In the US state of Iowa, you'll see farmland and rolling plains, but few people. Nevertheless, there are always surprises waiting for you between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Join us on an exciting journey through the "Hawkeye State" in the Midwest of the USA.
about 3.2 million
Midwest of the USA
The Hawkeye State
UTC-5 (Daylight Saving Time)
The people of Iowa are primarily of Western European descent, with the largest ancestry groups being German, Irish, and English. Aside from a slightly growing Hispanic population, Iowa is considered to have the lowest level of diversity in the whole United States.
Thus, the demographic changes evident in most other US states of growing minorities and diversity have largely bypassed Iowa. About 97% of Iowa's people are American citizens and only about 5% were born outside the state.
Large parts of Iowa are used as farmland, so population density is relatively low at about 20 people per square kilometer. More than 60% of the "Iowans" live in the cities.
Among Iowa's vast plains, you'll also find a few attractive cities. Among the largest are:
The climate will rather not be the reason for a vacation in Iowa, because it feels like you are in a constant change between blizzard and tornado. The most beautiful days are usually in June.
Iowa is considered to have a humid continental climate. Given the significant amount of precipitation, this description sounds overly optimistic. You'll experience clearly identifiable seasons here, offering both heatwaves over 35 °C and frosty winters in the double-digit minus range.
Among the dominant expanses of mile-long cornfields, large natural recreation areas and deep natural lakes are also scattered throughout the state. Also, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers frame Iowa on two sides. However, you won't find mountains here.
Given the disastrous weather, you'll have to choose your travel time to Iowa very carefully. The best times are in the spring from May to June and in the fall from September to October.
The few good-weather days in Iowa are in spring, and residents take full advantage of them. Statewide garage sales, farmer's markets, animal shows, art festivals, big dances, and sporting events all line up between May and June. You can really enjoy yourself here on tours through Hawkeye State.
Indian summer in Iowa can certainly keep up with the famous color spectacles in New England. If you come to Iowa in the fall, you can expect to see not only the vibrant foliage but also beautiful farmer's markets, music festivals, and BBQ events. However, when October rolls around, it's time to pack your bags, because Iowa's location in the "Tornado Alley" means there's an increased risk of hurricanes in late fall.
Among the airlines offering flights to the US state of Iowa are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air France, Air Canada, and Lufthansa.
The largest airports in Iowa are:
If you fly from Europe to Iowa, you will most likely land in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids and pay between € 900 and € 1300 for your flight.
Usually, there are 2 - 3 stops and you will be traveling between 15 and 20 hours. From Frankfurt am Main and Munich, you can fly to Iowa with only one stop.
Travellers from Africa or Asia have to travel 30 hours and more. A cheaper and faster way for US fans to get to Iowa is from Mexico: here, you will have to pay about € 500 for a flight ticket and travel for only 6 - 8 hours.
In case you don't have a Green Card yet and you are not a US citizen, you will need an ESTA or a US visa for your trip to Iowa.
With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!
Once you land in Iowa, there are several transfer options available to you:
At Des Moines Airport, there are two cab companies waiting for you behind the exit by the baggage carousels. Eastern Iowa Airport has five different cab companies for you to choose from.
In De Moines, many hotels have their own airport shuttles that will gladly pick you up if you have booked a room with them. Regional intra-city shuttles are also available to take you to various cities in Iowa. You will find the express shuttles at the north end of the baggage claim. At Eastern Iowa Airport, three different bus companies, as well as several individual shuttles, offer their services.
In Des Moines, DART (Des Moines Area Regional Transit) operates buses on several routes and passes by the airport. You can buy tickets either directly on the bus, via mobile app, or from DART customer service. A single-ride ticket costs $ 2, and a day pass costs $ 4.
Lyft and Uber ride services will get you to your destination at both Des Moines International Airport and Eastern Iowa Airport (Cedar Rapids). For longer distances, you may also find it worthwhile to take a Greyhound bus. In Des Moines, you'll have to drive 15 minutes from the airport to the nearest Greyhound station. At Eastern Iowa Airport, however, you can board the Greyhound bus directly at the airport.
