Are you planning your next European holiday and looking for some picturesque towns to add to your itinerary? Here are 30 fairytale towns in Europe you could visit as recommended by travel bloggers:
By Andreea from andoreia.com
Alberobello is a picturesque small town in Puglia, southern Italy, famous for its Trulli houses.
These conical-shaped buildings were made without the use of mortar and served in the past as either storehouses or actual homes for locals. Now most of them are shops or guesthouses, though people are still living in some, even now. It is definitely among the most beautiful fairytale towns in Europe.
Naturally, one of the best things to do in Alberobello is to wander its charming streets while admiring the unique architecture. If you want to see how a Trullo looked in the past, then I suggest you visit Trullo Sovrano where you will find a small museum dedicated to the town and its surroundings.
You should also make sure you don’t leave Alberobello without sampling some of the local dishes. I recommend you try the popular Orecchiette pasta with turnip tops or the traditional Pasqualino sandwich.
Alberobello is a great place to visit on a day trip from Bari, the capital city of Puglia. You can travel by either car, bus or train. Out of the three options, I would recommend the train as it’s the most comfortable option. If you do decide to drive, be careful not to enter a restricted ZTL zone, because you can get a fine.
Giethoorn, The Netherlands
By Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Giethoorn is a picturesque village in the northeastern portion of the Netherlands and is definitely one of the most magical fairytale towns in Europe to visit. In this small town cars are hard to come by. Giethoorn is often called “Little Venice” or “Venice of the North”, a nod to the famous Italian city built on water. This comparison is frequently made because roads are few and far between in Giethoorn. Instead, residents and visitors to the village navigate through the town by boat using a series of small man-made canals that wind between homes and pass under pedestrian bridges.
You can rent your own motorized whisper boat or book a tour of the village on a larger passenger boat to explore the fairytale European village. Most of the 2,800 residents in the nearly 800-year-old town live in quaint cottages with thatched roofs and pristine gardens. In fact, simply admiring the adorable houses along the water channels is one of the top reasons to visit Giethoorn.
Located 1 ½ hours from Amsterdam, Giethoorn is a popular day trip from the Netherlands’ capital city. However, if you spend at least one night in the tiny village you’ll get to experience its beauty without the crowds. And Giethoorn is even more magical when you have it to yourself!
By Jessica from uprootedtraveler.com
Hallstatt, Austria seriously looks unreal, with gingerbread houses, dotting the shore of a turquoise lake, and beyond the tree-lined slopes of the Alps. It is definitely among the fairytale towns in Europe that cannot be missed!
One of the best things to do in Hallstatt is to wander around the streets of its Old Town, with colorful buildings, dating back over 700 years, lining the streets. For the best view of the town, head towards the north of Old Town, along the lakeside, where you can take that iconic photo of the village.
For a great option of taking in the incredible alpine scenery, consider taking a flat-bottomed boat tour on Halstatter See, where you can gawk at the towering Alps around you and watch as swans gracefully glide across the water.
While Hallstatt is mostly renowned for its picturesqueness, there’s also a lot of history- and adventure- to take in here. For something a bit more educational, head to the 7,000 year old Salzwelten Hallstatt, believed to be the oldest salt mine in existence. Or for something a bit more heart-pumping, the nearby Dachstein Krippenstein offers all kinds of adventurous activities, from exploring ice caves to via ferrata tours.
Hallstatt is teeny tiny- you could easily walk across the town in about 20 minutes- and gets quickly packed with tourists, especially in the summer months. While you could easily see most of the highlights here in a few hours, there’s plenty to do for three or so days. At a minimum, it would be advisable to arrive here, in the afternoon, once the tour buses have left, and spend the night. Wake up bright and early the next morning to have the streets of Hallstatt to yourself for a few hours before the crowds arrive!
By Merryl from merrylstravelandtricks.com
Grindelwald is a fairytale town in Europe located in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps. It can be easily reached by road or by train from Zurich. Nestled in the alps, the town makes the perfect summer time and winter time destination for nature lovers.
Those visiting in the summer will find plenty of activities including cliff walking, hiking the Eiger trail and taking a ride on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway in the world. You could also indulge in a picnic by the Bachalpsee lake while enjoying the stunning views.
For those visiting in winter, you can try your hand at skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities during your visit. You could also spend a day in the open air spa in the town. A visit to Grindelwald will definitely be a magical trip, no matter the season.
