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10 Fairytale Destinations to Visit on Vacation

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Colorful houses and streets in Colmar, France

Colmar, France

Colorful towns with narrow streets, beautiful natural landscapes, and temple architecture hidden beneath aggressive root systems, our top 10 fairytale destinations reflect the diversity you can experience around the world.

Discover inspirational castles, wander around reflective lakes that capture the spirit of a storybook, explore glowing caves, or enjoy a romantic coastal ambiance. Destinations that capture the essence of a fairytale can capture your imagination and immerse you in otherworldliness.

Experience a touch of magic when you uncover the charm, drama, or majesty at one of the following destinations.

  1. 1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
  2. 2. Cappadocia, Turkey
  3. 3. Colmar, France
  4. 4. Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia
  5. 5. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand
  6. 6. The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
  7. 7. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan
  8. 8. Sea of Stars, Maldives
  9. 9. Lake Bled, Slovenia
  10. 10. Salento, Colombia
  11. Explore the Best Fairytale Destinations on Your Vacation

1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Considered one of the most beautiful castles in Germany and Europe, Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high on a rocky hill, has fairytale-like architecture.

Constructed in the 19th century under the commission of King Ludwig II, the structure represents storybook illustrations surrounded by the Bavarian countryside and inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland.

Lavish rooms add an extra dimension of opulence and charm, with murals inspired by the operatic works of Wagner focusing on German legends.

Learn more: Germany Vacation IdeasGermany Travel Guide

2. Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

The landscape itself takes on the ambiance of a fairytale in Cappadocia, where rock formations wind out of the surface of the Earth like chimneys. Ancient settlers carved homes into the stone pinnacles, creating distinctive dwellings, ancient churches, and vibrant frescoes that have turned the area into an open-air museum resembling a storybook.

Hot-air balloons often drift through the sky, offering panoramic views of the sprawling Anatolian plains and volcanic peaks textured with unique rock formations shaped by lava flows. The striking combination of medieval Turkish artifacts and luxurious contemporary designs only adds to Cappadocia's unique ambiance.

Learn more: Turkey Tours & VacationsTurkey Travel Guide

3. Colmar, France

Colmar at sunset in France

Colmar, France

France is one of the best destinations for senior travelers and Colmar is considered one of the most idyllic places to visit in France’s Alsace region, famous for its picturesque half-timbered homes and quiet canals. The heritage and history feature merchants, fishmongers, and wine producers at the heart of the Route des Vins.

The color of the homes once signified the type of business visitors could find, resulting in a vision directly pulled from a storybook. A combination of ornate Renaissance churches, local artisans, and architecture that inspired the likes of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, Colmar embodies a fairytale ideal.

Learn more: France Vacations & ToursFrance Travel Guide

4. Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap Wat, Cambodia

Ta Prohm Temple in Siem Reap Wat, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia, is the gateway to the renowned Angkor Wat complex and within the greater compound stands the mesmerizing Ta Prohm Temple, where crumbling ruins meet the roots of aggressive strangler figs. The tremendous rainforest demonstrates its power as it overtakes the remaining stone buildings of the ancient empire.

The impressive sight combines fantastical architecture and legends etched into the walls with the awe-inspiring power of nature. The ambiance can feel like an adventure story as roots press heavily on the walls, at times revealing the serene faces of frozen statues.

Learn more: Cambodia Tours

5. Waitomo Caves, New Zealand

Waitomo Caves in New Zealand

Waitomo Caves in New Zealand

The Waitomo Caves in New Zealand can turn the idea of a portal fantasy into a real-life experience. While floating down the subterranean river, lights quietly flicker in the distance, bringing streaks of green and blue to the darkness.

The labyrinth alights from the gentle luster of glowworms endemic to the country and nearly the size of a mosquito. Even though you are winding through the maze-like caverns, it can feel like floating through the galaxy while you learn about the historical and geological significance of the caves.

Around the corner is Hobbiton, one of the best filming locations you can visit on vacation, combining cinematic fantasy with the epic adventure of Waitomo Caves’ natural beauty.

