Once upon a time, in the town of Hanau, close to modern-day Frankfurt city, lived two brothers, one called Jacob and the other, Wilhelm Grimm. Together, these brothers spent their days discovering traditional folktales and local legends that one day they would share with the world. 

… this may or may not be how the Grimm’s Fairy Tales officially came to be, but with dreamy destinations sitting on their doorstep inspiring everything from Hansel and Gretel” to The Pied Piper of Hamelin”, Little Red Riding Hood”, Cinderella” and Rapunzel” to Snow White” and Sleeping Beauty”… (and the list goes on…), it’s easy to see why Germany has been crowned the fairy tale capital of the world. 

A magical place full of wonder, enchanting castles, alpine coated forests, winding cobblestone alleys and medieval fortresses, these 6 locations not only feel like they’ve been plucked out of a fairy tale but are fairy tale destinations that you can actually visit in real life to live out your childhood fantasies.


Neuschwanstein: Munich

An iconic fairy-tale castle rising into the clouds from the Bavarian Alps, the magnificent Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, defines fantasy.

Standing high in a secluded corner of the country, the castle was originally built as the residence of the eccentric King Ludwig II – known as the Fairy Tale King — in honour of the composer Richard Wagner, but he died before its completion. Today, the Romanesque Revival palace’s exquisite apartments and staterooms are enjoyed by the public. 

A short day trip from Munich, discover how to visit Neuschwanstein here.

Black Forest

Black Forest: Freiburg Im Breisgau

Located in southwest Germany’s Rhine Valley, the vast Black Forest is a hiking and mountain biking paradise in the spring and summer months and becomes a popular skiing spot in the winter. 

Explore the land where Hansel and Gretel encountered the wicked witch or Little Red Riding Hood met the Big Bad Wolf and be sure to stop off at a local store to check out the region’s renowned cuckoo clocks and delicious cherry-topped chocolate flavoured Black Forest Gateau.

Home to more than a dozen picturesque towns and villages, as well as spa resorts and thermal baths, Freiburg Im Breisgau is the perfect jumping-off point to explore the best of the Black Forest village’s offerings as well as other nearby attractions including the spa town of Baden-Baden. 

If you’re travelling alone, discover how to explore Freiburg Im Breisgau as a solo traveller, or alternatively, venture further afield and make for these must-visit cities in Baden-Württemberg.

Heidelberg City Gates

Castle Road: Heidelberg

Often described as Germany’s most beautiful city, Heidelberg has long captured the hearts of all who visit, including culture titans: German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, British landscape artist William Turner, and American author Mark Twain. Boasting a world-famous castle and evocative forest landscapes, the university town mustn’t be missed.

Making for a great twin-city holiday break with Frankfurt, visitors keen to explore Castle Road (Burgenstraße), one of the most captivating, themed routes in Germany, should base themselves in both German cities to explore the best highlights.

Winding through picturesque valleys, plateaus, mountains, dreamy hamlets, and medieval towns, for more than 1,000 kilometres from Mannheim, Germany, to Prague, Czech Republic, the route connects as many as 70 castles, castle ruins, palaces, and royal residences. Highlights include Mannheim Palace and Heidelberg Castle.

Sitting atop a 230-foot rock, shrouded by the giant, Burg Eltz has survived more than 850 turbulent years of war and intrigue to tell the tales of knights and damsels. Visit the castle while staying in Frankfurt to make the most of your time in the area.

Bremen Cathdral

The German Fairy Tale Route: Bremen

Follow the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm into a fairy tale world of bewitching castles, charming medieval towns and colour characters by exploring the enchanting German Fairy Tale Route.

Stretching for 600 km from the hometown of the brothers, Hanau close to Frankfurt, to the bustling city of Bremen overlooking the North Sea, the route is dedicated to the loves and works of the famous duo.

Ever wanted to see the cottage of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or wander along the streets where Pied Piper lured away the rats with his magic pipe? Do not miss Germany’s ultimate road trip. 

Start in Hanau, the birthplace of the Grimm brothers as well as the start of the Deutsche Märchenstraße (German fairy tale road), and, don’t miss the Brothers Grimm National Monument in the Neustädter Marktplatz.

Other highlights include Trendelburg Castle where Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” would have been heard according to local legends. Listen carefully as you explore the drawbridge and crumbling old walls of the soaring tower known as Rapunzel’s Tower and you may hear them uttered again.

The spa town of Bad Wildungen is where the real-life Margaretha von Waldeck was banished and poisoned by her stepmother in 1554 at the age of 21, inspiring the tale of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” to be penned. Visit Bergfreiheit, a tiny German hilltop village, and you’ll be rewarded with Snow White’s house and if you pop in, you may just see seven dwarf-sized beds and seven little hats hanging up.

Grandmother, what big teeth you have” would have been spoken in the town of Alsfeld, where amongst the enchanting bakeries, cobbled alleys, and timbered houses with pointed gables you’ll find the Fairy Tale House. Built-in 1628, it features life-sized creatures including the big bad wolf sitting in bed wearing grandma’s nightdress.

Deep in the Reinhardswald Forest lies Sababurg Castle, the real-life castle that inspired Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty story. Built-in 1334, here, Princess Aurora would sleep for 100 years before a kiss from Prince Phillip would break her slumber. 

The picturesque town of Hamelin in Lower Saxony sets the scene for the legend of Pied Piper, the rat catcher, who grimly lured away the town’s beloved as revenge for being cheated of his fee. Explore his house while sampling rodent shaped biscuits from the local bakeries, and marvel at the old clock at Wedding House that plays the legend of the Pied Piper several times a day.

The last stop on the Fairy Tale Road is the charming town of Bremen in northwestern Germany where the Gerhard Marcks’ bronze sculpture, Die Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians), portrays the donkey, dog, cat, and rooster of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale. Touching the donkey’s legs is said to bring good luck so join the crowds in line trying to change their fates.

Considered the Fairytale Capital of the World,” along with Kassel, the stunning Saxon town of Buxtehude is where the tale of The Hare and the Hedgehog” is set. Base yourself in Bremen to take a short tip here to explore the picturesque wonderland or add it to a multi-day tour around the area and explore the nearby Lüneburg Heath, a vast meadow painted purple with lilac heather covering the landscape between Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Romantic Road: Rothenburg ob der Tauber

A popular stop along the Romantic Road, the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a fairy tale village come to life. Serving as inspiration for Pinocchio’s village in the 1940 Disney film, it’s also been featured in many magical Harry Potter” films.

While in Bavaria, stop off in the town of Hof and plan a visit to Saalfelder Feengrotten, the Fairies’ Grotto’ to see stunning stalactites in all shades of beige, brown, red and grey cover the ceiling of this abandoned mine. Step through the surreal underground terrain and traverse water-filled caves to try to spot the rock formations that gave rise to the name – you make even spot Tinkerbell or some of her friends. 


Devil’s Bridge: Dresden

An iconic arched bridge located in the picturesque Kromlau Park in eastern Germany, the circular bridge attracts many photographers chasing Instagram fame since it’s explosion in popularity online.

Originally constructed from basalt boulders spanning the tree-lined lake of the same name, Rakotzbrücke AKA the Devil’s Bridge is a manmade construction build to create a full circle with its reflections on the surface of the water below on any bright day.

Just over an hour’s drive from Dresden, base yourself in the city to easily explore the attraction on a day trip. For additional things to do in Dresden, don’t miss it’s most quirky attraction: a singing drainpipe!

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