Photo Credit: Liz from Lizzie Meets World
The next time someone tells you that fairy tale places are myths, please direct them to this post!
As a child, I was a huge fan of fairy tales and to this day I still am. What’s even better? There are real places in the world that look like it’s out of a magical fairy tale and I think it’s the coolest thing ever! I decided to collaborate with some fellow travel bloggers to create this amazing post about real places in Europe that look like a fairy tale (in no particular order); so let the wanderlust commence!
Photo Credit: Liz from Lizzie Meets World
Hallstatt is a charming city in Austria, about an hour’s drive east from Salzburg. It’s a lovely place tucked between a mountain and a lake, with narrow winding streets and colorful lakeside houses adding to its fairytale village vibe. You could easily spend a day or two here feeding the resident ducks and swans, visiting the salt mines and hiking trails, as well as shopping for cute trinkets and souvenirs.
– Liz, Lizzie Meets World
Photo Credit: Ariana from The Bosnian Aussie
With stone cobbled narrow streets leading to the iconic Old Bridge that connects the two banks of the emerald green Nerevta River, it’s hard to think you are in the heart of Europe, rather something more like a fairytale land just being discovered. Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, full of charm, beauty and history, has long held a tradition of men jumping into the icy river below, a tradition old as the town itself. A trip to Europe isn’t complete without seeing this magical town for yourself, as even pictures cannot do its beauty justice.
-Ariana, The Bosnian Aussie
Photo Credit: Sara from Greg and Sara
3. Veliko Tarnovo
Situated in the center of Bulgaria lies the second-century capital, Veliko Tarnovo. Often referred to as the “City of Tsars”, Veliko Tarnovo has a history of more than 5 millennia. From the subtle details of the old town to the breathtaking views found throughout the city, Veliko Tarnovo is a European dream that feels as if you’ve stepped back in time.
– Sara, Greg and Sara
Photo Credit: Natasha from World Inside My Pocket
4. Le Mans
Le Mans is a town an hour West of Paris. It’s not very well known but it is absolutely beautiful with a stunning Medieval old town, French Gothic cathedral, ‘petit’ trains and more! Straight from a fairytale book.
– Natasha, World Inside My Pocket
Photo Credit: Jana from Jana in the World
York is a cute English town with an atmosphere that will take you back to the medieval times immediately. Admire the cathedral, walk along The Shambles, which is considered to be one of the best preserved medieval streets in Europe, explore the city walls, go for an afternoon tea to the famous Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms. I can guarantee you’ll fall in love with York immediately.
– Jana, Jana in the World
Photo Credit: Hadas from The Fashion Matters
The port city of Cartagena is a true hidden gem located at the South of Spain. At the heart of the city is a restored ancient Roman Theatre which is an attraction not to be missed. You’ll also love the beautiful port, Palacio Consistorial and the main street for shopping and restaurants: Calle Mayor.
-Hadas, The Fashion Matters
Photo Credit: Jennifer from World On A Whim
Sintra, Portugal, about 25 km or 40 minutes away from Lisbon and subsequently, the perfect day trip, is probably the cutest fairy tale town I have ever seen. There are a multitude of castles and palaces to explore, but my absolute favorite is the Quinta da Regaleira palace and estate. My friends and I truly thought we were Rapunzel walking around the grounds filled with towers, lakes, grottoes, fountains, and gargoyles.
-Jen, World On A Whim
Photo Credit: Maria from Maria Goes Abroad
Sighisoara is the only preserved fortified city in Romania. It is the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, who became the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The most iconic attraction is the Clock Tower, from the top of which the whole fortress can be viewed. The best time to visit is during the Medieval festival when the cobblestone streets are filled with knights and minstrels.
-Maria, Maria Goes Abroad
Photo Credit: Sophie from Solo Sophie
Senlis is the kind of town that you read about in French brochures. It’s just that picturesque! It’s the kind of town you could find yourself lost in for hours and hours; wandering the narrow, cobblestone streets, picking up an espresso in a chic café to spend an afternoon people watching, perusing for unusual items in French boutiques. Located near the similarly picturesque estate and town of Chantilly, it’s about an hour’s drive away from the center of Paris. The town traces its’ roots back to Roman times and there are hints of its rich history everywhere. From the plaque dedicated to Joanne of Arc is the cathedral to the remnants of a library dating back to the 15th Century in the center of town, there are a multitude of things to see and do in this quaint little town.
-Sophie, Solo Sophie
Photo Credit: Soumya from Travel, Books, Food
When I was planning my trip to Europe last month, I knew I had to go to Colmar, France after seeing all the pictures. It was the perfect decision and it was like stepping into a fairytale. And the rain added to the charm of the place. Definitely one of the cutest towns in Europe.
-Soumya Travel, Books, Food
Photo Credit: Steph from The Pink Backpack
Dubrovnik not only boasts a spectacular sunset and stunning panoramic views, but it also holds a majestic, fairytale quality. Something special happens when you step inside those Old Town walls: You will feel as though the clock has rolled back to Renaissance times, as you meander through quaint limestone walkways and explore ancient architecture overlooking the Adriatic sea. Croatia’s coastal jewel may just be one of the prettiest towns in Eastern Europe!
-Steph, The Pink Backpack
Photo Credit: Erika from Erika’s Travels
The whitewashed Zona dei Trulli on the western hill of Alberobello, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its charm and architectural style. The area contains over 1500 beehive-dwellings called trulli. Trulli are conical limestone huts with pointy roofs that were common in the Itria Valley of Apulia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Though today, trulli can be found scattered and abandoned throughout the countryside of Apulia, the world’s largest collection of these strange houses lies in Alberobello., The town’s narrow streets and rows of conical stone huts give visitors to Alberobello the feeling of stepping away from reality and setting foot into a fairytale.
-Erika, Erika’s Travels
Photo Credit: Marisa from The Traveling Storygirl
Perched on a hill in the forest of Southern Germany, Heidelberg Castle has been guarding the baroque city of Heidelberg since the 14th century. World-renowned authors such as Mark Twain and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe have called Heidelberg the “most romantic city in Germany”. As you stroll through the medieval streets of Heidelberg, it’s easy to see why Heidelberg is like a fairytale dream come to life.
-Marisa, The Traveling Storygirl
Photo Credit: Michaela from This FP Planet
Don’t go expecting your regular city break with this one, Ljubljana doesn’t have that big city feel; lush leafy parks and pretty canal side views replace towering skyscrapers, there’s no hectic ‘hustle and bustle’ here. Revel in miles of winding cobbled streets and beautiful buildings, and an old town that has all (if not more) of the fairy-tale charm of a town such as Prague, but minus the hordes of people, which makes it all the more attractive. This relaxed way of life is delightfully infectious; take a bicycle ride around the expansive Park Tivoli, catch the funicular up to Ljubljana Castle or just choose get lost in the old town, dabble in some shopping or take your pick of the bars and cafes by the river.
-Michaela, This FP Planet
Have you been to any of these places? What other towns in Europe would you consider as a backdrop from a fairy tale?
Thank you to everyone who helped make this post possible! Happy travels!