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19 Michigan Towns with European City Names

The Great Lakes State has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike, including an opportunity to travel around the world. From London to Dublin to Paris to Hanover, there are more than a dozen towns in Michigan with European city names.

Many of these towns are nestled in rural areas, but they’re bursting with small-town charm, unbelievable scenic beauty, and a strong sense of community. In some cases, these towns honor their European heritage by preserving old-world European architecture, holding annual celebrations, and much more.

Residents of these towns, villages, and communities love living there and visitors appreciate the picturesque landscapes, the quaintness of the small towns, and the hospitality they encounter there. 

Paris

This town of around 2,000 residents is nestled in the heart of Mecosta County in central Michigan. It pays tribute to its French namesake with a 20-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris Park.

While it’s far removed from Europe, outdoor enthusiasts love it for its natural beauty, which includes lush forests, rolling hills, and serene lakes. That makes it a perfect destination for boating, hiking, fishing, and plenty of other outdoor activities.

For residents and visitors alike, Paris embodies Midwest simplicity at its finest: Endless acres of land showcasing natural beauty, togetherness, and an inviting downtown area with lots to see.

Rome Township

If you love small and scenic Michigan towns, this township of around 1700 residents in the heart of Lenawee County is one not to miss.

Not only does Rome Township offer a heavy dose of Midwest charm, but it’s also the perfect place for a quaint retreat. The natural beauty around Rome Township offers ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, and more. It also has a historic downtown that exudes warmth with its unique eateries and quaint shops.

You won’t find colosseums or historic churches in this quaint Michigan town, but it’s bursting with Midwestern charm and has something to offer to anyone who visits.

Venice

This unincorporated community in Shiawassee County is far from its Italian namesake, but it’s brimming with its own history and uniqueness.

Since it’s in a rural area, Venice is a great spot for those looking for a quiet getaway and a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city. The farms and fields surrounding Venice are part of the region’s rich agricultural heritage and contribute to the local economy too.

While Venice does offer a rural lifestyle, it’s also close to bigger Michigan cities such as Flint and Lansing, allowing residents to have access to urban amenities when they need them.

Milan

Located in Monroe County, Milan has a small-town feel and a rich history.

Founded in the early 19th century, Milan was once a key transportation spot in southern Michigan, situated along major railroads and highways. Today, its economy is agriculturally based and it’s easy to spot farms dotting the local countryside. 

Milan’s small-town atmosphere lends itself to a close-knit community, which participates in many local events. One attraction visitors don’t want to miss is the Milan Dragway, which draws car enthusiasts from all over with its variety of races and car shows.

Milan is less than half an hour away from Ann Arbor too, offering residents the chance to enjoy occasional city amenities for a change of pace.

Fun Fact: Michigan’s Milan is pronounced ‘MY-lin’ instead of ‘me-LAN’.

Holland

Situated on the Lake Michigan shoreline, Holland is fiercely proud of its Dutch heritage, which is celebrated in its festivals, its architecture, and even its replica Dutch windmill.

One of the city’s biggest attractions is its annual May Tulip Time Festival. This celebration is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation and features parades, traditional Dutch dancing, and, of course, thousands of tulips.

Beyond the festival, Holland is home to a thriving craft brewery scene with its own ale trail, offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities for both beachgoers and lighthouse enthusiasts, and is one of the state’s most picturesque cities.

Zeeland Splash Pad Park - Zeeland, Michigan - Splash Pads
Zeeland Splash Pad Park | photo via City of Zeeland Splash Pad Park

Zeeland

Not too far from Holland – less than 15 minutes away in fact – Zeeland, located in Ottawa County, is another vibrant Michigan city with a proud Dutch heritage.

Zeeland was visited and settled by Dutch settlers during the 19th Century and that heritage continues to be celebrated in architecture, festivals, and plenty of traditions. That tradition is most evident every year in the colorful tulips that pop up on front lawns and in the windows of local businesses.

Today, Zeeland is one of the state’s major manufacturing hubs and is the headquarters of several major companies.

Zeeland’s sense of community is strong and the strong bonds of togetherness are evidenced by big participation in local events, volunteerism, and an overall friendly atmosphere.

Norway

Situated in the southern Upper Peninsula, it’s easy to spot Norway’s Scandinavian roots throughout this small town.

One of the easiest signs is Norway’s historical architecture, which has been well-preserved since the 19th century and includes both homes and downtown businesses.

Norway also has a proud history as an iron mining town, which visitors can learn about at the Dickinson County Historical Museum.

