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Fairytale Villages, Cities & Places in Europe That Have a Magical Feel!

Have you ever visited a new destination, only to feel a sense of magic from its beauty? Somewhere so beautiful that it instantly takes your breath away? Well, that is how I feel when I visit real-life fairytale villages, towns and places. Almost like they were made to play a part in a Disney movie.

I am told quite often that I am a bit of a ‘Dreamer’. And that is something I must admit is true. I like to storm up some far-fetched ideas that others would deem ‘impossible’ but in some strange way, I manage to make them a reality.

Well, that apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and my ‘dream’ like mindset is something I use in all aspects of life. Particularly, when it comes to travel. I tend to find myself getting excited when I find somewhere picturesque that resembles a fairytale.

I love getting that ‘pinch me I’m dreaming’ feeling when I first set eyes on a new destination. Almost like I am in disbelief that this scenic setting actually exists in real life.

So, if you are anything like me, I can presume that you too enjoy visiting some of the most magical places in the world, places where the movies meet reality. I wanted to set myself a bucket list of some of the most magical places and fairytale towns in Europe. I asked my fellow travel bloggers to help me complete this list.

So, Down below are some of the most beautiful places in Europe for you too to add to your bucket list!

Fairytale Villages You NEED on your Bucket List!

The first few notable mentions in this blog post are dedicated to breathtaking villages in Europe that seem like somewhere straight out of a storybook. It’s hard to believe some of these places exist.

Hallstatt, Austria
Hallstatt, Austria © Our Passion For Travel

1) Hallstatt, Austria

Contribution by Kristen and Jeff Miller from Our Passion For Travel

Nestled along a lake surrounded by giant mountains in Austria is where you’ll find one of the most beautiful fairytale-like villages in Europe, Hallstatt.

Think pastel-coloured and wooden buildings built up into the hill, the glassy reflective lake with church spires mirrored in perfect symmetry.  

A small village, one day in Hallstatt is a perfect amount of time to explore. Grab the iconic photo at the postcard-perfect spot on the edge of town.

Wander through the village, ensuring you check out the gorgeous facades of the buildings in the Market Square.

Get out onto the lake for a different perspective of Hallstatt, by taking a boat or hiring a swan paddler. Lastly, make the trip up to the Hallstatt Skywalk by cable car, for a stunning view over the UNESCO World Heritage area of Dachstein Salzkammergut.

Your hardest decision when visiting Hallstatt will be working out which season to visit. Will it be winter with a snow capped mountain backdrop, a radiant summer visit or spring when the town is decked with stunning foliage. Or maybe you’ll just have to make the trip a few times.

Annecy France © Live Adventure Travel

2) Annecy, France

Contribution by Laura from Live Adventure Travel(Site Owner)

Annecy is one of the most beautiful fairytale villages in France. Something about it screams Beauty and the Beast to me!

The cobblestone streets, pastel-coloured town houses and stunning canals really add to the fantasy vibes.

The word for old town in French is ‘Vieille Ville’, which translates directly to the historic centre. Which has a friendly and quaint atmosphere to it.

It’s such a beautiful place to walk around and admire the surroundings.

Not only does Annecy have a vibrant yet cute town, but it also hosts some incredible views of the surrounding mountains from Lake Annecy. It’s an adventure lovers paradise, with opportunities to go hiking, paragliding and boating in the area.

Annecy should be high on your list of things to do on a Europe trip!

Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor, Montenegro © Jet Set Jansen

3) Kotor, Montenegro

Contribution by Ashley from Jet Set Jansen

Off the beaten path in Europe is the city of Kotor, Montenegro which looks as if you’ve stepped into a storybook. This is also quite a popular spot for backpackers due to it’s affordability.

The city sits on the shore of a bay and is surrounded by rolling mountains. 

The stone city has winding streets and medieval architecture. It’s a smaller city, great for taking strolls and enjoying the surroundings.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the city is that the old town has fortress walls that climb up the side of a mountain.

The views on the way up are spectacular and well worth the long, hot hike. If you make it all the way to the top, you’ll find St. John’s Fortress.

Whether you’re stopping through or staying for a while, Kotor is a great place to see and explore. It’s a special place and you’ll definitely feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj, Croatia purchased stock photography from Deposit Photos

4) Rovinj, Croatia

Contribution by Lara at

Rovinj is a tiny, lovely town located in the province of Istria in Croatia.

