Are you dreaming of fairytale destinations to visit in real life? Here’s a dreamy guide to the most magical places in the world, from the picturesque villages of France to the enchanting architecture of Uzbekistan and the fantasy landscapes of Madagascar.
This guide not only aims to provide inspiration for your travel bucket list; it also gives you an idea of when is the best time to visit each of these alluring destinations. So, let’s dive right in!
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🔮 The Dreamiest Fairytale Destinations on Earth
64. Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, Iran
🔮 What makes it magical: Imagine stepping inside a kaleidoscope. Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque (aka Pink Mosque) in the city of Shiraz is one of the most unique places in Iran. Its colorful stained glass windows create the most magical light reflections that will leave you in awe.
🌈 Enjoy a rainbow show: Every morning as the sun rises, this mosque’s multi-colored stained glass windows reflect on the carpet, creating a jaw-dropping dancing light show that goes on for a couple of hours. The mosque’s courtyard also features some breathtaking tilework.
☀️ Best time to visit: In the winter (November through February) to avoid the enormous tourist crowds of the high seasons (spring and autumn). Note that the light show only happens as the sun is rising, so if you get there too late in the morning, you might miss it.
Read more: 36 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Iran
63. Bavaria, Germany
🔮 What makes it magical: Bavaria is possibly the most magical place on earth. This German state is home to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, which actually inspired the iconic Disneyland castle. Fairytale medieval towns and the dreamy Alps also add to the charm.
👑 Tour an enchanting castle: The 19th-century Neuschwanstein Castle is full of opulent rooms. Head to Queen Mary’s Bridge after your visit for the best viewpoint of the castle. The nearby Hohenschwangau Castle also gives off major fairytale vibes. Another Bavarian gem is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a picture-perfect medieval walled town full of colorful houses.
☀️ Best time to visit: From October through February; this way, you’ll avoid the enormous tourist crowds of June through September. Plus, Neuschwanstein Castle looks extra dreamy surrounded by vibrant autumn colors or magical blankets of snow.
62. Alsace, France
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to visit the town from “Beauty and the Beast” in real life? The stunning French region of Alsace is home to several provincial villages that inspired this fairytale. Think dreamy canals, colorful timber-beamed houses, and medieval vibes.
🏡 Wander fairytale towns: Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Eguisheim are some of the most magical Alsace villages, complete with picturesque canals, colorful half-timbered buildings, and fairytale towers. Make this fairytale visit even sweeter with some exquisite macarons, and don’t leave without tasting the famous Alsace wine.
☀️ Best time to visit: In the spring (April to June). Villages will be full of flowers, vineyards are green, the weather is not too hot, and the tourist crowds of summer won’t have arrived yet.
61. Samarkand, Uzbekistan
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to step inside the pages of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’? Home to glittering minarets and jaw-dropping mosaics, the Uzbek city of Samarkand is one of the most magical places to travel to. The architectural beauty of this town is unparalleled.
🧿 Get lost in mosaic tiles: Samarkand is known for its breathtaking architecture, which typically features the most intricate (and colorful) mosaic patterns. Marvel at the majestic madrasahs (Islamic schools) in Registan square, see some of the richest tilework in the Muslim world in Shah-i-Zinda, and step into a real-life fairytale at Gur-e-Amir.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, September, or October to enjoy pleasantly warm weather without the scorching heat of the summer months.
Read more: 14 Top Things to Do in Samarkand, Uzbekistan
60. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
🔮 What makes it magical: Imagine gazing into the world’s largest natural mirror. Salar de Uyuni is a massive salt flat in Bolivia, it’s truly one of the most magical destinations in the world. Rainfall turns it into one big reflecting pool, melting the sky into the horizon.
📸 Capture the perfect photo: During the rainy season, nearby lakes overflow onto this salt flat, creating a mesmerizing mirror that extends for miles. This mirror effect makes it look like you’re standing in the sky — a photographer’s dream! See if you can capture the night stars reflecting clearly on the water.
☀️ Best time to visit: The rainy season, from December through April. This is when water will collect on the salt flats, creating that breathtaking natural mirror effect. Other months are much drier and the salt flat will look completely different.
59. Hallstatt, Austria
🔮 What makes it magical: Hallstatt is a picture-perfect Austrian village nestled in the Alps. This colorful medieval town is a real-life fantasy and offers some of the most breathtaking views in Europe. Wander past gingerbread houses and experience a real-life fairytale.
🏞 Live inside a postcard: Hallstatt literally looks straight out of a postcard. Head to the Classic Village Viewpoint to get the most iconic picturesque view of the gingerbread houses and the mountainous backdrop. Be sure to wander the dreamy cobblestoned streets of the Old Town, and explore Lake Hallstatt on a magical boat tour.
☀️ Best time to visit: From March through May, or October-November to avoid the crowds of the summer months. Early mornings (before 11 am) and evenings (after 4 pm) are also the best times to explore without the crowds.
Read more: 10 Days in Europe: 25+ Epic Itineraries + Budget Trips
58. Cappadocia, Turkey
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to soar in a hot air balloon above magical landscapes? The stunning region of Cappadocia in Turkey offers all that and more. This area is known for its unique “fairy chimneys” and surreal rock formations that’ll take you to a whole new world.
🎈 Catch the dreamiest sunrise: Sunrise is when Cappadocia’s magic takes place. Hot air balloons rise up in the sky, and you can catch this fairytale scenery right from one of the many cave hotels in Göreme. Or, soar up in the sky inside one of these balloons, enjoy the magical landscapes, and finish it off with a complimentary glass of champagne.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, June, September, or October to avoid the extreme heat and tourist crowds of July and August. Keep in mind that winter is not a good time to visit Cappadocia as hot air balloon rides won’t be feasible in the wind.
57. Hamnøy, Norway
🔮 What makes it magical: The Norwegian fishing village of Hamnøy is a magical place surrounded by unspoiled nature. Like a scene from an 18th-century painting, Hamnøy features wooden red huts along blue waters and rugged mountains; an other-worldly sight.
🌌 Watch the Northern Lights: Hamnøy, with its dramatic mountain landscapes and charming red cabins, feels magically timeless. Stay right inside one of those restored red fishing cottages to immerse yourself in the peaceful nature of this place. In the winter, it’s the perfect spot to catch the Northern Lights.
☀️ Best time to visit: For the best chance at spotting the Northern Lights, visit in October, February, or the first half of March. For other outdoor activities like biking and hiking, June through August is ideal.
56. Burg Eltz, Germany
🔮 What makes it magical: The fairytale-like Burg Eltz in Germany gives the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ castle a run for its money. This medieval castle nestled in the woods majestically overlooks a valley. The lines between regal history and magic fantasy are blurred at Burg Eltz.
