While renowned for its vibrant beaches and lively entertainment scene, Greater Fort Lauderdale also harbors hidden gems evoking the ambiance of Old World destinations abroad. From picturesque canals reminiscent of Venice to Mediterranean-inspired architecture lining its boulevards, Fort Lauderdale offers a taste of Europe without having to leave South Florida's sunny shores. Discover the area's best places that feel like Europe in our guide below.

 

Las Olas Gondola
Las Olas Gondola

Fort Lauderdale didn’t get its nickname as the “Venice of America” for no reason. The city boasts over 165 miles of waterways that weave through the city. This expansive canal network is reminiscent of Venice, Italy, where canals serve as the primary means of transportation and a defining feature of the city’s landscape. Enjoy this stateside experience while booking a Las Olas Gondola ride. This tour group offers enchanting and authentic gondola ride experiences through the city’s picturesque waterways. Discover a peaceful, romantic way to explore the lush waterfront scenery, luxurious homes, and vibrant marine life. Customizable tour options and knowledgeable gondoliers make it a memorable activity for special occasions or a relaxing outing.

Las Olas Boulevard 
Las Olas Blvd Sign

One of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s most famous spots is Las Olas Boulevard. Here, the street exudes a European atmosphere through its charming blend of upscale boutiques, art galleries, and sidewalk cafes that line the street. The boulevard’s architecture features Mediterranean Revival and other European-inspired styles, creating a picturesque setting reminiscent of the quaint streets in cities like Paris or Barcelona. While visiting Greater Fort Lauderdale, enjoy strolls under tree-lined sidewalks, indulge in al fresco dining at cozy restaurants, and explore quaint boutiques and cultural attractions.

Cafe Bastille
Cafe Bastille

Café Bastille in Fort Lauderdale brings a taste of France to the city with its authentic Parisian vibe and delectable cuisine. Walking in feels like entering a charming bistro in the heart of Paris, complete with elegant decor, cozy seating, and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The menu features French culinary delights, including freshly baked croissants, delicate pastries, and classic dishes such as quiche, escargot, and coq au vin. The café also serves a selection of fine French wines and expertly brewed coffees, perfect for a leisurely brunch or a romantic dinner.

Eatapas
Eatapas

Look no further for an authentic Spanish dining experience in Fort Lauderdale than Eatapas in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant features a diverse menu of traditional and contemporary Spanish tapas, including classics like patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), chorizo, and Spanish tortilla. There are also creative dishes that incorporate local and seasonal ingredients. Eatapas often hosts live dancing and entertainment, adding to the lively atmosphere that will have you returning in no time.

Wine Garden 
Wine Garden

If you want a spot to wine, dine, and live la dolce vita like the Italians, head to Wine Garden, nestled in Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach Village neighborhood. This cozy al fresco eatery captures the essence of an Italian villa with its lush greenery, cobblestone paths, and inviting outdoor dining areas reminiscent of Tuscany's vineyards. You'll feel right at home when stopping by for a romantic date or a gathering with friends. Order artisanal cheese and charcuterie boards, homemade pasta dishes, and delightful desserts, and pair your selections with a bottle from the wine list. Be sure to book a reservation in advance, as this tends to be a hotspot for locals and visitors alike.

The Historic Stranahan House Museum
Stranahan House

The Historic Stranahan House Museum in Fort Lauderdale offers a captivating glimpse into the city’s past, reminiscent of a bygone era of elegance and charm. Originally built in 1901 as a trading post and family residence, the house showcases distinctive architecture that evokes the spirit of early Florida settlers. The lush, tropical surroundings and scenic views of the New River add to its allure, creating a serene and picturesque setting reminiscent of historic European homes. Whether exploring the museum’s rooms, learning about local history, or simply enjoying the peaceful ambiance of its riverside location, visiting The Historic Stranahan House Museum offers a rich and immersive experience of Fort Lauderdale’s cultural heritage.