Europe Without a Passport

This Iowa getaway will make you feel like you’re an ocean away. Travel to our European-inspired villages to find tasty treats and strong traditions. You won’t even need your passport.


German traditions are alive and well in these seven villages founded in 1855 by German immigrants and collectively a National Historic Landmark. Make sure to stop in for wiener schnitzel at the Ox Yoke Inn and grab a cold one at Millstream Brewing Company or the Millstream Brau Haus. Shop for gourmet specialties at the High Amana General Store. Get a good night’s sleep at A Touch of Home Bed & Breakfast.


The Czech Village is teeming with European history thanks to thousands of Czech, Moravian and Slovak descendants. This quaint neighborhood boasts a variety of shops and authentic Czech dining. Try a kolache from Sykora Bakery. Sip an artisan brew at Lion Bridge Brewing Company. Learn about this wonderful heritage at the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library.


A rich Norwegian heritage comes to life in Decorah, where you’ll find the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum with more than 33,000 artifacts. Locals love the annual Nordic Festival held every July that celebrates their culture. Check out Mabe’s Pizza, a regional favorite. Visit Seed Savers Exchange where you’ll find lush display gardens. Stay at the historic Hotel Winneshiek.


The villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton are the two largest rural Danish settlements in America. Grab a bite to eat at Larsen’s Pub (a best breaded tenderloin winner). Savor a glass of wine at Danish Countryside Vines & Wines. Visit the authentic Danish Windmill. Witness true Danish hospitality by attending Tivoli Fest in May or Julefest in November.


Orange City’s charming Dutch atmosphere serves as a colorful backdrop for their annual three-day Tulip Festival that attracts thousands of visitors each May. Can’t make the festival? No worries. Orange City is a must-see anytime of the year. Enjoy amazing dishes at the Blue Mountain Culinary Emporium and interactive learning experiences at the Dutch Heritage Center.


Pella keeps its European heritage on display with authentic Dutch bakeries, meat markets and historical buildings on the town square. In May, tulips bloom and streets bustle during the Tulip Time Festival. Bite into a flaky Dutch letter from Jaarsma Bakery. Tour the Vermeer Mill, a fully functional 1850s-style windmill. Rest your head at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel.