Europe is replete with fairytale towns that will steal your heart. Musement takes a look at ten of them.
Europe has gifted us with towns that look as if they were lifted straight out of a fairytale. While some of them are kind of hidden, we here at Musement are going to make it easy for you. We have gone out to explore the old continent in search of towns with so much charm that they will surely take your breath away.
If you’ve been feeling like you’ve lost some of your wanderlust lately, don’t worry. The fairytale towns in Europe that we have chosen are sure to bring it back—you won’t be able to resist booking your next European escape.
1. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sitting in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains, Mostar is located in a privileged natural enclave of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Because of the Neretva River, which traverses the city, Mostar became an important center of commerce. In fact, Mostar is the unofficial capital of the country. Above all else, what makes this place magical is its famous two-towered Old Bridge, which is now a World Heritage Site. This unique stone bridge was constructed in 1565 by the Ottoman Empire and today it is the protagonist of the city from all perspectives. Don’t forget to go to the old town as well to marvel at its mix of Islamic and Balkan architecture.
2. Sintra, Portugal
Located in the region of Lisbon, Sintra is home to great cultural and historic heritage. Among its various palaces and castles is the National Palace of Pena, which could very well appear in any fairytale. Construction began in 1836 and, to this day, it boasts quite an exotic style, combining Neo-Gothic, Neo-Moorish, and Neo-Renaissance architecture. If that’s not enough, there is also a big park with fountains, swans and exotic vegetation. And when you’re in Portugal, make sure you enjoy the delicious essentials of the national cuisine.
3. Bruges, Belgium
If you find yourself in Belgium and eager to walk through a fairytale land, Bruges is the place for you. The medieval setting coupled with the serenity of its canals has earned Bruges the nickname, the “Venice of the North”. It’s no surprise that Bruges was one of the first European tourist destinations—it’s really hard to resist its charm! Mandatory stops: the Markt (Market Square), the Gothic-style city hall, and of course, some Belgian chocolate stores.
4. Cinque Terre, Italy
Stepping back in time is easy in the Cinque Terre. Let yourself be blown away by the romance of these five little towns (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) on the Ligurian coast. Between the steep cliffs, winding roads and pastel-colored houses, the Cinque Terre is the perfect setting for a love story! For you skeptics out there, an outdoor dinner illuminated by the evening lights of the “five lands” will almost definitely change your minds.
5. Annecy, France
France is full of fairytale towns…but Annecy’s charm especially stands out to us. Located in the Haute-Savoie department of France, Annecy is surrounded by alpine mountains, wild forests, and a magnificent lake, which tops off the dose of beauty that fairy-tale towns require. On top of that, there’s also a medieval castle. Let the streets of Annecy inspire you, and don’t leave before trying the local specialty: reblochon cheese.
6. Hallstatt, Austria
We’re understanding more and more that the winning ingredients for a dream town are water, mountains, and colorful houses. Hallstatt, in the state of Upper Austria, has all of this and more. Located on the shore of Lake Hallstatt, the summer shades of green and blue merge to create a radiant landscape that, in winter, becomes blanketed in snow, transforming it into an even more nostalgic scene. We’ve heard that breathing the Hallstatt air cures all maladies and fixes all woes.
7. Folegandros, Greece
A more Mediterranean landscape is that of Folegandros, a small Greek island that forms part of the Cyclades. In contrast to other more touristic islands, Folegandros preserves the slower pace of yesteryear. Slowly take it in. Swim in the hidden bays, stroll through the backstreets where you will find whitewashed houses with blue doors, stop to truly taste the Greek food, and find a secret corner to watch the sunset. It’s all quite appetizing.
8. Reine, Norway
There are also some breathtakingly picturesque spots in the north of Europe. The Norwegian village of Reine is one of them. Reine is a beautiful fishing village located on the island of Moskenesoya, which forms part of the archipelago called Lofoten (above the Arctic Circle). The Nordic beauty comes down to this: dark blue fjords that contrast with the red of the fishermen’s cabins and snow-covered mountains as the backdrop…Not often will you enjoy air so pure, so close your eyes and breathe deeply.
9. Bled, Slovenia
Bled is located in the northeast of Slovenia and is known for its glacial lake, Baroque church, and medieval castle that, along with the alpine landscape that surrounds it, creates a magical environment. Athletes find delight in the possibility of enjoying an array of activities near Bled—mainly hiking, golfing, and fishing. When it’s time to refuel, there’s nothing better than a piece of kremsnita, Bled’s famous cake.
10. Cochem, Germany
Our last fairytale town in Europe is Cochem, in the west of Germany. The Moselle River and its colorful, half-timbered houses situated in the valley are what captivated us in this tranquil German town. At the top of the hill sits a Neo-Gothic castle, built in 1875. Cochem is also unique for its location in a region full of excellent wines.