👑 Tour a romantic castle: Burg Eltz has been owned by the same family for 850 years. The fairytale legacy of medieval knights, princesses, and dreamy romance is palpable in this stone fortress. Take a tour of its preserved rooms, admire dreamy views from its towers, and see the gold and silver in its treasury.
☀️ Best time to visit: This magical exterior of this castle can be visited at any time of year, and the winter snow or fall foliage make it especially breathtaking. You’re only allowed to step inside the castle from April to November (check here for the exact opening dates).
55. Vatnajökull Ice Cave, Iceland
🔮 What makes it magical: Vatnajökull Ice Caves are dazzling natural wonders on Iceland’s largest glacier. The light refractions within these caves create a beautiful crystal blue-sapphire effect, making these icy structures some of the most enchanting places on earth.
💎 Walk through a blue ice portal: Stepping into the massive entrance to Vatnajökull Ice Caves feels like a portal to a new world. These caves appear endless, as the deep blue beckons you inward. A guide will lead you through the tunnels. Marvel at the magical light refracting off the ice walls, creating crystal shades of blue.
☀️ Best time to visit: These caves are privately owned and can only be visited via tours. Tours typically operate from October to mid-April. The Crystal Ice Cave Tour is the best one.
54. Chiang Mai, Thailand
🔮 What makes it magical: Imagine a sky full of glowing paper lanterns as far as the eye can see. Every November, magic happens in Chiang Mai as the Yi Peng Lantern Festival takes place. This sacred celebration lights up the night, making Chiang Mai a real fairytale city.
🏮 Launch a glowing lantern: The Yi Peng Lantern Festival takes place every year in Chiang Mai on the November full moon. This Buddhist celebration features live music, candle-lit lanes, prayer, and lantern releases. Buy a lantern kit from any shop, and head for Ping River or Tha Phae Gate to release it with hundreds of others — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
☀️ Best time to visit: To participate in the Yi Peng Lantern Festival, visit in November on the full moon. Generally speaking, November, December, and January offer the most pleasant weather in Chiang Mai.
53. Hobbiton, New Zealand
🔮 What makes it magical: Enter the magical world of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ home can be seen in Hobbiton, New Zealand, one of the best fantasy places in the world. These grassy, lush knolls with colorful hobbit holes bring Middle-earth magic to life.
🌿 Sleep in a hobbit hole: The Hobbiton movie set is open for tours. Wander through the flowery Shire and marvel at that iconic yellow, circular door. To really live the whimsical LOTR fantasy like a hobbit, you can actually spend the night in a hobbit hole. Stays like Underhill Valley and Woodland Park Hotel recreate the Hobbit House experience.
☀️ Best time to visit: November through March is ideal, as outdoor tours last all day and the weather is the most pleasant during these months. Wear plenty of sunscreen, and keep in mind that December through February gets a lot busier with NZ school holidays.
52. Chefchaouen, Morocco
🔮 What makes it magical: Step into a blue dream in the medieval town of Chefchaouen, one of the most colorful and unique places on earth. Its cobbled alleyways and historic homes are painted in dazzling shades of blue. In fact, this town is known as the “Blue Pearl” of Morocco.
💙 Get lost in a sea of blue: To immerse yourself in Chefchaouen’s stunning shades of blue, wander through the narrow maze of streets in the Old Town (Medina). Admire the sea of blue homes with colorful flowering doorways, and browse handmade goods like baskets and rugs in the dreamy blue shops.
☀️ Best time to visit: In the spring (April through May) or autumn (September through November), when there are fewer tourists and the weather is balmy but not unbearably hot.
51. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to step into a storybook? The valley of Lauterbrunnen in the Swiss Alps is one of the most magical places to visit in the world. This enchanting valley is known for its cascading waterfalls and charming chalet buildings nestled in the mountains.
🏞 Explore a magical Alpine village: The village of Lauterbrunnen is at the heart of the valley. There, you’ll find the dreamy Staubbach Falls cascading off the Alps — the village’s picturesque backdrop. Enter the man-made grotto there to feel the power of the falls. Then, take the Murren cable car across the valley for more magical views.
☀️ Best time to visit: For flowering meadows and pleasant sunshine, visit in the summer (May through August). For snowy winter wonderland vibes, opt for December through March.
50. Khiva, Uzbekistan
🔮 What makes it magical: The entire city of Khiva in Uzbekistan looks like a mystical sandcastle town. Think clay-colored houses and ancient minarets enclosed within tall fortress walls — be prepared to go on a magical journey back to the enchanting Silk Road.
🏰 Discover a sandcastle town: Khiva’s architecture is incredibly unique. Wander this sandcastle city at sunrise or after dark to see its true magic without tourist crowds. Don’t miss the most iconic fairytale places in town: the turquoise-tiled Kalta Minor Minaret, the wooden Juma Mosque, and the extravagant Tash Khauli Palace.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, September, or October to enjoy pleasantly warm weather without the scorching heat of the summer months.
Read more: 12 Top Things to Do in Khiva, Uzbekistan
⛲️ Magical Cities & Fairytale Towns in the World
49. Bagan, Myanmar
🔮 What makes it magical: Imagine venturing into an ancient world with hundreds of mystical temples. The UNESCO city of Bagan offers unforgettable experiences for adventurous souls. This former Burmese kingdom is the perfect place to channel your inner Indiana Jones.
🏜 Have an Indiana Jones adventure: Bagan is one of the world’s greatest archeological sites; it’s dotted with hundreds of mystical ancient temples, which you can explore on an Indiana Jones-like adventure. Rent a scooter and venture to some of the most untouched temples in the area. Don’t forget to climb to the top of a temple to catch a spectacular sunrise.
☀️ Best time to visit: Bagan is very hot throughout the year. November through January offers the “coolest” temperatures — meaning it’s at least bearable. If you’re visiting during other months, explore early in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the scorching heat.
Note: Myanmar is unfortunately engulfed in civil unrest. If you’d like to, find out how you can help the Burmese people. Check your country’s official travel advisory before planning a trip.
48. Alberobello, Italy
🔮 What makes it magical: Fairy houses? Elf homes? Goblin huts? Call them what you will; the trulli huts of Alberobello transport visitors to an otherworldly fantasy. The ancient architecture of this charming whitewashed town offers a unique whimsical experience.
🏡 Stay inside an elf house: The remarkable feature of Alberobello is its sea of trulli houses —whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs. These houses resemble mythical elven homes, and many of them have actually been turned into cozy B&Bs where you can stay the night!
☀️ Best time to visit: Any time between May and October, when the weather is the sunniest and warmest. Keep in mind that July is the busiest tourist season and also the hottest.
47. Jiufen, Taiwan
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to enter the mythical, otherworldly universe of a Miyazaki film? The mountain town of Jiufen in Taiwan is home to quaint, lanterned tea houses lining narrow alleyways. This enchanting destination has an alluring, timeless spirit.
