Discover the most mesmerizing fairytale towns in Europe, where cobblestone streets, colorful half-timbered houses, and medieval castles will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a storybook.
From the picturesque village of Hallstatt in Austria to the charming town of Sintra in Portugal, this article showcases 10 magical destinations that will ignite your imagination and leave you awestruck.
Imagine strolling through charming streets lined with quaint cottages, vibrant flowers, and medieval architecture straight out of a fairytale.
In this article, I invite you to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of fairytale towns in Europe. Experience the whimsical atmosphere of places like Colmar in France and Bruges in Belgium, where fantasy becomes reality.
23 Enchanting Fairytale Towns in Europe That Will Transport You to Another World
Step into a storybook as you discover the mesmerizing fairytale towns of Europe, where cobblestone streets, colorful half-timbered houses, and medieval castles create a magical atmosphere that will ignite your imagination and leave you awestruck.
Step into a world of enchantment and wonder as you embark on a journey through the captivating fairytale towns of Europe.
In Austria, discover the jewel of the Salzkammergut Region, Hallstatt, with its breathtaking alpine views and charming lakeside village. Travel to Portugal’s Sintra, where fairytales come to life amidst the grand palaces and lush gardens. Or immerse yourself in the medieval masterpiece of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany, where every corner reveals a picturesque scene from the past.
France beckons with the picture-perfect Alsatian gem of Colmar and the fairytale wonderland that is Bruges in Belgium. Italy offers both coastal beauty and old-world charm in Cinque Terre, while Bled in Slovenia captivates with its stunning emerald-green lake and medieval castle. These are just a few of the extraordinary places we will visit as we journey through the magical towns of Europe.
Prepare to be inspired and transported as we navigate through these enchanting destinations, each with its own unique allure and story. Whether it’s the ancient stone houses of Eze in France, the fairytale-like trulli houses of Alberobello in Italy, or the breathtaking cliffs of Oia in Santorini, Greece, every town has its own tale to tell.
So, step into the pages of these fairytales and let the magic unfold before your eyes. Immerse yourself in the rich history, vibrant culture, and awe-inspiring beauty of Europe’s fairytale towns. Allow the stories of these enchanted places to ignite your imagination and ignite your wanderlust. Experience the magic firsthand, and let yourself be transported to another world, where the possibilities are endless.
It’s time to book your trip and let the enchantment of Europe captivate your soul.
1. Hallstatt – Austria
Nestled amidst the majestic mountains and pristine lakes of Austria’s Salzkammergut region, Hallstatt stands as a true gem in the crown of European fairytale towns. With its charming alpine setting, rich history, and captivating beauty, this picturesque village has the power to transport you to a world of enchantment and wonder.
As you step foot in Hallstatt, it becomes evident why this town has inspired artists, poets, and dreamers throughout the ages. The narrow cobblestone streets wind their way through a maze of pastel-colored houses, adorned with flower boxes overflowing with vibrant blooms. Each corner reveals a new scene straight out of a storybook: a quaint church spire piercing the sky, a peaceful lakeside promenade offering a tranquil respite, and breathtaking vistas that take your breath away.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hallstatt Hideaway – Adults only for an unforgettable and romantic stay. This hotel even comes with its own private beach.
Discover the local craftsmanship at the numerous artisan shops, where intricate woodwork and delicate porcelain creations are skillfully crafted. Indulge in the region’s culinary delights, savoring traditional Austrian dishes while overlooking the serene Hallstätter See.
And if you’re seeking adventure, the surrounding landscape provides ample opportunities for exploration. Embark on a boat ride across the crystal-clear lake, hike through the breathtaking Dachstein Mountains, or simply immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. The possibilities are endless in this fairytale land.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – A fun day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks with Skywalk Lift
2. Sintra – Portugal
Nestled amidst the lush vegetation of the Serra de Sintra hills, this town exudes an air of enchantment that is hard to resist. As you wander through its winding streets, you’ll find yourself immersed in a fairytale-like setting, where every corner reveals a new wonder waiting to be discovered.