Learn more: New Zealand Tours & VacationsNew Zealand Travel Guide

6. The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway is the embodiment of legend, a breathtaking natural wonder that inspired stories. Over 40,000 basalt columns interlock to create raised tracks among the edges of the Northern Ireland coastline, where locals say Finn McCool protected the island from a Scottish giant.

The choice of believing volcanic activity or a battle of giants shaped the coastline is yours. However, regardless of what may have created it, the natural landscape combined with the legend creates an immersive experience in which the story becomes indistinguishable from reality.

Learn more: UK Tours & VacationsUK Travel Guide

7. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

Paro Taktsang, known as Tiger's Nest, in Bhutan

Paro Taktsang in Paro Valley, Bhutan

Few storybook destinations have the same splendor and enchanting ambiance as Bhutan’s Paro Takstan, a 17th-century monastery perched above the Paro valley.

Bhutan is a destination combining mystery and majesty, combining traditional Buddhist culture with the carefully planned development of the modern world. A kingdom focused on sustainability and tradition, Paro Takstan acts as the embodiment of the world’s last Shangri-La, as the centuries-old fortress tucked into the edge of the mountain glows with white walls, red trim, and golden towers surrounded by lush valley floor and dramatic mountain peaks.

The monastery remains only accessible by three mountain paths; the first is considered a symbol of positive energy and luck, while the other two trails wind through the popular “hundred thousand fairies’ plateau,” only adding to the fairytale quality of the monastery and greater country.

Learn more: Bhutan Tours

8. Sea of Stars, Maldives

Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

Sea of Stars, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

Rather than a town or city, the Sea of Stars in the Maldives, one of our top 7 destinations for a luxury tropical vacation, can feel like a journey into space on Vaadhoo Island. The surreal storybook experience features glittering lights in the lazy surf of the Indian Ocean.

Bioluminescent phytoplankton emit light to create what resembles starlight reflected in the water. Instead of the childlike feeling of a storybook, visitors can have the ambiance of a romance novel in the perfect tropical setting, accented by the awe-inspiring blue lights flickering from the water.

Learn more: Maldives Vacations & Tour PackagesMaldives Travel Guide

9. Lake Bled, Slovenia

View of Lake Bled in Slovenia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled in Slovenia is pure magic. While Slovenia is a popular retreat for many Central Europeans, it is one of the top hidden honeymoon gems for North American travelers who miss the natural beauty of the reflective lake, a central castle perched on the dramatic cliff above the water, and the central island populated by a colorful church.

The encircling mountains of the Julian Alps have protected the forest and texture the skyline, while the church at the lake’s center possesses 99 steps leading to the bell. A local myth says if visitors ring the bell three times, their wish will come true, adding to the town’s welcoming storybook ambiance.

Learn more: Slovenia Tours

10. Salento, Colombia

Cocora Valley in Salento, Colombia

Wax palms in the Cocora Valley of Salento, Colombia

Salento is a combination of Spanish colonial architecture and traditional Colombian color nestled in the lush Cocora Valley.

The lavish rainbows painted across the balconies and facades leap out against the surrounding greenery, with Solento acting as the gateway to the coffee farms of the region and the hiking trails winding beneath the renowned wax palms of the Cocora Valley.

Salento was also the inspiration for the town featured in Disney’s Encanto, adding an extra layer of magic and majesty to the historic, colorful, and charming ambiance.

Learn more: Colombia Vacations & ToursColombia Travel GuideExperience the Real Encanto: How to Plan a Trip to Colombia

Explore the Best Fairytale Destinations on Your Vacation

Uchisar village in Cappadocia, Turkey

Uchisar village in Cappadocia, Turkey

No matter where you travel in the world, you can find the majesty of a fairytale. From local myths to children’s storybooks, the ambiance of a location can create an unforgettable experience. Visit villages, explore caves, or practically touch the starlight to create the trip of your dreams.

Step into a cinematic experience or bring imaginary settings to life with our film, TV, and popular culture tours and vacations, or discover more information for crafting your perfect trip by visiting our Zicasso travel guide - information on how Zicasso works. When you are ready, you can speak with a local travel specialist who can help design a custom trip tailored to your interests.

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