By Megan from wandertoes.com/
Strasbourg, France is one the most beautiful fairytale towns in Europe. Located 500km east of Paris on the Franco-German border, Strasbourg can be reached in under two hours by train from Paris, Stuttgart, or Luxembourg. The city’s fascinating history of alternating French and German rule has given it a culture uniquely its own instead of leaning more toward one country or the other.
The Petite France area of Strasbourg’s historic center is defined by a series of scenic canals lined with half-timbered houses and blooms spilling out of flower boxes. Cruise the canals and learn Strasbourg’s history while seeing some of the best views. Explore more of the Grande-Île heart of the city and see how it exemplified medieval cities and why it was the first entire city center to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Some of the top things to do in Strasbourg include the Gothic Strasbourg Cathedral which was the tallest church in the world when it was built, and the astronomical clock within. Kammerzell House, across from the Cathedral, combines its original architecture of wooden sculptures and wall frescoes into the most beautiful house in Strasbourg. You can dine there or stay in the hotel! Nearby is Place Kléber which is bordered by some of the best shopping and hosts Strasbourg’s impressive Christmas market.
How long you should visit Strasbourg depends on your goal. For Grande-Île major sites you could do a Strasbourg day trip, or plan two to three days to be more comprehensive. However, three to four days allows you to take a tour of the Alsace wine region and taste some of the world’s best Riesling, too. It will also help maximize your time to get comfortable with the Strasbourg Tram system allowing you to zip from one area of the city to another in a fast, safe manner.
By Laura of Travelers Universe
Bellagio is a true jewel, famous for its beautiful streets, elegant villas, well-kept gardens, and wonderful promenades. This wonderful town is the most famous on Lake Como. Thanks to its beauty it attracts tourists from all over the world, and best of all, it is located just one hour from Milan. It is definitely a bucketlist fairytale town in Europe for those looking to enjoy nature and some good Italian food.
Undoubtedly, what makes this town a unique place is its historic center. For this reason, the first thing to do upon arrival is to walk carefully through its beautiful streets. Its pastel-colored buildings, with their perfect wooden windows, will immediately catch your eye.
One of the most fun things to do in Bellagio is a visit to the many shops. You will find businesses selling souvenirs from Italy, artisan workshops, and old grocers with endless pasta of all kinds.
Although it is best to get lost aimlessly, there are two remarkable places that you cannot miss. The first is the street “Via Giuseppe Garibaldi”, which is located in the upper part of the town. It is a narrow road, with a paved floor and surrounded by colorful buildings.
The second place is “Salita Serbelloni”, the icon of Bellagio. Not only is this a mandatory stop because of its surroundings, picturesque buildings and cobbled steps, but also because in the background you can see the mountains that surround the town and the beautiful lake. No wonder this is the most photographed place in Bellagio!
By Paul D’Souza from Paulmarina.com
Alpbach is a small village nestled in the Austrian alps. It is known as Austria’s prettiest village and Europe’s most beautiful flower village. European leaders and academics meet every year for the European Forum Alpbach in midst of the mountains and breathtaking landscapes. Therefore, Alpbach is truly a hidden gem located in the mountains and should definitely be on your tour of the fairytale towns in Europe.
The village authorities enforced a rule that all buildings had to retain the building structure of the 1950s. That means all buildings are fashioned in wood, after the traditional farms and houses. New homes look like perfect wooden Heidi houses. You can make Alpbach your base to explore the valley and the rest of the region.
A couple of top destinations are just a day trip away. You can explore the city of Innsbruck and the Swarovski world in Wattens. Or for nature lovers, experience a walk through mountain gorges or hike up a mountain and enjoy the views. There are about +20 more things to do in Alpbach Austria! The village life will give you a feeling of being away from the busy world. A stay will help you feel in touch with nature again. Themed village walks in Alpbach take you on a philosophical journey, and the magical village life vibes will enthrall you, guaranteed!
By Stephanie from theunknownenthusiast.com
The town of Menton, France is a charming village right on the Mediterranean coast, just 5 miles from the border with Italy. The Old Town is particularly adorable, with an array of red, orange, golden, and pink buildings creating narrow streets and quiet corners as it climbs the hillside. With all the stunning colours, Menton is definitely among the most colourful fairytale towns in Europe.
While simply exploring Old Town is a dream, you should also visit the Saint-Michel Basilica, a large and beautiful church. Then, once you reach the top of the hill, take in stunning views over the city and sea. You’ll also find a cemetery, Cimitière du Vieux Chateau, with old tombstones and sculptures that encourage reflection.