🍵 Sip tea in a fantasy world: Jiufen was the inspiration behind the town in Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’. The magic of Jiufen Old Street draws visitors up narrow steps alongside quaint tea houses and food stalls. Don’t miss the lanterned Amei Tea House and its traditional architecture — it looks just like the bathhouse in ‘Spirited Away’!
☀️ Best time to visit: February through April or October through November. These months avoid the hottest weather, as well as the typhoon season in Taiwan. In addition, the summer months are the busiest, and Old Street gets jam-packed with tourists.
46. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to step into a postcard? The enchanting city of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina is one of the most magical fairy places in Europe. This historic Ottoman destination is famous for its storybook Stari Most bridge which crosses over the Neretva River.
🌿 Cross a fairytale bridge: Stari Most is a picturesque stone bridge straight out of the pages of a fairytale. This Ottoman structure crosses over the beautiful Neretva River, connecting the two halves of Mostar. Besides its sheer beauty, it’s also attracted quite the epic bridge-jumping crowd in the summer. Just seeing it is enough to witness its magic.
☀️ Best time to visit: In May, June, September, or October to enjoy warm weather for kayaking in the Neretva River and to avoid the tourist crowds of the summer. With that said, visit at the end of July to see the epic annual bridge jumping competition!
45. Lahore, Pakistan
🔮 What makes it magical: There’s an old Punjabi saying that goes: “Anyone who hasn’t seen Lahore simply hasn’t lived.” Wandering the magical mosques, vibrant streets, and enchanting gardens of this cultural city, that phrase will make more and more sense to you.
🕌 Admire other-wordly architecture: Lahore is home to the breathtaking Badshahi Mosque, characterized by intricately carved red sandstones. This mosque is an absolute wonder, and you can explore all its marvelous details up close. Afterward, wander through the magical palaces and gardens of Lahore Fort.
☀️ Best time to visit: October through March offers pleasantly warm and dry days. Visiting during this time also allows you to escape the scorching heat of the other months.
Read more: 11 Best Places to Visit in Lahore, Pakistan
44. Dubrovnik, Croatia
🔮 What makes it magical: The ancient walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia looks like a seaside fantasy come to life. There’s a reason Dubrovnik’s magical buildings, medieval gates, and Adriatic Sea location are featured in the ‘Game of Thrones’ fantasy series!
🏰 Explore ancient city walls: The City Walls encircling Dubrovnik were built to protect the city in the Middle Ages. Today, you can enjoy a scenic walk along these walls to enjoy the dreamiest views of terracotta red roofs and the blue Adriatic Sea. Finish this fairytale tour with a Dubrovnik Cable Car ride for the most magical sunset of your life.
☀️ Best time to visit: In September or October, when the summer cruise ships that inundate the harbor have cleared out, the weather is less scorching, yet the water is still warm enough to enjoy.
43. Kyoto, Japan
🔮 What makes it magical: Wander into a Japanese folktale in the stunning city of Kyoto. Famous for its Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, bamboo forests, imperial palaces, and cherry blossoms, this city is the most magical place in the world to see in the spring.
🌸 Enter a Japanese folktale: Wander down Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets to see a stunning view of Yasaka Pagoda. In the spring, this street of wooden houses looks even more magical adorned with cherry blossoms. For another enchanting experience, don’t miss the dense and ethereal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, one of the most famous landmarks of Japan.
☀️ Best time to visit: In March and April to see the dreamy cherry blossoms around town, or from September through November to witness vibrant fall foliage. Note that both of these periods are also the peak tourist seasons in Kyoto.
42. Budapest, Hungary
🔮 What makes it magical: Budapest, the stunning capital of Hungary, is one of the most magical fairy cities in the world. Perched along the Danube, it’s home to some of the most regal historic architecture. Its mighty castles and fortresses are an Old-World fairytale.
🏰 Admire Old World architecture: Climb to the epic lookout towers of the romantic Fisherman’s Bastion for a Budapest panoramic. Stare up in awe at the dramatic Gothic spires on the Hungarian Parliament Building and tour its opulent rooms, where King Stephen’s crowned jewels are displayed. Don’t miss the medieval Buda Castle perched on a hill.
☀️ Best time to visit: The shoulder months of May, June, and September are optimal for warm weather and for avoiding the tourist crowds of July and August.
41. Seville, Spain
🔮 What makes it magical: Extravagant Moorish palaces, breathtaking tilework, and picturesque squares sum up the magic of Seville. This Andalusian city is not only full of magical architecture, it’s also the birthplace of tapas and flamenco — a true cultural gem.
👑 Explore dreamy palaces: The most fairytale-like landmark in Seville is the Royal Alcázar, the oldest royal palace that’s still in use in Europe today. It features a variety of stunning architectural styles and charming gardens. Then, head to Casa de Pilatos, a beautiful civil palace with over 150 different kinds of azulejos (traditional ceramic tiles) on its walls.
☀️ Best time to visit: From September through November to enjoy pleasantly warm weather and fewer crowds. Alternatively, visit from March through June for great local festivities, but note that this is peak tourist season. Avoid Seville in July and August as it gets unbearably hot.
Read more: 3 Days in Seville: The Perfect Seville Itinerary + Map
40. Jaipur, India
🔮 What makes it magical: Jaipur is the enchanting ‘Pink City’ of India, full of warm colors and awe-inspiring architecture. Known for its pink sandstone fortresses and palaces, breathtaking viewpoints, and rich artistry, Jaipur is one of the dreamiest fairytale cities in the world.
🌷 Step inside a pink dream: In the 1800s, Jaipur’s Old City was painted pink to welcome a visiting king. Today, you can stroll through this magical rose-colored town and marvel at the stunning pink structures of Hawa Mahal and City Palace. Nearby, you’ll find the artful and majestic Amber Fort and Nahargarh Fort, both of which offer amazing city views.
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through February to avoid the unbearable scorching heat and to enjoy dry, sunny weather. Note that Jaipur can get uncomfortably hot between April and October, with temperatures easily reaching 106°F / 41°C in May.
39. Moscow, Russia
🔮 What makes it magical: Home to some of the most enchanting architecture on earth, the capital city of Russia is a paradise for photographers and fairytale dreamers. In fact, many of the buildings and churches in Moscow were actually inspired by old Russian fairytales.
🎨 Admire breathtaking art: The Red Square is one of the most magical locations in Moscow. There, you’ll find the colorful Saint Basil’s Cathedral, which looks straight out of a storybook. Get a history lesson in this square, then tour the museums and markets of Izmaylovo Kremlin, a colorful complex that was literally inspired by drawings of ancient Russian fairytales.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April and May for mild weather, lower room rates, and to escape the high season summer crowds. Alternatively, Moscow is absolutely magical in the winter — the streets are gloriously decorated and sheets of snow make the cityscape a real-life fantasy.