The crown jewel of Sintra is undoubtedly the Pena Palace, a vibrant and whimsical masterpiece that seems straight out of a Disney movie. Perched high on a hill, its colorful walls and turrets stand in stark contrast to the surrounding greenery, creating a picture-perfect scene. Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by lavish interiors adorned with intricate tilework, gilded ceilings, and antique furniture. It’s a place where you can let your imagination run wild and envision yourself as a noble prince or princess.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Villa Estefânia for an authentic stay in the idyllic town of Sintra
But the magic doesn’t stop there. Just a short distance away lies the Quinta da Regaleira, a captivating estate that seems like it was plucked from the depths of a fairytale. This mystical place is home to a network of underground tunnels, hidden grottoes, and secret gardens, all waiting to be explored. Climb the spiral staircase of the initiation well, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another realm, surrounded by moss-covered stones and a sense of mystery.
As you continue your journey through Sintra, you’ll come across other enchanting sights, such as the Moorish Castle, with its ancient walls and panoramic views of the town below. The National Palace of Sintra, with its distinctive twin chimneys, is also a sight to behold, offering a glimpse into Portugal’s royal history.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Lisbon: Guided Day Tour of Sintra, Pena and Regaleira Tour
3. Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, with its well-preserved medieval walls and charming half-timbered houses, exudes an old-world charm that is truly captivating. Every corner you turn reveals a new architectural marvel, each more delightful than the last.
One of the town’s most iconic landmarks is the Ratstrinkstube, or the Council Tavern, a medieval building that stands proudly in the central square. Its distinctive red facade, adorned with intricate carvings and ornate details, is a testament to the town’s rich history. Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere as you enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the cozy cafes lining the square.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Stay at Burghotel in a 12th-Century building. This hotel offers spa facilities and elegant rooms overlooking gardens and the beautiful Tauber Valley. It stands on the edge of Rothenburg’s Medieval town centre.
However, it is the Plönlein, a small square tucked away in a narrow alley, that truly embodies the fairytale charm of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. With its charming timber-framed houses, colorful flowers cascading from window boxes, and a picturesque fountain, it feels like a scene straight from a storybook illustration.
And as luck might have it, that’s exactly the case. Cause this small alley actually inspired Disney when they were making sketches for their world famous adaptation of Pinocchio.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Munich: Rothenburg and Nördlinger Ries Day Trip by Bus
4. Colmar – France
In Colmar, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve stumbled into a real-life Disney film. The town’s well-preserved medieval architecture exudes a storybook charm that is simply enchanting. As you wander through its narrow streets, you are greeted by a plethora of vibrant buildings adorned with delicate balconies, ornate facades, and whimsical details. Each turn brings a new visual delight, leaving you in awe of the beauty that surrounds you.
One of the highlights of Colmar is its picturesque canals, which have earned the town the nickname “Little Venice.”. The scene is straight out of a fairytale, and you can’t help but marvel at the sheer magic of it all.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Stay at Relais & Châteaux La Maison Des Têtes in the historic Alsatian town of Colmar. This classic 17th century Colmar building even has a restaurant serving traditional cuisine and regional specialties.
Colmar is also home to several notable landmarks that add to its fairytale allure. The Maison des Têtes, a striking Renaissance building adorned with numerous sculpted heads, stands as a testament to the town’s rich history. The Saint-Martin Church, with its stunning stained glass windows and intricate carvings, stands tall as a beacon of architectural beauty. And let’s not forget the delightful Little Liberty Statue, a mini-version of the famous Statue of Liberty, which serves as a charming symbol of Colmar’s unique character.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Colmar: 2-Hour Segway Tour
5. Bruges – Belgium
Stepping into Bruges feels like entering a storybook setting, where cobblestone streets wind their way through a labyrinth of fairytale-like buildings. The town’s architecture is a feast for the eyes, with its medieval structures seemingly untouched by time. Marvel at the stunning Gothic facades adorned with intricate carvings, and lose yourself in the narrow alleys that lead to hidden gardens and quiet squares.
