If princesses and princes, castles and magical lands, and tulle up to your elbows sounds like a dream come true, you’re going to love these charming travel destinations—or at least your children will.
Sure you can go to Disney to get your fairytale fix, but why not visit the real-life destinations that inspired the castles and settings of the stories you’ve come to love?
While we can’t guarantee a magic carpet ride to get you over there, these enchanted castles and villages won’t disappoint:
- Neuschwanstein Castle: Located in the Southwest region of Bavaria, Germany lies the charming castle that inspired the one featured in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, as well as the real-life structure at Disneyland in California. Neuschwanstein was built by King Ludwig II during the 19th century and is beloved for the intricate beauty of the castle itself, as well as the landscape it resides on. It’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
- Chateau de Chambord: King Francois I of France took a trip to Italy during the early 1500s and returned with Leonardo da Vinci. Why? To create a massive architectural dream in the Italian Renaissance style. The chateau, which inspired the castle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, is an incredible site to behold, even though it was technically never finished. You can still, however, tour the premises and enjoy the elaborate details of the castle’s design and stunning décor.
- Mont Saint-Michel: On the island commune in Normandy, France lies the inspiration for the royal palace in one of Disney’s more recent films, Tangled. While the walled town originated as a strategic military location, it was also the home of a monastery, and eventually a prison, which closed in 1863; ten years later, it was declared a historic monument. Mont Saint-Michel eventually joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in 1979, and is visited by three million people a year.
- German Fairy Tale Route: Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm (aka The Brothers Grimm) were the original writers of stories such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and a host of other Disney-based movies. Their hometown, Hanau, Germany, has become the starting point for Fairy Tale Road, which is a walking tour that travels through various sites that inspired their tales. If picturesque medieval towns and enchanted forests are what you’re looking for, then you’ll love the tour, which also includes visits to museums and various tourist attractions that have been devoted to Grimm tales, such as the Snow White Museum and Tendelburg Tower, which inspired the story of Rapunzel.
- The Wonderful World of Hans Christian Andersen: Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer who also wrote many famous fairytales, such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Thumbelina,” and “The Ugly Duckling.” Watch these stories come to life and learn about the beloved Danish author at The Wonderful World of Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Photo from Tripping.com.