Please note: I visited Russia before 2022 and don’t support traveling there right now. Please consider donating to UNHCR to support Ukraine and all other refugees around the world.
38. Cotswolds, England
🔮 What makes it magical: The Cotswolds is a stunning area in southern England that’s home to some of the most quintessential and picture-picture villages in the UK. The rolling green hills, rustic rural charm, and vibrant market towns of the Cotswolds are a real-life fantasy.
🖼 Step inside a postcard: Several Cotswolds villages have been deemed as “the most beautiful village in England”, so it’s only fair to see them all. Snap a photo in the fairytale village of Castle Combe and relax by its canal. Stroll down the magical Arlington Row in Bibury, and wander through Bourton-on-the-Water, the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’.
☀️ Best time to visit: From March through May for gorgeous blossoms, long daylight hours, and mild weather. This is also a great time to avoid the peak summer crowds.
Read more: 18 Prettiest Cotswolds Villages to Visit in 2023
37. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
🔮 What makes it magical: Looking for a Bohemian fairytale? The red-roofed medieval town of Český Krumlov in Czechia feels like the setting of a dreamy fable. With its winding river and centuries-old neighborhoods, Český Krumlov is one of the most magical European fairy towns.
⛲️ Bask in a fairytale: The Latrán is a charming medieval neighborhood in Český Krumlov with incredible Renaissance and Gothic architecture. Its cobblestoned streets wind their way along the dreamy Vltava River. Stop to admire the dominating Český Krumlov Castle, and climb to the top of Castle Tower for the most enchanting viewpoint in town.
☀️ Best time to visit: In the shoulder months of May, June, September, and October for mild, pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and cheaper accommodations.
36. Matera, Italy
🔮 What makes it magical: Home to some of the most otherworldly landscapes and houses on the planet, Matera is a mystical cave town built entirely out of rocky mountains. Time slows to a halt during a stay in this unforgettable 9,000-year-old settlement.
🌿 Stay overnight in a cozy cave: The Sassi di Matera is a mystical grotto area where you can explore ancient Paleolithic cave dwellings carved into limestone. The Sassi will make you feel like you’re on another planet. To fully embrace cave living, why not spend the night in one? Matera’s boutique cave hotels replicate the experience.
☀️ Best time to visit: In May or October, when temperatures are warm and pleasant, and the high season crowds of summer are not there.
35. Helen (Georgia), USA
🔮 What makes it magical: The Bavarian town of Helen in Georgia, USA, would fit right in a ‘Hansel & Gretel’ picturebook. This tiny, whimsical city is known for its German-style architecture, shops, and restaurants. Pretend you’re in ancient Germany in this fairytale town.
🍺 Step into Bavaria: Helen is designed to look and feel like a Bavarian Alpine town. Head downtown to transport yourself back to medieval Germany. There, German architecture houses bakeries, souvenir shops, and restaurants like The Heidelburg serving authentic German cuisine. Unsurprisingly, Helen also really comes to life during Oktoberfest!
☀️ Best time to visit: In September and October to join the epic annual Oktoberfest festivities, complete with locals in traditional costumes, tons of beer, and dancing. December is also an amazing time to visit for the festive Christmas spirit and decorations around town.
Read more: 40+ Best East Coast Vacation Spots in the US
🌲 Real Magical Places in the World: Nature
34. La Digue, Seychelles
🔮 What makes it magical: The dreamy island of La Digue in Seychelles is home to fantastical boulder formations sitting in shallow blue waters along sandy beaches. These multicolored boulders almost look like they were dropped by giants, creating a fantasy beach landscape.
🌅 Marvel at enchanting boulders: The strange granite boulders of La Digue feel somewhat otherworldly. Explore the sandy stretches of Anse Source d’Argent beach, where the most uniquely shaped boulders live. Wade in the shallow blue waters to admire coral reefs, and visit at sunrise or sunset to see the sunlight cast beautifully on the boulders.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, October, or November, when the weather is still warm enough for swimming and boating, and the trade winds are at their calmest, providing great visibility for snorkeling.
33. The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to enter a timeless fantasy world? The Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland look like the real-life pathway into Narnia. This magical avenue of towering beech trees on Bregagh Road was featured in an iconic ‘Game of Thrones’ episode.
🌳 Enter a fantasy world: The Dark Hedges is a 0.6-mile stretch of road lined with regal 400-year-old beech trees that create an alluring green canopy. This avenue (Bregagh Road) is closed to cars, so park at The Hedges Hotel and walk over. Pretend you’re on Kingsroad in ‘Game of Thrones’!
☀️ Best time to visit: In the spring and summer to see the trees full of foliage. Take note that this spot gets swamped with people looking to take the perfect photo, so attempt to arrive before 9 am. Sunrise and sunset make for magical natural lighting.
32. Ilulissat, Greenland
🔮 What makes it magical: The surreal coastal town of Ilulissat in Greenland is home to the enchanting Ilulissat Icefjord. There, brightly colored homes sit alongside thousands of Arctic icebergs, creating an alluring natural landscape unlike anything you’ve seen before.
💎 Admire an enchanting icefjord: A visit to colorful Ilulissat is consumed by the crashing, popping, and bubbling sounds of 250,000-year-old icebergs. Hit the many hiking trails or take a helicopter ride to see this magnificent icefjord from above. Or, hop on a sailboat and ride through the ice field in one of the most mystical places in the world.
☀️ Best time to visit: From June through August for the Midnight Sun, local festivals, the warmest weather (52°F / 11°C max), and for boat tours in the ice field. Alternatively, visit between October and April to catch the Northern Lights or to enjoy skiing and dogsledding.
31. Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
🔮 What makes it magical: The Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar is a fantasy come to life. This grove of ancient baobab trees — some of the rarest and most precious trees on earth — will have you in awe of our planet. It’s truly one of the most magic places in the world.
🌳 Get lost in a sea of trees: Take a drive along the Avenue of the Baobabs, a scenic dirt road that cuts through an enchanting grove of baobab trees. These 2,800-year-old trees are considered Africa’s ‘Tree of Life’, standing 100 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Their striking appearance is worthy of a fantasy film. Visit during sunrise or sunset for additional magic.
☀️ Best time to visit: From April through October to experience dry weather with minimal storms. Try heading to the Avenue of the Baobabs during sunrise or sunset for the most beautiful natural light cast on the trees.
30. Patagonia, Chile & Argentina
🔮 What makes it magical: Visiting the region of Patagonia is like stepping into a surreal landscape painting. Enter a magical world of rugged mountains, icy fjords, turquoise lakes, and mystic glaciers. The sceneries here are so breathtaking; you won’t believe your eyes.
🏞 Get lost in fantasy landscapes: Patagonia’s stunning nature simply looks unreal. Venture to Perito Moreno Glacier to see enchanting ice formations. Admire the iconic granite towers and turquoise lake of Torres del Paine. A lot of hiking is involved in Patagonia, but even if you simply want to relax, a stay at Río Serrano offers jaw-dropping views right from your room.