Anyone who’s looking for a feeling of walking in a magical fairytale in Croatia should add Rovinj to their list.

With its location on a small hill, the beautiful pastel-colored houses, the romantic feel of strolling through the small cobbled streets, and a view of the Adriatic Sea, it is hard not to love Rovinj.

But besides admiring the mere beauty of the town, there are plenty of things to do in Rovinj to keep tourists entertained.

The most obvious thing to do is to stroll around the old town on the most popular street in the town, Grisia.

The Grisia leads all the way up to the church of St. Eufemia and is filled with art, jewelry, and souvenir shops. On top of the hill at St. Eufemia church a climb to the top of the bell tower is well worth the reward of the stunning view of the Adriatic Sea.

As Istria is famous for its truffles, a truffle tasting in one of the small boutiques on Grisia is also a popular thing to do in Rovinj. Even better would be to combine a truffle tasting with a tasting of Croatian wine.

To finish off a perfect day in the romantic town of Rovinj, head to one of the many beaches to cool off in the Adriatic Sea. Check out Lone Bay beach, and the beaches along the Golden Cape Forest and Punta Eva.

Sighnaghi, Georgia
Sighnaghi, Georgia Purchased Stock Photography from Deposit Photos

5) Sighnaghi, Georgia

Contribution by Maggie at The World Was Here First

Though a bit more offbeat and unknown compared to many beautiful towns in continental Europe, the lovely hilltop town of Sighnaghi in eastern Georgia is one of the most magical places to visit in the entire country.

Sighnaghi is easy to reach from Tbilisi and is one of the best places to visit if you want to learn more about traditional Georgian wine and experience some of the country’s world-class cuisine.

Situated atop a hill and overlooking the beautiful Alazani Valley in Georgia’s Kakheti region, Sighnaghi is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns in Georgia and, arguably, in the entire Caucasus region.

Surrounded by city walls and peppered with winding, cobbled streets, Sighnaghi is sure to instantly charm you. As it is located in the centre of Georgia’s main wine-producing region, there are also countless family-run wine cellars where you can sample traditional Georgian wine and learn about how viticulture dates back more than 8,000 years in Georgia.  

So, if you’re looking for an incredible fairytale towns in Europe, then you cannot go wrong with a visit to Sighnaghi, Georgia!

Telč, Czech Republic
Telč, Czech Republic © Czech The World

6) Telč, Czech Republic

Contribution by Matěj at Czech The World

Telč is a small fairytale-like town surrounded by ponds, fields, and forests in Vysočina Region.

Telč’s main square is one of the most romantic places to visit in the Czech Republic. Imagine colourful historic houses with high gables and arcades build in a Renaissance and Baroque style.

Where you can find lovely cafes, galleries or little shops. It’s an ideal destination for everyone who wants to escape the big city rush and enjoy the atmosphere of an old historic town and its countryside.

Don’t forget to visit the 17th-century Renaissance chateau with an English-style park, one of the gems of Moravian Renaissance architecture.

Chateau‘s façade is decorated with beautiful sgraffito technique, which can be found also in other buildings in town. In general, houses and buildings in Telč are characterized by a diversity of decorative elements. Telč’s historical centre is rightly part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Besides the romantic walks around the historical centre, there are many other activities you can do in your free time. The most popular activities are cycling, horse riding, swimming, rope-courses, nearby steam mill, and many others.

Sibiu, Romania
Sibiu, Romania © The Migrant Yogi

7) Sibiu, Romania

Contribution by Jade at The Migrant Yogi

Romania may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think fairytale cities in Europe.

Yet, Sibiu, a small city in Southern Transilvania, has all the makings of a fairy tale.  With its pastel-hued buildings and eclectic mix of architectural styles, Sibiu is a visually stunning place to visit. 

Not to mention all it has to offer its visitors – its food, it’s culture, its history, and of course, its people.  

Sibiu’s initial settlement by Saxons in the mid-12th century gives it a distinctly Germanic feel in contrast with the rest of Romania. 

The buildings of the Old Town are painted in varying shades of cotton candy, where old-world romance effortlessly meets small-city charm.  

Narrow tunnels and secret stair passageways line the curved cobblestone streets, connecting the upper town with the lower town.  Sibiu boasts a wide array of museums – History of Pharmacy, Steam Locomotives, Romanian Art, Saxon Ethnography, Natural History, as well as its pride and joy, an open-air museum complex (just to name a few). 