One of the highlights of Bruges is its network of canals, often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Take a leisurely boat tour along the waterways and let the gentle ripples transport you to a bygone era. As you glide past graceful bridges and colorful houses reflecting in the water, you can’t help but feel the magic in the air.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Stay at Hotel Van Cleef , a grand Italianate mansion with an incredible sense of history. It can be considered a stately home in a fabulous setting, the heart of Bruges.
The Markt, Bruges’ main square, is a bustling hub with a fairytale vibe. Surrounded by exquisite architecture, including the towering Belfry, the square is a hive of activity. Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere as horse-drawn carriages clip-clop by and street performers entertain passersby. Indulge in some people-watching while sipping on a warm cup of traditional Belgian hot chocolate, and let yourself be enchanted by the charm of Bruges unfolding before your eyes.
Visit the iconic Church of Our Lady, home to Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child sculpture, and feel a sense of awe at the city’s rich cultural heritage. Or climb the Belfry’s steep staircase for panoramic views of the town, a glimpse into the fairytale world below.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Bruges – A boat tour and a guided walking tour
6. Cinque terre – Italy
Cinque Terre, meaning “Five Lands,” refers to the collection of five picturesque fishing villages that dot the cliffs and coves of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Each village, with its own unique character and timeless allure, is a marvel to behold. From the pastel-hued houses of Riomaggiore that tumble down the hillside to the vibrant harbor of Vernazza, these quaint settlements transport visitors to another world.
What truly sets Cinque Terre apart is its unspoiled beauty and untouched charm. Unlike larger, more commercialized tourist destinations, this coastal haven remains relatively untouched by the passage of time. Narrow alleyways wind through the villages, leading visitors past sun-soaked squares and hidden piazzas where locals gather to exchange stories and laughter. The scent of freshly caught seafood mingles with the salty breeze, creating an atmosphere that is both inviting and intoxicating.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Stay at Il Sogno di Manarola by The First. Located in the heart of Cinque Terre, their iconic “Red House” will leave you breathless. This historic building is situated in the highest part of the village, between the cliffs and the glittering of the sea.
One of the best ways to experience the magic of Cinque Terre is by embarking on the famed hiking trail, Sentiero Azzurro, which connects all five villages. This scenic route offers breathtaking vistas of the sparkling blue sea, dramatic cliffs, and terraced vineyards that cling to the hillsides.
Cinque Terre is renowned for its traditional cuisine, where fresh seafood takes center stage. Indulging in a plate of freshly caught anchovies or a hearty bowl of seafood linguini, you will be transported to a culinary heaven.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Florence: Seaside Beauty Day Trip to Cinque Terre
7. Bled – Slovenia
Perched on the edge of a breathtaking emerald lake, Bled, Slovenia, is a fairytale town that seems to have emerged from the pages of a storybook. As you arrive in this enchanting destination, you are immediately captivated by its beauty and the sense of tranquility that envelops the air. The picturesque setting of Bled, with its charming church perched on a tiny island in the middle of the lake and a medieval castle majestically overlooking the town, instantly transports you to another world.
Exploring the town, you wander along the cobblestone streets, passing colorful houses adorned with vibrant flowers cascading from window boxes. The scent of freshly baked pastries wafts through the air, enticing you to stop by a local bakery and sample the delightful treats.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Stay at Hotel Triglav. Newly opened in April 2009 after extensive renovations, this 4-star hotel, first opened in 1906, is only 200 metres from Lake Bled and in the immediate vicinity of the train station.
As you venture further, you stumble upon the iconic Bled Castle, standing proudly atop a rocky hill. From the castle’s terrace, you gaze out at the emerald lake below, framed by the majestic Julian Alps, and you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the natural beauty that unfolds before you.
Leaving the castle behind, you make you way down to the lakeshore to embark on another extraordinary experience – a boat ride to the idyllic island of Bled. The Pletna boats, traditional wooden vessels operated by skilled oarsmen, carry you across the calm waters.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Ljubljana: Trip to Lake Bled and Bled Castle
8. Eze – France
Ascending the narrow cobblestone streets, you will be greeted by enchanting stone houses adorned with vibrant flowers spilling from window boxes. Every twist and turn reveals a new discovery, whether it be a hidden courtyard filled with blooming bougainvillea or a whimsical artisan shop showcasing handmade treasures.