☀️ Best time to visit: From September through March, when the days are longer, the weather is warmer, and there’s less rainfall compared to other times of the year. Note that December through February is the busiest season, so hotel prices are higher then.
Read more: 50+ Best Dream Vacations For Your Travel Bucket List
29. Moab (Utah), USA
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to imagine what Mars is like? The surreal red rock landscapes of Moab in Utah, USA, are not far off. Moab is known as the gateway to the enchanting canyons and rock formations of Arches and Canyonland national parks.
🔥 Sit beneath a fiery arch: Moab is graced with Arches National Park just 5 miles away. Take the 3-mile hike to Delicate Arch, a mystical natural rock formation. This massive red-rock arch, surrounded by breathtaking canyons, looks like a portal to another world. Visit at sunset, as the warm light ignites it into a fiery red color.
☀️ Best time to visit: The shoulder months of April through May, or September through October, when the weather is warm and sunny without the scorching heat of Utah’s summer. Note that Delicate Arch gets busy at sunset. Try visiting at sunrise for unique natural light.
Read more: 60+ Best Vacation Spots in the USA
28. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
🔮 What makes it magical: Fascinated by the magical utopia in ‘Avatar’? The real-life Pandora is found at Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China. The park’s dramatic canyons, dense forests, and rock pillars shrouded in mist look mystical enough to be a dream.
🌿 Cross a glass canyon bridge: There are many ways to experience the fantastical landscapes of Zhangjiajie. Embark across the thrilling Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge to get a clear view of the dramatic stone pillars shooting into the sky. For an aerial view, ride the glass Bailong Elevator to the mountaintops. It’s the world’s tallest outdoor lift!
☀️ Best time to visit: In April and May, when the park is at its lushest due to mild weather and more rain. Or, in September and October, when there’s colorful fall foliage scenery. Try to avoid the peak season of July and August, when the crowds can be unbearable.
27. Mulafossur Waterfall, Faroe Islands
🔮 What makes it magical: The enchanting Mulafossur in the Faroe Islands is a remote cliffside waterfall beside a tiny island village. The dramatic green cliffs where Mulafossur Waterfall tumbles into the ocean is one of the most mystical magical places in the world.
🏞 Venture to a cliffside village: Gasadalur is a tiny village perched on the cliff beside Mulafossur Waterfall. Visit Gasadalur for panoramic views of the ocean and to walk right up to Mulafossur as it cascades down. Hike away from town by following the cliffs until you are opposite the fall, for the most incredible views of Mulafossur and Gasadalur.
☀️ Best time to visit: From May through August, when the weather is the warmest and most stable, the flower fields around the cliffs are blooming, and the waterfall flows the fullest.
26. Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
🔮 What makes it magical: Discover your moment of magic in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand, some of the most enchanted places in the world. These natural wonders create the illusion that you’re sailing beneath a clear, starry sky — a dream galaxy.
🌌 Float beneath a glowworm sky: A rare species of glowworm live inside these caves. They cover the cave walls in the dark, making the space light up like the night sky. Take a guided boat tour through this glowworm grotto; you’ll float in the dark along the stream passages of the caves. Look up in awe at the thousands of glowworms on the ceilings and walls.
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through April, when temperatures within the caves are warmer and more comfortable. Note that weekends are very busy at the caves, and the official tour company offers discounted tickets during weekdays!
25. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
🔮 What makes it magical: Photographers and hopeless romantics will fall head over heels for the Tunnel of Love in Ukraine. This fairytale spot near Klevan is a stretch of railway totally encapsulated by tree leaves, creating a glowing green tunnel you can walk through.
💚 Make a wish in a leafy tunnel: The trees along this railway have created a remarkable natural phenomenon: a leaf archway that glows green with light. Walk along the train tracks to capture a magical photo, or make a wish with someone you love. Legend has it, wishes made within the tunnel will be granted.
☀️ Best time to visit: From May through early September, when the vegetation that creates the tunnel is most lush. Note that the tunnel is still an active railway, so be sure to avoid the train that comes through three times daily.
Note: This is written in honor of Ukraine, which is obviously off-limits for tourism right now. If you want to help, consider donating to UNHCR, which is helping refugees all around the world.
24. Lake Bled, Slovenia
🔮 What makes it magical: The picture-perfect Lake Bled in Slovenia is hands down one of the most stunning fairytale destinations in the world. This crystal lake is cradled by the Julian Alps and features a breathtaking island church — few places on earth are as unique.
🏞 Discover a fairytale lake: The best spot to admire the magical panoramic beauty of Lake Bled is Mala Osojnica, which can be reached via an hour-long hike. This is where the most iconic photos of the lake are taken from. Be sure to also take a boat out to Bled Island, and to tour the fairytale Bled Castle.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, September, or October for pleasantly warm weather and fewer crowds. Keep in mind that summer is the busiest and wettest season in Lake Bled.
Read more: 30+ Dream Destinations for Your Travel Bucket List
23. Seljalandsfoss, Iceland
🔮 What makes it magical: Just off the Ring Road along Iceland’s Golden Circle is Seljalandsfoss, a magnificent waterfall and one of the most stunning fairytale locations in Europe. This fantastical waterfall is cradled by cliffs that hide spectacular viewpoints.
🏞 See enchanting landscapes: Unique geography allows you to get a breathtaking and unique perspective of Seljalandsfoss. There’s a magical path behind the falls that leads you to a mystical cavern. From there, you can experience the sheer power of the cascading falls and capture unique photos of this landscape.
☀️ Best time to visit: From June through August for blooming wildflowers and full access to the path behind the falls, which is usually closed when it’s icy. As this waterfall faces west, it looks extra magical at sunset, when it’s adorned with golden highlights.
22. Apostle Islands Ice Caves (Wisconsin), USA
🔮 What makes it magical: The Apostle Islands Ice Caves in Wisconsin are uniquely formed sea caves made of ice along Lake Superior. Like a mythical wonder, these dazzling ice caves only form when the weather and sea come together perfectly, creating a unique experience.
💎 Explore mystical ice caves: The magic of the ice caves lies in their constantly-changing pathways, patterns, and icicle shapes. Strap on your crampons and walk across the iced-over lake to the Mainland Unit of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Wander through the caves to observe a fairyland of icicles, ice curtains, and stalagmites.
☀️ Best time to visit: The ice caves are only safe to visit during the icy months of December through March as Lake Superior needs to be frozen solid for visitors to safely walk to them. Conditions and accessibility change every winter, so be sure to check live info before visiting.
Read more: 35+ Best Hidden Vacation Spots in the US
21. Horseshoe Falls (Tasmania), Australia
🔮 What makes it magical: The stunning Horseshoe Falls in Tasmania is a real-life fairy grotto. This secluded rainforest waterfall has a serene magic that’s hard to put into words. Cascading down into pools you can swim in, Horseshoe Falls is a peaceful, picturesque gem.
