Magical forests, quaint cottages, charming castles… You’ll feel like you’ve stepped through the pages of a storybook when you reach these fairytale destinations.
1. Visit Neuschwanstein, the original fairytale castle
This turreted castle, perched on a mountainside in the lush Bavarian forest, is so textbook-fairytale that Walt Disney borrowed its outline for his logo. An easy day trip from Munich, combine your excursion to this enchanted castle with a tour of the Bavarian capital’s famous Bierhalle. Or, venture further into this fairytale region, when you visit the charming village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
2. Wander the enchanted woods of Northern Ireland
From “Snow White” to “Rapunzel,” if you’ve read your fairytales, you’ll know that the deep, dark forest is where the story gets really interesting. And forests don’t get much deeper or darker — or magical, for that matter — than Northern Ireland’s eerily atmospheric Dark Hedges. And if that’s not enchanting enough, the mythical Giant’s Causeway is just around the corner.
3. Have a belle time in Colmar…
The picturesque French village of Colmar could have sprung directly from the pages of “Beauty and the Beast.” Its cobbled streets and half-timbered houses are capped off with the rolling green of the surrounding vineyards. While away a day or two sipping Alsace Pinot Blanc among Colmar’s pretty vines or venture farther afield, where even more charming villages and chateaux await you.
4. Stumble on gingerbread cottages in the Black Forest
Don’t forget to leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind you when you wander into Germany’s Black Forest. This wild stretch of woodland in West Germany is not only home to cuckoo clocks, quaint medieval villages and storied cities, and Black Forest Cake — it’s the same landscape that inspired the Brother’s Grimm to write their most iconic tales.
5. Step through the gates of a mysterious imperial city
Fans of Mulan, this one’s for you! Amid the buzz and bustle of modern Beijing, lies the fairytale Forbidden City. The historic home of China’s imperial dynasties, this impressive castle complex was closed to all visitors until 1924. Now, travelers have the chance to explore the city’s evocative buildings and stunning royal collections of calligraphy, art, and ceramics.
6. Go hunting for fairies in the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands were long believed to have been home to a whole host of magical creatures, like fairies, brownies, and selkies. Trek to the enchanting Fairy Pools of the Isle of Sky or the imposing Stirling Castle, and you’ll soon see why. This part of the world is, quite simply, magical.
7. Discover a creole blend of magic
With the “Princess and the Frog,” Disney showed the world what residents of the Big Easy have long known…the streets of New Orleans are a creole fairytale come to life. Whether you’re strolling the streets of the vibrant French Quarter in festival season or tapping your toes in a secluded jazz joint, there’s something enchanting around every corner in this city.
8. Visit Ariel’s storybook palace
If you’re a lover of the Little Mermaid, you probably don’t need us to tell you to visit the iconic statue in Langelinie, Copenhagen. But have you thought about adding Chateau de Chillon in Switzerland to your itinerary? Set on the shore of Lake Geneva’s crystal-blue waters, this gorgeous chateau provided the real-life inspiration for Prince Eric’s castle in the classic Disney film.
9. Find magic in a modern capital
Even Muggles can experience the magic of Harry Potter in London. This cosmopolitan city is not only home to some of the world’s best attractions, historical sites, and dining experiences, it’s also where you’ll find Platform 9 and ¾. You can also visit the Harry Potter Studios. Try on the sorting hat, sample butterbeer, and stroll through Hogwarts! Jump on the next flight — or simply apparate yourself there — to experience the magic first-hand.
10. Have a truly fairytale day
Can’t decide if you want to make like Snow White in Ireland’s Dark Hedges, or follow Mulan into the Forbidden City? There’s an easy answer to your dilemma: Disneyland Paris will satisfy even the most fervent fairytale fan. A stone’s throw from Paris, at Disneyland fairytales come to life through rides, parades, and entertainments. Bring the whole family or simply connect with your inner child — and find your happily-ever-after.