British Tourist

Fairy Tale Destinations Around The World

What’s a better way to get inspired to travel the world than to step into your favourite tales and stories of old? Well, there’s some fantastic destinations around the world that do just that; enhancing the magical and wonderous elements of the natural world with the beauty and elegance of manmade structures. These destinations aren’t just for sightseeing and taking a few photos either, they all hold other factors and features that can help to further greaten your trip. At some of the palaces and castles, you can even host a wedding or party where fantasies and fairy tales come to life with ease. They really are serene and beautiful destinations that are a must-see for all.

10. Lake Bled

While we’d forgive you for thinking the scenery is taken straight from a very high quality game, it’s actually that of Lake Bled in Slovenia, a place world renowned for it’s natural beauty. The centre island of the lake is what truly sets this location apart from other lake settings in Europe, housing a majestic church complex in the heart of the aquamarine lake. The surrounding scenery is also home to medieval castles and beautifully large peaks of the alps, making it a truly serene setting fit for any fairy tale. You can take boat trips to the centre island, as well as going out on the lake in rentals with the family.

9. Palace of Versailles

As perhaps one of the most ornate and opulent locations in the world, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most real-to-life fairy tale palaces in existence. Constructed under instruction of Louis XIII, and expanded by Louis XIV, the palace is nothing short of a huge testament to France’s wealth of the past. In today’s money, the palace would cost around $2 billion dollars to build, which considering it was completely state-funded is a ridiculous amount of money. The palace houses some of the best series of gardens, fountains and pools that can be found in Europe; as well as a beautiful architectural style that is fitting to any king or queen of the past (and perhaps future). 

8. Moscow

Because of it’s unique architecture and beautiful candy-colours, the Red Square in Moscow is a beautiful location fit for any fairy tale of old. Although many buildings in the area are as grand and beautiful, the Saint Basil’s Cathedral is one that stands out most, becoming an iconic image for modern day Moscow. The building today acts as a museum that can be completely explored inside and out, so you’ll be able to step into the wonderful fantasy world with ease in this location. The unique styling can’t be found anywhere else in the world and even has it’s own folklore associated to it, so it truly possesses the storybook quality that anyone would look for in a fairy tale destination.

7. Zhangjiajie

If there was anywhere on Earth that looked like it was taken from the world of Pandora (from the film Avatar), it’s Zhangjiajie. The location is hard to believe until you see it in person, but the thin-based mountainous sandstone rocks truly hold a floating appearance, giving off a magical and transcendent experience. The location was actually the inspiration for the floating islands of Pandora, so not only are you stepping into a location that feels like a fairy tale… it basically already is one! The national park is one of the most beautiful in the world; you’ll struggle to find anywhere to match it.

6. Cappadocia

Carved and etched into the rock formations of Cappadocia in Turkey are stunning examples of bronze age structures with a vast history, including homes and churches. These stunningly well-preserved carved locations are a rare and intriguing site in the modern day, but easily visited at the same time. The are is littered with formations labelled as “fairy chimneys” – so it doesn’t really get more fairy tale than that – but they’re essentially just cone-shaped rock formations with carvings in them. Every day, hundreds of hot air balloons fill the skies above Cappadocia too, giving a beautiful aerial view to all who seek it.

5. Hobbiton (Film Set)

Controversial? Maybe. Magical? Definitely. Hobbiton in New Zealand may be a manmade location for The Lord of the Rings films, but it holds a unique atmosphere that truly pulls you into a different world. Stepping out of your vehicle to this destination will make you feel like you’ve just jumped through a portal to Middle Earth, with an environment that mimics the movies perfectly. You’ll have the option to tour various homes and houses, as well as even grabbing an ale in the Green Dragon pub. This location is a must-see for any film lover, but it’s especially perfect for families.

4. Mostar

The small city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is another location that looks like it was stripped right out of a fantasy book or film, yet rests in our modern world and can be visited by all! Resting on the Neretva River, the city is a perfect example of medieval Islamic architecture, with the Stari Most bridge being the centrepiece. The city is even named and dedicated to the guards who used to protect and watch over the bridge. The rest of the inner city is home to beautifully old, but well preserved, buildings and cobbled streets, typical of most European fortification settlements. It’s an easy place to explore and offers an unforgettable experience… as well as many photo opportunities.

3. Bagan

Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar (formerly Burma) that is home to over 2000 Buddhist temples and pagodas, all constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. The setting feels like something straight out of an Indiana Jones film and is a breathtakingly magical place for all. Much like Cappadocia in Turkey, the location is famed for having many balloon rides up into the sky that offer a stunning unique perspective from up high. While most of the destinations listed so far have a more classical European style, Bagan is a truly unique destination that is tailored around the culture and religions of Asia; making it a perfect addition to this list.

2. Château d'Ussé

As one of the primary architectural sources of inspiration for Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Château d’Ussé is the perfect example of a structure that could be straight from a storybook. Resting on the edge of the Chinon Forest and overlooking the Indre Valley, this fortification was built in the eleventh century and holds a truly majestic and grand feel within every brick. The surrounding scenery upholds that typical French natural wonder that you’d expect, and being close to the town of Tours also allows for an easy, safe and enticing visit. The chateau is very unique because of it’s cone-styled turrets, hence why this iconic design is so well recognised around the world and picture perfect.

1. Neuschwanstein

Okay, let us be honest… we often try to stray away from the “typical” opinions and choices of top ten lists… but the Neuschwanstein Castle is just too magnificent to not make it to number one. As yet another inspiration for Disney’s castles, resting high on a hilltop in Bavaria, Germany, this castle is by far one of the most breath taking palaces in the world. The surrounding scenery alone makes this one of the most beautiful historical sites in Europe, but the architecture, grandeur and elegance of the building itself combines with the landscape to build a fantasy, fairy tale world that is unmatched. If you’re looking for a fairy tale destination for whatever reason – this is the place for it.

Have you visited some of these destinations before or are planning on going soon? Tag us on Instagram @britishtourist or by using the #britishtourist hashtag and let us know!