💦 Swim in magical waters: The lush Horseshoe Falls in Mount Field National Park can be reached by descending a set of wooden stairs; a scenery straight out of fairytales. Admire the rushing falls over the mossy rocks, and take in the surrounding mystical rainforest. Immerse yourself in this magical world by swimming in the pools formed at the base of the falls.
☀️ Best time to visit: From December through March for the most pleasant weather and strongest waterfall flow. With that said, the weather in Tasmania is fairly mild year-round.
🏰 The Most Magical Places on Earth: Landmarks
20. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, United Arab Emirates
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to step inside Aladdin’s palace? The dreamy Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the most Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Its bright white domes and extravagant architecture are truly the stuff of fairytales.
✨ Wander into Aladdin’s world: The scale of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is hard to grasp. Walk across its expansive mosaic courtyard in reverence, and admire its white marble domes and reflecting pools. The interiors are equally magnificent — the gilded chandeliers, massive woven carpets, calligraphy art, and ornate prayer halls will have you in awe.
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through March to avoid the extreme heat in the region. This is an active mosque with thousands worshipping daily, so visit right at 9 am or after 5 pm for emptier courtyards and halls, and to avoid the blistering heat burning your feet.
19. Bojnice Castle, Slovakia
🔮 What makes it magical: There’s a reason Bojnice Castle is considered to be the most beautiful castle in Central Europe. Its dreamy facade is bound to stir the most magical fairytale fantasies, making it one of the most enchanting places in the world.
🏰 Step into a fairytale castle: The 12th-century Bojnice Castle is a mix of Romanesque, Renaissance, and Gothic architectural styles. After admiring its breathtaking facade, take a tour of its hallways and imperial rooms. Then, be sure to stroll the charming castle park.
☀️ Best time to visit: From May through September for warm and pleasant weather. It’s also the perfect time to hike in the nearby Tatra Mountains of Slovakia.
Read more: 24 Incredible Places to Visit in Slovakia
18. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to see Avatar’s forest in real life? Gardens by the Bay is one of the most whimsical places on earth. Focused on sustainability and unique plant life, this surreal oasis in Singapore is home to a grove of futuristic ‘supertrees’ that glow at night.
🌿 Enter the world of Avatar: Step into the otherworldly Supertree Grove and marvel at magical giant trees. These man-made vertical gardens rise up nearly 16 stories. Cross the OCBC Skyway to get a panoramic view of this fantasyland, and stay for the evening, when the enchanting supertrees will completely immerse you in a spectacular light and sound show.
☀️ Best time to visit: Singapore has a tropical climate year-round, but from January through May, you’ll see fewer crowds. For a quiet and empty Gardens by the Bay experience, visit on weekday mornings. Be sure to come back at 7:45 pm or 8:45 pm for the magical light show.
17. Rakotzbrücke, Germany
🔮 What makes it magical: Rakotzbrücke, a picturesque bridge in Germany, is shrouded in mysterious local folklore. This romantic stone bridge is famous for its unique shape that reflects in the lake below, creating the illusion of a perfect circle (and the perfect photo!).
👹 See the mysterious Devil’s Bridge: The enchanting Rakotzbrücke sits picture-perfect above a lake in Germany’s Kromlauer Park. While you can’t walk across it, you can marvel at its smooth curvature from the lakeshore. Legend has it that the bridge’s circular reflection is so perfect, the devil himself must have built it.
☀️ Best time to visit: The autumn months of mid-September through October are ideal for seeing the bridge shrouded in colorful foliage. Avoid visiting in the summer or winter, when there’s the risk of no water or frozen water on the lake, ruining the reflection effect.
16. Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia
🔮 What makes it magical: Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia looks like a fantasy Indiana Jones scene. This untouched 800-year-old structure has been taken over by the jungle. Tree branches and vines swallow its buildings, creating an enchanting communion between nature and humans.
🌿 Uncover a mysterious temple: There is something mystical about Ta Prohm Temple; as if its dark corridors and crumbling walls consumed by silk-cotton tree roots hold hidden treasures. Wander through the maze of courtyards and artful rooms with beautiful carvings, and imagine a once-thriving jungle temple used for Buddhist worship.
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through April — Cambodia’s dry season. This temple is a popular stop along the Angkor Wat tourist route. To beat the crowds, visit either right when it opens (at 7:30 am) or late in the afternoon. Avoid 10-11 am and early afternoon.
15. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
🔮 What makes it magical: Mystery and legend are intertwined at Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia. This stunning cathedral is built beside a river canyon, its arched bridges linking the hillsides. Murals of unknown origins and mystical apparition sightings add to the enchantment of this place.
👻 Uncover sacred mysteries: Las Lajas Sanctuary and its Gothic, castle-like architecture is a sight to behold. Before entering the cathedral from its large stone pathway, admire the stunning arched bridges and spires from the hillside. Once inside, peek at the mural of unknown artistry, and hear rumored stories of the mysterious Virgin Mary visitation here.
☀️ Best time to visit: While the weather in Colombia is consistently warm year-round, June through September and December through February are the drier seasons. Note that all of these months see a lot of tourist crowds, though.
14. Taj Mahal, India
🔮 What makes it magical: One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal in India is an enchanting monument that inspired Aladdin’s palace and many other fairytales. Its alluring domes, sprawling gardens, and mysterious tombs stand as a symbol of eternal love.
🕌 Admire a majestic palace: Experience Taj Mahal’s breathtaking magic at sunrise; you’ll understand why it’s one of the most beautiful magical places on earth. Then, stroll the stunning gardens of the complex and see marvelous close-up details of the palace. Head to West Gate for the best creative photography spots.
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through February to avoid the extreme heat and rain of the spring and summer months. Arrive one hour before sunrise to avoid long lines, and visit between Mondays and Thursdays for fewer crowds.
13. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan
🔮 What makes it magical: Dreaming of a mountainous fairytale escape? Don’t overlook Paro Taktsang (aka Tiger’s Nest), a sacred Buddhist monastery built on a dramatic cliffside in Bhutan. Religious folk legends surround this place; it is a Himalayan fantasy left to behold.
🌿 Trek to a cliffside monastery: Paro Taktsang is precariously suspended 10,000 feet on a cliff. The hike to get there is an epic adventure in itself; full of vast mountainous landscapes. As you approach the monastery, there will be spectacular lookout points for photos. Absorb the energy of this sacred space, where monks still practice.
☀️ Best time to visit: From March through May or October through November to avoid the summer monsoon season (late June through September). In the spring, you’ll see beautiful blossoms, and autumn is festival season in Bhutan.