At the heart of the village stands the impressive Église Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, a breathtaking medieval church . Its ancient walls whisper tales of countless generations who sought solace within its hallowed halls. As you enter, the soft glow of stained glass windows bathes the interior in a kaleidoscope of colors, casting a serene ambiance on the gathered worshippers and curious travelers alike.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Château Eza is one of the finest boutique hotels on the French Riviera and if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with one of the most incredible views in entire France.
Meandering further, you’ll bump into the Jardin Exotique d’Eze, a botanical paradise perched on a cliff, offering unparalleled views of the coastline below. The fragrant scent of exotic plants mingles with the salty sea breeze, reminding you of Eze’s unique position as a meeting point between rugged mountains and the vast beauty of the Mediterranean.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Eze: Perfume Making Class and Factory Tour
9. Eguisheim – France
Nestled in the heart of France’s picturesque Alsace region, Eguisheim beckons travelers with its storybook charm. This enchanting fairytale town, with its half-timbered houses adorned with colorful flowers, evokes a sense of stepping back in time.
Eguisheim’s architectural beauty is truly captivating. The perfectly preserved medieval buildings, draped in vibrant hues, create a kaleidoscope of colors that delights the eye at every turn. Each home tells its own tale, its unique character adding to the overall tapestry of the town.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hotel SPA Husseren Collections – Proche Colmar – Eguisheim is located between vineyards and forest, at the foothills of the ruins of the three castles in the heart of Alsace.
Amidst the charming façades, Eguisheim’s central square, Place du Chateau, stands as the beating heart of the town. The fountain in the center adds a sense of tranquility, inviting visitors to pause and soak in the ambiance. Surrounding the square, small boutiques, artisan workshops, and cozy cafes promise delightful discoveries and culinary delights. As you indulge in a glass of the region’s renowned Alsatian wine, you can’t help but be enchanted by the lively conversations, laughter, and the warm welcome of the locals.
Beyond the bounds of the town, Eguisheim is embraced by rolling vineyards and picturesque landscapes. The rows of grapevines, changing hues with the seasons, add a touch of romance to the already magical atmosphere. Tasting the local wines and exploring the vineyards offers a sensory journey, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the essence of this fairytale destination.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Colmar: Alsace Villages Tour and Wine Tasting
10. Alberobello – Italy
Walking through the narrow streets of Alberobello feels like stepping into a storybook illustration. The trulli, traditional dry stone houses with cone-shaped roofs, stand in perfect harmony, each adorned with whitewashed walls and symbols painted on their domes. These unique dwellings, a UNESCO World Heritage site, create an otherworldly atmosphere that captures the imagination.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Trulli e Puglia Resort offers accommodation in the stone buildings typical of Alberobello. The houses include a kitchenette and air conditioning. Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby and in some units.
As you wander the labyrinthine alleys, you discover charming shops selling local crafts, fragrant bakeries wafting the aroma of freshly baked goods, and cozy cafes beckoning you to savor traditional Italian delicacies. The town’s rich history is also evident in its ancient churches, where the echoes of centuries past whisper tales of a bygone era.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Alberobello: Walking Tour with Food Tasting and Aperitif
11. Oia – Santorini
Perched on the cliffs of the volcanic island of Santorini, Oia is a picturesque town that seems to have materialized straight out of a storybook. Its enchanting beauty lies in its iconic Cycladic architecture, where dazzling white buildings with blue domed roofs create a mesmerizing contrast against the deep blue Aegean Sea. As you wander through its narrow, winding streets, the scent of blooming flowers fills the air, adding an intoxicating element to this dreamlike setting.
Oia, with its storied past and mythical allure, transports you to a world where time stands still. The town’s history is as rich as the hues of the sunset that paint the sky each evening. From ancient civilizations to Byzantine empires, and even its more recent past as a fishing village, Oia has left its mark on the timeline of Greece.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Almyra Oia Suites offers a total of seven suites (four renovated and three traditionally furnished), there is a large sun-deck with endless, Aegean Sea views, sun beds, a swimming pool and a direct path to the black beach below.