The city also has a thriving culinary scene, as well as Medieval walls to follow and feel the history of the city. Not to mention, its location in the Carpathian basin means it’s perfectly situated for a number of outdoor activities – hiking, trekking, skiing or snowboarding, and lake-swimming are common seasonal activities. Visitors will have no problem finding things to do in Sibiu.

While Sibiu is not very well-known in comparison to its Western counterparts, in 2007 it was named Cultural Capital of Europe and in 2008, Forbes’ designated Sibiu one of Europe’s most Idyllic Places to Live. The perfect introduction to Transylvanian culture, Sibiu makes for a rustic and picturesque stay in Romania and will not fail to provide a magical experience.

Castle Combe, England
Castle Combe, England Purchased Stock Photography from Deposit Photos

8) Castle Combe, England

Contribution by Darek from Derek and Gosia

The village of Castle Combe in England is definitely one of the most beautiful fairy-tale places in Europe!

It is known for its medieval character, many stone houses, a church and amazing market buildings.

It was elected the most beautiful (1962), best (1993) and most picturesque (2001) village of Great Britain.

The central place is a small Market Square from the fourteenth century, located in the middle of the main street because Castle Combe is simply a streetcar, a dozen houses one way from the Market Square and a dozen or so the other side and it is actually a whole village.

There is of course a historic church. Only 350 people live there, and most of them are rich

Castle Combe, despite many wonderful places in Europe, is one of the most charming and idyllic places in Europe to visit! If you have the opportunity to be nearby, we highly recommend visiting Castle Combe.

Colmar, France
Colmar, France ©

9) Colmar, France

Contribution by John from

Looking like the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast, Colmar in Eastern France exudes fairytale charm. Set on the banks of the River Lauch is Colmar’s most beautiful area, Little Venice.

This area is defined by half-timbered houses, their facades a myriad of beautiful colours. It’s easy to see how the area acquired its name.

These remarkable colourful houses line many of Colmars Street, and it’s centuries-old centre is one of the best preserved in Europe.

A peaceful boat ride through the heart of the river is the way best to capture the magical mood of the city.

Colmar is much more than just aesthetics though. Its cuisine is acclaimed as the best in France, and Colmar is the capital of the Alsace wine region.

It serves as the perfect base to explore the rich horticulture of the area. Furthermore, the art collection at the Unterlinden Museum is world-class, and the Bartholdi Museum tells well the story of the man behind the Statue of Liberty. Combined with the rich Alsatian culture, Colmar’s allure is in no doubt.

Burano Italy: A colourful fisherman town near venice. Full of charming house painted in array of colours

10) Burano, Italy

Burano is one of the most colourful places I have ever seen!

It’s rainbow-coloured fisherman houses look like something straight out of a childhood cartoon. The town has the ability to make visitors smile all day long.

Located just a short water taxi away from Venice, it is a popular spot to visit while in the major Italian city.

And this is possibly a little bit of a controversial opinion but I prefer Burano to Venice.

Burano is like a vibrant painting brought to life, and it has far less crowds to shuffle your way through.

As you stroll through the island’s narrow, winding streets, you’ll be captivated by the stunning array of colours, each house painted a different, brilliant hue as per local tradition.

It even has a a leaning bell tower, which I spent far too long staring at trying to figure out if it was in fact leaning.

View of Hvar Island from the famous fortress

11) Hvar, Croatia

Hvar is an island of dreams. Located off the coast of Croatia this charming destination is the perfect location for those looking for storybook-like vibes.

Home to marble streets, ancient forts and beautiful beaches. The water is also crystal clear. I was blown away when I first visited.

Hvar, Croatia, is a dream-like destination that fulfils every fairytale lover’s fantasy.

Hvar’s old town square is one of the biggest in all of Croatia. And walking around makes you feel as if you’ve gone back in time.

The island is also home to terraced lavender fields, a rugged coastline and hidden caves.

One of the most enchanting things to do on the island is visit the fortress perked up on a hill. It looks out over the island offering 360 views!

12) Porto Venere

While this cute Italian town does not recieve nearly as many visitors as say Rome or Venice. Porto Venere is sure worth the trip, it’s an underrated fairytale-like destination in Italy that should not be overlooked.

