20 Real-Life Fairytale Places You Should Add To Your Bucket List

There are a lot of unbelievable real-life fairytale places in the world. If you adore those places and have a strong desire for a change of scenery, then we strongly recommend you visit all of the places on this list — they’re really quite magical!

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

© Andreas Zerndl

© Sean Pavone © Mironov

Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, Germany. Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the palace as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and using extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Today, it’s one of the most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Great Escape and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

© flickr

© Donnie Ray © waitomo

Be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms above, as you glide silently by boat in the world of famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Guided since the late 1880s, this is the original, iconic New Zealand attraction. These caves are very popular for the thousands of glowworms, native only to New Zealand, covering the interior completely. Looking at them gives the fantastic impression that you’re seeing the star-lit sky at night.

Colmar, France

© Fonzie D

© Francisco Antunes © Paulo Ribeiro

Colmar is a town in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, near the border with Germany. The town is situated on the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the “capital of Alsatian wine.” Colmar is reminiscent of the little village in ’Beauty and the Beast,’ only it’s even more wonderful. The city is renowned for its well-preserved old town, numerous architectural landmarks, and fantastic museums, including the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece.

The cityscape of old-town Colmar is homogenous and renowned among tourists. An area that is crossed by canals of the river Lauch is now called “little Venice” (La Petite Venise).

Wisteria Flower Tunnel, Japan

© dk tazunoki

© dk tazunoki

Located in the city of Kitakyushu, Japan, Kawachi Fuji Garden is home to an incredible 150 Wisteria flowering plants spanning 20 different species. The garden’s main attraction is the Wisteria Tunnel which allows visitors to walk down an enchanting tunnel exploding with color. It’s a thrill to feel that the multicolored bunches of Wisteria — including white, blue, lilac, purple, violet, and navy-colored ones — are growing directly above your head.

The gardens are about a 4-hour drive from Tokyo, and the best visiting time is late April to mid-May. At this period of the year, the wisteria flowers are in full bloom.

Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan

© Photopictures

© Wouter Tolenaars © Travis Lupick

Paro Taktsang is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and the temple complex located on the side of a 3,120-metre cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan. The name of the monastery translates as ’the tiger’s lair.’ According to legend, the teacher Padmasambhava flew into this cave on the back of a tiger, which later turned into his wife. Visitors can reach the site along mountain trails that were built less than a hundred years ago.

A famous festival, known as the Tsechu, held in honor of Padmasambhava, is celebrated in the Paro Valley sometime during March or April.

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

© National Geographic

© Alexander Van Driessche

Located at a depth of 300 meters below the town of Naica, Cave of the Crystals, or Giant Crystal Cave, is unique for the size of its large transparent crystals, which can reach up to 11 meters in height. The cave’s largest crystal found to date is 12 m (39 ft) in length, 4 m (13 ft) in diameter, and 55 tons in weight. The cave is extremely hot, with air temperatures reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90 to 99 percent humidity. The cave is relatively unexplored due to these factors. Without proper protection, people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time.

Angel Falls, Venezuela

© Vadim Petrakov

© Vadim Petrakov

Angel Falls is the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, with a height of 979 meters. The waterfall drops over the edge of Auyantepui Mountain in the Canaima National Park. Angel Falls is one of Venezuela’s top tourist attractions, though a trip to the falls is complicated. The falls are located in an isolated jungle.

Petra, Jordan

© Aaron Brown

© Wojtek Ogrodowczyk

Petra, the world wonder, is undoubtedly Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago.

Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq, you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).

Kalmar, Sweden

Kalmar City showcases a vibrant contrast of historical architecture and modernity. Situated in the Baltic Sea in the southeast of Sweden, this city will glimpse an unusual blend of past and present with its historic structures, complementing the gigantic multinational companies and streets lined up with restaurants and bars.

Tip: Planning your getaway to Sweden and looking for the best place to stay? We’ve got you covered! Make your trip memorable this summer at Scandic and visit one of our hotels this summer in Sweden.

The cliffs of Zhangye Danxia, China

© Melinda

© suronin © Rat007

The Zhangye Danxia landform area is known as “the eye candy of Zhangye.” Many artists admire this masterpiece as it is unbelievably colorful, like an original oil painting. Zhangye’s Danxia landscape has lots of precipitous red cliffs, most of which are several hundred meters high, and multicolored ridges of weathered strata, sometimes stretching to the horizon.

Across the Danxia landscape zone, a kaleidoscope of numerous red rocky outcrops resembles weird and wonderful shapes like castles, cones, and towers, as well as humans, creatures, birds, and beasts. Their peaks peeping through the mist and clouds produce mirage-like scenery of fantastic mountains and pavilions.

Suomenlinna Fortress, Finland

One of the world’s largest sea fortresses, the 18th-century fort on Suomenlinna is a 15-minute ferry ride from Helsinki’s Market Square (a mini-cruise with lovely city views as a bonus attraction).

