How to take a trip to Europe while staying in Birmingham

Coffee and macaroons on a table.
European influence in Birmingham doesn’t stop with food, but it doesn’t hurt to start there. Photo via Continental Bakery‘s Facebook.

You don’t have to hop on a plane to find a little bit of Europe in Birmingham. European influence flows throughout the city starting from the streets.

In fact, it will have your social media followers questioning if you just took a spontaneous holiday overseas!

Breakfast at Continental Bakery

Continental Bakery serves European-inspired bread in Birmingham
This isn’t your ordinary baguette. An Italian baker created the ciabatta in the 80s, making a new version to the original French loaf. Photo via Continental Bakery’s Facebook.

Not all bread is created equal, and no truer statement is found than at the Continental Bakery in Mountain Brook. Close your eyes, take a bite and envision you’re steps away from the Seine—it won’t be hard. 

A Morning with Monet

Monet's painting of a foggy morning at Pourville,France.
Le Matin, temps brumeux, Pourville (Foggy Morning at Pourville) by Claude Monet. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

The Birmingham Museum of Art features a range of European art showing up in sculptures and ornate paintings. It’s easy to snap a picture of a Monet and to make it seem as though you’re walking around the Musée d’Orsay. 

Cycling through the city

Green Zyp bikes lined up on the street.
The bikes may say Regions on the side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pronounce Zyp with a French accent—”zeeeep.” Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

One of my favorite memories from Europe was riding bikes throughout the different cities we visited—including a 40-mile bike ride in Belgium. It’s the best way to sightsee, plus you fit in with the locals.

Unfortunately, you can’t ride Zyp Bikes for much longer. However, the good news is they’re being replaced with another form of micro-mobility — electric scooters.

Content producer at Bham Now on a bike in Europe.
Here’s that 40 mile bike ride I mentioned. As you can tell from my smile, this was at the beginning of it. Photo via Irene Richardson.

Lunch in Germany 

A dish with European influence - bratwurst and a pretzel roll.
Featured here is Germany’s traditional bratwurst and bohemian sausage with warm honey butter making an appearance. Food this delicious should be illegal. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Warm pretzel rolls, hot potato salad and a chocolate strudel I would give my life for are three reasons I’m eager to head to Germany. Luckily I can find all of that at Klinger’s Bakery in Vestavia Hills. The European influenced restaurant serves authentic German cuisine and a drool-worthy pastry case.

European chocolate strudel on a plate next to whipped cream
Klinger’s bakery in Vestavia Hills boasts a warm, flaky strudel indistinguishable from the best patisseries.

A stroll through cobblestone

A brick archway feature on Morris Avenue.
To top off the European, experience pop into one of the boutiques lining Morris Avenue such as Honeycreeper Chocolate + basic. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

If you could use a walk after a big German lunch head on over to Kynance Mews in London, I mean Morris Avenue—but who can tell the difference? The cobblestone street and rustic architecture parallel any quaint London street you might stumble upon. Throw in a street violinist and it will really feel like Europe in Birmingham.

Time for a drink in Italy 

Content producer for Bham Now holds a glass of prosecco.
Sipping prosecco at Moon Shine bar on top of the 16th floor of the Elyton is the perfect way to start your evening. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

Italy, thank you for your prosecco and Birmingham, thank you for providing Instagram worthy hotels. The Elyton was built in 1909, but stands firm as one of the city’s most elite places to stay.

Grab a drink before dinner at the rooftop bar perched on the 16th story and snap a picture of the beautiful interior. It takes European influence from white Italian marble.

White marble with European influence on the inside of hotel.
Northern Italy is host to Carrara marble, a white marble that looks similar to the kind shown at the Elyton. Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

No one does dinner like the French

Outside a French restaurant in Birmingham.
A dinner so great it’ll have you saying, “Parfait!” Photo via Irene Richardson for Bham Now.

The perfect way to end your European escapade is nestled into a booth at Bistro 218. Let the excellent staff and seasonal menu whisk you away to Paris (I recommend the duck confit.) Its French jazz and exposed brick will leave you dreaming of Europe in Birmingham.

What did we miss? Tell us about your favorite European inspired spot by tagging us on social @bhamnow.

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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