Located just a stone’s throw away from the famous towns of Cinque Terre. Yet, Porto Venere receives significantly fewer crowds. And honestly, I like it that way!

This charming village is dotted with bright and colourfully painted houses built vertically into its rocky coastline.

Walking along the narrow, winding streets, you’ll encounter the striking Doria Castle, which offers panoramic views of the sea. And the entire island.

There is also a Gothic-style Church called St. Peter’s that looks out into the ocean. Nearby lies my favourite part of the island, Byron’s Grotto. A tranquil spot to sit back, relax and watch the waves crash.

The island has a romantic charm to it. With its winding streets, you can have all to yourself provided you walk a minute or two from the main hub.

There are also many options to take a boat ride around the Palmaria Islands. I recommend you do so. The landscapes are incredible!

In essence, Porto Venere offers the allure of Cinque Terre without the crowds, making it a magical destination for those seeking an authentic fairy-tale experience in Europe.

Fairytale Places in Europe That Will Take Your Breath Away!

Below is a group of incredible fairytale places that leave visitors with a sense of magic. They are wonderlands of lush forests, dramatic landscapes, enchanting waterfalls and eye-catching rivers that really capture the essence of a fairytale setting.

13) Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle is the ultimate fairytale destination in Europe. It’s not known as Germany’s Disney castle for no reason.

The castle has seen as much as 6000 visitors each day. All hoping to catch a glimpse of its magical appearance. So, much so, that the tour of inside the castle tends to sell out.

If you are lucky enough to take part, you will have the opportunity to wander through the grand halls, admire the astonishing Throne Room, and check out the royal bedrooms.

Witness the castle’s majestic structure from Mary’s Bridge, a nearby spot offering the best panoramic views of Neuschwanstein set against the breathtaking beauty of the Alps. This is where you will get THAT iconic picture.

The castle is said to appear the prettiest in the autumn months with all the autumn leaves falling around it.

Not too far away is the beautiful Alpsee Lake, the perfect spot to go for a walk while visiting Neuschwanstein. This part of Germany is breathtaking!

Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland © Eniko at Travel Hack Girl

14) Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Contribution by Eniko at Travel Hack Girl

Lauterbrunnen is a cute Swiss town, that looks like an image from a fairy tale. It is located in a valley, that is surrounded by rocky cliffs, snowy mountain tops, glaciers and several waterfalls.

But what makes this place so dreamy?

The architecture in the town is beautiful. There are several chalets featuring wood carvings and classic-style windows. You can also find a cute church with the famous Staubbach Falls in the background.

And…that’s not all!

In the summer it is possible to walk behind this waterfall as well. But that is not the only waterfall in the area. You can spot several big and small ones, as you walk around.

The area is popular amongst paragliders and hikers. The Lauterbrunnen Valley offers several hiking trails. The path to Stechelberg is an easy and scenic one, which is also suitable for bikes, wheelchairs and prams. In the spring you can see wildflowers in the meadows, which makes this place even more magical.

15) Sound of Music Trail, Austria

If you are planning a trip to Salzburg and happen to be a Sound of Music fan then you are in luck. Because this is one fairytale destination you will not want to miss.

Let me introduce you to the Sound of Music Trail, located in the small town of Werfen. This hike is reachable by a 40-minute train journey from Salzburg.

The trail brings walkers along a stunning hiking path with opens out with an incredible view of the surrounding meadows.

This particular location is famous for the “Do Re Mi” scene from the movie. So, you could be twirling around pretending to be July Andrews with the Austrian Alps as a backdrop.

There is even a dedicated photo spot for you to recreate the scene.

The walk is not particularly hard and suitable for most fitness levels. It takes about 40/45 minutes to reach the viewpoint. I recommend bringing a picnic for a scenic lunch.

Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Aberdeenshire, Scotland © Two Scots Abroad

16) Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Contribution by Gemma at Two Scots Abroad

When you think of fairytale castles in Scotland you think of Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock or Eilean Donan Castle sitting by three lochs, right?

What if I told you that there is a whole region of fairytale towns and historic castles condensed into one road trip that can be done in less than three days?

Well, it’s true!

The Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire is must for any dreamy travel fan or photographers.

Notable Aberdeenshire towns with castles worth stopping at include Stonehaven for the medieval fort, Dunnottar Castle, Braemar to see the castle that looks like it’s upside down and Alford for the pink castle, an Instagram favourite, Craigievar Castle.

