14 Fairy tale Towns in Europe you must visit

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Of all the towns I have visited in my travels, I often find those that stick with me most are the quintessential, fairy tale towns in Europe. Not only do they look as pretty as a postcard, but I have also found that these towns have a way of transporting you to another time and place… quite literally as if you had stepped foot in to a fairy tale picture book and exited the real world. As I have made this somewhat of a goal over the past few years to continue finding places that teleport you elsewhere, I’ve made quite the collection of fairy tale towns below. I promise you that if you visit one, two, or all of them… you won’t be disappointed!

Lake Bled Slovenia - Fairy Tale Towns in Europe

Bled, Slovenia

One of the first fairy tale towns I visited in Europe was Bled in Slovenia. I had seen images of this picturesque lake and immediately wanted to transport there. The lake is understandably the biggest attraction in the town, with plenty of water activities on offer like hiring a row boat for an hourly rate (an activity that revealed my shortcomings in the sport).

Read more: The most romantic lake in the world; Lake Bled

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

Colmar, France

One of the more recent towns I fell in love with has long been on my radar, but only a couple of months ago did I finally make my way to the most gorgeous French town; Colmar. Words can’t even describe the charm of this place — I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up!


Annecy, France

Another French town visited on the same trip to France hasn’t been on my radar for nearly as long, but I think (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), it is my favourite town in all of France and perhaps even Europe! If that doesn’t give you any more reason to go, I don’t know what will. wink

Read more: The Cutest town in France! Why you must visit Annecy

Fairy Tale Towns of Europe | Hallstatt by World of Wanderlust

Hallstatt, Austria 

On my first solo trip to Europe I had my heart and travel plans set on visiting Hallstatt, a small lakeside town in Austria… not too far from Salzburg. It turns out this town is a little trickier to visit, especially if you’re short on time, so I’d suggest reading the post below if the picture makes you want to jump right in (to the picture, of course, ‘cos the lake would be quite cold I should imagine).

Read more: Austria’s best kept secret: How to visit Hallstatt


Positano, Italy

Stop. Everything. Now. Isn’t this place just so idyllic!?!? If you’re not already on a separate tab loading a flight compare site to book your flight to Italy, let me plead my case for the Amalfi Coast a little further. Positano is hands down the most picturesque town on the coast, although if I’m to be completely transparent there are more enjoyable towns to stay in when visiting the region. Sorrento is a great place to base yourself as it is bigger, has great restaurants, and is your chance to mingle with locals (Positano is a tourist haven an while you will meet other travellers, you won’t meet the locals which would be a shame as they’re so charismatic!)

Read more: A Quick Guide to Positano

Gent Belgium

Gent, Belgium

Another little town I found earlier in my travels is the gorgeous and still somewhat under the radar town of Gent in flanders. Belgium gets a bad wrap for some reason (don’t be dismissive of a place until you have actually been), but in my eyes it is one of the best countries to visit in Western Europe. If you’re into Gent you will also love Brugges, which is also given a place on this list.

Read more: 48 Hours in Ghent

Mallaig Scotland

Mallaig, Scotland

Some adventures have a way of sticking with you forever and since I constantly reference my trip to Scotland at dinner parties, I suppose it had a lasting impression on me! I travelled throughout the Scottish Highlands in May when the weather is, in full disclosure, miserable. Aside from the weather I really enjoyed my time in Scotland and it is still to this day one of my all time favourite countries in the whole world. The people are also much more memorable than the food 😉

Read more: The Top 10 Places to Visit in Scotland


Počitelj, Bosnia & Herzegovina

If I could tell you my biggest travel secret in Europe it would be to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would recommend dragging along a friend or travel buddy for this one, as tourism is still relatively low and as such travel is a little harder here (as it usually is in the East of Europe). Bus transport is the best way to get around the country and believe me when I say the people are some of the loveliest you will meet all over Europe. I can’t wait to return one day soon – Bosnia has my heart!

Read more: 10 Reasons to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina


Sintra, Portugal

Ahhh, Sintra. The gorgeous little town just a short drive away from Portugal’s capital; Lisbon. I only had a few hours to explore Sintra and with thick cloud coverage, couldn’t go for that iconic view at the castle. Nevertheless I really adored this city and its’ colourful buildings lining the hillside. This is a great day trip from Lisbon when matched with Cascais.

Read more: Mystical Sintra and Charming Cascais

cesky krumlov

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

For a really (really, really, really) long time “Krumlov” as it is affectionately known to locals, was my favourite small town in all of Europe. Over the years the secret has gotten out on a large scale, so nowadays I find it a little overrun by crowds. The best way to avoid this is to visit during winter and cross your fingers for a thick layer of puffy snow!

Read more: The cutest town you ever did see: Why you must visit Cesky Krumlov


Bilbury, England

Probably my favourite location in England is to travel (by road trip) through the Cotswolds. This area of England is a time warp of sorts, with gorgeous thatched houses, small lakes, cute gift stores and really lovely people. I’d recommend spending a few nights in the area so you can visit numerous towns.