Begin with the audio-visual experience in the visitor center (in English) for a lively history, then explore its ramparts, tunnels, and museums and walk the trails around the beautiful island. Or sign up here for a guided walk to learn more about the fort and its various attractions. Among these are the 250-ton Vesikko submarine, used by the Finnish Navy from 1936 until the end of World War II.

Tip: Planning your trip to Finland and looking for the best place to stay? Then, look no further! Make your trip memorable this summer at Scandic and visit one of our hotels this summer in Finland.

Mont Saint-Michel Island, France

© Yann Pinczon du Sel

© emmrichard © Jesper Krogh

Mont Saint-Michel has a fairy-tale appearance which is amazing. A magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery, the Mont-Saint-Michel counts among France’s most stunning sights. Set in the mesmerizing bay where Normandy and Brittany merge, the island draws the eye from great distances.
The staggering location has long inspired awe and imagination. Mont Saint-Michel so impressed Victor Hugo that he named it a pyramid in the ocean.

Pamukkale, Turkey

© Serghei Starus

© Claudio Riccio © ihsan Gercelman

The surreal, brilliant white travertine terraces and warm, limpid pools of Pamukkale hang, like the petrified cascade of a mighty waterfall from the rim of a steep valley side in Turkey’s picturesque southwest. Truly spectacular in its right, the geological phenomenon of Pamukkale, literally “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, is also the site of the remarkably well-preserved ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Hierapolis. With such a unique combination of natural and man-made wonders, it’s little wonder that Pamukkale-Hierapolis has been made a Unesco World Heritage site.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland

© Martin M303

© Serg Zastavkin © Jia Li

Scattered along the main road, Glenfinnan is situated at the head of Loch Shiel, stretching southwest for 20 miles to Acharacle.

Glenfinnan attracts thousands of visitors from around the world to experience the stunning scenery and the unique atmosphere. The famous Glenfinnan viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground. The Jacobite steam train runs from here to Fort William and Mallaig in the summer months, with regular trains available the rest of the year.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

© Bui Viet Hung

© Malingering © november-13

Hạ Long Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. Sprawling Halong City is the bay’s main gateway, but its dowdy high-rises are a disappointing doorstep to this site.

The region is famous for scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park. Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets.

Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia

© Rafal Cichawa

© Ksenia Ragozina © Jess Kraft

One of the most outstanding architectural monuments in the world is a Roman Catholic basilica, near the Colombian city of Ipiales, not far from the border with Ecuador. This place was fascinating because it was built inside the canyon where the Guitara River flows. Las Lajas Cathedral, also known as “Las Lajas Sanctuary,” is 100 meters high from the bottom of the canyon, connected with a 50 meters tall bridge to the other side of the ravine.

Las Lajas Sanctuary is practically hanging over the abyss, which is why it is considered the most beautiful church in Colombia.

Beach on Vaadhoo Island, Maldives

© Barcroft Media

© ArtTomCat

There are a lot of famous groups of islands known for being heaven on Earth. But Vaadhoo Island has a lot of surprises that are revealed at night. The mesmerizing shining water resembles a mirror reflecting the sparkling stars above. However, the secret is this: phytoplankton – the marine microbes – are bioluminescent and emanate a blue glow. The species create the most romantic natural lighting in the world.

The Dark Hedges, Ireland

© Daz Brown

© Jacek Kadaj © Adrian Pluskota

The Dark Hedges is a romantic, atmospheric, tunnel-like avenue of intertwined beech trees, planted by the Stuart family in the 18th century.
It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

In fact, the iconic trees have been used as a filming location in HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones, representing the King’s Road.

Palace of Versailles, France

© euclem

© shogunangel © Σταύρος

The Palace of Versailles is one of the world’s largest and most opulent castles. An excellent example of 18th-century French architecture and art, it is one of France’s most visited attractions – and castles.

As one of the most eye-catching features of the Palace Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors measures 73m in length and comprises 17 arched windows, each embellished with 21 individual mirrors… So totally, this reflective hallway beams light off 357 mirrors!

Tulip field in Skagit Valley, USA

© RuthChoi

© karamysh © Jaime Pharr

The bright colors of the millions of tulips growing in Skagit Valley make it a truly unique place. The daffodils peeking from the rich Skagit soil bring us the first hint of spring. Skagit Valley is on center stage when the tulips bloom and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival commences. It’s the largest festival in Northwest Washington State. Each year more than 1 million visitors come to experience over 300 acres of brightly colored tulips.

Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, Russia

© Pavel L

© vvoe © Vladitto

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. It was built from 1555–61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan.

The building is shaped like a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has no analogs in Russian architecture. The Cathedral is now a museum. During restoration work in the seventies, a wooden spiral staircase was discovered within one of the walls. Visitors now take this route into the central church, with its extraordinary, soaring tented roof and an elegant 16th Century iconostasis.

Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar

© Todd Gustafson

The Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs is a prominent group of baobab trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region in western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. It’s also the most accessible place to see the Baobab trees in Africa.

The area is not a national park, and the trees are threatened by further deforestation, effluent from encroaching rice paddies, sugar cane plantations, and forest fires.