After descending again, wander through the newer parts of Menton and find orange and lemon tree-lined streets leading you to chic shops and tucked-away clay tennis courts. (Menton is well-known for its lemons!)
Between the city and the ocean stroll along the Promenade du Soleil, a peaceful coastal walkway. Head down the Promenade du Soleil towards Old Town and you’ll reach Plage des Sablettes, the beach right in the front of the Old Town, which has the nicest and finest sand in the city.
Menton is a wonderful town to visit as a day trip from Nice, France, but if you want a relaxing, low-key holiday full of beach time, you can certainly spend a couple days in Menton on its own. Enjoy!
By Cazzy from dreambigtravelfarblog.com
Nestled on the Alsace Wine Route in France, Riquewihr is a charming medieval town known for its stunning architecture, scenic mountainside vineyards, and tasty wines. It’s also part of the fantastic Beauty And The Beast Village Road Trip, which includes locations that inspired Disney Belle’s hometown!
The heart of its history lies in the Old Town, which brims with the cobbled streets and half-timbered shops of the 16th century. Walking through the area will immediately transport you back in time, and there are plenty of restaurants and wineries to visit here. Not to mention eerie ghost stories that the locals like to share.
Don’t forget to see the Dolder Tower, a monument that dates back to the 13th century. Within its spires, there is a museum of ancient artifacts reflecting the town’s history from as far back as the 12th century.
Riquewihr also has its fair share of traditional Alsatian foods, including baeckeoffe, a veggie and meat stew made with wine, and tarte flambée, a pizza-like dish topped with cheese, sour cream, and bacon.
As Riquewihr is a relatively small town with just over 1,000 residents, one day should be more than enough to explore all that it has to offer. If you’re looking for one of the most magical fairytale towns to visit, Riquewihr should definitely be on your bucketlist!
By Annelies from Travelers & Dreamers
Sighnaghi is among the wonderful off-beat fairytale towns in Europe. It is located in the most eastern province of Kakheti which is Georgia’s wine-producing region. It is perched on a hilltop and from Sighnaghi you get to see amazing views over the Alazani Valley while the mountains of the Caucasus are looming on the horizon.
Sighnaghi is the smallest city in Georgia and is known among locals as “the city of love”. A lot of Georgian citizens get married in Sighnaghi due to its fairytale-like location. Sighnaghi still possesses some sort of medieval charm, with cute 18th-century buildings with pretty balconies and narrow cobblestone streets.
If you don’t plan to get married here, there are many other things to do in Sighnaghi! During the day you can visit the Bodbe Monastery, the local ethnographic and archeological museum, and the Georgian Orthodox St. George and St. Stephen churches. In the evening-time, make your way to one of the many wineries in town. You have the possibility to visit small wine factories but, for a more authentic experience, look for a family-run winery. A good family-run winery in the heart of Sighnaghi is Gio’s wine Cellar. The best food in town can be found right next to it, at the local restaurant Nikala.
Sighnaghi’s charm will surely blow you away and deserves at least 2 days out of your Georgia itinerary!
By Lyubomira from Bulgarian On The Go
With its over 1,300 typical half-timbered houses, Quedlinburg is undoubtedly among the most preserved medieval towns in Germany. Or in other words – one of most beautiful fairytale towns you can visit in the country.
The closest airport is Hanover International Airport which is around 57 km away. The town is easily reachable by car, bus or train either from Hanover or Berlin. The train journey from Hanover takes around 3h 20 minutes, and from Berlin – 4 hours.
Quedlinburg is a hidden gem as it’s still quite unpopular among world travellers. The area of the old town, as well as the St. Servatius Church have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, which is the main reason for the unaltered look of the town.
You can see the main sights of Quedlinburg even in a single day, as the town is not very big. However, to enjoy the ambience and beautiful scenery fully, at least 2 days are recommended.
The best thing to do in Quedlinburg is to roam its lovely streets and get lost. There will something picture-worthy around every corner. The most important sights include the market square with the old city hall, the Schlossmuseum, the churches of St. Benedikti, St. Servatius and St. Blasii, as well as Munzenberg. Don’t miss Hochständerhaus which is considered the oldest half-timbered house in Quedlinburg, dating approximately to 1310.
By Paula from Paula Pins the Planet
If you are dreaming of a fairytale destination in a real life, Europe offers many magical places and many of them are located in Austria. One of the best towns for the top of your bucket list should be Salzburg, located an only 1-hour drive from Hallstatt, one of the other magical fairytale towns in Europe.
