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 castles and picturesque woodlands, there is something for the story lovers out there. There are also more unusual places with fairytale qualities around the world to discover. Check out my guide to magical, fairytale destinations you need to visit this winter.
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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 buildings, 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 city 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. The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia is also a magnificent fairytale building. It was the official residence of the Russian monarchs from 1732 to 1917 and now housing the Hermitage Museum.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Tallinn is a vibrant mix of old and new with contemporary hotels and shopping centres next to the impressively preserved, cobblestoned medieval Old Town. The air is bitingly cold in the winter but the sky can be a gorgeous, clear blue in the winter months. Tallinn’s Old Town has the accolade of being the best preserved Hanseatic town centres in the world and looks like it has been lifted straight from a children’s bedtime book.
With sweeping arctic wilderness, dreamy snowscapes, colourful northern lights, midnight sun and herds of reindeer, Lapland surely the ultimate fairytale destination? There’s an almost magical quality about Lapland, helped by the fact that it’s the home of Santa, reindeer and the Northern lights. Set your inner child free with a trip to Lapland and explore this beautiful wintery destination!
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 its historic old town that is surrounded by giant stone walls. These imposing and beautiful walls 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. Dubrovnik is also a lot less crowded during the winter months if you wish to escape the crowds.
Remember to check out Skyscanner for flight deals to this Fairytale destinations! What do you think of this guide to fairytale destinations you need to visit this winter?
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