander through the city’s side streets and small cafes, and you’ll catch locals speaking Greek and smell aromas of garlic lamb and baklava filling the area with Mediterranean life.
Where: Solvang, California
What it’s like: Denmark
Solvang is not only an adorable backdrop for Lifetime Christmas movies—it also boasts more than 100 years of Danish history. Settled in 1911 by Danes, who many say had grown tired of the cold weather in the Midwest, this quaint spot in California is now a popular destination because of its authentic Danish architecture and very own replica of The Little Mermaid statue. Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth, definitely do not miss out on the homemade fudge from the classic Solvang shop, Old Danish Fudge Kitchen.
Where: Montpelier, Vermont
What it’s like: France
Though its name proudly announces its origins as a French settlement, Montpelier also has a decidedly French heritage—and that “je ne sais quoi” vibe. Named after Montpellier, France, Vermont’s capital city shines with its French-inspired buildings, and as you stroll through, the surrounding trees and rolling hills may feel more like the French countryside than a U.S. city at times. Don’t forget to check out the nearby ski resorts for a Vermont taste of the Alps.
Where: Holland, Michigan
What it’s like: The Netherlands
Surprise—this Michigan town’s name is a nod to its Dutch heritage that dates back to when Dutch immigrants settled the land in the mid-1800s. Now, Holland even has a Dutch windmill and tulips that were imported from there to make the “Holland” feeling even more authentic. A photo in the tulip field is a must, and when you wander around any part of the downtown area, it’ll be hard not to feel like you’re in the Netherlands.
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
What it’s like: The United Kingdom
When you think of the U.K., Boston may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. But look a little closer, and you’ll see its stark resemblance to London. For a good English pub experience, pop by Cornwall’s to have a pint and some bar grub. And if you spend any time in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood taking in the cobbled streets, gas-lit lanterns and federal-style row houses, you may just do a double-take because this place is as English as you can get this side of the Atlantic.
After you’ve explored these European-inspired destinations in the states, head here to see how Royal Caribbean can take you to their European originals.