Salzburg is a great place to visit all year long, but winter in Salzburg makes it even more special. It is a very popular destination during the Christmas holiday, because of the Christmas Market and the crisp chilly nights, while surrounded by the Alps covered in snow immerses you in a wonderland.
With plenty of things to do, Salzburg is a perfect fit for anyone who loves the charm of Austrian towns, surrounded by breathtaking views while exploring history. Here you can discover Mozart’s birthplace, explore medieval castles, and listening to The Sound of Music. Another must-visit place is the Hohensalzburg fortress, built in 1077, and it was one of Europe’s largest castles at that time, and it is actually the largest preserved castle in central Europe
The name Salzburg came from the “salt fortress”. For thousands of years, salt has been mined from this area, and they also refer to it as “white gold”, since it made Salzburg a powerful trading city. Salzburg is a compact city, making it easy to visit in only 2-days and it is very walkable, offering a magical landscape for a magical vacation.
By Adriana Plotzerová from czechtheworld.com
Telč is a small fairytale-like town surrounded by ponds, fields, and forests in Vysočina Region. It’s an ideal destination for everyone who wants to escape the rush and enjoy the countryside. Telč’s main square is one of the most romantic places to visit in the Czech Republic. Imagine colorful historic houses with high gables and arcades build in a Renaissance and Baroque style where you can find lovely cafes, galleries, or little shops. A diversity of decorative elements characterizes building facades. In the middle of the triangular market square, there is a fountain and a plague column. Telč’s historical center is rightly part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Don’t forget to visit the 17th-century chateau with an English-style park, one of the gems of Moravian Renaissance architecture. The original Gothic castle was rebuilt by Zachariáš of Hradec in 1533 and it‘s inspired by the Italian Renaissance style. Not only is the Chateau’s façade decorated with beautiful sgraffito, but you can also find sgraffito decorations on other houses in the town. Telč has also city walls built of stone, originally built for its strategic security.
Besides the romantic walks around the historical center, visits to little shops and cafes in arcades, Telč offers many other activities like horse riding, cycling, swimming, bowling, rope courses, sport fishing, technical museum, reconstructed Telč underground, steam mill, and many others. You can also visit nearby castles of Roštejn, Štamberk, and Landštejn or the lookout tower Oslednice.
2-3 hours are enough to enjoy the beautiful historical part of the Telč, but if you plan some side trips or activities, you can spend more time in the area.
By Daria from thediscoverynut.com
One of the most popular destinations along Croatia’s Coast Dubrovnik has become a true magnet for tourists from all over the world thanks to its spectacular Old Town that looks like it was taken straight from a fairytale.
Aside from exploring Old Town and learning Dubrovnik’s history, there are many fun things to do in Dubrovnik. For example, you can hike up to Mount Srd for some exercise, join a sunset kayaking tour from Dubrovnik, take a tour of Mjlet National Park or Elaphiti Islands.
And, if you are just looking to relax, you can catch some sun on the beaches near Dubrovnik. There are several beaches within walking distance from Old Town Dubrovnik, but remember that you will not find white sand here – the coastline of Croatia is mostly rocky, and most of its beaches have small pebbles.
For best experience, spend no less than 3 days in Dubrovnik. If you plan on taking day trips to places like Kotor Bay in Montenegro or Mostar in Bosnia, which are located a few hours away from Dubrovnik.
While Dubrovnik is a must on your Croatia itinerary, plan your trip for shoulder season since Dubrovnik has become very popular. Summer sees the worst crowds in Dubrovnik as well as high prices on hotels and tours. Visiting Dubrovnik in shoulder season is the best way to save money and have a better overall experience.
By James Ian from Travel Collecting
Boppard is a fairytale village in the Upper Middle Rhine River Valley (Rhine Gorge) in western Germany. The half-timbered buildings will transport you back to medieval times. However, it’s not only beautiful – there are also plenty of things to do in the village and the nearby area.
The picturesque Church of St. Severus dominates views of the town. And if you can’t see it, you can always hear it – the 13th-century church has five medieval bells that ring out at 10:00 am and 12:00 pm daily.
Stroll along the lovely promenade and enjoy views of the Rhine River, relax on one of the benches or pop into one of the restaurants, bars or cafes in town. Try the local grapes at Weinhaus Heilig Grab, a 200-year-old wine tavern, or take a tour of a local vineyard and winery. This is one of the premier wine regions in Germany, so there is no shortage of places to choose from.
The surrounding area is also incredibly beautiful. Hike through or take a chairlift over vineyards up to Vierseenblick (Four-Lake View) where the view of the Rhine River is chopped to appear like four lakes. Or take the scenic Hunsrückbahn railway, one of the steepest railways in Germany, up to Boppard-Buchholz for more spectacular views.