The "Corn Belt" state of Iowa will surprise you in many places, as plenty of natural landmarks await you off the miles of cornfields. Here are the most beautiful places in Iowa:
From the hills of Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa, you'll have a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River. As eagles circle above your head and the wind cools your hike-heated body, you'll briefly forget you're in Iowa, not paradise. Tip: Take a fall stroll through the hiking trails and enjoy the vibrant colors of Indian Summer.
You'll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the Mississippi Valley at Pikes Peak State Park without having to hike long distances. After just a short walk, you'll be at various overlooks and can take in all the beauty of the region. Tip: Check out Bridal Veil Falls. You can actually pass under these waterfalls. From the parking lot, you walk there about 1.6 km.
It's a fairyland! The hiking trails of Maquoketa Caves State Park lead you through lush greenery, along sparkling streams and mossy cliffs to the mysterious caves around which everything revolves. The caves are surrounded by beautiful forests that glow in stunning colors, especially in the fall. Tip: Bring a flashlight
In northwest Iowa lies a group of deep, clear glacial lakes nicknamed the Iowa Great Lakes. The cluster includes East Okoboji, West Okoboij, Spirit Lake, and Clear Lake. Here, you can boat, sail, fish, swim, or just relax by the clean, blue waters. Tip: The sunsets over Clear Lake are especially beautiful.
The following places in Iowa are must-sees and should absolutely be on your travel list
Despite its reputation for presenting nothing but cornfields and rolling hills, the state of Iowa has vibrant and exciting urban areas. Here are our city highlights in Iowa:
After a flood in 1993, pretty Des Moins with its many historic buildings first lay in ruins. But Iowa's cultural capital quickly got back on its feet and is now making tourists happy again with its many museums, exhibits, charming gardens, and plenty of shopping opportunities.
These are the places you should see in Des Moines:
As part of the so-called "Quad Cities," Davenport is one of the Midwest's celebrities. However, the city also made headlines with flooding from the Mississippi River. Davenport attracts the most tourists during the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, Mississippi Valley Fair, and Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival.
Check out these attractions when you're in Davenport:
There is a fifth season in the lovely city of Cedar Rapids! At least, the city is called the "City of Five Seasons". Here, season number five is "time to enjoy." You can really do that in Cedar Rapids, as there are many museums, theaters, and parks. Just beyond the city limits, you'll find vast hillsides with herds of bison and gorgeous views. The city's Czech history is particularly exciting.
These are places you should see in Cedar Rapids:
In Sioux City, in the tri-border area between Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska, the Big Sioux River and the Floyd River flow into the Missouri River. This makes the small city easily accessible from all sides. That's a good thing because Sioux City is packed with nature, parks, history, arts, and entertainment.
These are the places you should see in Sioux City:
Iowa is known as the “state of roadside attractions" and therefore perfect for an extensive road trip. And indeed, the things you'll see to the left and right of the highway on a drive through Iowa are truly a surprise. Among them are:
Iowa can be so magically beautiful if you're in the right place at the right time. Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in the Hawkeye State:
Midwestern cuisine in Iowa is true "country cooking" with lots of corn, meat, and hearty pies - almost everything is made from homegrown products.
You should definitely try the following dishes during your Iowa vacation:
You probably didn't know these fun things about Iowa:
A life like a road movie - this is what your future in Iowa could look like. We'll give you some helpful tips on living and working in the Hawkeye State.
Major industries in Iowa include agriculture, renewable energy, manufacturing, services, and information and communications technology.
The most in-demand workers in Iowa currently include drivers, salespersons, laborers, carriers, and nurses.
Compared to other US states, Iowa has a strikingly high number of employees in agricultural purchasing. You also have a good chance of finding a job in education, construction, and foodservice.
It should already be clear to you that the clocks tick differently in Iowa, given its rural structure and low population density.
To be even clearer: time has stood still a bit in Iowa. So when you move here, you'll probably need to slow down a gear. Just don't stress. Chill out.
The cost of living in Iowa is well below the rest of the US in almost every area, according to the Cost of Living Index. Only in health care do you have to pay more than other US residents. The sales tax at 6% is not that cheap.
Only with the Green Card, you are allowed to live and work in the USA without limits. You can get the US immigrant visa through the Green Card Lottery, for example. That way, it is much easier than through an employer in the USA.
Your luck: Every year, 55,000 Green Cards are raffled off to US immigrants from all over the world! Sign up for the Green Card Lottery now - it's worth it!