You can also see where modern royalty resides. Edinburgh is not the only residence of the current royal family.

Aberdeenshire’s Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852 and visitors can tour the grounds and gardens.

There are more than 200 castles, ruins and stately homes in Aberdeenshire making it a fairytale road trip!

Related Posts: The only road trip packing list you’ll need

Post Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain
Post Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain © Andalucia in my Pocket

17) Post Setenil de las Bodegas, Spain

Contribution by Joanna from Andalucia in my Pocket

Setenil de las Bodegas is one of those fairytale places that you don’t believe they exist until you visit them.

Carved inside river Trejo’s canyon, Setenil de las Bodegas is a unique white village of Andalucia, in Southern Spain, because it is the only one which is not located on top of a hill.

Instead, the village grew from the river up, through an extensive network of caves which are still inhabited today.

Walking around the village is magical: the narrow roads are flanked by white facades which hide people’s homes, bed and breakfasts or restaurants.

Here and there big boulders cover the streets. Going up the hill, you can reach the ruins of what used to be a majestic 40-tower castle with its glory days in the 14th century. Only one tower remains today. There are plenty of small streets and houses decorated with colourful flowers waiting to be discovered in Setenil de las Bodegas.

One of the must-dos in the village is having the traditional sopa cortijera (a wild asparagus soup with chorizo, eggs, rustic bread and paprika) at one of the terraces from Calle de las Cuevas.

Beautiful Lake in Europe with an Island in the middle with a church, Lake Bled Slovenia
Lake Bled Slovenia © Live Adventure Travel

18) Lake Bled, Slovenia

Contribution by Laura from Live Adventure Travel(Site Owner)

If you’re on the hunt for real-life fairytale places in Europe, visiting Lake Bled in Slovenia should be at the top of your list.

This stunning destination is like a scene straight out of a storybook. With its crystal-clear waters, the lake is set against a backdrop of majestic mountains and thick forests.

It boasts an enchanting island in the middle, which is home to a lovely church that you can visit by taking a traditional wooden boat known as a “pletna.”

Besides enjoying the breathtaking landscapes, there are many things to do at Lake Bled.

You could take a leisurely walk around the lake, soaking in the serene beauty. For more adventure, you can hike in the nearby Triglav National Park. Don’t forget to explore Bled Castle, perched high on a cliff and offering panoramic views of the lake and surrounding areas. Also, make sure to try “kremšnita,” a local cream cake, that is as magical as the place itself.

In summary, Lake Bled provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, historical intrigue, and fun activities, making it an essential addition to any fairytale Europe itinerary.

19) Bohemian Switzerland National Park

Bohemian Switzerland National Park, is one of the most underrated places to visit in the Czach Republic.

Tucked away lies a lush forest full of dramatic rock formations and winding rivers that really capture a fairytale landscape.

You can step into the magic by taking a hike through the park’s enchanting trails. The Pravčická Brána, the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe, is a must-see.

Its grandeur and unique shape make it seem like a portal to a magical realm.

Close by, the mesmerizing Kamenice River Gorge offers a delightful boat ride. The journey takes you through high rock walls, adorned with moss and ferns, which feel like the pages of a storybook come alive.

In summary, Bohemian Switzerland National Park is a magical destination that offers a perfect combination of natural beauty, history, and culture, making it an unforgettable stop on your fairytale Europe tour.

20) Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Plitvice National Park in Croatia is a breathtaking haven that fits perfectly into fairytale-like landscapes.

This natural beauty is Famous for its cascading waterfalls, (90 to be exact) and pristine turquoise-coloured lakes.

Walking around the park’s lush foliage makes you feel like you have stepped straight into a movie.

In the winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland making it appear even more enhancing.

Whether you’re looking for a tranquil setting, romantic walks, or an adventurous exploration, Plitvice National Park is the destination for you!

Cinq Terre, Italy
Cinq Terre, Italy © Travel Passionate

21) Cinque Terre, Italy

Contribution by Chrysoula from Travel Passionate

When it comes to fairy tale destinations it doesn’t get much more magical than the five towns of the Cinque Terre.

Made up of a collection of fishing villages – which are now a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular tourist attraction – the Cinque Terre is the perfect destination for those who want to combine the laid-back Italian way of life with some stunning walking trails.