Step back in time by visiting the 13th Century Electoral Castle (“Old Castle”), one of the few original castles in the Rhine Gorge. Or see the 4th Century Roman Fortress (Römer-Kastell), a well-preserved Roman fortress with 28 towers.
Boppard can be seen as a day trip, but I recommend two days to enjoy the visit and explore the surrounding countryside and sights.
Although Boppard can be reached by car or train, I recommend taking a cruise on the Rhine River for a fun experience and unique view of the town.
By Elena from The Carry-On Chronicles
The dreamy French village of Villefranche-sur-Mer is what European fairytale dreams are made of. This idyllic town is the perfect addition to any French Riviera itinerary, situated between the area’s bustling capital city of Nice and glitzy Monaco.
Unlike some of the more heavily-touristed towns along the Riviera, Villefranche-sur-Mer is a welcome respite from the crowds. With its peaceful, yet stimulating atmosphere, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped onto the set of a French “Beauty and the Beast” as you stroll the pastel streets. As you explore, be sure to check out Rue Volti and Rue Baron de Brè. These are two of the most colorful streets, located just up the steps off of the promenade.
The Villefranche Promenade is another area not to be missed. Home to charming cafes, this beautiful waterfront area leads into Plage des Mariniéres, one of the most pleasant semi-sand beaches in the Cote d’Azur. In addition, if history is of interest, enjoy a climb up the 16th-century Citadelle Saint-Elme. This historic attraction is free and offers some lovely views over the town.
If you wish to enjoy a boat tour or some local hikes as well, give yourself a few days in idyllic Villefranche-sur-Mer. Alternatively, given its intimate size, the village can also make a great day trip option, particularly from neighboring Nice.
By Mayi from secretmoona.com
Located in Alsace, Colmar is a village is one of the most magical fairytale towns in Europe. Renowned for being one of the prettiest towns in France, it attracts many tourists every year who come to discover what makes it such a popular place. Colmar has sublime architecture.
With its colourful half-timbered houses and famous Christmas market, the town is a place you never forget once you’ve been there. Colmar is an ideal place to stroll and admire the architecture influenced by its Germanic-inspired architecture and culture. Colmar offers many things to do, so allow at least days to explore fully. Wander the streets of Little Venice, followed by a boat trip down the Lauch river. Feel free to go see the streets and appreciate the must-see houses; especially the Maison des Têtes and the Maison Pfister, which are more reminiscent of works of art than simple buildings. Add some cultural activities like a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Bartholdi Museum or the Toy Museum. While in Comar, don’t forget to travel along the Alsace Wine Route to visit the vineyards and the charming neighbouring villages.
By Barbara from nextstopbelgium.com
Durbuy is a small town in Belgium that looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. Its nickname is ‘The Smallest City in the World’, but in reality, it looks and feels more like a town.
The town is situated in the Ardennes, a lush green region in Southern Belgium. It is surrounded by forests and hills, making it the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The old city centre is full of charming medieval buildings, while the river Ourthe runs through the town which adds to its picturesque setting.
There are plenty of things to do in Durbuy. For starters, the town is a great place to go for a stroll and explore all the nooks and crannies of the historic centre. Visitors can admire the Durbuy Castle (which sadly is not open to the public), visit the many quaint shops and restaurants, or learn about geography at the Roche à la Falize, a 300 million years old anticline.
Adventure lovers will also love the town and its surroundings as it’s known for its many outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
While you could technically visit Durbuy as a day trip from Brussels, we recommend staying a night or two to really soak up the charming atmosphere. After all, there’s nothing quite like waking up in a fairytale town!
By Dymphe from dymabroad.com
One of the best fairytale towns in Europe is Vernazza. This is a town that is part of the Cinque Terre area in Italy’s Liguria region. This area consists of 5 small towns that are amazing to visit. You can reach Vernazza from the cities of Pisa and Genoa by train in a short time. Also, it is easy to visit the other towns of Cinque Terre from Vernazza by train.
Vernazza is a beautiful place with lots of photogenic and colorful houses that are great to see. Also, there are many viewpoints in Vernazza. From there, you can see the town and the sea from above. For example, there is a great viewpoint when you go on a hike from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare. Also, visiting Doria Castle, a medieval building, is very interesting, and from there you can enjoy an amazing view as well.
