Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Funchal, Madeira
It’s not just the world of fantasy books that have fairytale places. You can visit magical places all around the world that will make you wonder if it’s all a dream or reality. Here, we’ve picked 17 destinations to pull you into fantasy land
Tunnel of Love, UkraineThe incredible unearthly Tunnel of Love can be found in the Ukraine, and we think is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. The long, leafy tunnel is used as a passage for a private train, near the town of Kleven. It measures 1.8 miles long and is the perfect lover’s spot to drop the big 'I do' question.
Colmar, FranceYou can’t get more fairytale than picturesque Colmar in France. Its winding streets, colourful facades and pretty flower-lined homes could easily grace the pages of many a fairy tale story. The small town in Alsace is not only renowned for its magical front, but is also dubbed the ‘Capital of Alstain Wine’ and is often referred to as ‘little Venice’ for its stunning natural wonders and architecture.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Funchal, MadeiraThink Lord of the Rings exotic style. These lush oriental gardens surround the chateau-like Monte Palace, located in the hill town of Monte in Madeira. The magnificent gardens boast spectacular walkways, bridges and water features. The lake, the swans and the waterfalls create a peaceful and beautiful setting that could easily remind you of the dream-like Rivendell in Middle-Earth.
Äeský Krumlov, Czech RepublicFilled with an old-world charm and many wonderful medieval structures, Äeský Krumlov is a small city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It’s a picturesque gem with fine architecture and historic art and culture, all of which can transport you into a story about the medieval era. Its cobbled lanes, traditional toy shops, alluring museums and prized-possession, the Äeský Krumlov Castle, all make this fairy tale destination a must-visit.
Rocks of Dhankar, Spiti, IndiaThe magnificent rocks of Dhankar in the North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, are a sight for sore eyes! Towering above homes and the famous Gompa (monastery), scattered in the nooks and crannies of the cliff, these amazing rock formations look as though they rose from the earth, and again could easily be compared to many a fantasy-adventure story. Dubbed the “Soildiers of Spiti”, the naturally-formed rocks stand hundreds of feet high like a formation of guards standing at attention.
Godafoss, IcelandImage: marco bellucci, Flickr
You could lose all sense of space, time and reality here. A largely undiscovered waterfall in Iceland, Godafoss can be seen for kilometres around but is most beautiful at sunset. The awe-inspiring views around the fall and its enormous size truly reflect the fairy-tale-like beauty of this place.
Venice, ItalyIt’s the city built on water, and the one place where fairy tale dreams can come true. The magical beauty of Venice is deeply-ingrained in its well-preserved palaces and churches, its beautiful squares and narrow street ways, the amazingly beautiful and unspoiled artworks by famous Renaissance artists, and all other elements of history and culture that have helped this majestic city to thrive.
Neuschwanstein Castle, GermanyIt is the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and if that isn’t enough fairy tale props then we don’t know what is! A castle of fairytales, there is no other stronghold in Europe that can match the sheer beauty of the 19th century Neuschwanstein. The castles lavish interiors were inspired by Wagner’s operas, and though it’s not home to a princess waiting for her one true prince, its magical look draws crowds from all over the world. The castle is also ideally placed as the main stop on the ‘Romantic Road’, a trail in Bavaria of ancient towns and castles.
Bellagio City, Lake ComoBellagio City is a dream location. It floats on clear waters at an intersection of the y-shaped Lake Como and is abundant with scenic views that could proudly stand as a strong fairy tale backdrop for any fantasy film. Its beautiful narrow streets, cute cafes and restaurants, and elegant shops, make this place ideal for escaping the strain and stresses of life at home.
Eilean Donan Castle, ScotlandAt any time of the day, Eilean Donan, easily resembles the rugged beauty and stunning landscapes that you might find in fantasy TV dramas such as Game of Thrones. Dominating the small island of the same name, the castle is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area, in the middle of the point where three lochs meet, in the western Highlands of Scotland. If you like history, ancient buildings or just simply want to be transported away from everyday life, then Eilean Donan Castle is the perfect fairy tale spot to visit.
Plitvice Lakes National Park, CroatiaOften overlooked, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the best natural landmarks in Eastern Europe. This maze of lakes and waterfalls is something straight out of a fantasy fairy tale, with lush greenery and clear turquoise waters as well as incredibly beautiful scenery. The reality of this area, however, lies in conflict and war, and with its history well behind it, the park has now become a place of ultimate serenity.
Hoi-An, VietnamA haven for travellers and backpackers, Hoi An is a charming little town infused with colour and magical landscapes, situated on the coast of the South China Sea. A former port and trading centre, Hoi An is what you would imagine when thinking of an ancient Far-East fairy tale with great culture, tradition, friendly hospitality, and beautiful architecture.
Santorini, GreeceGlamorous, breath-taking and a world away from modern-day realities, Santorini offers stunning views from sky-high towns, alluring galleries, diverse and delicious cuisine and a varied nightlife from lively to laid back, this is the destination where you control the fairy tale dream. Named the world’s best island by the BBC in 2011, Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera.
Cappadocia, TurkeyIf ever you had to vision a fairy tale about the enchanted land of clay, then our bet is that it would look a lot like Cappadocia. Dotted with unique rock formations, shaped like cones, columns and pointy structures, this magnificent region in central Turkey is famed for its intriguing history when ancient people carved out their houses and churches into the rocks. Today, Cappadocia has become a traveller’s trap as many venture to the area to marvel at its unusual yet staggering landscape.
Lucerne, SwitzerlandPicturesque is an under-statement, Lucerne is a fairy tale place alluringly woven into the most beautiful and diverse of landscapes and enchanting backdrops of mountain and lake. The north-central Swiss city is best appreciated as the sun rises and when the sun sets as natural light really shows off the splendour of the place, as it glows like something out of The Hobbit! Away from fairy tales, Lucerne has art, culture, sightseeing, festivals and superb leisure activities to keep you busy.
Tiu Kelep, Northern Lombok, IndonesiaLegend has it that if you swim behind the main waterfall of Tiu Kelep you become a year younger, now if that’s not fairy tale and fantasy then we don’t know what is! Scramble over the rocks and plunge into the deep pool for a well-earned swim while marvelling the tropical forest and natural beauty of this place.Tiu Kelep is located in the village of Senaru, and to reach this place you’d have to walk around three kilometres, but the end destination is definitely worth it.
Portofino, ItalyNow this is truly a slice of fairy tale life, especially as Portofino is a place that has become a popular upmarket resort famous for attracting celebrity visitors. The quaint Italian fishing village stands proudly on the Italian Riviera and is famed for its pretty harbour with gorgeous villas and homes carved into the rocks. Boutiques, art galleries and restaurants line the chocolate-box village which is also popular for historic sites like the Castello Brown hilltop fortress.
Have we missed any of your favourite fairy tale destinations? Tell us what they are in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK