26 real-life fairytale locations
If you adore fairy tales and have a strong desire for a change of scenery, then we strongly recommend you visit all of the places in this list — they’re really quite magical!
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
This romantic-looking castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in 1868. Today, it’s one of the most visited castles in Europe. It’s rumoured that it was this particular place which inspired Tchaikovsky to write ’Swan Lake’. It was also the prototype for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland Paris.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
The main attraction of these caves are the thousands of glowworms, native only to New Zealand, which completely cover the interior. Looking at them gives the wonderful impression that you’re seeing the star-lit sky at night.
This town with its painstakingly preserved old districts is one of the most enchanting places in France. Colmar is reminiscent of the little village in ’Beauty and the Beast’, only it’s even more wonderful. Despite being relatively small, it has 3 theatres, the Le Grillen music hall, 4 libraries, a gallery of modern art and 5 museums (including the world-renowned Musée d’Unterlinden).
Batu Caves, Malaysia
Every year, a huge number of pilgrims visit this temple in Malaysia. Batu is one of the most famous Hindu places of worship outside India, which boasts the tallest statue of Murugan (the second son of Shiva, worshipped by the Tamil people) in the world. The incredible physical landscape of the place formed around 400 million years ago.
Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, Russia
An Orthodox church situated on Red Square in Moscow. For many people, St. Basil’s is a symbol of Russia itself. The cathedral was built by order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his conquest of the Kazan’ Khanate.
Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Japan
This natural ’roof’, made up of thousands of real flowers, is located in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu. It’s a thrill to feel that the multicoloured bunches of Wisteria — including white, blue, lilac, purple, violet and navy-coloured ones — are growing directly above your head.
Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan
It hangs over an immense abyss on the side of a 3,120-metre cliff in the upper Paro valley. The name of the monastery translates as ’the tiger’s lair’. According to legend, the teacher Padmasambhava flew into this cave on the back of a tiger, which later turned into his wife. You can only reach the site along mountain trails which were built less than a hundred years ago.
Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
Located at a depth of 300 metres below the town of Naica, this cave is unique for the size of its huge transparent crystals, which can reach up to 11 metres in height. Unfortunately, entry into the cave is forbidden for tourists due to the extremely high temperature (48°C), moisture and quantities of hydrogen sulphide, as well as the brittleness of the crystals.
The temple complex of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This is the largest religious structure ever built, whose history stretches back almost 9 centuries. Originally built as a Hindu temple, it was dedicated to the god Vishnu. The Khmer people believed that deities inhabited Angkor Wat, and access to the central part of the complex was for a long time accordingly open only to a select few.
Angel Falls, Venezuela
This is the highest waterfall in the world. The water flows downwards for almost a whole kilometre before it reaches the ground — that’s 20 times higher than Niagara Falls. Located in thick tropical jungle, and without any roads built up to it, Angel Falls is almost impossible to reach.
Petra has been famously referred to as ’the rose-red city, half as old as time’. Once the ancient capital of the Nabataeans, Petra is the most famous tourist attraction in Jordan, carved directly from the surrounding rock more than 2,000 years ago.
The cliffs of Zhangye Danxia, China
These amazing rock formations in Gansu province, China, are every photographer’s dream. Their rainbow colours are the result of a build-up of sandstone deposits during the cretaceous period.
Mont Saint-Michel Island, France
Mont Saint-Michel has a fairy-tale appearance which is truly amazing. A small, rocky island that was transformed into a fortress, the walls of the ancient abbey at its centre jut almost 80 metres into the air, towering over the watery abyss around it. Mont Saint-Michel so impressed Victor Hugo that he named it ’a pyramid in the ocean.’
With a name which means ’cotton castle’ in Turkish, Pamukkale is a conglomeration of unique hot springs located in Turkey’s Inner Aegean region. It looks for all the world like a collection of snow-covered valleys.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland
This is the very same famous railway viaduct along which the Hogwarts Express travels in the Harry Potter films. Glenfinnan itself is a thoroughly picturesque place which is well worth a visit.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
It’s difficult to imagine what this amazing place is really like if you haven’t been there. In Ha Long Bay, more than 3,000 beautiful islands loom up directly out of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. The word ’Halong’ translates from Vietnamese as ’the place where the dragon dived into the sea.’ Legends say that the Bay’s islands were created by the Great Dragon which lived in the mountains.
Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
The Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia is distinguished not so much by its neo-Gothic architecture as its location. It stands on a bridge which spans the width of a canyon located 2,600 metres above sea level.
Beach on Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
There’s one beach in the world which is especially beautiful at night. Plankton ejected on to the beach of Vaadhoo Island gives the impression that the shore has been decorated with thousands of tiny lights. This illumination is the result of bioluminescence, a chemical process which takes place in living organisms during which energy is transformed into light. The glowing light-blue waves seem to reflect the stars above the Maldives at night!
This ancient town in Portugal has a rich history. The multitude of exotic parks, ancient forests, castles, palaces and monasteries there really capture your imagination. Sintra is a truly beautiful town of enchanting architecture and landscapes which never fails to leave an impression on every visitor.
Peleș Castle, Romania
This is one of the most beautiful places in Europe which everyone should see. It was built in the Carpathian Mountains by King Carol I to serve as a summer residence — and the interior is truly fit for a king.
Zhangjiajie National Park, China
Remember that place called Pandora with its amazing mountains in James Cameron’s film ’Avatar’? This place is like that, only real. In fact, it was apparently Zhangjiajie which inspired the director to invent the fictional world we see in the film.
Taj Mahal, India
The eternal, majestic pride of India. A celebrated symbol of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during the birth of her fourteenth child.
The Dark Hedges, Ireland
This tunnel-like avenue made up of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century. Over the years, many sinister but at the same time compelling legends have sprung up around the place. The most famous of these concerns the mysterious Grey Lady, who glides silently along the path and then disappears into thin air when she reaches the final tree. This is apparently the ghost of a young woman, who died several centuries ago in mysterious circumstances at the house which sits close to the avenue.
Palace of Versailles, France
This ensemble of palace buildings and parks is the former residence of the French monarchy, conceived by Louis XIV out of jealousy at the castle built for his finance minister at Vaux-le-Vicomte. The King made the firm and indisputable decision that his palace should be more luxurious than that of his subordinate — and he certainly achieved his goal.
Tulip field in Skagit Valley, USA
The bright colours of the millions of tulips growing in Skagit Valley make it a truly unique place. Every year in April, thousands of tourists travel here in order to enjoy the Tulip Festival. This is the place where you can get a real taste of spring.
Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
The place where baobabs trees grow directly out of the road. These ones are more than 800 years old; they’re all that’s left of the thick tropical jungle which one covered Madagascar.
Based on material from: buzzfeed