Besides that, there is a church, the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, that has a beautiful architectural style. The marina of the town is great to explore as well and you can find many restaurants with delicious Italian food here. You can get a great experience of Vernazza during a day trip, but you can also spend a few days more and explore other towns of Cinque Terre as well.
By Charu Goyal from travelwithcg.com
If you are after fairytale towns in Europe, Bruges in Belgium must be on your list. Home to cobblestone streets, medieval houses, and charming canals, it is a destination whose every nook feels otherworldly. Also known as Venice of the North, Bruges is one of the most romantic places to visit in Europe.
Begin your time in Bruges by visiting Grote Markt, the main square in the city housing colorful buildings. The iconic Belfry Tower is also situated there, and you can climb the 366 steps to the top for a bird’s eye perspective of Bruges.
Next, head to Burg square and spend some time visiting Bruges City Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood and an Old Civil Registry. If you are an art connoisseur, make sure to buy a ticket to admire Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child artwork up close at the Basilica.
A visit to Bruges cannot be complete without indulging in Belgian waffles and chocolates. There are many shops and cafes offering these close to the Burg square, so grab something you like and enjoy it by a canal. The area by the Bonifacius bridge is particularly charming!
Although it is possible to see the major sights in Bruges in a day, staying overnight to experience the city without daytrippers is recommended.
By Eloise from MyFavouriteEscapes.com
When you arrive in Ussé, you feel like you’ve entered in real-life the world of Disney fairytales. The splendid castle with multiple white towers and spiky black roofs looks a lot like the iconic Cinderella’s Castle. It is definitely one of the most magical fairytale towns in Europe.
You’ll actually find many beautiful castles in the Loire Valley, a wine region southeast of Paris where the French royalty liked to spend some time away from the city.
But Ussé is different. There, it’s not about the royal gossip or the medieval stories. A spiral staircase in one of the castle’s towers will take you to different rooms. As you climb up, you discover different episodes of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale with mannequins, costumes and accessories. Charles Perrault, the author, spent time at Ussé Castle and found inspiration for his famous fairy tale stories there.
The forest behind it adds something unique and sometimes mysterious to the scene.
It also made it a strategic site from the Middle Ages (1,000 AD), when it was a stronghold of wood and stone. It became a fortress in the 11th century before they transformed it, in the 15th and 16th centuries, into the jewel of Renaissance architecture and elegant residence we can visit today.
You’ll only need a couple of hours to visit Ussé, the castle and the beautiful gardens. They were designed by le Nôtre, the principal gardener of King Louis XIV, who created the reputed gardens at Versailles Castle.
The easiest way to visit Ussé is to hire a car from Paris or Tours (easily accessible by train), as most tours around the Loire Valley stick to the most famous castles. If you travel slowly, the Loire is the longest river in France, and exploring it on a boat or by bike is lovely.
By Soumya from Stories by Soumya
Obidos in Central Portugal is one of the most beautiful medieval fairytale towns in Europe. Whitewashed houses trimmed with blue and yellow, cobbled streets, a medieval castle, and an abundance of geraniums and bougainvillea make Obidos an absolute must-have on every Portugal itinerary.
There are several amazing things to do in Obidos. Climb the withering walls of the Obidos Castle for a stunning view of the city and the countryside. Step into the city museum and explore its wonderful collection of sacred art. Taste the famous Ginjinha de Obidos. Stroll down Rua Direita, the most happening street of Obidos. Or simply get lost in the winding, colorful lanes to capture the most beautiful photographs of your life.
Obidos is easily visited on a day trip from Lisbon. You can either join a guided full-day tour or take the Rapida Verde bus from Lisbon Campo Grande bus stop. Find the bus schedule here. If you would like to spend a night in Obidos instead, check out Pousada Castelo de Obidos, a medieval castle that has now been converted into a luxurious hotel.
The best time to visit Obidos is during the months of May – October when the weather is bright and sunny and flowers are in full bloom. Come here early in the morning if you wish to avoid the tour crowds. Be sure to get your best pair of walking shoes because Obidos’s streets can be slippery at many places.
By Renee of Dream Plan Experience
The ultimate fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic is like stepping back in time. Travel two hours south of Prague and explore this well-preserved medieval town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Vltava River meanders through the centre of this charming town chock full of colourful buildings with steep red rooftops.