Read more: Visiting the Cotswolds


Cong, Ireland

In many ways my trip to Ireland was my favourite “me time” adventure. I rented a car, hit the open road, and spent way too many hours singing to the radio as I rolled around Ireland from one town to the next. While Ireland is absolutely bursting with cute towns to visit, it is hard to go past Cong. Isn’t the picture tempting you already!?

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Ireland

Image: F1online digitale Bildagentur GmbH / Alamy

Reine Norway by Harvey Barrison

Reine, Norway

Of all the countries left on my list to travel I believe Norway is a strong contender for most desirable. Because the small fishing village called Reine is so idyllic and mesmerising, I just couldn’t leave it out. There is perhaps no single place I want to teleport to more… who’s coming with me!?

Image: Harvey Barrison

Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Italy

Last but never least, I don’t think this list would be complete without another gorgeous Italian coastal town – this time a little further north in Cinque Terre. World of Wanderlust contributor Faye headed there last summer to catch a glimpse of why this is one of Italy’s most sought after holiday destinations – drool!!!

Read more: A Guide to Cinque Terre

Image: Faye Bullock for World of Wanderlust

How many have you visited!? Sound off in the comments below!

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    Raushan Gullivant
    July 8, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    If the town is near a water resource, it just adds to the goodness the town already has. This is seen in most of the fairy-tale-towns listed here. Very colorful and beautiful list. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    Lizzie Bee
    July 8, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Oh my gosh these places are so beautiful! I’m hoping to go to Italy at one point and will definitely stop by Positano!

    June 30, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Those are really beautiful places! I didn’t even know about some of them. Probably there are places like this in every Country. In Germany for exampe there are Rothenburg ob der Tauber or Lübeck. I don’t know if you guys have heard of those.

    June 30, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Norway is absolutely spectacular! Decided to go on kind of a whim in January (I decided to just go with the winter destinations in winter, and even went into the Arctic Circle) and fell in love. Possibly my favorite country I’ve ever visited! But yes, skip Oslo and visit the smaller towns. Bergen was pretty cool but my fave was Tromso in the far north. I stayed at a charming little guesthouse with a resident cat and it was perfection. Dying to go back and see the midnight sun!

    June 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    I’ve been to a couple of the places in your list, will go to Annecy again in August and am so looking forward to it! If you are in for a romantic winter trip, I recommend you visit the castle village Neuleiningen in Germany during christmas season. The christmas market takes place Nov. 26/27 and Dec. 3/4 2016, it’s one of the most beautiful christmas markets I’ve ever been to.

    June 21, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Adding some of these to my travel bucket list.

    Miss Pippi
    June 21, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I have never visited any of these towns but I’d love to.

    June 21, 2016 at 4:13 am

    Riomaggiore is beautiful, but Vernazza was the town in the Cinque Terre that really stole my heart.

    June 21, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I have been to four and love the ones in France however I would also add Zermatt for the stunning mountain views and traffic free town centre. It also has great apres-ski!

    June 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Great article & pics! I would agree about Positano, it is beautiful but we found it extremely crowded & actually left couple days early and relocated to Sorrento!

    June 20, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    You picked all my favourites, and some I haven’t been to yet.
    But when you mentioned Lake Bled, you had me, then you followed up with Sintra, Cesky Krumlov, and Mallaig, and I knew we loved the same places. Thanks for the trip down memory Lane.

    Taste of France
    June 20, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Lots of good suggestions here (I’ve been lucky to have visited most of them). May I also suggest the real-life fairytale town of Carcassonne in the south of France.

    Hang Around The World
    June 20, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Added everything on our list!! –

    June 19, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    AMAZING places! I am reasearching for a weekenddestination next week at the moment. Norway is one option.

    June 19, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Bled is absolutely the most picturesque little town ever ! We loved it. The people of Slovenia were friendliest ever !

    June 18, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Wow there are so many nice ideas all gathered in your post ! Now I really want to travel Europe more 🙂
    I guess we could add Prague to the list (I just published an article about !), but it’s certainly not a small town.
    I hope I can visit all these lovely cities !
    Cheers xx

    June 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    So many are on my list esp Colmar & Annecy! But im so happy to see Pocitelj on there 🙂 Such a cute town that holds a special place in my heart. My fiance and i rescued a sick kitten there and found her a forever home, originally we wanted to take her back to Sydney, but our quarantine laws are so strict!

    Leah Marie
    June 17, 2016 at 11:30 am


    June 17, 2016 at 9:22 am

    My desire to travel to Europe again has been increased ten fold because of this post. The place that looked utterly beautiful of all and a must visit (well, to me!) was Positano, Italy!

    xx |

    June 17, 2016 at 4:35 am

    This has made me want to travel through Europe so much!

