Top Trips to 10 Stunning Fairytale Destinations

By Samantha Scott
September 26, 2016

The success of shows like Grimm and Once Upon a Time tell us one thing: people crave fairy tales. We like fantastical beings and lands, tales of bravery, heros & villains, parables in which we can see ourselves, but also feel removed from everyday life.

However, we don’t have to look too far to find fairy tale landscapes in our own world. And it doesn’t take a magic bean or ruby slippers to get there! Here are 10 Real Life Fairytale Locations, and the trips to take you there:

*waves magic wand*

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany


A regular on lists of fairytale locations, this is the classic fairytale castle. Famously the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and the Cinderella castle at Disneyland, Neuschwanstein has been a fixture of the Bavarian landscape since 1886.

Trips to Consider:

Highlights of Germany with Avalon Waterways

Bavarian Castles Tour with European Castle Tours

The Germany - Castle Untour with Untours

2. Glow Worm Cave, New Zealand

New Zealand

2il org via Flickr

There are a few glow worm caves in New Zealand, the the main one is in Waitomo, just two hours drive south from Auckland. As you drift through you’ll feel like you’re in another world under a blanket of glowing turquoise stars.

Trips to Consider:

Explore Australia & New Zealand with G Adventures

New Zealand Adventure Northbound (ex Christchurch) with Intrepid Travels

New Zealand - North Island Encompassed with G Adventures

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3. Dark Hedges, Ireland

Dark Hedges, Ireland

All of Ireland is worth visiting for a fairytale experience. The green hills and pastoral vibe, mixed with a feel of Celtic mysteriousness all serve to create a fairy story vibe. But if you have time to only visit one such spot, take a walk through the Dark Hedges. Used in television shows like Game of Thrones, the forboding sounding and looking road is straight out of a dark fantasy novel.

Trips to Consider:

Discover Northern Ireland with G Adventures

Ireland's Coasts from North to South with Road Scholar

All Ireland Rocker with Sham Rocker

4. Mont St. Michel, France


Pick any noteworthy attraction in France, and it could easily be the backdrop of your favorite classic fairytale. As a matter of fact, Mont St. Michel quite literally is! The inspiration for the castle in Disney's delightlful spin on the classic Repunzel, Tangled, Mont St. Michel is an eerily isolated island commune in France, with a population of 44. Its position against the sea makes for stunning photographs full of fantasy and mystery.

Trips to Consider:

Paris & Normandy with Uniworld

Discover France with Topdeck

Normandy & Brittany Family Private with Butterfield & Robinson

5. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

Avenue of Baobabs, Madagascar

This charming avenue of odd, quirky baobab trees seems like an illustration from a colorfully painted childrens book. Set against the backdrop of ecologically diverse Madagascar, the hum of wildlife is delightfully present - look out for lemurs!

Trips to Consider:

The Lost Continent with Explore!

Madagascan Discoverer with Exodus

Madagascar Baobab Tree Trail with Intrepid

6. Hobbiton, New Zealand

New Zealand

In a rare instance, the movie set for Hobbiton, created for Lord of the Rings, was installed permanently, allowing fans to truly feel like they are part of the story.

Trips to Consider:

Naturally New Zealand with Globus

New Zealand Explorer with Explore!

New Zealand - the Bay of Islands with G Adventures

7. Tulip Fields, Netherlands


The Netherlands seems to spring right from a storybook and nowhere is this more true than the famous tulip fields in Keukenhof. Bright bursts of colors, thousands of fairies' homes, ahem, tulips, and lovely old windmills dot the landscape. Take a deep breath of the flower aroma and relax into the European pace.

Trips to Consider:

Holland Biking with Butterfield & Robinson

The Holland - Leiden Untour with Untours

Self-Guided Cycling Amsterdam to Bruges with Explore!

8. Colmar, France

Colmar, France

If this lovely, small village in Northeastern France seems familiar, it’s not just you. The picturesque streets, houses, and squares seem to be straight out of Beauty and the Beast. Though the animators used inspiration from many places, and the animated setting for Belle's "little town" is an amalgam of all of them, the base seems to be Colmar. Right down to the fountain where she describes her 'favorite part, because, you see, here’s where she meets Prince Charming!'

Trips to Consider:

Legendary Rhine & Moselle with Uniworld

Highlights of France with Intrepid Travel

Paris, Champagne & The French Countryside with Globus

9. Himeji, Japan


An UNESCO World Heritage Site, this beautiful castle in Japan's Kansai Region was built in 1333. Through its long history, it has survived wars, invasions, and undergone many restorations to ensure it remains preserved for visitors to enjoy. Many legends and folklore surround the castle, making it the perfect destination for fairytale enthusiasts!

Trips to Consider:

Highlights of Japan with Explore

Back Roads of Japan with Tucan Travel

Japan Family Adventure with Exodus Travels

10. Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard, Norway

Those who grew up reading The Golden Compass will delight in this real life location, after which Philip Pullman's fictional Svalbard is named. The picturesque snowscape glows with character in its small towns, and dramatic ice formations. Iceland has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, but neighboring Norway is still being discovered by tourists. Now is the time to visit!

Trips to Consider:

Realm of the Polar Bear in Depth with G Adventures

Greenland to Svalbard Expedition with Hurtigruten

Tromso, Bear Island, & Longyearbyen

Ready to embark on your own fairytale adventure? Search here to find your perfect trip:

Share and Enjoy
4322 Views    3 Comments
By Ruth Rieckehoff
October 5, 2016 at 9:19 PM
Lovely places! I will like to visit all of them.
By A Tourist
October 6, 2016 at 1:03 PM
Wow! It all looks so amazing.I want to see the glow worm caves! #wanderfulwednesday
By Ahila Thillainathan
October 6, 2016 at 7:32 PM
I would certainly love to visit them all but my favourites are Svalbard and the glo worm caves. #WanderfulWednesday

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