You might not think it at first, but Florida has strong international roots from all over the globe, evident in its architecture, town names, food, and communities. There are some places in the Sunshine State that will even make you forget you’re still in the United States, and we’re not talking about Epcot’s World Showcase, either! If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Europe but don’t have the time or money for a plane ticket, check out these places around Florida that will make you feel like you’re in Europe!
Why You Need To Go: You can find baklava, olive oil, and ouzo galore at this quaint little historic Greek town on the Gulf Coast. With the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any U.S. city, the Historic Greek District is the driving force of tourism for the city. You can find authentic Mediterranean food around every corner, and experience traditional cultural and religious events throughout the year.
Why You Need To Go: Also found on the Gulf Coast, Dunedin is the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Once a major trading port for the state in the late 1800s, it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and has managed to retain a strong Scottish culture. Once a year, Scottish clans congregate at this city for the Dunedin Highland Games. Both the Dunedin High School and Middle School even have competition-level pipe and drum bands.
Why You Need To Go: Deriving its name directly from the second-largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg, FL, has thriving arts and cultural scenes. Co-founded in 1888 by Peter Demens who named the city after his home, you can still find great food around the city inspired by its Russian roots.
Las Olas Gondola in Ft. Lauderdale
Price: Call 800-277-1390 or 201-919-1999 for pricing, each tour is unique!
Address: 333 Las Olas Way, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Why You Need To Go: Nothing screams “Venice” more than a romantic gondola ride, and you can leave your Florida reality for just a bit and escape on a romantic Venetian gondola cruise. Enjoy champagne and cocktails while you watch the sunset over the waters of Las Olas on a 1 hour and 15-minute cruise on an authentic gondola. It’s the Italian experience without ever having to leave Florida!
Why You Need To Go: With its gothic fountain sculptures and big red British phone booth, walking around Hyde Park Village Circle in Tampa feels like stepping into a London square. While the surrounding area has become home to nightclubs, boutiques, and upscale eateries, the Village Circle has never lost its quaint English vibe.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami
Address: 16711 West Dixie Highway North Miami Beach, FL
Why You Need To Go: It’s hard to believe, but this ancient Spanish church was actually once a giant jigsaw puzzle. Now, it’s a beautiful relic that you can explore. St. Bernard de Clairvaux dates back to the 12th century, where it was first built in the medieval Spanish town of Sacramenia. The building was dismantled when monastic life came to end in the 20th century and was shipped off to New York. The razed building sat in a warehouse until 1952 when its new buyer reassembled it in Northern Miami. You can now visit this gorgeous relic for just $10.
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