Live the fairy tale – three fabled holiday destinations
Recently we’ve seen a slew of updated, exciting fairytale-based films hit our screens… from Oz the Great and Powerful, to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Feeling inspired, I’ve put together a list of three of the best fairy-tale themed destinations you can visit on holiday – places where perhaps dreams could come true.
Sleeping Beauty’s castle
Neuschwanstein Castle has appeared in movies aplenty, but it’s most recognisable as the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in California’s Disneyland Park. It was dreamed up by the reclusive Ludwig II of Bavaria, who wanted to retreat into something like a medieval castle – but much more picturesque. The romantic mythology of composer Richard Wagner provided something of a pattern for this fantastic palace, too.
Best way to see it: Tour Germany’s Romantische Straße (Romantic Road) and you’ll not only see Neuschwanstein, but you’ll also take in a whole clutch of fairytale villages and castles as you wind through the provinces of Bavaria and Baden–Württemberg.
Getting there: Munich airport is known as the ‘gateway to the Romantic Road’, although it’s also easy to reach from Frankfurt. From Manchester, London Luton and Leeds/Bradford, you can get Monarch flights to Munich. From there, just follow the Romantische Straße signs.
Little Red Riding Hood’s neck of the woods
German-born storytellers, the Brothers Grimm, were responsible for re-crafting many European folk tales into the fairy stories we love today. In the early 19th Century, they popularised scores of timeless tales including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. So it’s no coincidence that many modern-day fairy-tale destinations are in Germany. Take Schwälmer Land, for instance, where young women still don red hoods as part of the region’s traditional costume, which is said to have inspired the Brothers Grimm.
Best way to see it: The Deutsche Märchen Straße (the German Fairy Tale Road) takes you through the heart of ‘Little Red Riding Hood Land’. The route runs north from Hanau (birthplace of the Brothers Grimm) to Bremen.
Getting there: If you’re already considering making Munich your base for the Romantic Road, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to Hanau for its Fairy Tale cousin. Hanau is 25km east of Frankfurt – itself just an easy plane or train journey away from Munich.
If you have small children, you’ll know that they can build their own fairy castles out of thin air. And they certainly don’t need authentic historical connections to fire their imaginary fairylands. Turkey’s Cappadocia region is a natural wonderland that will inspire your kids in original flights of fancy. Children love Cappadocia’s extraordinary rock formations – the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’ – and the rock castles and houses carved out by locals. It’s also an ideal destination for an active family holiday. Explore this fantasyland on foot or bike – there are self-guided tours to suit all abilities and ages.
Best way to see it: In a hot air balloon – there are agents who will organise this for you locally at your hotel reception though you can also book through a UK tour operator.
Getting there: Monarch flies to Antalya from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick. From there, catch a domestic flight to Kayseri, which is just one hour’s drive from Cappadocia. It’s well worth the trip.
What about you? Do you have a desire to visit fairytale destinations? Tell us in the comments below