5 Fairytale Towns in Central Europe

Fairytale Town of Hallstatt

There are a lot of classically beautiful places in Europe, right? Paris – yep. Prague – certainly. Venice – without a doubt. That’s part of what makes Europe such a fun destination to visit, the romantic notions stirred by architecture, culture and history. But there are some smaller places that take that innate beauty to the next level. Places where you’re uncertain whether what’s in front of you is actually real or somewhere that belongs in a storybook. These towns I’m thinking of owe part of their fantastic charm to being a little quieter than superstars like Paris and Venice, but still deliver stunning scenery. So here are five fairytale towns in Central Europe that you’ll feel are too beautiful to be real.


Hallstatt, Austria

If you’re like me and enjoy looking at beautiful, interesting places to travel to on social media and the Internet, then its almost guaranteed you’ve seen pictures of Hallstatt. I mean, look at it! This darling of Instagram is a small lakeside town hidden by mountains in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. Hallstatt is situated on a steep hillside next to a lake of the same name and around the town in all directions are giant, looming alpine mountains. In town you will find incredibly pretty wooden houses all painted and built in the traditional style. Walking through its streets, you’ll struggle to accept that people actually live here it’s so achingly lovely.

Fairytale Town Houses of Hallstatt


Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

When it comes to classic old towns overlooked by stately castles, Cesky Krumlov should be right near the top of the list. First off, what a name! This gorgeous little town is nestled in the curves of the Vltava river with charming cobbled streets and an impressive castle that has views over the entire town. Walking through the castle grounds there are a series of elegant courtyards connected by tunnels that bring you up above town to viewpoints and a huge palace garden you could get lost in. Down in town, you will find well-restored traditional buildings and even several quaint watermills. I find it hard to fathom someone not falling for such an endearing place as Cesky Krumlov.

Cesky Krumlov, Fairytale Towns of Europe


Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina

I picked this small town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina because it’s a little left field and probably the least known among the towns on this list. And I think that’s a massive shame as it’s a truly beautiful place. Here you have a fortified town covered in greenery with a surprisingly powerful waterfall running a few minutes from the centre of town. In the centre of town is a sizeable hilltop fort and only a few kilometres away, a series of lakes that flow into each other via small waterfalls. There’s something incredibly serene about this little known, but picturesque town.

Fairytale town of Jajce


Bojnice, Slovakia

There’s honestly one reason to come to humble Bojnice in central Slovakia and that is the town’s epic castle. Bojnice Castle would definitely look at home in a Harry Potter or Disney movie. This massive castle is almost textbook with its swan-filled moat, walls, drawbridge and long spires. Plus, it’s so large that it can be spotted miles away and dwarfs the town around it. Inside it only gets better with chambers where you can easily imagine knights fighting one another with swords and the lavish Golden Hall whose ceiling is completely gilded. It’s the kind of place where it’s worth taking a tour through, even if it’s unlikely to be in English.

Bojnice and its Castle, Fairytale Towns in Europe


Lake Bled, Slovenia

When it comes to the beauty of Lake Bled, it’s really not about the town of Bled itself. Where the magic happens is the stunning Church of the Assumption of Maria situated on a tiny island and the small cliff top castle that watches over the lake. Oh and all of this set on a backdrop of big pine forests and the mighty Alps. As you walk around the lake, you’re able to see both the castle and the church from different angles and it just gets better and better.

In fact the best view of the church is from the castle walls, where the church is a little spot in the middle of the blue and green landscape of lake and trees. To reach the island church, you can take a small traditional boat called a pletna, a devastatingly relaxing option. In the end, at Lake Bled it’s all about seeing the charming cliff top castle that sits high above the lake and exploring the tiny island and it’s church. It may not sound like much, but trust me it’s worth it.

Fairytale Town of Lake Bled


Have you ever been to any of the above fairytale towns?  Where else do you think looks so unreal that it must have been ripped from a fairytale? Please share in the comments below.

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Fairytale Towns of Central Europe via @travelsewhere


18 Comment

  1. This is fantastic … I have never heard of any of these places and I love that travellers such as yourself go off the beaten track to discover such gems for you to share. These towns are stunningly prretty and I would love to visit them so thank you!

    1. David says: Reply

      Thanks Angie, glad I could share some new places for you to consider visiting. I highly recommend any and all of them!

  2. Lisa says: Reply

    So many wonderful locations to visit. I love that they are off the beaten track, my kinda travel! Your pictures are stunning. I have always wanted to see Austria..time to do just do it! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. David says: Reply

      Thank you Lisa, Austria is simply wonderful, so I hope you make it there someday. Glad you enjoyed reading.

  3. Love your fairy tale towns. Next time I’m there I will have to visit some of these amazing places. Love the photos and the descriptions which makes me feel like I’m there. Thanks for shaing! Also had to pin this on pintrest 🙂

    1. David says: Reply

      Hope you do get to visit these Stephanie, they’re definitely worth another trip to Europe.

  4. Great post, David. I’ve managed 2 on this list – Cesky Krumlov was amazing – loved walking around its cobbled streets and lovely castle. Swimming in freezing Lake Bled in late October was a great experience too!

    1. David says: Reply

      Cheers Alexei, nice to hear you’ve visited some of these. Although I think swimming in the lake in October would be a bit too chilly yeh.

  5. Nina says: Reply

    Great idea for travel :). Thanks for sharing

    1. David says: Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Nina 🙂

  6. We traveled the romantic road in Germany and are now in Austria in a fairy tale town names Murau. It’s so great to travel Europe. Next time we’d love to travel more east like you did and see towns like Cesky Krumlov and Bojnice.

    1. David says: Reply

      I have a deep love of Europe too Marcelle and would certainly recommend heading to Eastern Europe because there is a surprising amount of wonderful places to find. I googled Murau and it looks wonderful – I’ll keep it in mind, thanks.

  7. Garth says: Reply

    Great photos as always David, love the waterfall one, I got some good ones too in Iceland after a lot of experimenting! and the Pesky Krumlov high shot is stunning, probably my favourite. *Sigh* never been to any these places, would really love to, and I’m sure we will, especially Slovakia and Slovenia, those two countries get so little exposure and have always intrigued me. We’re concentrating on international travel at the moment, and hope to do lots of Europe when we’ve ticked off a few big countries.

    1. David says: Reply

      Thanks Garth, it took me a while with the waterfall one – I really need to get me a tripod! Hopefully you and Phil can journey to these one day, I understand the need to priotise your trips. Each of these countries has so much more than just the above to offer visitors.

  8. Vyjay says: Reply

    Europe is full of these kind of fairy tale and magical towns. They all look so pure, untouched and charming. Your list is a great one. I loved discovering small villages and towns when I was in Switzerland for some time.

    1. David says: Reply

      Thanks for reading Vyjay. I agree, Europe has so many magical places to visit and you could easily include a whole bunch from Switzerland on a list like this.

  9. Why have I never seen this post before! Bojnice Castle looks ammmazing!!! Adding to my list!!

    1. David says: Reply

      It’s an oldie but a goodie!

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