Thanks to a rich and varied historical timeline, Europe is blessed with an abundance of fairytale destinations that simply exude magical charm. With pretty towns, magnificent castle and picturesque woodlands, there is something for the story lovers out there. Check out my guide to magical, fairytale destinations you need to visit this winter.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Surely the ultimate go-to castle for Disney lovers and history fans the world over? Built in 1869, this truly breathtaking Bavarian castle is nestled at the foot of the alps and is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella castle in Disney World. It’s certainly at its most picturesque with a dusting of snow.
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
With its wide range of historic buidings, pretty cobblestone streets and impossibly blue river, the town of Mostar looks like it has been lifted straight from the imagination of brothers Grimm. The architectural centrepiece here has to be the Stari Most bridge. This beautiful stone arch bridge crosses the river Neretva and connects the two parts of the city.
Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland
Giant’s Causeway is a stretch of coastline in Northern Ireland that has perfectly formed hexagonal columns next to a frothing and wild sea, making for some pretty mythical and fairytale-like scenery. These columns were formed by volcanic activity, or, if you listen to local legends, they were built by an Irish giant, Finn MacCool.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
This gorgeous lake in Slovenia is about as picture-perfect as a lake can be, with the dramatic peaks of Julian Alps as a stunning mountain backdrop, pretty alpine-like trees and a medieval castle overlooking it. The lake is also home to a quaint little island that houses a 170-ft high church that you can visit.
Castell Coch, Wales
Take a trip to Wales this winter and marvel at over 600 castles ranging from ruins or as restored buildings. One of the prettiest is the romantic and fairytale-like Castell Coch. This charming castle is an iconic 19th-century, Gothic Revival castle created from a rather vivid Victorian imagination and is built above the village of Tongwynlais in South Wales.
Saint Petersburg, Russia
This port cit is regarded as Russia’s cultural centre, full of museums, historic venues and quirkily decorated churches, such as the striking Resurrection of Christ church. This iconic building is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg thanks to its fairytale-like, ornate decoration.
Kyoto Bamboo Forest, Japan
This seemingly endlessly forest in Arashiyama district of Kyoto s stretches in every direction with thick bamboo stalks, that give it an other-worldly quality that’s quite unlike any other forest, especially when covered in frost. You can take a pleasant stroll or bike through the bamboo grove and bask in its tranquillity.
Colmar is an incredibly kooky town in northeastern France, on the border with Germany. With its classic medieval streets, half-timbered Renaissance buildings and cute cobbled roads, it looks like Belle’s village from Disney’s ‘Beauty and the beast’. there is also a gorgeous Gothic 13th-century, Eglise Saint-Martin church stands on central Place de la Cathédrale.
Cappadocia is an incredibly striking, semi-arid region in central Turkey. It is best known for its unusual cone-shaped rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys’. You can also explore historic painted cave churches, the many vineyards and monastic valleys At dawn the sky is full of hot-air balloons floating above the unique volcanic landscape.
Dubrovnik is best known for their historic old town that is surrounded by giant stone walls that are up to 25m high in places. The town has a range of well-preserved buildings, including palaces, baroque churches and plazas. The City is definitely best viewed from a height, by walking the circuit around the city walls.
What fairytale destinations have you visited? Which one was your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!