Germany, with its dreamy forests, snowed-in mountains and Gothic castles, has inspired writers, poets and painters for centuries. The Grimm brothers, who were born in the German city of Hanau, placed most of their folk tales—including Cinderella, Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel—in their home country. Their work inspired many novelists after them, who picked up these dreamlike locations as well. If you were raised on fairytales, keep reading; here are some of the most dreamlike spots in the European country you won’t believe really exist!
Number Eight: Neuschwanstein Castle
The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th Century Romanesque Revival palace located on top of a lush Bavarian hill. We don’t know if it inspired any classic fairytales, but it was the main model for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. The original Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty used to live in the Sababurg Castle, which also deserves a visit.
Number Seven: Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in Europe, and one of the most picturesque in the old continent as well. The idyllic town, most famous for its red, timber-framed rooftops, is located upland, overlooking the Tauber River. Some of the stories it has inspired include Pinocchio and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Number Six: Trendelburg
Trendelburg is a tiny riverside town located in Hesse, in west-central Germany. The village’s main attraction is its Romanic castle and tower, where Rapunzel once let her hair down for the prince to climb. The castle is now a charming, elegant, 22-room hotel and restaurant.
Number Five: Burg Hohenzollern
The ancestral Burg Hohenzollern Castle, a very popular destination for international tourists, looks straight out of a postcard. Located 768 ft atop a mountain, surrounded by an 11th century fortress, this breathtaking Disneyesque Gothic Revival castle is guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
Number Four: Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rüdesheim am Rhein is a UNESCO’s World Heritage town in the Rhine Gorge, famous for its wine and stunning landscape. Only the Cologne Cathedral surpasses this region in number of foreign visitors, who come into the town looking to get lost among its historic, dreamlike streets. The village features castles, churches, vineyards, wineries, museums, towers and many other delightful attractions.
Number Three: Cochem
Cochem is exactly what pops into your head when you think of “Medieval Germany.” This charming, little riverside town is famous for its Romanic-turned-Neo-Gothic castle, which overlooks the entire region. Photo opportunities await at every turn to make the most out of your instagramming.
Number Two: Wilhelmshöhe Park
Located in Kassel, Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe has been described as “possibly the most grandiose combination of landscape and architecture that the Baroque dared anywhere.” This hillside park (the largest in Europe, and second largest in the world) is, indeed, unique. At the highest end of its 820,21 ft long cascade sits a striking copper Hercules monument. Other attractions include a palace, a castle, several ponds and waterfalls and 500 different types of trees. Wilhelmshöhe is one of the most extraordinary parks in the world.
Number One: Lehde
This tiny, remote community located in eastern Germany is one of the few villages within the Spreewald—a biosphere reserve which consists of more than 200 canals scattered across wetlands and pine forests. Lehde, with a population of just 150, can only be accessed via boat. Even the mail service has to paddle its way through the town to deliver the packages! It can’t get any more scenic than this. Thanks for reading; we hope you found your dream location!