My favourite part of travelling the world is stumbling upon locations that look like real-life fairy tales. It’s no secret that many were even what inspired these stories in the first place, but there’s nothing quite like seeing them out of story book pages or film for a change.
I have to confess I have been wanting to write this post for some time now, it’s just that I feel like there are SO many more locations with this fairytale glow yet to be discovered. But isn’t there always going to be more places to see and explore? That’s part of the beauty of our world. Its immensity makes it hard for us to see everything in one fell swoop.
So I decided to put together the 14 locations I’ve visited so far that have indeed–in one fell swoop–stolen my heart away.
14. Stockholm, Sweden
The city of Stockholm was a surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting a fairytale setting, but undoubtedly got it in Gamla Stan, the city’s old town. Its warm-colored houses, outside restaurants and cafés–all lined up, the old town shops and the tall clock building, together with its people suggested a fairytale-like lifestyle. And if all these wasn’t enough, Gamla Stan even has a Royal Palace, and entertains its people with the change of the guard. What a dream to live in Stockholm!
13. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is simply breathtaking. The entrance to the old town resembles the one of a medieval castle, with tall and round stoned pillars and pointy red rooftops. There are coffeeshops and restaurants outside where you can hear people talking and laughing, and there’s even music going on as you walk down the street. There’s a happy vibe in the air in Tallinn, and mostly everyone you make eye contact with will smile at you and start a conversation. Oh magical Tallinn!! What I’d give to go back!
12. Ljubljana, Slovenia
#12 is Ljubljana !! The capital and biggest city of Slovenia is stunning, clean, relaxing, and beautiful. Most people come here when travelling from Budapest to Venice (like I did), and spend barely enough time in this gorgeous destination. My recommendation is to book some extra days in Ljubljana, they’re absolutely worth it! With its bridges, lake, cathedral, and restaurants you’ll be instantly transported to a fairytale. There’s not too much touristy buzz, yet offers EVERYTHING every tourist looks for when travelling.
11. St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Austria
The mountains, the lake, and everything else about this place looks stolen straight from a fairytale. It’s nothing unexpected considering Austria’s reputation of sceneries and landscapes, but St. Wolfgang im Salzkammergut is charming in its own unique manner. It’s the place you want to be, and the place you’ll never get tired of. Walking by its curved streets, ice cream cone in hand, and marvelling at its genuine antique toy shops, you’ll feel like living in a story you remember of hearing about in your childhood days, and you’ll suddenly find yourself planning ahead, for future longer vacations in the area.
10. Lucerne, Switzerland
Of course Switzerland had to make it on this list! Another top fairytale location is Lucerne. You’ll see beautiful swans swimming in the city’s sparkling blue waters, the wooden bridge, all decorated in pink flowers leading to typical houses, and streets where markets offer their fresh fruit and vegetables to their locals. Definitely fairytale-like!!
9. Heidelberg, Germany
What’s not to love about Heidelberg? And what does it not have to fit perfectly into this list? Everything about it glows in magic. Its got a castle up in the hills, a beautiful bridge leading to it, and under it the beautiful Neckar River, flowing and glueing together the perfect fairytale scenery.
8. Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
The colourful, radiant, and vibrant Nyhavn in Copenhagen, Denmark takes the next spot on this list. Just take a look at the colours, at the people–everything. The water reflections on the canal, and ships parked on the sides. The beauty of this place is that despite it being a popular place with lots of people, it’s soothing to just sit there and take the scene in. And let’s not forget about it being the home of Danish writer and poet, Hans Christian Andersen, can you imagine this being an inspiration for his stories? I certainly can!
7. Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg is an undeniable choice. It was February when I took this photo; this means chilly weather, leafless trees, and lots of coffee and hot chocolate to drink. The pastel colours of the typical houses, and their reflections on the water is 100% eye candy. As you walk by its curved streets, and pass by its bakeries you can smell delicious fresh from the oven bread; the perfect snack choice to accompany a delicious cup of coffee or hot chocolate before you decide to keep exploring this lovely french city.
6. Saint Petersburg, Russia
You’re probably thinking about the intense and heartwarming story of Anastasia when you read the words Saint Petersburg above this photo. This place is indeed setting of many world known stories because of its grandeur, history, and elegance. Saint Petersburg is a place where you’ll find a museum for almost anything, and with about 30 must-see palaces and castles, you can guarantee yourself a fairytale-like trip. The palace in the photo I share above is Peterhof Palace, a magnificent and important royal and historic architectural piece, just about 29 km from Saint Petersburg.
5. Leeds Castle, England
TOP #5 is Leeds Castle in Kent, England !!! I think we can agree this picture speaks for itself. The medieval castle, the grasslands, trees, and the lake surrounding it all reminds me of the royal balls hosted in Disney movies. Definitely a must-see fairytale location on Earth!
4. Aarhus, Denmark
Top #4 is Aarhus’ old town in Denmark !!! This place was definitely the highlight of my trip. It’s a small village with real historical 1550 and late 19th century buildings. You breathe in the old-town lifestyle. It’s calm, it’s cozy, it’s pretty, and everywhere you set your eyesight is a photo opportunity. There are horses riding people around town in their back carriage, people dressed up as town figures to help you paint a clearer picture of what life used to be like back then, and there’s old town shops and bakeries with delicious treats you must try!
If you want to read more about Aarhus’ old town, click here !!
3. Brugge, Belgium
TOP #3 is lovely Brugge in Belgium !!! The land of horses, chocolate, and bicycles that will forever have my heart! The entire town is the setting of my fairytale; its shops and restaurants were literally stolen from a story book from my childhood. The sound of the horse’s hooves in the rock-paved ground as it pushed people around town in the back carriage was curiously soothing to me. The smell of chocolate, the small-town feel. Everything about Brugge was lovely–to my eyes and to my soul. It’s the kind of beautiful that anyone would absolutely adore.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado, USA
Don’t you think this place looks like a winter wonderland that lives inside a Christmas crystal ball? I can’t even begin to explain how much I adore this village, specially on Christmas time!! That’s why it’s got a place on the list as TOP #2 !!! Breckenridge is a ski destination in Colorado state in the USA, and is a heavenly and magical place to spend your holidays. My favourite !!!
1. Amboise, France
…and TOP #1 goes to…(drum roll)… Amboise in central France !!!
Hats off to this destination. Getting here, being here, wandering around the castle, the village, the gardens–everything about it was magical beyond every expectation I could have about visiting, and exploring this area. The plants, the colours of the flowers and the castle were unreal. I had to keep pinching myself to believe I was actually there and not living inside some fairytale. I took photos like crazy (I’m thinking just now on making an exclusive post about this TOP #1 fairytale destination in order to share more photos, and details because it’s just STUNNING !) The village is amazing, too! There are lots of restaurants, and crêperies to choose from, and mostly all of them offer terrace sitting areas to enjoy the fairytale-like views!!
…over to you! What are your favourite fairytale locations on Earth? Feel free to share them on the comments!! I’ll love to pay them all a visit sometime!!