Each town in the Cinque Terre is identified by a hillside of pristine buildings in pretty pastel hues, with the houses seemingly cascading down the cliffside creating a patchwork quilt of colours.

The joy of the Cinque Terre is that each town is connected by protected hiking trails, so visitors can walk between the towns, stopping off in each one to soak up the local atmosphere, landscapes, and cuisine.

Travellers can either choose one town as a base from which to explore the others or move between destinations, spending time in all of the five fishing villages to really get a feel for each place.

Days on the Cinque Terre can be spent hiking on cliffside trails, dining on fresh Italian cuisine (including lots of gelato, of course!), taking dips in the clear harbours and meandering through the towns. And to top it all off, don’t miss the sunsets which are simply spectacular on the Cinque Terre!

22) Ballysaggart Towers, Waterford, Ireland

For such a small country, Ireland has it’s fair share of magical places, and this next destination is one of my favourite.

Safe to say the Ballysaggart Towers in County Waterford have left the bustling streets of Dublin far behind. It is one of Ireland’s many fairytale-like structures that you should not miss.

A true Irish hidden gem, so much so, that it is common to visit the towers without anyone else around. Especially on the weekdays.

The ornamental gate lodges from the 19th century feel so nice to walk around and admire. A tranquil spot surrounded by enchanting woodlands. There is even a secret waterfall on-site.

The walk is not too difficult and it takes about 20 minutes to reach the first ruin. These towers are also located near the town of Lismore which is home to one of Ireland’s most impressive castles.

Fairytale Cities in Europe That Feel Magical!

When you first think of cities, you don’t really think of elegant fairytale-like settings. But…when it comes to European cities that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many wonderful hubs that resemble the essence of a storybook. I just know you will instantly add these locations to your Europe Bucket List.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina ©

23) Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Contribution By Emily at

Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a must-visit on any trip to the Balkans. It also happens to be one of the most fairytale-like places in all of Europe.

Located in the south of the country, Mostar can be visited as a day trip from Sarajevo (the capital) or from Split or Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia.

This charming city is best-known for Stari Most (‘Old Bridge’), the iconic half-moon bridge that unfurls across the river in the heart of the old town.

Originally built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, it stood for almost 500 years until 1993 when it was destroyed during the Balkan War. It was later reconstructed using some of the original stonework.

There are numerous points along the river’s edge – including some delightful cafes and restaurants – where you can get a view. Mostar is particularly lovely in spring when crowds are thin and the bridge is fringed with greenery.

The soft blue waters of the Neretva river and the slate-tipped minaret of the nearby Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque complete the picture-perfect scene.

If you think it looks good during the way, Mostar by night is pure magic. Vendors set up at either end of the bridge and through the winding streets of the old town, selling copper coffee pots and carpets. Illuminated by lanterns, it has an otherworldly feel.

As with every fairytale, there is a dark side to Mostar. The turbulence and pain this part of the world has been through – and its triumphant transformation – only adds to the magic.

Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Hungary © Live Adventure Travel

24) Budapest, Hungary

Contribution by Laura from Live Adventure Travel(Site Owner)

As far as big cities go, Budapest certainly wins the prize for the city with the most fairytale-like architecture.

No matter where you walk in the Hungarian capital, you are sure to find some sort of magical backdrop just waiting for a picture to be taken.

If you are chasing the magical views of Budapest, start your exploration at the Castle District on the Buda side of the Danube River.

Here you will find the Buda Castle, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, all perfect additions to a fairytale lovers itinerary.

The Hungarian Parliament is also a wonderful building which was made with such amazing attention to detail you will feel as if you are looking at a building designed purposely for a Disney movie.

On the complete opposite side of Budapest lies a 302-acre city park, the park is famous for popular tourist attractions such as Hero Square and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.

However, inside the park, there is something rather unique, perfect for those looking to add a little magic to their Budapest itinerary.

And that is…Vajdahunyad Castle.

Vajdahunyad Castle literally is a fairytale, words can not describe how magical this area feels.  The Castle was first built in 1896 and the architectural style was inspired by various periods such as Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance.

Budapest has many other ‘magical’ places to explore like the Fisherman’s Batsion, the Buda Castle and the famous parliament. It also has something for everyone, from the thrilling caving tours for adrenaline Junkies, a scenic boat ride down the Danube River for history buffs to a party stop in the famous ruin bars for party lovers. It is a European City that is 100% worth the visit and it is also pretty affordable which makes it an even more appealing place to explore.