One of the most iconic features of Oia is undoubtedly its world-renowned sunsets. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the town, we find ourselves held in a captivating moment of sheer beauty. The image of the sun melting into the sea, casting a kaleidoscope of colors across the sky, is an experience that lingers in our minds long after we’ve left.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Santorini: Premium Catamaran Cruise with Fresh BBQ & Drinks
12. Isola Bella – Italy
Stepping onto Isola Bella feels like stepping into a storybook. The island is a true masterpiece of art and architecture, lovingly crafted over centuries. The Borromeo family, who still own the island today, transformed it into a paradise with their extravagant vision. Every corner of Isola Bella is meticulously designed, from the stunning terraced gardens to the opulent rooms of the palace.
Wandering through the gardens, you are surrounded by a symphony of colors and scents. The meticulously manicured terraces are adorned with statues, fountains, and rare plants, creating a magical atmosphere. As you stroll along the winding paths, you discover hidden grottos, whimsical mazes, and terraces that seem to float above the lake. Each turn reveals a new vista, each step uncovers a new charm, making Isola Bella a true wonderland.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – The absolute best hotel at Lake Maggiore with the best view in my opinion is the Hotel Villa e Palazzo Aminta. It has about 710 stellar reviews so you can’t go wrong with it!⭐️
Beyond the palace and gardens, Isola Bella has more to offer. The quaint village, with its charming streets and pastel-colored houses, invites you to explore its winding alleys. You can browse through boutique shops, savor authentic Italian cuisine at local trattorias, or simply soak in the laid-back atmosphere that permeates the island.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Cruises Lake Maggiore and Borromean islands
13. Iseltwald – Switzerland
Nestled in the heart of Switzerland, Iseltwald is a fairytale town that seems to have emerged straight from the pages of a storybook. With its picturesque charm and breathtaking beauty, this hidden gem captivates visitors and transports them to a world of enchantment.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hotel Châlet Du Lac offers a breathtaking view over Lake Brienz. Make sure to snatch one of the rooms with a balcony!
For those with a discerning palate, Iseltwald offers a delectable array of culinary delights. Local trattorias and charming cafes tempt you with the aroma of authentic Swiss cuisine. From creamy fondue to mouthwatering chocolate treats, every bite is an indulgence that transports you deeper into a realm of sensory delight.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Zurich: Crash Landing On You Locations in Interlaken
14. Santana – Madeira
Nestled on the northern coast of the Portuguese island of Madeira, this fairytale town is a hidden gem that holds a special place in the hearts of those who are fortunate enough to stumble upon its enchanting allure.
As you travel through Santana’s quaint streets, you are immediately captivated by its traditional triangular houses, known as palheiros. These vibrant, thatched-roof cottages create a whimsical landscape, reminiscent of a storybook illustration brought to life. Each palheiro stands as a testament to the town’s rich history and its devotion to preserving its unique architectural heritage.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hotel Quinta Do Furao features stunning views of the north-east coast of the Island of Madeira and the surrounding mountains, this 4-star hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and a balcony.
The rooms at Hotel Quinta Do Furão are decorated with natural colors and elegant wooden furniture. All rooms have a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and tea and coffee making facilities.
Venturing beyond the charming streets, you discover Santana’s breathtaking landscapes, which seem straight out of a fairytale painting. The surrounding mountains, blanketed in emerald hues, rise majestically against the backdrop of a vibrant blue sky. Lush valleys, adorned with cascading waterfalls and idyllic streams, invite you to explore their hidden treasures.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Madeira: Best of the East Tour from Funchal
15. Matera – Italy
Known for its unique cave dwellings, Matera’s Sassi district is a maze of honey-colored stone houses carved into the rugged cliffs. As you wander through the narrow alleyways, it’s easy to imagine the lives of the families who once called these caves home. The intricate architecture and labyrinthine streets create a sense of mystery, as if each corner holds a secret waiting to be discovered.
