Smiling Senior
(Photo by Askar Abayev/ Pexels)

The United States may never truly replicate the authentic corridors and culture of Europe, but it can come close. According to data analyst Immigrant Invest, out of 450,000 American nationals who have retired, 38% choose Europe as their destination.

While many Americans dream of retiring in Europe, not everyone can fulfil this ambition due to the difficulties and expenses of obtaining a visa. Consequently, retirees have begun looking for places within the US that offer a European feel.

Numerous American cities, especially large urban areas like Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, exhibit a distinct European influence. While these cities may seem too expensive for retirees, there are plenty of more affordable options. Based on research conducted by Travel + Leisure and The Parking Spot, here are 11 retirement destinations in the United States that have a European vibe.

1. Portland, Oregon

Portland's major European influences are its globally recognised craft beer scene and its focus on environmentally friendly public transport. In 2019, Portland demonstrated its commitment to sustainable transport by opening 400 miles of bike lanes. Exceptional food choices and a bohemian atmosphere also contribute to Portland's European charm.

Perfect for Retirement: Portland offers a laid-back lifestyle with access to excellent healthcare, beautiful parks, and a strong community spirit focused on sustainability. The city's emphasis on green living appeals to environmentally conscious retirees.

2. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is known as the "American Riviera" due to its beaches resembling the French Riviera. The area also has strong Spanish influences, evident in the Old Mission Santa Barbara, with its red-tiled rooftops and white brickwork.

Perfect for Retirement: Santa Barbara offers a mild climate, stunning coastal views, and a relaxed, upscale lifestyle. The town's emphasis on wellness and outdoor activities makes it ideal for retirees seeking an active and healthy retirement.

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans
(Photo by Ken Cooper/ Pexels)

The French Quarter in New Orleans, often referred to as the Vieux Carré, boasts both French and Spanish architecture and a deeply rooted French culture. The report highlights New Orleans as potentially the most European area in the US, with French-inspired cuisine, French street names, and traditions like Bastille Day and Mardi Gras.

Perfect for Retirement: With its vibrant music scene, rich history, and lively festivals, retirees can enjoy an active and culturally rich lifestyle. The mild winters also make it an attractive option.

4. St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers. The city predates the English colonisation of Jamestown and the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock. Today, the Castillo de San Marcos and the colonial Spanish district showcase St. Augustine's Spanish architecture and influence.

Perfect for Retirement: With its historic charm, beautiful architecture, and mild winters, St. Augustine offers a unique and pleasant environment for retirees. The city's rich history and cultural events provide endless opportunities for exploration and learning.

5. Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs offers a Greek vibe, thanks to its large Greek American population. The city features a Greek town, sponge-docked boats, and a wide range of Greek cuisine and culture.

Perfect for Retirement: Known for its warm climate and vibrant cultural scene, Tarpon Springs is perfect for retirees who appreciate Mediterranean culture and cuisine. The town's friendly community and picturesque setting add to its appeal.

6. Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo by Levi McRea/ Pexels)

Charleston combines the charm of a European vacation with Southern hospitality. The seaside port city is known for its cobbled streets, historic homes, cultural sights, and world-class food.

Perfect for Retirement: Charleston's blend of historic charm, coastal beauty, and culinary delights makes it a desirable location for retirees. The city's moderate climate and vibrant arts scene offer a fulfilling retirement experience.

7. Hermann, Missouri

Hermann is referred to as the "Missouri Rhineland" due to its geographical similarities to Germany. The town hosts events like Oktoberfest and Wurst Fest and features traditional German architecture, including the Deutschheim State Historic Site.

Perfect for Retirement: Hermann offers a quiet, small-town atmosphere with a rich cultural heritage. Retirees can enjoy local wineries, scenic landscapes, and community events that celebrate German traditions.

8. Holland, Michigan

Holland's Dutch Village and the DeZwaan Windmill, dubbed the "only authentic, working Dutch windmill" in the US, give the town a distinct Dutch feel. The annual Tulip Time Festival further enhances Holland's European charm.

Perfect for Retirement: Holland provides a peaceful, picturesque setting with a strong sense of community. The town's seasonal festivals, beautiful parks, and access to Lake Michigan make it an appealing choice for retirees.

9. Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth underwent a German makeover in the 1960s and is a "dead ringer" for a Bavarian mountain village. The town features the Nutcracker Museum, Oktoberfest events, and an alpine atmosphere due to its Cascade environment.

Perfect for Retirement: Leavenworth's charming alpine setting and festive atmosphere offer a unique retirement experience. The town's outdoor activities, including hiking and skiing, cater to retirees who enjoy an active lifestyle.

10. Montpelier, Vermont

Travel & Leisure likens Montpelier to a "French countryside village" because of its vibrant farmers markets, charming stores, rolling hills, and European-style architecture. The name Montpelier reflects the close relationship early European settlers had with France.

Perfect for Retirement: Montpelier offers a serene, small-town atmosphere with a focus on local produce and community events. Retirees can enjoy the town's natural beauty, friendly residents, and cultural activities.

11. Helen, Georgia

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Chattahoochee River, Helen is often referred to as "Little Bavaria" due to its distinct German atmosphere. The town offers a variety of outdoor activities and shopping options for retirees.

Perfect for Retirement: Helen's scenic mountain setting and Bavarian charm make it a delightful place to retire. The town's festivals, outdoor recreation, and quaint shops provide a vibrant and engaging lifestyle for retirees.

These destinations provide a taste of Europe without leaving the US, making them attractive options for retirees looking to enjoy a European lifestyle close to home.