12. Nizwa Fort, Oman
🔮 What makes it magical: Step into a gigantic clay-colored castle you’d only expect to find in storybooks… Except it’s real, and it’s the gigantic 17th-century Nizwa Fort in Oman. This alluring fortress offers a captivating historical and cultural journey back in time.
🏰 Discover a storybook castle: Wander through the ancient corridors of Nizwa Fort and learn about the various defense mechanisms that Omanis have used in the past. You’ll also get stunning views of the city along the way. If you visit on a Friday, Saturday, or Tuesday, you’ll even get to witness a traditional Omani sword dance performance at the entrance of the fort!
☀️ Best time to visit: From November through March for pleasantly warm weather, but keep in mind that this is also the busiest season in Oman. For fewer crowds but hotter temperatures, consider April or August through October.
Read more: The Best 10-Day Oman Itinerary + Insider Tips
11. Borgund Stave Church, Norway
🔮 What makes it magical: The unique Borgund Stave Church is cradled within the dramatic mountains of Vestland county in Norway. This beautifully preserved medieval church appears straight out of a Nordic fantasy. Today, it is a museum displaying unique Viking exhibitions.
💒 Step inside a fantasy church: You’ve probably never seen a church like Borgund Stave Church. Walk around its black-tar exterior to marvel at the distinctive architecture. Notice the intricate triangular roofs with dragons’ head carvings. Then, step inside for exhibitions about the history of this old parish and its Nordic architectural legacy.
☀️ Best time to visit: This church is only open to visitors from April to October. Be sure to check their official website for specific opening dates and hours.
10. Swallow’s Nest Castle (Crimea), Ukraine
🔮 What makes it magical: Swallow’s Nest Castle is a neo-Gothic fortress in Ukraine that nearly defies the laws of physics. This fantasy castle is built on the edge of a craggy outcropping in the Crimea Peninsula. Some of its sections are completely suspended in air.
🏰 Admire a floating fortress: Just like a high-altitude bird’s nest, Swallow’s Nest is magnificently perched on the edge of a cliff. Its panoramic views of the Black Sea are unparalleled. Admire the whimsical castle from various viewpoints along the cliffside. To enjoy its bird’s-eye views from inside, dine at the Italian restaurant housed within.
☀️ Best time to visit: From June through August, when the weather is the warmest. Alternatively, May and September see fewer crowds than summertime, so you might be able to get a table in the Italian restaurant inside.
Note: This is written in honor of Ukraine, which is obviously off-limits for tourism right now. If you want to help, consider donating to UNHCR, which is helping refugees all around the world.
9. Predjama Castle, Slovenia
🔮 What makes it magical: Predjama Castle in Slovenia is the stuff of legends. This Renaissance fortress is the largest cave castle on earth. Now a museum, Predjama Castle melts into a hilly cliffside, making it one of the most mythical fairytale destinations in Europe.
🏰 Get lost in a romantic legend: The picturesque Predjama Castle is perched high up within the mouth of a massive cave. Take a tour through its historic rooms, hear the legends of knights and kings, and get lost in the romantic experience. Don’t miss a tour of the secret cave tunnels beneath the castle.
☀️ Best time to visit: The castle is open for tours all year, so come during the time you’ll most enjoy the scenery. The winter months drape the castle in snow, while the spring and summer months feature stunning blossoms around the castle.
Read more: 3 Weeks in Europe: 15 Perfect Europe Itinerary Ideas
8. Mont Saint-Michel, France
🔮 What makes it magical: The remarkable Mont Saint-Michel is a medieval fairytale town built on a small tidal island in Normandy, France. From a distance, Mont Saint-Michel looks like a floating castle. Walt Disney himself couldn’t have created a more magical place.
⚡️ Take a trip to Hogwarts: Many visitors liken Mont Saint-Michel to Hogwarts. Approach this tidal island and admire its medieval abbey towering above the town. Walk around the surrounding bay at low tide for amazing outside views of the town. Once inside, stroll the narrow, cobbled La Grande Rue at the town’s heart to browse its shops and cafes.
☀️ Best time to visit: From April through October, when the weather is the nicest. With that said, try to avoid July and August, when the crowds are at their thickest. Visit during sunrise for the most enchanting views and photos of the island.
7. Tatev Monastery, Armenia
🔮 What makes it magical: The enchanting 9th-century Tatev Monastery is built high up in the mountains of Armenia. This mystical complex overlooks a deep gorge, creating a unique fairytale-like scenery complete with majestic mountains and ancient medieval vibes.
🚡 Fly down to an ancient monastery: Tatev Monastery was once a medieval epicenter of religion and culture. Approach this stunning medieval complex from above by riding the Wings of Tatev cable car down. Explore the stone complex of this sacred site, and discover ancient tombstones, intricately carved wooden doors, and secret rooms.
☀️ Best time to visit: Tatev is located at high elevations, so visit from May through September, when the weather is at its warmest, sunniest, and most pleasant for mountain exploration.
✨ More Fairytale Places That Really Exist
6. Petra, Jordan
🔮 What makes it magical: Hidden in the desert mountains of Jordan, the lost city of Petra looks straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure. Petra’s rose-red desert stone architecture is so mesmerizing that it’s been recognized as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
🕯️ See a lit-up ancient wonder: Petra is the ancient capital of the Nabataean Empire (400 BC – 106 AD). Wander through this desert city’s ruins and admire its rock-carved architecture up close. Then, in the evenings, ‘Petra by Night’ takes place. 1,500 candles pave the ground of the city, creating one of the most unique and magical experiences on earth.
☀️ Best time to visit: In April, May, October, or November for pleasantly warm temperatures and fewer crowds. Note that Petra is uncomfortably hot from June through September, and the crowds are at their largest during that time too.
5. Giraffe Manor (Nairobi), Kenya
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to have the most unforgettable breakfast of your life? Giraffe Manor is a magical boutique hotel surrounded by the indigenous African forests of Nairobi, Kenya. This fairytale manor allows guests to get up close with African wildlife and have breakfast with giraffes, who wander up to the house looking for treats.
🦒 Eat breakfast with giraffes: Giraffe Manor is an elegant house with vines snaking up the walls, British-style gardens, and best of all — magical encounters with native giraffes. Enjoy breakfast in the dining room, where giraffes love to leave the forest for a visit. Give them a snack when they stick their heads through the large windows!
☀️ Best time to visit: In the dry months of June through October — the perfect time to enjoy the manor’s safari rides and outdoor relaxation. January is also a great time to view wildlife and relish Nairobi Restaurant Week.
4. Val di Funes (Dolomites), Italy
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to visit an enchanting valley that looks straight out of a postcard? Val di Funes in the Dolomites of Italy, with its quaint churches and floral meadows, will take you right inside an Alpine fairytale. It is truly one of the most magical places to visit.
