Some of our most memorable holidays have been spent visiting fairytale destinations that made us feel like we had stepped onto the pages of a picture book. During the trips I have taken great pleasure watching my boys pretending to be dragons and knights when visiting castles, searching for magical creatures in enchanted forests and reenacting folklore stories.
Below I have shared a few fairytale destinations that we have enjoyed as a family. I have also included a couple of magical places that I visited before having kids and places that are firmly at the top of our fairytale family travel wish list! If you want to take your kids to meet with elves, trolls and mermaids read on…
It would be rude to give the number one fairytale destination spot to anywhere else other than Copenhagen! Home to the late author of some of the most world-famous fairy tales – Hans Christian Anderson.
I’ve been fortunate to visit the Danish capital on many occasions and always thoroughly enjoyed my time in the picturesque, friendly city. More recently we visited as a family and found the city incredibly kid friendly with lots of magical attractions to visit. Our favourites were the Little Mermaid statue, Winter Wonderland at Tivoli Gardens and Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tale House.
Further reading – Family city break in Copenhagen
St Petersburg, Russia
One of my favourite ports when I worked onboard the cruise ships. St Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia, is like nowhere I had ever visited before, or since. Everywhere you turn there are architectural gems and intricately painted churches, palaces. I would firmly recommend a visit to The Hermitage, one of the most important art museums in the world, a few hours exploring the Catherine Palace and a visit to the theatre to watch Tchaikovsky’s world famous Swan Lake.
Further reading – Leona from Wandermust Family shares her recommendations for making the most of a cruise ship call into St Petersburg – What to see on a Baltic Cruise.
Norwegian Fjords, Norway
Norway is famously known as the land of the trolls and midnight sun. In my (very biased!) opinion the best way to experience Norway, and the incredible Norwegian Fjords, is onboard a cruise ship. Nothing quite beats sitting out on the open deck whilst sailing through the fjords. I always loved watching the mountain goats and waterfalls, (although I never did spot a troll!)
The best shore excursions to learn more about the country’s cave-dwelling trolls are ones which include a drive along the Trollstigen (Trolls Path) to visit to the Trollveggen (Troll Wall), Europe’s highest perpendicular rock face.
Further Reading – Nell from Pigeon Pair and Me recently returned from an action packed adventure in Norway. She shares one of her most memorable experiences here – Flam Railway
Like many families, firmly at the top of our family travel wishlist is a trip to the ultimate winter fairytale destination Lapland, to meet with Santa, his elves and reindeers.
Further reading – Penny from Parent Shaped visited Lapland last winter. Go and check out her reviews and incredible photos of husky and reindeer sleigh rides, and of course meeting the main man himself. It will make you want to book your flights!
Giants Causeway, Ireland
Another fairytale destination that is much closer to home, and firmly on our family travel wish list, is the Land of Giants. The Giant’s Causeway is a stretch of coastline with perfectly formed hexagonal columns. The unique landscape was formed by volcanic activity many years ago, although some choose to believe that the Giant’s Causeway was built by the Irish giant Finn MacCool!
Further reading – Marta from Learning Escapes shares her local knowledge for families visiting the Giant Causeway in this informative guide – Northern Ireland Weekend Itinerary .
Proof that you don’t have to jump on a plane to visit a fairytale destination! Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean is our favourite local place to go for a stroll. The unique and enchanting forest is apparently where JRR Tolkien took his inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth. It’s also a popular location for filming fantasy movies and TV dramas. My boys love getting lost in the willow maze and searching for the magical creatures, which they believe live in the forest!
Looking or more fairytale travel destinations? Check out Netflights inspirational guide to fairy tale travel – 11 Places to Fire Your Imagination
Disclosure – This is a collaborative post. All opinions and words are, as always, my own.
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