Experience Italy, Germany, New Zealand, and more all without leaving the U.S.
Jet-setters continue to dream of beautiful, far-off places for their next adventure. When the time is right, travelers can head out west to California, Colorado, and Washington to get a taste international destinations like Italy, Denmark, New Zealand, and more. Check out five western U.S. destinations that will seemingly transport you abroad. They’re all a short trip from home, but will feel a world away.
Along the Central Coast in Santa Barbara County lies Solvang, a charming Danish village that’s home to gingerbread-style architecture, twirling windmills, and exceptionally friendly people. Founded in 1911 by Danish Americans from the Midwest, Solvang (Danish for “sunny fields”) also boasts a variety of wine tasting rooms, trendy boutiques, and farm-to-fork restaurants, like Root 246, alongside a traditional mix of bakeries, chocolatiers, and souvenir shops. Must-try treats include stroopwafels, fruit strudels, and aebleskivers, a classic Danish pastry that’s similar to a doughnut hole or pancake, but puffier. Stay in Santa Barbara (less than 1-hour from Solvang) at the Hotel Californian.
Located in Northern California, Napa Valley has long been considered a bucket-list spot for wine lovers from around the world. With its acres of vineyards and beautiful golden sunsets, Napa will make travelers feel as if they’re abroad in Tuscany. It’s also home to the Castello di Amorosa, a 13th-century-style castle that appears as if it was plucked straight out of the Italian countryside. The valley also boasts over 400 fantastic wineries, each with their own unique offerings. Nestle in for the night at the adorable Carneros Resort and Spa. This destination is ideal for any type of traveler, from couples to friend groups to families.
The surrounding mountains, colorful cliffside homes, and sweeping ocean vistas of Avalon on Catalina Island just off the coast of California resemble those in Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Offering beautiful sightseeing opportunities and an endless amount of sunshine, travelers dreaming of a trip to the Italian coast can instead look to Catalina for their next beachside vacation. Visitors can trek around on foot, or rent a golf cart from one of the local shops to explore the island and take in the scenic views. After a day of exploring, the Descanso Beach Club along the waterfront and past the iconic Catalina Casino offers a stretch of sand to relax on with a cocktail in hand. Stay pre- or post at The Resort on Pelican Hill in Newport.
Leavenworth, Washington, is a charming Bavarian village nestled in the Cascade mountain range. The town boasts beautiful Old World architecture, 800 miles of accessible trails for exploring, two dozen tasting rooms with beer and wine, an outdoor theater, and plenty of culinary options, including brats and schnitzel. The Leavenworth Sausage Garten’s housemade sausages are cooked using local ingredients and Old World traditional cooking methods. Guests should check out the Bavarian Lodge for a genuine Bavarian hospitality experience. Enjoy a stay before or after Leavenworth in Seattle at either The Fairmont Olympic Hotel or Four Seasons Hotel.
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