While Matera’s history dates back thousands of years, it gained international recognition in recent decades. In fact, the Sassi district was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, drawing attention to its exceptional cultural value and urging the preservation of its ancient treasures. Since then, the city has undergone a transformation, blending its historical roots with modern amenities and a vibrant arts scene.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Palazzo Del Duca Luxury Hotel & Restaurant. History lovers can breathe the atmosphere of an ancient building with the panoramic view of the Sassi and sleep in a cave room, restored in keeping with its original essence.
One of the best ways to experience Matera’s ethereal beauty is by exploring it at night. As the sun sets, the soft glow of lamplight illuminates the stone facades, casting a magical ambiance across the city. Strolling through the streets, you encounter charming trattorias, inviting enotecas, and lively piazzas where locals and tourists gather to savor delicious regional cuisine and lively conversation.
Matera is not just captivating for its picturesque streets and caves, but also for the surrounding natural splendors. The Murgia National Park, with its rolling hills and deep ravines, offers breathtaking views of the city. A hike through this rugged landscape reveals ancient rock churches, where frescoes painted centuries ago still adorn the walls, adding an extra layer of enchantment to the experience.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Matera: Sassi di Matera Tour with Entry to Cave Houses
16. Popeye Village – Malta
As you step foot into Popeye Village, it feels as if you have wandered into a living, breathing cartoon. The colorful wooden buildings, adorned with whimsical details, perfectly capture the spirit of Popeye’s world. This unique attraction began as a film set for the 1980 musical production of “Popeye,” starring Robin Williams, and has since been transformed into a captivating tourist attraction.
Strolling through the village, you can explore the various sets and buildings that have been lovingly preserved. From Popeye’s charming wooden house to the bustling Swee’Pea Playground, every corner of this make-believe world is bursting with character. Visitors can even watch live performances and interact with costumed characters, further immersing themselves in the playful ambiance.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – The Xara Palace Boutique Hotel is a converted 17th century palazzo and is the only hotel located within the walls of the Silent City of Mdina enjoying unparalleled views of the beautiful Maltese countryside.
Beyond the captivating structures, the azure Mediterranean Sea acts as a stunning backdrop to this fairytale scene. The village is perched on the edge of Anchor Bay, offering breathtaking views and a peaceful atmosphere. The crystal-clear waters invite us to take a dip or simply soak up the sun on the pristine beach, creating a truly idyllic retreat.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Malta: Blue Lagoon, Beaches & Bays Trip by Catamaran
17. Lauterbrunnen – Switzerland
One of the most mesmerizing features of Lauterbrunnen is its collection of 72 waterfalls, each more captivating than the last. As you wander through the town, you’ll find yourself constantly drawn to the sound of rushing water, as the falls cascade down the towering cliffs that surround this fairytale oasis. The most famous of these waterfalls, Staubbach Falls, plunges nearly 300 meters from sheer rock, creating a mesmerizing spectacle that will leave you in awe.
In addition to its breathtaking waterfalls, Lauterbrunnen is also known for its stunning alpine meadows. As you explore the town’s verdant surroundings, you’ll be greeted by fields of vibrant wildflowers, grazing cows, and charming wooden chalets that seem straight out of a storybook. The meadows are perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the natural beauty and tranquility of this extraordinary place.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Boutique Hotel Glacier. This 4-star boutique hotel keeps things personal, with just 28 rooms and suites striking the perfect balance between home-style comfort and one-of-a-kind alpine design.
For those seeking a more adventurous fairytale experience, Lauterbrunnen offers a range of outdoor activities that will get your heart pounding with excitement. From hiking along the famous Eiger Trail to paragliding over the Swiss Alps, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping adventures to be had. And if you’re a fan of winter wonderlands, Lauterbrunnen transforms into a snowy paradise during the colder months, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Zurich: Day Trip to Grindelwald & Interlaken
18. Monschau – Germany
Monschau, Germany, located in the picturesque Eifel region, is an enchanting fairytale town that transports visitors to a world straight out of a storybook. Stepping into Monschau feels like entering a time capsule, with its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and medieval architecture that exudes a charming old-world charm.