Sintra Portugal, © Live Adventure Travel

25) Sintra, Portugal

Contributed by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan

A haven from the summer heat for Portugal’s royalty and aristocrats, Sintra is absolutely packed with castles, palaces and fortresses, all set within a lush green, mountainous landscape.

It’s most often visited as a day trip from Lisbon or Cascais, by either a public bus, day tours or Uber.

However, it is really worth at least two or three days of exploration.

There are so many beautiful palaces and chalets to explore that it’s impossible to see them all in one day.

If you’re really going for that fairytale experience, be sure to visit both Pena Palace and the Quinta da Regaleira.

Pena Palace was built in the mid-19th century in an eclectic mix of styles and looks exactly like a little girl’s fantasy of what her castle would be like if she were a princess.

The Quinta da Regaleira, on the other hand, is full of mystical, esoteric symbolism. Don’t miss the “initiation well”, said to be used for Masonic initiation rites.

Sintra is easy to reach from Lisbon by train. The various sites are spread out across the hills, though, so you’ll need to take a bus or tuk-tuk to get around once you’re there. Keep in mind that the restaurant options here are not as good as in Lisbon, particularly for vegans and vegetarians.

Bruges , Belgium
Bruges, Belgium © Always Find Adventure

26) Bruges, Belgium

Contribution by Lauren from Always Find Adventure

Bruges is a small fairytale village located in the Flemish Region (northwest) of Belgium.

It’s canals, picturesque cobbled streets, and medieval architecture buildings are what give this city it’s fairytale feel.

The historic city centre (Markt) is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Very close by to the centre, is the Belfry, the city’s tallest building spanning 83 meters high.

Some of the more charming sites include the Markt, Steenhouwers Canal, the famous view from Rozenhoedkaai.

The city is best viewed by taking a canal boat tour, which will take visitors by Minnewater, otherwise known as the Lake of Love where more than 100 swans spend their day.

Bruges is a small safe town so many people end up ditching the map, and wandering through the charming streets to admire the medieval-style buildings.

It might feel like candy land, especially due to all the Belgian chocolate and waffle shops. If you’re looking for inspiration, you can watch the movie “In Bruges” starring Colin Farrell. 

Come here for a day, or a weekend to take in all the fairytale beauty.

Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland © Live Adventure Travel

27) Edinburgh, Scotland

Contribution by Laura from Live Adventure Travel(Site Owner)

Edinburgh, the charming capital of Scotland, is a city steeped in history and brimming with enchanting sights that make it a must-visit for anyone seeking fairytale destinations in Europe.

The city’s skyline is dominated by the awe-inspiring Edinburgh Castle, perched on an ancient volcano, and it’s as if you’ve stepped directly into the pages of a storybook.

Walking the cobbled streets of the Old Town is like travelling back in time, with its medieval architecture and secret alleyways.

Here, you can also discover the famous Royal Mile, a historical thoroughfare brimming with shops, restaurants, and historic sites, reaching from Edinburgh Castle down to the splendid Palace of Holyroodhouse.

For a touch of magic, venture into the Royal Botanic Garden with its beautiful exotic plants and tranquil setting. And no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without climbing Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano and hill located right in the heart of the city, offering panoramic views over the entire city.

Fairytale Cities in Europe - Prague

28) Prague, Czech Republic

Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is yet another fairytale destination that should undoubtedly be on your bucket list.

Fondly known as “The City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague boasts an enchanting mix of Gothic architecture, romantic cobblestone streets, and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.

Prague Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a beautiful part of the city which has a stunning view surrounding it.

Stroll through the historic Old Town Square, where the enigmatic Astronomical Clock ticks away, or cross the iconic Charles Bridge to witness an unforgettable sunset over the Vltava River.

Visit during Christmas to experience the world-renowned Christmas markets, where the city transforms into a magical winter wonderland adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations.

In Prague, every corner holds a new surprise, making it a living, breathing fairy tale that never fails to captivate its visitors.

29) Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany’s third-largest city, is a mesmerizing blend of traditional Bavarian charm and modern urban sophistication.

Famed for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and local food and beer halls.

Exploring Munich is like stepping into a real-life fairy tale.

The city’s centrepiece, Marienplatz, is home to the gothic-style New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) with its captivating Glockenspiel that rings with animated figures daily.

