Europe is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world, cities so beautiful in fact that they have been the inspiration for many fairytales and love stories. Fairy tale towns are those that have a way of transporting you into another time and place, as if you stepped right into the pages of the most beautiful picture book. I have always found these towns to be the ones that make the most difference to the way you see the world so I have compiled a short life of Europes best and I promise you, you will not be disappointed by visiting these towns.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Cesky Krumlov is a hidden gem of the Czech Republic and possibly the most magical town in all of Europe. You can get lost in this city walking the cobble stone streets, kayaking down the river or marvelling at the city from the top of the castle. Cesky Krumlov is only a short 2.5 hour bus ride from Prague and can be seen in a day, however, I would recommend staying overnight to miss the crowds as it can get quite busy during the day.
My favourite town in all of Europe. Portugal was never on my bucket list, however, when venturing from France to Morocco it seemed like an obvious stop and I am so glad we did. I could get lost in this city for days just marvelling at the wonderful views and tiling on the walls. Brunch in this town is a marvellous affair and the Portuguese tarts are to die for. If you only visit one town in Portugal, make sure it’s Porto.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
I will never forget my first glimpse at Lake Bled: the early morning light catching the church at just the right angle making it feel like I was interrupting a romantic moment between the sky and the crystal clear lake. The town has become incredibly famous over the years and a popular instagram spot due to its postcard worthy photos. It is for this, as always, I recommend coming early in the morning or just before sunset.
Colmar is a fairy tale town like no other, best known for its colourful building, flower boxes and old world charm. It is hard not to see why this town has become increasingly popular among the Instagram crowd over the last few years. Colmar is only a short train ride from Strasbourg and is definitely worth the trip. Make sure to pack a lunch if you don’t want to be lining up at the restaurants.
On my first backpacking trip to Europe I had my heart set on visiting Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland: a small town nestled in the valley of waterfalls. I had seen the iconic images of the waterfall cascading over the church and knew I would be able to retire here. I had arrived in Lauterbrunnen expecting to stay for only a day or so and found myself extending my stay to explore more of the wonderful region. If you plan on coming to Lauterbrunnen make sure you take the funicular up the hill and take a walk, along the mountains you will find towns that are so much of a fairytale that their stores are not attended by anyone and solely rely on the honest of its customers to leave the correct amount of money.
By far one of the prettiest and most underrated cities in all of Europe. I have been to Budapest a few times in my travels and each time I find it as charming as the last. On my first visit to this charming city it was clear it was meant for couples and lovers. On a walking tour of the city our tour guide spent most of the time pointing out romantic picnic spots, bathing pools and walks for couples. The girl I met earlier at the hostel and myself, decided we were not missing out on the charm and that we would do all the romantic things anyway and it surely did not disappoint. I recommend bringing a partner, however, if you find yourself alone in the city, don’t feel afraid to go and be romantic with yourself, it could be the first step on a journey of self love and that in itself is the ultimate fairy tale.
Ahh the Italian Dolomites you are a place I will forever hold dear to my heart. Although made up of many towns, South Tyrol is sprawling in lush landscapes, castles, wineries and walking trails that are beyond normal romance. We stayed in the quaint town of Bolzano-Bozen which was a perfect location if you do not have a car. The place we stayed supplied a public transport pass which allowed up to go everywhere within a two hour drive.
Although not a town the list just would not be complete without Paris. Known for its romantic charm it has been the inspiration for many love stories and is a place I hold dear to my heart. I do just recommend staying in one of the well known neighbourhoods as Paris in the outskirts can give you a different perspective on the city.
Krakow in Poland is a hauntingly beautiful town. The horse drawn carriages, cobble stone streets and golden morning light makes it the most beautiful town in Eastern Europe, but the proximity to Auschwitz ( a must see ) gives the town a haunting feel to it. Like most fairytales it has a sad note to it.
Florence is the Capital City of the Tuscany region of Italy and is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is no denying that Florence has become increasingly popular over the years and it is hard not to see why. Home to some of the most stunning architecture in Italy and in my opinion, home of the best Gelato, you will find yourself falling in love with this city at every turn.
Sometimes it is the places you never planned on visiting that turn out to be the best part of your trip. When we ventured off to Europe last year, we had no intention of visiting Seville in Spain but as we left Portugal I overheard a travelling talking of the most magical place they have ever seen so I simply just had to go. Seville is one of those places you simply must see to believe.