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7 small towns in the US that will make you feel like you jetted off to Europe for the holidays — without the pricey airfare

german-looking stores line a brick street in Helen, Georgia
Helen, Georgia.NiglayNik/Shutterstock
  • Many small towns across the United States resemble quaint European villages.

  • Helen, Georgia's downtown area resembles a quiet Bavarian alpine village.

  • Solvang, California, is an adorable Danish-inspired village that feels festive year-round.

You don't have to take a transatlantic flight to feel like you're in Europe this holiday season.

Across the United States are small towns that draw inspiration from European countries like Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden, and many are ideal locations to spend the holidays.

Here are seven small towns in the US that will make you feel like you jetted off to Europe for the holidays.

Solvang, California, will make you feel as if you've been transported to a quaint European town.

Solvang, CA
Solvang, California.Shutterstock

Solvang, California, is an adorable Danish-inspired village located in the Santa Ynez Valley, up the coast from Santa Barbara.

Founded by Danish-American settlers from the Midwest in the early 1900s, the town is filled with Danish-inspired architecture. There are even replicas of Copenhagen's Little Mermaid statue and Round Tower, plus bakeries and restaurants that sell Danish cuisine.

The town feels festive all year round, although Solvang comes alive around the holidays. Every year, the European-inspired town hosts Julefest, a holiday celebration complete with a Christmas-tree lighting, plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping, and Danish treats.

The downtown area of Helen, Georgia, is a recreation of a German alpine village.

Helen, Georgia.
Helen, Georgia.Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Surrounded by mountains and forests, Helen, Georgia, features architecture that will seemingly transport you to a quaint European village, complete with restaurants serving German cuisine such as bratwurst, schnitzel, and Sauerbraten.

While the town is famous for its Oktoberfest celebration, Helen also offers a number of festive events during the holidays. The town has a Christmas market and parade featuring costumed characters, floats, and Santa Claus himself, plus festive lights and a breakfast with Santa.

Frankenmuth, Michigan, is also known as Little Bavaria.

Frankenmuth
Frankenmuth, Michigan.Alexander Sviridov/Shutterstock

Frankenmuth, also known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, is one of the coziest places to spend the holidays. The town's architecture will make you feel as if you've been transported to Europe — and it's even better when it's covered in snow.

The town is also home to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, which, at 320,000 square feet, calls itself the world's largest Christmas store.

Leavenworth, Washington, is a small Bavarian-inspired town that becomes especially festive around the holidays.

View of main street in Leavenworth, Eastern Washington State, with tables for social distancing during the pandemic.
The main street in Leavenworth, Washington.Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Remodeled in the 1960s to resemble a European ski town, Leavenworth features Bavarian-inspired architecture that will make you feel like you're in a quaint European town, not central Washington.

For the holidays, Leavenworth's downtown is decorated in lights and the town's annual Christmas market keeps the holiday festivities going all season long.

The ski town of Vail, Colorado, took inspiration from Swiss ski resorts in its design.

Vail, Colorado, Village Skyline Aerial.
Vail, Colorado.Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

Vail, partially modeled after the Swiss ski resort Zermatt, is nestled in the Colorado Rockies and attracts visitors from all over the world each winter.

The town might be best known for its ski slopes, but the European-inspired charm doesn't stop there. Shops and restaurants also take inspiration from Switzerland.

New Glarus, Wisconsin, gets its name from a town in eastern Switzerland.

New Glarus, Wisconsin
New Glarus, Wisconsin.Kristen Prahl/Shutterstock

New Glarus, named after the canton of Glarus in eastern Switzerland, was founded in 1845 by Swiss immigrants, and much of the town still reflects that history today.

Chalet-like buildings and events like the Heidi Folk Festival make this town feel like a quaint Swiss village, while visitors can also buy chocolate and other goods imported directly from Europe. New Glarus is also home to the only Swiss Heritage organization in the United States and the Swiss Historical Village Museum.

Lindsborg, Kansas, is known as Little Sweden and has homages to the European country all over town.

Hemslojd gift store in Lindsborg.
Hemslojd gift store in Lindsborg, Kansas.Marty P./Yelp

Settled in 1869 by Swedish immigrants and known as Little Sweden, Lindsborg is reminiscent of a small Swedish town thanks to its local culture.

Around town, you'll spot colorfully painted dala horses that line the town's streets, as well as bakeries selling traditional Swedish treats like lingonberry bars and pancakes.

Every other year in October, the town holds its biannual Svensk Hyllningsfest, a festival where locals dress in traditional Swedish clothing and participate in folk dancing and other traditions to celebrate the Swedish pioneers who created the community.

Read the original article on Business Insider