Fairy-Tale Destinations to Inspire Travelers on an Enchanting Vacation


Shirakawa-go, Japan


Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village) is a remote Japanese mountain village known for its unique cultural practices and lifestyles. Because of the area’s natural environment, with high mountains and heavy snowfall, interaction with neighboring regions was limited. This hamlet is nestled in the mountainous Gifu Prefecture, and surrounding peaks add to the village’s rustic charm, attracting tourists from all over the world. Now registered as a World Cultural Heritage site, Shirakawa-go is one of Japan’s cultural-historical treasures and many Oriental fairy-tale destinations.

Houtouwan, China


Formerly the most prosperous fishing village on Shengshan Island, Houtouwan was abandoned in the early 1990s due to its remote and hard-to-access location. After decades of abandonment, the empty houses in the ocean-facing cliffside village—some of them still furnished—were soon taken over by nature, turning itself into an unexpected, unusual travel hotspot. The rest of the village, which stretches beyond the next two rises, is off-limits. Unlike the other fairy-tale destinations, this settlement started in the 1950s.

Quinta da Regaleira

Now classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Quinta da Regaleira is considered one of the principal tourist attractions and fairy-tale destinations of Sintra, Portugal. The massive luxury property is a decorative 20th-century residence that consists of a romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also notably called the Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire, which is based on the nickname of its popular former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro.

Bagnone Village


Bagnone is a dramatic-looking stone village perched atop the Tuscan Apennines. With a castle and watchtower looming above the village, the fairy-tale destinations in this hamlet look like something out of a storybook. The stone streets and buildings give it a timeless, old-world feel. This town straddles the Bagnone Stream, a branch of the Magra River, with some little cascades and a medieval bridge that spans it. This settlement dates back to the Bronze Age, but it was the Romans who developed it. There is still a weekly market to enjoy today, and the antique mercato building with arcades that once hosted vendors and craftsmen shouldn’t be missed.

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