Norway also offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including snowmobiling, hunting, and fishing among other activities.

A visit to the famous Piers Gorge is a must too. This amazingly beautiful natural area offers opportunities for photography, hiking, and water-water rafting as visitors watch the Menominee River rush through the rugged gorge.

Athens
Athens | photo via ericnmcclure

Athens

The history of this charming village in Calhoun County dates back to when it was first settled in the 1830s. Though Athens offers a quiet and rural lifestyle, it’s filled with echoes of its past with historic landmarks and buildings.

The area is known for its crop production and many of its residents are farmers, who maintain and harvest the fertile land. The village is also surrounded by stunning lakes, parks, and other natural beauty. That means there’s plenty of opportunity for camping, boating, and other outdoor recreation.

The community is close-knit, the atmosphere is friendly and residents really take pride in their community. Local events and celebrations are the perfect ways to bring everyone together and Athens’ rich history is showcased in the Athens Area Historical Society Museum.

Dublin

This small Montcalm County community may not be as famous as its European namesake, but, like Ireland, it offers charm, tranquility, and amazing natural beauty.

Dublin is sparsely populated, but the community is very close and embraces the quiet of life here. The economy is closely linked with agriculture, including raising livestock and harvesting crops. There’s a certain charm that comes with living here and the scenic countryside and rolling landscapes only serve to add more warmth.

Jerky enthusiasts should also pay a visit to the nearby Dublin General Store in Wellston, which purports to offer one of the state’s biggest jerky selections.

Dublin isn’t far from Grand Rapids and Lansing too, so residents don’t have to go far to enjoy the delights of a bigger city. 

Pompeii
Pompeii | photo via heavy_metal_miller_

Krakow Township

Like several Michigan places with European names, residents of Krakow Township love the peacefulness and tranquility of the place where they live.

Krakow Township, located in Presque Isle County, Michigan, had a population of 622 according to the 2000 census. The township took its name from Kraków, a significant city in Poland that formerly served as the capital and coronation site for Polish kings.

Founded as a civil township, Krakow Township presumably was named by settlers with Polish heritage looking to honor their ancestral homeland through the name selected for their new community in Michigan.

The sense of community here is strong and residents work hard to farm the land while enjoying the simplicity that comes with living in Krakow Township.

Vienna Township

While this Genesee County township has something of a suburban feel, but still manages to maintain plenty of rural character with farmland, open spaces, and amazing natural landscapes.

Vienna Township residents get the best of all worlds. The township is close to Flint, allowing for access to shopping centers, hospitals, and more. Additionally, the township has a diverse population and a wide range of housing options.

Vienna Township provides lots of room for outdoor recreation too. The township maintains several parks and rec areas, which allow visitors of all ages to enjoy amenities like picnic areas, sports facilities, playgrounds, and more.

Pompeii

Located in mid-Michigan, Pompeii has seen better days but carries quite a unique history within the Great Lakes State and offers visitors a glimpse into the past.

While some may now consider it a ghost town, it was once a thriving community that was first settled in 1854. It was first known as Joe B’s, after the town’s first settler, Joseph B. Smith. In 1856, it was changed to Pompei, with just one ‘i’ and it was changed again 41 years later with another ‘i’ added to match the famous city in Italy.

In 1886, the original village was demolished and reconstructed a mile and a half further south to be close to the scores of passengers traveling by train. During its peak years, Pompeii had schools, a bank, a hotel, and much more as a popular stop for stagecoaches. By 1920, the train depot and other town hot spots shut down with the construction of a new state highway.

Frankfort North Breakwater Light-Frankfort
Frankfort North Breakwater Light | photo via _sovereign_photography_

Frankfort

Nestled on the Lake Michigan shore, Frankfort is a popular small-town stop for visitors traveling through Benzie County.

As a lakefront town, Frankfort has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts. The sandy beaches offer plenty of room for relaxing, enjoying the water, or taking in scenic views. It’s also within driving distance of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Crystal Lake State Park, and other rec areas. The Point Betsie Lighthouse sits just north of town and is a must-see attraction for lighthouse lovers.

Away from the water, Frankfort also boasts a historic downtown, filled with rich history and a variety of unique boutiques, comfortable eateries, galleries, shops, and more.

Waterloo Township

Far removed from the site of Napoleon’s famous defeat, Waterloo Township in Jackson County offers visitors a chance to enjoy its rural setting as well as a glimpse into the past with its many historical sites.

Waterloo Township is home to several historical sites, including the Waterloo Farm Museum, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and pays tribute to Michigan’s farm families.