🏞 Step inside a postcard: Val di Funes belongs in a landscape painting. Hike the Adolf Munkel Trail, featuring flowering meadows, to admire the dramatic snow-capped Dolomites that surround you. Walk to the Church of St. Johann and the Church of St. Magdalena, both idyllically placed in the center of the valley for the perfect photo.
☀️ Best time to visit: In June and July, when flowers across the meadows are in full bloom and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Be sure to catch a breathtaking sunset here, too.
Read more: 36 Famous Landmarks in Italy to Visit
3. Sintra, Portugal
🔮 What makes it magical: Just an hour by train from Lisbon is the charming Portuguese town of Sintra, home to the most colorful fairytale castle, stunning palaces nestled in nature, and some of the most fantastical sights in Europe. This whole town belongs in a storybook.
🌈 Tour a rainbow castle: Pena Palace is the crown jewel of Sintra. This colorful Romanticist castle is perched on a hill and features some of the dreamiest architecture in Europe. Be sure to tour its stunning interiors. Then, head to the nearby Quinta da Regaleira to admire enchanting grottos, hidden waterfalls, mystical caves, and opulent palaces.
☀️ Best time to visit: In the spring (March through May) or autumn (September through November). During these seasons, the weather is warm, the surrounding nature is verdant, and the crowds are not as bad as during the summer months.
2. Transylvania, Romania
🔮 What makes it magical: Want to discover the birthplace of Dracula and other mythical stories? The Romanian region of Transylvania is full of epic legends, fairytale castles, and colorful medieval towns. It’s hands down one of the most magical hidden gems of Europe.
🧛🏻♂️ Discover legends of Dracula: Dracula was born in the colorful medieval town of Sighisoara in Transylvania. To hear his real story, head to Mystical Transylvania, a museum that, unlike many tourist traps, provides real insights into his life. Then, head to the fairytale Bran Castle (also known as “Dracula’s Castle”) and don’t miss the picture-perfect Corvin Castle.
☀️ Best time to visit: Summer (June through August) offers the perfect weather for exploring and hiking in Transylvania. For milder weather and fewer crowds, visit in May or September.
1. Isle of Skye, Scotland
🔮 What makes it magical: The Isle of Skye is a breathtaking destination full of fantastical landscapes and fairytale sceneries. A visit here is like stepping inside the pages of an epic fantasy novel. It’s no wonder many of its landmarks were also seen on ‘Game of Thrones’!
🌿 Live inside a fantasy story: Even the names of Skye’s attractions sound fantastical. Head to the Fairy Pools to see enchanting mountains and waterfalls. Then, climb on top of the whimsical grass-capped rock formations of Fairy Glen. For more fairytale immersion, explore the famous Eilean Donan Castle and the magnificent Dunvegan Castle & Gardens.
☀️ Best time to visit: In May or June, when daylight hours are at their longest, the weather is mild, and there are fewer rainy days compared to the rest of the year. The crowds and hotel prices will also be more bearable than during the peak months of July and August.
Read more: 24 Epic Things to Do on the Isle of Skye
🧚🏻♂️ Recap: 15 Most Magical Places in the World
As this guide covers more than 60 real magical places around the world, here’s a quick summary of the absolute best ones. This list is of course subjective but contains a variety of reasons for why the following places have been chosen.
- Bavaria, Germany — The ultimate fairytale castle destination 🏰
- Cappadocia, Turkey — The most magical sunrise with hot air balloons 🌅
- Samarkand, Uzbekistan — Home to the most breathtaking architecture on earth 🧿
- Alsace, France — The most stunning fairytale-like villages you’ll come across 🏡
- Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia — The most jaw-dropping ‘natural mirror’ salt flat ✨
- Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, Iran — The most unique ‘rainbow mosque’ in the world 🌈
- Chiang Mai, Thailand — Home to the most enchanting lantern festival 🏮
- Burg Eltz, Germany — The real-life ‘Beauty and the Beast’ castle 🌹
- Patagonia, Chile & Argentina — Home of the most surreal landscapes on earth ⛰
- Petra, Jordan — The most enchanting rock-carved archeological city 🏜
- Transylvania, Romania — Epic legends, fairytale castles, and medieval towns 🧛🏻♂️
- Giraffe Manor, Kenya — The most unforgettable experience with giraffes 🦒
- Hallstatt, Austria — The most picture-perfect fairytale Alpine village 🏞
- Hamnøy, Norway — Like a scene from a stunning landscape painting 🌌
- Matera, Italy — The most otherworldly and mystical cave town 🌿
✈️ Planning Your Trip to These Magical Sites
- ✈️ Find the best flights around the US with Skyscanner or Kiwi.com
- 💸 Get reliable travel insurance from World Nomads
- 🚖 Book your private transfer from the airport to your hotel with Expedia
- 🏨 Find the best accommodations on Booking.com or Expedia
- 🧔🏻 Get the best tour guides via Get Your Guide, Tiqets, or Viator
- 🚗 To rent a car for road trips, get the best deals on Rentalcars.com
- 🎒 Pack an anti-theft backpack, a universal adapter, and a power bank
- 📚 Get inspired by Lonely Planet: The Travel Book and some dreamy travel quotes
- 📸 Bring the best photography gear (including these must-have Sony lenses!)
🌸 Recap of These Mystical Places in the World
I hope this list of magical fairytale destinations has added plenty of places to your travel bucket list. Is there any place on this list that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing? Or, are there any other places that should belong on this list? Let us know in the comments below! 🙂
I hope these magical places around the world have inspired your next trip!
Discover more dream vacation spots by reading further:
🏝 50+ Best Dream Vacations For Your Travel Bucket List
🇺🇸 60+ Best Vacation Spots in the USA: Top Bucket List Places
⛲️ 30+ Best Hidden Gems in Europe: Epic Secret Spots You Must Visit
🌎 30+ Dream Destinations You Have to Visit Once in Your Lifetime
🚗 10 Days in Europe: 25+ Epic Itineraries + Budget Trips
This list is incredible, you know. I can’t believe these fairytale destinations exist in real life. It reminds me of how excited I was every time I saw a princess in a movie with a beautiful palace, and how I wished I could live in a palace like that one day. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to save enough money to visit these beautiful places. Thank you so much for this fantastic post.
I’m so glad this post was inspiring, Jessica! Thank you for the warm comment and I definitely hope you’ll get to tick off many of these places off your bucket list! 🙂
I always think that traveling is expensive. at least with this job of mine.
how do you afford to go to so many places? when do you work if always travel?
any advice for me on this?
Travel is my job. This travel blog makes a full-time income from ads and affiliate marketing. I also partner with tourism boards from time to time on travel photography projects. Depending on where you go, travel also doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Many of my trips cost less than my monthly living expenses in London, just because food/accommodation are cheaper in those countries!
OMG what an incredible list!! Traveling around the world is my goal and dream. And I must visit these castles and be like a princesses in the future! Thanks for your summary and sharing! They are so usefullllll