Central to this picturesque town is the Cesky Krumlov Castle. The original Gothic castle dates back to the 13th century with several additions added through the centuries. This impressive castle is the second largest complex in the Czech Republic and visiting here is a top thing to do in Cesky Krumlov. You enter the castle complex over a large drawbridge with a moat protected by four black bears, just as it did all those centuries ago. Touring the castle complex includes some key sites – a Gothic castle tower, an extensive library, a Baroque Castle Theatre, and a former mint. Not to be missed are the castle gardens situated on a rise of three different levels with a beautiful cascade fountain as its focal point.
Across the river from the castle is the Old Town. Stroll the winding cobblestone streets and gaze upon the colourful buildings in Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.
This is one of the fairytale towns in Europe that is best experienced as an overnight stay. When the day tourists are gone, the streets become quiet. The restaurants are lit only by candles or lanterns, and it becomes wonderfully atmospheric and magical.
Submission by Ashley Jansen of Jetset Jansen
One of the most popular day trips from Lisbon is a trip to Sintra, Portugal–and for good reason. This quaint town is up in the quiet foothills of the Sintra mountains and feels very much like you’re stepping into a fairytale.
This fairytale town in Europe is surrounded by lush greenery, and tucked away in the forest is where you’ll find some of the gems that make Sintra a must-visit destination. The most beautiful palaces and castles in Sintra are a combination of Romantic, Gothic and Moorish elements within the architecture.
The most popular attraction is the Pena Palace, which sits atop the hill overlooking the surrounding area. It’s famous for its red and yellow colors and fairytale-like appearance. From the Pena Palace, you might catch a glimpse of the Moorish Castle–a defense wall that lines the hills.
Another popular place to see is Quinta da Regaleira–a gorgeous gothic estate hidden within the forest. Its expansive grounds have castle walls, secret tunnels and the famous Initiation Well. If you happen to visit on a rainy day, the fog actually accentuates its mystical appearance. Afterwards, you can visit the unique Palace of Monserrate down the road.
There’s no shortage of historical places to see within Sintra, many of which have sprawling gardens to visit as well. You could easily spend a couple days here visiting the different palaces, though most people opt for a quick day trip. Whether you’re here for one day or many, this is one of the fairytale towns in Europe that cannot be missed!
By Vidyut Rautela from triplyzer.com
Mostar is a charming medieval town located in Bosnia and Herzegovina and definitely one of the most pretty fairytale towns in Europe. The city offers its visitors an array of interesting sights and activities.
Kick-start your list of things to do in Mostar with the Old Bridge, the landmark of the city. Originally constructed in the 16th century, what you see today is a reconstruction. The replica was built using the original stones preserving the authenticity of this centuries-old icon. Watching the locals jump into the river Neretva is quite a spectacle as the crowd gathers to cheer the divers.
The Museum of the old bridge is the perfect place to know more about the old bridge and its history. Located next to the bridge, the museum displays a collection of photographs and archaeological artifacts.
Navigate the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town of Mostar, a World Heritage site, and surf the dozens of small shops that line it. For souvenir hunting, the Old Bazaar, located on the Muslim side, is the best. Turkish coffee sets, wooden carvings, and hand-made jewelry all make for a wonderful gift, so make sure to find the right bargain.
One full day is enough to see the best of Mostar, but if you have an extra day you can take a day trip to the nearby Dervish Monastery.
Borgo dei Parrini, Italy
By Caroline from veggiewayfarer.com
The tiny village of Borgo dei Parrini is a veritable hidden gem tucked away on the island of Sicily. It is definitely one of the fairytale towns in Europe you must visit! Up until a few years ago the – already small – population numbers kept diminishing as youth traded village life for guaranteed work in the larger cities of Sicily. With the risk of sliding into obscurity, something had to be done to put Borgo dei Parrini back on the map.
Taking inspiration in Catalan Modernism local artists decided to give the town a make-over and painted the buildings in bright colors, adding murals and beautiful tile work which is vaguely reminiscent of Park Guell in Barcelona. Walk through the little streets and make sure to try the local specialty Pizza with lemon at the village pizzeria Nu Parrinaru.
Borgo dei Parrini is very much off the beaten track and will require your own mode of transportation to get there. If you have a car than Borgo dei Parrini is the perfect day trip from Palermo. The town is minuscule and can easily be visited in one to two hours, but if you combine Borgo dei Parrini with a trip to Cefalu it is well worth braving the crazy Sicilian driving and getting out of the bustling capital of Sicily for a day.
One of the most beautiful destinations if you are looking for fairytale towns in Europe is definitely the charming town of Rovinj in Croatia! During a trip, you can expect numerous picturesque highlights that will surely be unforgettable. Impressive is the unique location on a small peninsula, where the colorful town houses conjure a backdrop like from a travel magazine. Another highlight are the picturesque beaches of Rovinj, which are located around the fairytale town and are perfect for swimming.