The township is close to Ann Arbor and Jackson, but residents value the tranquility found in the farmlands, open fields, and rolling hills. The Waterloo Recreation Area is a popular location for those who love the outdoors, offering access to an extensive trail system as well as chances to see wildlife, go horseback riding, and more.

Manchester

Believe it or not, this historic village with an English namesake in Washtenaw County actually has Dutch roots. Nonetheless, it offers visitors and residents plenty of natural beauty, historic charm, and a welcoming atmosphere.

The village dates back to the early 1800s and visitors may feel like they’ve traveled to Manchester, England as they marvel at the village’s historic downtown and stunning 19th-century architecture, including beautiful Victorian-style homes and buildings. The historic Manchester Mill is a great place to see the village’s history up close too!

Manchester’s scenic natural surroundings make it an ideal spot to enjoy the outdoors, but the village also hosts several community events during the year, including its famous Chicken Broil, the River Rhythm Festival, and the Manchester Community Festival.

Holland-Tulip Time
Holland | photo via cristyloves2_wander

London

While London, England is one of the biggest cities in the world, London, Michigan is a small unincorporated community in Monroe County.

Far from the hustle and bustle of a big city, London sits in a predominantly rural area brimming with farmland, open spaces, and a peaceful atmosphere. Agriculture is part of the local economy and that agricultural heritage is celebrated every year during events such as the Monroe County Fair, which includes livestock exhibits, carnival rides, and more.

London is also close to Milan — only 10 minutes — allowing both Michiganders and out-of-state visitors to explore another Michigan town with a European name, as well as shop, eat, or even visit the Milan Dragway.

Gibraltar

This small Wayne County city is beautifully situated along the Detroit River and Lake Erie, which historically made the city an important spot for trade and commerce.

Because of its location, Gibraltar is a popular destination for boating and water sports enthusiasts. The city has marinas and access to Lake Erie, making it a recreational boating hub. That makes it easy to enjoy scenic views from the river or the lake, view wildlife, or go fishing.

Gibraltar, Michigan’s location along the water, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities make it a unique and attractive place to live, especially for those who enjoy waterfront living and outdoor activities.

Dundee

The village of Dundee, Michigan, named after a coastal city in Scotland is located in Monroe County and has a strong focus on the outdoors, making it a must-visit spot in the Mitten State for outdoor enthusiasts.

Michiganders likely know Dundee for its Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s location, one of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers.  Armed with new hunting, fishing, or camping gear, visitors and residents can visit one of several nearby parks to indulge in some outdoor recreation.

The River Raisin also provides ample opportunities for fishing, boating, and more.

For those seeking something different, Dundee has a historic downtown, offering visitors a chance to enjoy local eateries, explore local businesses, and enjoy a relaxing stroll.

Hanover Horton Area Historical Society Maple Syrup Festival, Hanover - Maple Syrup Festivals
Hanover Horton Area Historical Society Maple Syrup Festival | photo via @taylor_irby

Hanover

This small German-named village in Jackson County exudes scenic beauty and rural charm. Surrounded by woodlands, forests, and open fields, it creates a picturesque environment that’s perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities.

History buffs can visit the Hanover Horton Area Historical Society Museum, which showcases the history of the area, with artifacts and stories from the past.

For those who love fishing, boating, hiking, or just being outside when the weather is nice, Pleasant Lake is one of the area’s most popular spots for water-based activities. Visitors can try fishing for panfish, bass, and other species, laying on the beach, and much more.

Norway
Norway | photo via erik_almstead

Get Out and Visit Michigan Today

Residents of the Mitten State can proudly boast that they can travel from Hell to Paradise. But with so many towns in Michigan with European city names, Michiganders of all ages can see the world within Michigan’s borders.

So whether you’ve never heard of Manchester or Dundee or Dublin or you’ve been itching to explore somewhere new, take a road trip, head to one of these beautiful cities, and soak up the local vibes.

You may find the perfect souvenir in a quaint shop you’ve never been to, you may find a new favorite Michigan beach, or you may even make some new friends in your travels! 

3 Comments

  1. I love living in Michigan all my life, all 84 years and after reading this article today their is a lot I have not seen yet. May have to take another turn at it some day. all of my family and friends also love living here in Michigan.

  2. Thank you for listing all of the cities named after European cities. I would like to point out that Holland’s windmill is real and was gifted to the city from Holland. Their website states:
    No stop in Holland is complete without a visit to Windmill Island Gardens. Tour De Zwaan, the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States – still turning and grinding wheat into flour.

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