best European-influenced city

Travel Forums General Talk best European-influenced city

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1. Posted by GeorgiePoppy (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I was wondering what places/cities others have been that have a huge European influence, outside of Europe obviously?

I'm currently in New Orleans and the mix of vibrancy and cultures here has made me fall in love with the city!

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 5407 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Parts of South-East Asia have a big French influence, particularly Hanoi where baguettes, croissants and coffee are readily available.

Buenos Aires has a significant Italian influence and it's not hard to find a delicious pizza there!

3. Posted by madpoet (Respected Member 415 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

A few Chinese cities- especially on the coast- were built by Europeans, or at least planned by them, and have a lot of European-style architecture.

Besides the obvious ones: Shanghai (the Bund esp.), Hong Kong and Macau, Qingdao has a lot of German-style houses, while the Russian planners who laid out Dalian's streets were allegedly inspired by the boulevards of Paris. Harbin, in northeast China, had a population which was at least 1/3 Russian in 1900, so the Russian influence is easy to spot there.

In recent decades, builders of new housing developments have looked to Europe for inspiration, and have copied German, Swiss, Italian, English and other European style houses. The apartment complex I live in, here in China, is supposedly in the Spanish style. They even have copies of the works of Spanish artists (Salvador Dali, Picasso, etc.) on the walls in common areas. There's a statue of Don Quixote tilting at a windmill down by the parking lot.

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5774 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Funny you mentioned Buenos Aires Bex, it was the first one that appeared into my mind as well.
Obviously, the visible things (mostly architecture) are the most recognizable. A good example is Malacca in Malaysia, with lots of Dutch influence.

People tend to say that San Francisco is the (or one of the) most European cities in the USA. Although that might be true, I found very little European about it (being a great city though!).

I guess in general it really comes down to the old colonial times and relations between 'mother' country and colonies. Portuguese style in Mozambique, Spanish in Ecuador etc. etc.

One of my personal favorites must be Luderitz and Swakopmund in Namibia. Both loads of German influence and both in the desert along the Atlantic Coast, really strange places but wonderful places.

5. Posted by JUANnOGNEN (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

tons of other places in South America besides Buenos Aires: Cartagena and Santa Marta in Colombia, Arequipa and Cusco in Peru, Cordoba in Argentina are just some of the bigger cities that immediately spring to mind... then you have the tons of small "colonial" towns and villages (we're talking about towns like Sucre and Potosi in Bolivia, Baricharra and San Gil in Colombia, San Pedro de Atacama and Fruitillar in Chile amongst literally hundreds if not thousands of others) scattered throughout the continent that have - at minimum - well-preserved historical centers and plazas with many period buildings and often carry on European traditions and cooking (not just Spanish and Portuguese, but also German, Italian, Welsh etc...) for centuries. Of course, most have blended in a lot of New World and Indigenous touches but the European influence is inescapable (unlike, say, Bogota or Santiago de Chile which are almost wholly modern South American cities with few tastes of Europe remaining). But these are all historical influences of the Europe of yesterday (much like in New Orleans) and the only South American city akin to a modern but classic European one seems to be Buenos Aires.

In Africa, you have Cape Town in South Africa - an obvious candidate for the award of "most beautiful colonial town Europeans ever built." Luderitz and Swakopmund in Namibia can fairly be accused of being German-like. Most cities in Angola and Mozambique are very Portuguese (most people don't realize that Portugal had colonies in Africa for about 400 years longer than any other European power) but due to Portugal's messy exit from the continent and catastrophic ensuing civil wars in both Angola and Mozambique, these cities are basically ruins of European towns (fascinating and beautiful to see, though).

I find that the worthwhile "European" towns outside Europe are those that preserve truly old colonial architecture (at least 110 years old, preferably over 200) and some customs in the center of town but have moved on and become vibrant centers representative of the country and people that actually inhabit them rather than the colonial power that was often cruel and repressive. This is why I don't like the Chinese "European" cities which are at best a poor imitation of modern Europe - if you want modern Europe, go to Europe, not China or Vietnam.

6. Posted by Anja Fourie (Full Member 9 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Definately Cape Town! With so many different European influences, Portuguese, British, Dutch, we truly are a mixture of European cultures and this can still be seen today...

Hey JUANnOGNEN, you made me happy, so I quoted you in my blog!

Post 7 was removed by a moderator
8. Posted by brianoh (Full Member 48 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hong Kong I think, but haven't been yet. Hoping to be there in a month or so.
Also parts of India I think. I say this mostly on account of architecture.

That was how I took the question OP, but I see other things come into the mix. I get what you're saying about New Orleans, but when I was there I definitely knew I was in the United States. I didn't get the feeling I was in some other country, but I also the feeling of the South, the southern states of the US.

9. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2007 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

For me, it's Montreal (definite French influence)--including the fact that most of the people who live there speak French.

Also, the city of Victoria (on Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia in Canada) has all the feel of of the UK. It is probably most similar to Bristol or Portsmouth.

In the US, there are a lot of small towns that have definite European feel or architecture (such as Solvang in California and Leavenworth in the state of Washington and Frankenmuth in Michigan)--but other than New Orleans, I can't think of any strictly "European" large cities (although Santa Fe in New Mexico does have a bit of of a Spanish influence).

10. Posted by liivi.hess (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quebec City in Quebec, Canada is extremely European in influence, history and feel. I would highly recommend travelling there.