Beautiful and absolutely fabulous is the colorful historical old town of Rovinj, where you will get lost in a maze of stone alleys during a city tour. Wonderful, colorful squares invite you to enjoy and linger along the way. In addition, one discovers numerous historical sights and also great museums can be visited! Ingenious are the cozy cafes or the romantic restaurants right by the sea, which are perfect for a perfect dinner.
In any case, a must-do in Rovinj is the walk up to the church of St. Euphemia, which is located on the town hill and where you can admire the most beautiful sunsets. Especially photographers will have their joy with this amazing view!
St Ives is one of the most beautiful towns in Cornwall, located in the South West of the county, one of the most popular staycation destinations in the UK. Although there are many stunning towns and villages in Cornwall, St Ives is the jewel in the crown, featuring five stunning white sand beaches with crystal clear water, great delicious restaurants, cafes and takeaways and a good atmosphere.
You’ll find boutique shops in the town, the best fish and chip takeaways in Cornwall and plenty of ice cream! Art lovers will enjoy visiting one of the town’s many art galleries, including the Tate Gallery, one of the best art galleries in Europe. Hiking lovers will enjoy exploring the South West Coast Path to Upton Towans, Hayle, the stunning beach of Carbis Bay and the beautiful village of Zennor. St Ives is the perfect destination for all traveller types, whether you’re planning a romantic break or a family holiday in the sun. There are also plenty of accommodation options, but please make sure to book in advance as St Ives is a top-rated destination. Choose between hotels, BnB’s, campsites and holiday cottages.
If you’re exploring many destinations in Cornwall, leave at least three days for St Ives. If you’re just visiting St Ives, you could easily spend a month and not get tired of visiting the stunning beaches and trying the Cornish cuisine! Don’t miss out on one of the most beautiful fairytale towns in Europe on your next visit to the UK.
By Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Sigulda in Latvia is where nature meets history. In the lush forests of the scenic Gauja river valley is a small fairytale town with ancient castles and historic manors surrounded by natural beauty. It is definitely one of the off-beat fairytale towns in Europe.
Sigulda is located in the northeastern part of Latvia. Less than 60 kilometers away from the capital of Riga, Sigulda is the perfect city escape or weekend getaway and a must visit for anyone that visits the Baltic states.
Sigulda itself is a small town that not only is the perfect base to explore the area of the Gauja river National Park, but also has a number of interesting sights. First of all, the ruins of the ancient medieval castle built by the Livonian Order in 1207. Right next to it is the new Sigulda castle that is now home to a museum about the history of Sigulda.
On a beautiful day both castles offer sweeping views over the river valley allowing you to see the Turaida castle in the distance. Turaida is probably the most impressive castle and although it is a little bit outside town on the other side of the river, it is definitely worth a visit. Once on the other side of the river, you can not miss the Krimulda manor and Gutmanis cave.
You can easily see the main sights of Sigulda in a day or two, but beyond Sigulda is the beautiful Gauja national park with a network of hiking and bicycle trails. The area is perfect for outdoor activities all year round. Although Summer is the most popular time, autumn and spring are nice as well. Even winter has its charm and the snow makes the town even more fairytale like.
By Alina from World of Lina
Another place that shouldn’t be missed on the list of fairytale towns in Europe is Gmunden. Gmunden is a popular summer and health resort destination among Austrians but also tourists and has 13,000 inhabitants.
One of the many things Gmunden is known for is the Gmundner Keramik. Since 1492, this company produces the most beautiful high-quality ceramics. There’s probably no household in Austria that doesn’t have at least one or two pieces of their handmade stuff. The people of Gmunden are so proud of their ceramics that even the bells of the city’s town hall are made of it!
Thanks to its location at Lake Traunsee, Gmunden is a great place to take a walk along the promenade or enjoy a coffee with a stunning view of the lake. Besides the Gmundner Keramik, Gmunden is famous for Schloss Ort. Schloss Ort is a small castle in lake Traunsee which became famous thanks to the Austrian TV series “Schlosshotel Orth”. The castle is actually not a hotel as shown in the series but an event location for weddings, birthday parties, concerts and much more.
Gmunden can be reached from cities such as Salzburg and Vienna. It’s recommended to spend 2-3 days if you want to have the best experience, however, you can also explore the town as a day trip from Vienna or Salzburg. Make sure you don’t miss this fairytale town in Europe on your visit to Austria.
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