When you step foot into Helen, Georgia, you might momentarily think you transported across the Atlantic to Europe. This town, inspired by classic German architecture, gives you the chance to experience a taste of German culture without breaking the bank.
The entire town follows the look of Southern German architecture. All the buildings, even franchises, have to adapt their styles to fit the theme. Helen is probably the one place in the world where you'll find a Bavarian-styled Huddle House.
The North Georgia town is only home to 430 residents, but it’s bringing in visitors from all over Georgia and neighboring states. It's less than a two-hour drive from Atlanta, so it makes for the perfect day trip.
Even though Oktoberfest is the town’s biggest festival, summer brings a whole new batch of activities for tourists. Hiking, tubing, chasing waterfalls and mining are just a few of the ways you can stay busy.
Helen will even be the site of the 46th Annual Balloon Race and Festival, where 20 hot air balloons will compete in a long-distance race, flying from Helen to the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors will also have the chance to take part in their own balloon rides, from May 30 – June 1, 2019. Admission is free, while activities vary in price.
No tour of Europe (or Helen), would be complete without a few drinks, and there are plenty of chances to indulge. Some of Georgia’s oldest and largest wineries and vineyards can be found here. If you’re not a wine drinker, you can easily find a "Biergarten", stocked with craft beer and giant Bavarian pretzels.
After a long day adventuring, you'll get a chance to try some real deal, authentic German cuisine. Many of the shop owners are originally from Germany and surrounding areas and somehow found themselves nestled into this mountain town.
End your day making a toast over the polka music, cheerings to the fact that you experienced Germany at such a small cost.