Munich’s many parks, including the famous Englischer Garten, offer peaceful retreats within the city, with lush lawns and serene lakes that are perfect for strolls.

Visit during Oktoberfest to experience the city’s festive spirit, where music, traditional Bavarian costumes, and merriment fill the air.

With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Munich is a fairy tale destination that will leave you spellbound.

30) Krakow, Poland

Krakow is a BEAUTIFUL city in Poland that will instantly take your breath away.

Much like Prague, the old town is on the UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting magnificent architecture that transports visitors back in time.

Wander through the labyrinthine streets and marvel at the grandeur of the Wawel Castle, a spectacular royal residence that embodies the city’s historical significance.

The Market Square (Rynek Główny), one of the largest medieval squares in Europe, is a bustling hub of activity where you can absorb the vibrant culture of Krakow.

Do not miss the St. Mary’s Basilica, renowned for its stunning interior and the iconic trumpet call that echoes through the city every hour.

If you are looking for a day trip to another fairytale destination in Poland then consider making your way to Zakopane. Just 2 hours away, this natural paradise is full of pristine lakes and breathtaking hiking trails.

Krakow, with its rich tapestry of history, culture, and tradition, creates a fairy tale ambience that enchants every traveller.

31) Split, Croatia

Split, a stunning city on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, has a vibrant, modern vibe, yet it gives off a magical sense when visitors explore it.

The old town centres around the stunning Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a truly historic place. This Roman Emperor’s palace, built in the 4th century, is now the heart of the city, its ancient walls housing cosy cafes, charming shops, and even residential apartments.

The waterfront of Split is a lively place where locals and tourists alike bask in the Mediterranean sun while savouring delicious Croatian cuisine in one of the many restaurants.

The surrounding region of Split is blessed with abundant natural beauty, from the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea to the lush landscapes of the Marjan Forest Park.

For an experience straight out of a fairytale, visit the enchanting Blue Cave on Bisevo Island and witness the mesmerizing blue glow within. Or, day a day trip to Krka National Park and admire the amazing natural landscapes of its lakes and waterfalls.

32) Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana is the stunning capital of Slovenia. A very underrated city with charming characteristics that quite literally mimic that of a fairytale.

The city is small and quant, making it an easy place to explore and really get to know in a short number of days.

In the heart of Slovenia’s capital lies Ljubljane a rather large castle and medieval fortress which offers panoramic views of the city. I highly recommend visiting at sunset.

The picturesque Old Town, with its charming cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture, is adorned with fascinating sculptures and beautiful bridges, including the famous Triple Bridge and the Dragon Bridge, symbolizing the city’s emblem.

The city also has a vibrant market where visitors can pick up local gifts and produce.

Moreover, the city’s commitment to green living is evident in its numerous lush parks and public green spaces, including Tivoli Park, the city’s green heart.

Whether it’s roaming through the historical streets, taking a leisurely boat ride down the Ljubljanica River, or simply sipping coffee at a riverside café. Ljubljana offers an unforgettable fairytale-like experience to every traveller.

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland © Live Adventure Travel

33) Kilkenny, Ireland

Contribution by Laura from Live Adventure Travel(Site Owner)

Ireland is a European country known for its castles and old Celtic ruins, so no matter where you go in Ireland you are bound to find fairytale-like buildings. However, one place in particular springs to mind when thinking of magical places would have to be Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is a small Irish city located only a short hour and a half drive from Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Making it the perfect destination for those looking to go on a Day Trip from Dublin.

The city is home to charming village-style high streets, with many shops, restaurants and cafes. Visitors can also enjoy themselves by enjoying a beautiful walk along the River Nore.

But…Wait…That’s not all there is to do in Kilkenny…

Right in the middle of the city centre lies a magnificent castle. It is possible to take a tour of the castle (guided €12) or enjoy the evening on the castle grounds with a picnic in hand.

Either way, a trip to Kilkenny is a must for those looking to add a bit of magic to their Ireland Itinerary.

Related Post: The ultimate packing list for Ireland

Thanks for Reading!

That brings us to the end of our Fairytale Towns in Europe post, I really hope you enjoyed reading it and have found some nice additions for you bucket list. I just want to take a moment to take all the wonderfully talented travel bloggers who helped me put together this amazing blog post. They are all amazing!

As Always, If you have any further questions be sure to reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram. As Always, happy travels and see you in the next blog!

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