One of the main attractions in Monschau is the stunning Monschau Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the town. This perfectly preserved medieval fortress offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and provides a glimpse into the town’s rich history. Inside the castle, visitors can explore its fascinating exhibits and learn about Monschau’s past as a center for cloth production.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Haus Stehlings features views of the Old Town of Monschau. The guest house provides guests with free WiFi and is located a 1 hour drive from Cologne. Each of the rooms comes equipped with a private bathroom with a hairdryer. Guests can enjoy a lake and mountain view from all rooms.
Wandering through the town’s narrow streets, visitors will discover a myriad of quaint shops, boutiques, and cafes. The town is known for its traditional craftsmanship, particularly its fine lacework and intricate glassblowing. Art lovers will also appreciate the numerous galleries showcasing local artists’ work, adding another layer of charm to Monschau’s artistic atmosphere.
For nature enthusiasts, Monschau is surrounded by pristine forests and rolling hills, ideal for leisurely walks or more challenging hikes. The Rur River, which runs through the town, offers opportunities for kayaking and fishing, allowing visitors to connect with nature while immersing themselves in the fairytale setting.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Brussels: Tour of Cologne and Postcard Town of Monschau
19. Ghent – Belgium
Wandering through the cobblestone streets of Ghent, one can’t help but feel the enchantment that seems to linger in the air. The city’s well-preserved medieval architecture, with its towering spires and grandiose cathedrals, adds to the fairytale-like ambiance. Every corner turned reveals a picturesque scene, whether it’s a quaint canal lined with charming houses or a bustling market square filled with lively vendors.
Ghent also boasts a rich cultural heritage that is evident in its numerous world-class museums and art galleries. The Ghent Altarpiece, one of the most famous works of art in the world, can be found in the city’s St. Bavo’s Cathedral. This awe-inspiring masterpiece, created by the Van Eyck brothers, is a true testament to the city’s artistic legacy.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Pillows Grand Boutique Hotel Reylof Ghent. Whether you are traveling the world or on a city trip, on business or for pleasure, you can enjoy the peace and quiet or, if you prefer, the hustle and bustle of Ghent’s historic city centre, located a mere stone’s throw away.
For those seeking a taste of local cuisine, Ghent’s vibrant food scene offers a delightful array of culinary delights. From mouthwatering Flemish stews and delicate chocolate creations to decadent waffles and crispy fries, there’s something to satisfy every palate. And what better way to wash it all down than with a locally brewed Belgian beer, savored in one of the city’s cozy taverns?
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – Ghent: Beer and Sightseeing Adventure
20. Hrensko – Czech Republic
Nestled within the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, Hrensko is a hidden gem that will transport you to another world. As you venture into this picturesque town, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush green forests, towering sandstone cliffs, and the soothing melody of the Kamenice River flowing through the heart of it all. It’s no wonder that Hrensko is often referred to as the “Gate to Bohemian Switzerland.”
The magic of Hrensko lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its mystical legends that seem to seep into every corner of the town. One such mythical place is the Pravcicka Gate, a majestic natural rock arch that is said to be the largest sandstone gate in Europe. As you stand beneath its impressive archway, you can’t help but feel a sense of wonder, as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale land.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – U Fořta Mezní Louka offers an on-site restaurant with a terrace. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the entire building and free private parking is possible on site.
But the enchantment doesn’t end there. Hrensko is also home to the Edmund Gorge, a mesmerizing canyon carved by the Kamenice River. As you wander through the narrow passages, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs that reach up to 300 meters, creating a breathtaking sight that will leave you in awe. To truly experience the magic of the Edmund Gorge, take a boat ride down the river, gliding along the crystal-clear waters and immersing yourself in the serenity of nature.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Prague: Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland Full-Day Tour
21. Lillafüred – Hungary
Surrounded by lush forests and nestled against the Bükk Mountains, this fairy tale town captures your imagination from the moment you set foot within its boundaries.
One of the highlights of Lillafüred is its stunning palace, a true architectural gem that adds to the town’s magical atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Palace Hotel, where history and elegance meet in perfect harmony. Built in the 1920s, this majestic building exudes old-world charm and offers breathtaking views of Lake Hámori and the surrounding forested hills.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hotel Palota Lillafured
Located among the hills and on the shore of Lake Hámori in Lillafüred, Hotel Palota Lillafured is set in a neo-renaissance castle built in 1930. The 4-star hotel features a free spa and wellness centre with an indoor pool, sauna and hot tub. Free WiFi access is available in all areas.
