Fairytales are a part of our childhood that we never forget, often passing our favourite ones on to our own children. (Featured image by Steven Gerner)
Painting magical worlds full of princesses, goblins, wizards and trolls, most fairytales are so powerful that they have endured for centuries.
The mythical worlds we are transported to in fairytales are full of wonder and imagination, but seem so far removed from real life.
But there are certain places that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hans Christian Andersen tale, showing that there is magic to be found in the real world too.
If you’re looking for somewhere that looks like it’s been based on illustrations in a children’s book, try these fairytale destinations.
Bialowieza Forest, Poland and Belarus
One of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe, Bialowieza Forest is also the largest ancient woodland on the continent.
Straddling the border between Poland and Belarus, this large and eerie forest is home to bears, wolves and bison – and possibly the occasional mythical creature.
The forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site, thanks to its diverse wildlife and huge, ancient trees that have to be seen to be believed.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The German province of Bavaria, with its rolling hills and picturesque forests, could be the setting for many fairytales.
But the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle has got to be a highlight. Sitting atop a rugged cliff and overlooking the lush green surrounding countryside, this beautiful piece of architecture is exactly what we think of when we think of a fairytale castle.
Disney certainly thought so, as Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.
Right on the border of Germany, this picturesque French town could have been designed by Walt Disney himself.
With its cobbled streets, colourful buildings and idyllic river, one visit to Colmar will have you wanting to stay forever.
If parts of the town look familiar, it’s because its architecture formed the basis for Japanese anime film Howl’s Moving Castle.
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
You don’t have to go all the way to Germany to find a good castle; there are more than enough here in the UK.
One of the most stunning, at least in terms of its location, is Eilean Donan Castle in the western highlands of Scotland.
Immediately transporting you back to the Scotland of centuries gone by, this historic castle is well worth a visit on any trip to the Scottish Highlands.
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
This lush natural tunnel just outside the small city of Kleven, Ukraine, has become so popular with tourists over the years that it is now a dedicated amusement train ride.
The track is almost two miles long and couples can either walk through or take the private train ride. Either way, love will most definitely fill the air as soon as you enter the tunnel.