    Elin Hansson
    June 17, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Wow!! Look awesome! 😀

    June 17, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Wow, amazing places. From all these, I only visited Gent, which truly is a beautiful city. Gonna save this post, for some places to travel to once.

    Naturally Healthy
    June 16, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    I’m going to Portugal this summer, so I’m adding one more place to visit ! By the way, your photos are beautiful and it makes me want to visit all these places !

    Ali Bourke
    June 16, 2016 at 7:07 am

    So many beautiful places to see!

    Ali x

    June 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Well now I have a whole bunch of new European towns added to my bucket list! Thanks Brooke 🙂

    Missy@My Sh!tty Kitchen
    June 15, 2016 at 6:18 am

    I want to go to all of these. I am planning a trip next year to Europe and I am pinning this for reference!

    June 15, 2016 at 6:02 am

    By the end of July, I will have visited Annecy and I have already been to Positano, which is not bad for a 14 year old. It is definitely my favorite place on Earth!

    Linda | travellersoftheworld
    June 15, 2016 at 5:58 am

    I’ve only been in Bled and Riomaggiore from this list, i love those towns! I’m in love with Cinque terre and Riomaggiore was my favourite town. The rest of the list looks great!

    June 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I definitely love Gent and Annecy!! I went to Malmo in Sweden, that is really worth a visit too!

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    June 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve been to Sintra, Hallstatt and Bled:)

    June 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I was in Bled last month, boy was it beautiful!

    Elizabeth Harborne
    June 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Not visited any you mention but seen some of those in other comments including Kotor and Burning – both just beautiful. How about some of the Cotswold villages – they are so beautiful in their fabulous local stone. What a wonderful world!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 15, 2016 at 7:22 am

      There is a Cotswolds village in the list! I absolutely adored my time tehre 🙂 xo

    June 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    A great selection! I must confess that I have not been in one of these towns. What a pity! Thanks for the inspiration … 😉

    June 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I’d also add Kotor in Montenegro to the list! We were there yesterday and it’s like you’ve stepped back in time

    June 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    We have been lucky enough to have visited some of these, and others that are not in you’r collection. All in all I think we have a wonderful world, oh yea.

    June 14, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Been to Colmar. Pretty but the cutesiness can get all too much especially after you visit more than 2 villages. Brugge in Belgium is also pretty.

    June 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    If You ever go to Denmark You must visit Aeroeskoebing (In Danish Ærøskøbing) It is an Island, You must Take the ferry from Svendborg. But it is worth a travel.

    Renee Alexis
    June 14, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Oh my gosh, these places! They’re just sooooo beautiful!!! I wish I could just pack up my stuff and go exploring! Nice photos, Brooke! Thanks for sharing these fairytales <3

    June 14, 2016 at 6:38 am

    Love your article! I’ve visited a handful of these towns and agree with your comments! Was in Cesky Krumlov 2 nights before Christmas (2015) and walked the streets in a Christmas parade, it was one of the most magical memories of my entire trip! Please add Taormina, Sicily to your list, you won’t be disappointed!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 15, 2016 at 7:24 am

      I will have to check it out! My list is forever growing longer instead of shorter haha! xx

    June 14, 2016 at 1:28 am

    I’ve been to a few but now I want to visit all of these towns! Bled and Cesky Krumlov were wonderful, but I think Bosnia & Herzegovina wins for me! Definitely now one of my favorite countries in Europe 🙂

    sara mcavoy
    June 14, 2016 at 12:13 am

    I would love to spend weeks visiting all of these places! They all look beautiful!

    June 13, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I was at Bled last week and it captured my heart, it was just like from Disney stories!

    I highly recommend you to visit Finland again and come to see it’s archipelago, ’cause if you liked these places, it will also take your breathe away!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

      Oh I am dying to see the archipelago!!!! Hopefully in the next year or so I will get back to Finland – one of my favourite places in the world!

        June 23, 2016 at 7:40 pm

        Oh if you come I recommend to come at June, July or August, because the archipelago shows it’s best at summer time, and it’s really pretty here at the moment when everything is so green abd fresh

    June 13, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    All these towns are gorgeous ! I can’t believe I haven’t visited a single one of them

    June 13, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I’ve been to none:(

    June 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    You should visit Burano, Italy! You would Love it! 🙂

    June 13, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Your every post is dedicated to pictures and all are wonderful.

    June 13, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    So adorable every single one! I absolutely adore the Cinque Terre – my favourite place in Italy. Looks like I may need to explore some more of Europe though so I’m adding some of these to my must-see list 🙂

    • Brooke Saward
      June 15, 2016 at 7:27 am

      Its funny how the more you travel the longer your list gets – not shorter!!! These were all such beautiful places – you will love every single one! xo

    June 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Really helps with planning my trip . Thanks you

    June 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I’m visiting Ghent later this week, so it’s fantastic to hear you enjoyed it!