But Lillafüred’s allure goes beyond its enchanting facade. The town is also home to the famous Hanging Gardens, a botanical paradise that seems like it was plucked straight out of a fairy tale. Lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant blooms create a mesmerizing oasis of tranquility. As you stroll through this ethereal garden, you can’t help but feel a sense of serenity washing over you, transporting you to a world where worries fade away.
22. Innerdalen – Norway
As you make your way through the lush green valleys, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a painting, with vibrant wildflowers dotting the landscape in the summer and snow-capped peaks creating a breathtaking backdrop in the winter.
But what truly sets Innerdalen apart is its untouched wilderness and untouched charm. With limited tourist infrastructure, this hidden gem remains relatively undiscovered, allowing you to immerse yourself in its peaceful ambiance. As you wander along the winding trails, the only sounds you’ll hear are the gentle rustling of leaves and the melodious songs of birds, creating a symphony that feels like it’s meant just for you.
Innerdalen’s crowning jewel is its namesake valley—the Innerdalen Valley—often referred to as “The Pearl of Sunndal.” As you gaze upon the untouched beauty of this glacial valley, you’ll be struck by its tranquil lakes, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant meadows teeming with wildlife. It’s a place where you can truly connect with nature and find solace in its raw, unspoiled splendor.
Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Innerdalen has something for everyone. Its well-marked trails offer a range of hiking options, from leisurely strolls through the valley to challenging climbs up the surrounding peaks. As you ascend higher, the panoramic vistas that greet you are nothing short of extraordinary, with sweeping views of jagged mountains, mirror-like lakes, and the lush valley below.
23. Vik – Iceland
One of the first things that will capture your attention in Vik is the iconic Reynisfjara beach. As you set foot on its volcanic sand, you’ll be greeted by the sight of towering basalt columns, created by ancient lava flows, rising up from the shore. The crashing waves of the North Atlantic Ocean add a sense of power and mystery to the landscape. Legend has it that these columns were once trolls who turned to stone when they were caught by the first light of day, forever frozen in time as a reminder of their mischievous existence.
Just a short distance from Reynisfjara beach lies another awe-inspiring natural wonder—Reynisdrangar. These towering sea stacks emerge magnificently from the ocean, their jagged peaks reaching towards the sky. According to folklore, these stacks were once trolls who attempted to drag a three-masted ship ashore during the night but were turned to stone when the first rays of sunlight touched them. Standing amidst these rocky giants, you can’t help but feel the weight of centuries of mythical tales surrounding you.
🏨 BEST HOTEL TO STAY – Hótel Vík í Mýrdal
The family-run hotel is remote and yet modern with its style being inspired by the natural wonders it is wrapped in: a mix of concrete, basalt, wood, and glass creates a contemporary feel that reflects the natural environment in which the hotel sits.
As the day draws to a close, Vik offers a breathtaking finale—the magical phenomenon known as the Northern Lights. Far away from the city lights, the town’s remote location offers perfect conditions for witnessing this celestial spectacle. Standing under a sky adorned with dancing ribbons of green, purple, and blue, you’ll understand why the Northern Lights have captivated the imaginations of people for generations. It’s a sight that evokes a sense of wonder and reminds us of the beauty and majesty of the natural world.
🎒 RECOMMENDED TOUR – From Vik: Katla Ice Cave Jeep Tour and Glacier Walk
In the enchanting fairytale towns of Europe, cobblestone streets and medieval castles transport us to a world where imagination knows no bounds.
From the jewel of Salzkammergut, Austria to the coastal beauty of Cinque Terre, Italy, these towns ignite our imagination and leave us awestruck. As we journey through these picture-perfect destinations, we become part of a captivating story where beauty and charm intertwine.
It’s time to book that trip and let the stories of Europe unfold before your eyes. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey filled with magic and wonder. As Hans Christian Andersen once said, “To travel is to live.”
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.