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14 Enchanting Places That Look Straight Out of a Magical Fairy Tale

Step right into your favourite storybook with these stunning and completely real places throughout the world.

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Colmar, FrancePhoto: Gayane/Shutterstock

Colmar, France

It’s easy to see why this small town in the Alsace region of France is known as “Little Venice.” Lining its canal—which is just begging for a lazy boat ride—are colourful buildings and cobblestone streets. Break out into “Little town, it’s a quiet village,” as you stroll!

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Bibury, EnglandPhoto: Shutterstock

Bibury, England

Artist William Morris deemed Bibury “the most beautiful village in England” when he visited in the 1800s, and nothing much has changed. The enchanting town still has the quaint homes and rustic charm that any fairy tale should start in.

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Hohenschwangau CastlePhoto: Shutterstock

Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany

This gorgeous German castle is basically the real-life version of a Polly Pocket palace. Crown Prince Maximilian—who would later become King Max II—built it to replace its decaying 12th-century predecessor. King Ludwig II grew up spending time in this beautiful castle, but still wanted to outdo it when he got older.

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Neuschwanstein Castle, GermanyPhoto: Shutterstock

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

That vanity project King Ludwig II used to outshine his childhood home? This is it. The results were so good, in fact, that Neuschwanstein Castle was actually the inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. On the top of snow-covered mountains in the winter, we can imagine it as the perfect home for Frozen’s Queen Elsa.

Check out the 7 Must-Visit Castles Around the World.

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Manarola, ItalyPhoto: Shutterstock

Manarola, Italy

Italy’s Cinque Terre is made up of five picturesque villages, but Manarola is among the most dramatic. The brightly hued homes seem to be hanging precariously onto the cliffs, but they’ve managed to keep from crashing into the sea for almost 700 years. Could it be magic?

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Rakotz Bridge, GermanyPhoto: Shutterstock

Rakotz Bridge, Germany

Passing under Rakotz Bridge in Kromlau, Germany, you just might feel like you’re on your way to sell your soul. So it’s fitting that it—along with other ancient bridges—are known as “devil’s bridges.” When reflected in the water, the structure makes a perfect circle.

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Tbilisi, GeorgiaPhoto: Shutterstock

Tbilisi, Georgia

In the middle of this old town sits a surprisingly new clock tower. Puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze gathered pieces from abandoned and ruined buildings from Tbilisi, Georgia, to build the higgledy-piggledy landmark. Quirky as it is, it still tells time, so you’ll never be late.

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Bojnice Castle, SlovakiaPhoto: Shutterstock

Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

If we had to pick a castle for our princess dreams, this would be it. The medieval castle has everything we’ve always wanted, from tall spires to a moat. We’ll stay here for our happily ever after, please.

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Multnomah Falls, United StatesPhoto: Shutterstock

Multnomah Falls, United States

Can’t you just picture a theatrical fairy tale fight between knights on this bridge stretching dramatically over this waterfall? Best of all, it’s right here in the United States. Take a road trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon for your own fairy tale moment.

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Český Krumlov, Czech RepublicPhoto: Shutterstock

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Sprinkled with charming red brick roofs, this medieval city would make the perfect backdrop for a fairy tale. But the biggest draw is the castle perched on a rock by the river.

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Château de Chenonceau, FrancePhoto: Shutterstock

Château de Chenonceau, France

If you think Versailles is the extent of France’s palaces, you were totally off. This gorgeous manor stretches over the River Cher and has stunning gardens open to the public.

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Chefchaouen, MoroccoPhoto: Shutterstock

Chefchaouen, Morocco

You might assume these bright colours are just a tiny snapshot of this town, but you’ll find the same magical views throughout the twists and turns of the “blue city.” Beyond its walls you’ll find en epic mountains towering overhead and below, with goats grazing on its green pastures.

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Pelourinho, BrazilPhoto: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Pelourinho, Brazil

This historic neighborhood in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, doesn’t just have stunning architecture—the bright colours of the buildings accent its beautiful stucco work. It was the country’s capital between 1549 and 1763, when native cultures blended with European and African ones.

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Ghent, BelgiumPhoto: Shutterstock

Ghent, Belgium

In this port city, houses are nestled right next to the canal. It sits pretty much smack dab between Brussels and Bruges, but this slice of medieval times doesn’t come with the same droves of tourists.

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Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest