If you’ve run out of Instagram-worthy spots, try escaping into these quaint fairy-tale destinations that resemble the magical kingdoms of the storybooks you once read as a child. These include nostalgic little villages, intricate castles, and ivy-crawled settlements that have long been forgotten.
Fairy-Tale Destinations That Will Take You Back to Storybooks
From the Bavarian castle that inspired Walt Disney to a charming village in England’s Cotswolds, here are real-life fairy-tale destinations for a magical getaway.
Hallstatt, Austria, is a village between the Alps and the crystal clear Lake Hallstatt’s western shore. The alleyways and Alpine houses date to the 16th century and are now juxtaposed by cafes, shops, cars, and buses. With streets that look like they are lined with colorful gingerbread houses and boats gliding calmly across the looking-glass lake, Hallstatt is actually a very small village. You can walk from one end to the other in just fifteen minutes.
Perched upon a rocky tidal island stands the Wonder of the West. The Mont-Saint-Michel is a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey, which was erected in honor of the archangel St. Michael, as well as a mainland commune that settled around its medieval walls. One of the most visited places in France, the Mont-Saint-Michel welcomes approximately 2.5 million tourists a year. The imposing, lofty abbey was established between the 11th and 16th centuries and has origins dating to the time of the Vikings. Mont-Saint-Michel is not just a church on a rock; it is a whole medieval city, one of the few places in France to have preserved intact its medieval walls and defenses. In fact, the city, though small, still has inhabitants to this day.
Overlooking the edge of the Black Sea is a Neo-Gothic marvel. The Swallow’s Nest was built on top of the Aurora cliff, far outside the town of Gaspra, and is a curious remnant of Imperial Russia. It used to be a small wooden cottage constructed for a Russian general in 1895. When a Baltic German noble purchased the cottage in 1911, he had it rebuilt into its current structure. Since 1975, a restaurant has operated within the building.
Merely one of the pretty Cotswold villages and fairy-tale destinations in England, Bibury is a major hotspot for tourists intending to visit traditional rural villages, tea houses, and many historical structures in the Cotswold District. Bibury has an entry in the 1086 Domesday Book, when a record of survey was done under William the Conqueror. The village is known for its honey-colored 17th-century stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs, which once housed weavers who supplied cloth for fulling at the nearby Arlington Mill.
One of the most visited castles in Germany, Neuschwanstein inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle, furthering its iconic popularity and beckoning 1.4 million people every year. The setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic. It is located in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, in a magnificent landscape on the top of a hill. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau Valley as well. If you come to visit this castle, you will be amazed by the extremely beautiful landscape that surrounds it. But while Neuschwanstein looks like a fairy-tale castle, it was actually built in the 19th century, a time when castles were no longer strategic, and was equipped with state-of-the-art technology of that time.