Have you ever been somewhere that totally takes your breath away? Somewhere you feel like you’ve stepped into an alternate reality and just cannot believe what you’re looking at is real?
Well, there are places like this in the form of European fairytale villages! If you’re heading to Europe this coming holiday, be sure to head to one or all of the following villages to feel like a Disney princess or prince!
Located close to Salzburg is a small lakeside town called Hallstatt. Often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakeside towns in the world, this place is truly magical and is pretty one of a kind. The town itself is quite small but what it lacks in size it makes up for in charm as you can see quaint houses with the stunning lakeside as your backdrop. During winters, this place becomes even more picturesque as you see the snow capped mountains around you.
How to Get to Hallstatt: If you’re coming from Salzburg or Vienna, take the train until Attnang-Puchheim. From there, switch trains to the one heading towards Bad Ischl & Obertraun. You then get off the train at Hallstatt Station and take a ferry across the lake.
Lake Bled, Slovenia.
Lake Bled is one of those places that I’ve seen countless photos of. I admit to staring at these photos wondering intently if it looked just as good in person as it does in photographs. To my delight, yes, Lake Bled is as picture perfect as in real life. Boasting of a tall church steeple located on an islet, a medieval-looking castle, and mountainous alpine mountains gleaming in the backdrop, it’s hard not to fall in love with this place.
Popular for honeymooners, families, and even backpackers who want to experience the many outdoor sports available by the lakeside, Lake Bled is definitely one of those picture perfect fairy tale towns in Europe and is one of the best things to do in Slovenia.
How to Get to Lake Bled: From the main bus stations in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital. It takes about 70 minutes to get to Lake Bled via bus. If you are traveling by car, take the A2 highway northwest out of the city and follow the signs for Kranj or Jesenice. This journey takes about 40 minutes.
Putting aside the fact that this place makes phenomenal cheese and other delicacies, the town of Gruyères is a sight to see, featuring a post-card perfect medieval town located on a small hill. Despite its small-town feel, this place is home to three museums as well as a castle, making it not only a photographer’s paradise but also a place full of rich history and culture. During Winter time, the entire village turns into an incredible winter wonderland and is incredibly beautiful and picturesque. Apart from Gruyeres, here are other Swiss Alps Villages for you to explore.
How to Get to Gruyères: The closest airport to this scenic town is Geneva. From there, Gruyères is about an 1 hour and 20 minutes away by car. Alternatively, you can also hop aboard a high-speed train which takes about an hour.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.
If you like Prague but find it a little too overpopulated, wait until you see the beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov. This town is a Unesco World Heritage site and has earned its rightful place as one of the most beautiful fairytale towns in Europe. Featuring a castle above the Vltava River, an incredibly historic town square, and an old town full of medieval streets and Rennaissance architecture, this place is a must visit while in the Czech Republic. During the summer months, this town is alive and kicking with plenty of riverside bars and picnic spots. During the Winter months, it transforms into a magical out of this world scenery with white blankets of snow covering all the rooftops.
How to Get to Cesky Krumlov: In order to get to Cesky Krumlov, there are trains links from Prague which runs every 2 hours, taking a total of 3 hours and 30 minutes each day. It is very much recommended to stay in the town for at least a night (or two) in order to really make the most of the long train rides. The train rides are pretty scenic and cost about €19 for a return trip.
Last but not least, the town of Sintra, home to the Pena Palace which is a bohemian beauty of a castle makes me feel like I just walked out of a Persian dream with its incredible details, bold colors, and sweeping views. Located not far from Lisbon, this city is a fairy tale come to life and is worth the day trip even for those on a tight schedule.
How to Get to Sintra: From Lisbon, the main town, Sintra is a 40-minute train ride and is easily accessible from the Rossio train station.
What other European villages do you have on your list to visit?