10 Fairy Tale Places to Visit IRL
Create your own fairy tale by visiting one of these totally gorgeous and inspiring locales. When stepping foot into one of these wonderful and whimsical haunts, you’re transported into a wonderland worthy of a Disney movie or a bedtime story. These are the kind of places that you don’t just see — they’re places that you experience with your entire being. Located all over the world, these 10 historic, unusual and awesome spots are worth the journey.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany: If this castle looks familiar to you, it should. It was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. The Neuschwanstein Castle, commissioned by King Ludwig II, is located in a picturesque area in southwest Bavaria. While extravagant in size and stature, the castle’s interior is also crazy opulent with gilded this and golden that, as well as art and antiquities all over.
2. Hoi An, Vietnam: Nestled in Vietnam’s Quảng Nam Province, Hoi An is a magical and colorful destination, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1999). The town is an exquisite Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century, with a mix of Colonial buildings, traditional dwellings and lantern vendors. Hoi An means “peaceful meeting place,” which is a good reason to go there.
3. Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan: Towering rods of bamboo will take your breath away at the Sagano Bamboo Forest in the gorgeous Arashiyama district of western Kyoto. It’s an Instagram-worthy spot for sure. But it’s not just to be seen — it’s to be heard. Japan’s Ministry of Environment included the forest in its list of “100 Soundscapes of Japan” because of the distinct rustling of the bamboo leaves.
4. Alhambra, Granada, Spain: When in southern Spain, you have to head to Granada to visit the Islamic palace of Alhambra. The level of detail in this Moorish fortress is completely stunning, from the hand-carved walls to the complex tiles. As soon as you step onto the grounds, you’re immediately transported to another time, a romantic and beautiful one at that. Make sure to take oodles of photos — this is one of those places that will totally inspire your next home renovation.
5. Colmar, France: For those who’d like to get in touch with their inner Belle, Colmar in the Alsace region in northeastern France is a must. This area was an inspiration for the original Beauty and the Beast (and OMG, we can’t wait for the live-action version). The village’s cobblestone streets and half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings will inspire your own rendition of “A Change in Me.”
6. Cappadocia, Turkey: Located in central Turkey, Cappadocia is famous for its fairy chimneys, surreal rock formations and Bronze Age homes and churches carved into the landscape. The most spectacular place to stay is the Sultan Cave Suites where you can sleep, eat and watch the sky fill with hot air balloons in the early morning. You might be experiencing it IRL, but it will feel like a dream.
7. Lake Bled, Slovenia: This secluded island in Slovenia may not have much on it, but it’s still worthy of your bucket list. The highlight of the island is the 170-foot-high church built near the end of the 17th century, and if you’re looking for a destination wedding, this might be your place (they perform weddings there!).
8. Magic Mountain Lodge, Chile: Chill in Chile in these crazy cool accommodations. The Magic Mountain Lodge, a 13-room hotel, is an enchanted escape nestled in the private Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve in Northern Patagonia. To get to the hotel, visitors cross a suspended rope bridge and get an epic view of the cone-shaped roof covered in foliage and cascading water. Totally unforgettable.
9. Dark Hedges, Ireland: This is a must-see for Game of Thrones fans. Dark Hedges — an avenue of utterly romantic and intertwined beech trees — appeared in GOT as Kingsroad (when Arya Stark escaped from King’s Landing). This road, albeit small, is fairy-tale worthy.
10. Sea of Stars, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives: The sea is full of wonder on Vaadhoo Island in the jet-lag-worthy Maldives. At night, glowing blue specs appear in the water, thanks to bioluminescence that’s generated by a kind of phytoplankton known as dinoflagellates. They make it a completely enchanting destination.
Which place would you like to visit the most? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Featured photo via Getty)