We've all heard the stories, be they from childhood or from an obsession with Disney. Boy meets girl. One of them is actually royalty. After some magical shenanigans, perhaps a misunderstanding or two, boy and girl live happily ever after. Perhaps there is a castle involved. Almost certainly there is a quaint little village. Maybe a palace, the perfect backdrop for a fateful ball? As we grow up and find out own fairytales, whilst no less magical, are sorely lacking in the castle, palace, or quaint village department, we search them out in real life, those escapist destinations. Here are a few of our favourite destinations where fairytales can seem to come true.
Honestly, is there anywhere as iconic as Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau. It is indescribably beautiful, and undoubtedly one of the most fairytale castles in the world. Built in the 19th century, this castle has captures the hearts and imaginations of the incurable romantic the world over, with its high, whitewashed walls, numerous towers, and incredible location atop a hill. Even the history behind it is sort of beautiful. Ludwig II was so awed and inspired by composer Richard Wagners' beautiful operas, he built it in honour of the man himself. The castle even inspired Disney, who created Sleeping Beauty's castle in its image.
You'd be forgiven if your mind didn't immediately go to this fairly unassuming little town under the shadow of the Tatra Mountains in Poland when thinking "fairytale destination". But there's something about Zaokpane that is undoubtedly charming. The home to many skiers during the winter and hikers during the summer, Zakopane is filled with numerous wood timbered buildings that look exactly like you'd imagine a witches house to look like. But this one is more Jack and the Beanstalk than Hansel and Gretel, as we turn our faces to the horizon and view the mighty Giewont mountains, a range of three mountains that look like the profile of a sleeping giant. It is said that these mountains are actually a sleeping knight, who will rise to aid Poland when it is in danger.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Just what is it about Germany that is so… fanciful? Completely unlike Zakopane, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (or Rothenburg for the sake of the word count) is exactly what one considers when thinking of a fairytale village. Known throughout the world for its incredibly preserved medieval centre, Rothenburg is exactly the sort of place where you'd expect fair maidens to sweep the streets whilst looking forlorn yet beautiful. With timber framed, pastel hued houses, pretty floral hangings, and charming little town squares surrounded by the aforementioned houses and flowers, this frankly quaint little town deserves its place on this list with no uncertainty.
Say you're a prince. And your cruel father, the king, is making you marry someone you don't love. So you throw a beautiful ball to hopefully find yourself a princess that you like. You need to find an opulent, glittering, gilded, and any other adjectives that edge on both gaudy and elegant palace to throw a ball of its equal. Enter the Palace of Versailles. Of course a palace built by someone who was known as 'the sun king' (Louis XIV) would be completely and breathtakingly over the top in its brilliance. With an entire hall dedicated to mirrors, enough gold décor to make Rumpelstiltskin weep with joy, and gardens aplenty to get conveniently 'lost' in with your amour, Versailles is every ball goers dream. Fortunately, if you miss your midnight curfew, pumpkin is very easy to get off the marble tiles outside.
Disney, numerous locations
Now beautiful castles and villages etcetera are all well and good but, well, they're rather spread out aren't they? But where can you go where all of this is in one place? The 'happiest place on earth', of course. Disney land or world (depending on where you go) has its faults, it can be crowded, noisy, and hot, but let's be realistic, there's a reason thousands pass through those gates every year. For kids and grown up kids alike, it's almost like magic is still around in this cynical day and age, with costumed performers, beautiful castles, and enthralling parades that whisk you into a world of whimsy and wonder. Really, what could be more of a fairytale than that?