Most new travelers dream of jetting across Europe for their first trip overseas, and it’s true that Europe is home to centuries of history, beautiful world-renowned attractions, and a strong tourism and hospitality industry. But aside from its fame and ease of travel, what is it that sets Europe apart from other continents? Is it the architecture? The quality of the food? The types of things you can do there? Years of colonialism certainly haven’t been a bowl of cherries, but if you look around the world, you will find countless cities with the European feel you crave.
For hundreds of years, the United States has been lauded as the world’s melting pot, so it should be no surprise that some of its towns look like they belong in Europe. The tiny city of Leavenworth, Washington was modeled on a traditional Bavarian village, and as you stroll past its half-timbered buildings you’ll have a hard time believing you’re not in Munich. In fact, a quick jaunt to the Northwestern town in fall or winter could be the perfect budget-friendly substitute for a trip to the actual Oktoberfest in Germany. Enjoy a tasting at the Icicle Brewing Company, tuck into a German meal at The Gingerbread Factory, or browse the halls of the Nutcracker Museum.
Leavenworth, Washington, Flickr © DRVMX
Many a city in East and Southeast Asia played host to some Western power or another, but few places in Asia boast as European a feel as the Bund in Shanghai. This waterfront was once central to the Shanghai International Settlement - something like the country’s Wall Street - and so lays claim to one of the greatest stretches of colonial architecture in the world. Art deco and neoclassical facades abound. When you’re done strolling this famous landmark, take some time to explore the French Concession, a glam neighborhood whose leafy backstreets are full of superb dining and shopping.
The Bund, Shanghai, Flickr © nev connell
No matter what country in Europe you dream of hitting, it probably has one important feature: cafe culture. Cities everywhere from Paris to Vienna are teeming with cozy coffeehouses where locals and tourists alike settle in for a hot cup of joe and an afternoon of people watching. But if you had to name one non-European city with a European cafe culture, it’s Melbourne bar none. The cultural capital of Australia is brimming with open-air cafes and another quintessentially European feature: lovers’ locks. Footbridges in many a European city, and in Melbourne, are covered in padlocks with the etched initials of couples in love. Cafe cultrure in Melbourne, Flickr © _TC Photography_
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The capital of Argentina is as European as it comes, and is often compared to Paris. The city is immensely walkable, much like the capitals across the pond, and its streets are filled with fountains, statues, and locals with Italian and Spanish descent. You’ll find many a French influence as well. In fact, the Malbec wine Argentina is now famous for originates from a Bordeaux grape. Wandering around the elegant neighborhood of Recoleta is a surefire way to inject a little European flair into a Latin American holiday.
Buenos Aires, Flickr © David Almeida