11 Places Straight out of a Fairytale

The world we live in is full of fairytales–you just have to be willing to keep your eyes and your heart open to the magic. Every place on earth has it’s own magical qualities.

However, these 11 places (in no particular order) really radiate an otherworldly and ethereal feeling. We are truly blessed to live on this Earth covered with so much beauty! Let’s cherish and protect it.

1) Banff National Park (Fairmont Hotel)

This hotel makes the list because it’s basically like staying in a beautiful (and haunted!) Castle. The views are absolutely incredible, the grounds are surrounded by elk, and the occasional bear wanders by. It’s right in the Banff National Park where you can take breathtaking little road trips every day around the majestic mountains and look out for bighorn sheep, elk, and if you’re lucky—black bears.

Or you can hike right around the hotel. The trail down to the river is surrounded by large trees, mossy rocks, and little mystical woodland creatures. 🐿

I’m pretty sure it would be practically impossible to be disappointed in this place. Unless the ghosts get to you…. 👻 

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in the Canadian Rocky Mountains
NUMBER 1/10 is…..The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in the deep forest of the Canadian Rockies. 

2) Flåm, Norway

Norway itself blows my mind, but the Flåm Railway between the sea at Sognefjord and Flåm feels like a trip through a magical faerie wonderland. It’s only 20 kilometers, but you go through the valley of Flåmsdalen up through the mountains of Myrdal, where you go through several tunnels.

Every time we exited a tunnel, it felt like my heart was bursting out of my chest at the incredible scene each time. So many waterfalls!

This photo was taken at a stop halfway where you can admire this fabulous waterfall and a Norwegian faerie was actually dancing and singing at the base of the waterfall… what! Yes. 🙌

Flåm, Norway and the train that takes you through the mountains and waterfalls
NUMBER 2/10 is…..Flåm, Norway and the train that takes you through the mountains and waterfalls to get there. 

3) Bagan, Myanmar

Watching the sunrise from the top of an ancient temple while hot air balloons fly through the sky is a surreal scene not to be easily forgotten. Bagan is an ancient city full of over 2,000 pagodas and temples from the 9th to 13th centuries dotted across the green landscape.

Rent e-bikes and you can zip around from temple to temple, peeking in at tiny buddhas and giant buddhas of all shapes and sizes all day long. Finding the remote ones are the best as you can be completely alone in a sacred temple just enjoying the energy and space.

Don’t forgot to stop for a delicious vegan lunch at the famous Be Kind to Animals Cafe 🙂 

NUMBER 3/10 is…..Bagan, Myanmar with its ancient temples and hot air balloons. 

4) Mount Kōya, Japan

Getting to Mount Kōya requires half a day of a pilgrimage— taking trains from the city, buses, a cable car and some walking —but once you get to the village of Koyasan at the top, you will be overcome with a sense of peace and calm.

With over 100 Buddhist temples (some with accommodation), you can experience what it’s like to live like a monk and stay overnight on a sacred mountain. The food at the temples is all Shojin Ryori which is wonderful Japanese Buddhist cuisine—that happens to be vegan. They practice Ahimsa- non harm to all beings. 🙌

The best part of Mount Koya is the otherworldly Okunoin Cemetery. This magical place is lined with gigantic cedar trees, ancient mossy tombs, pagodas, and a path to Kobo Daishi’s burial site that you can walk to by candlelight at night to feel his eternal energy. Don’t be startled by the flying foxes and talking toads on toadstools—they will have a sacred message for you that you should listen closely to…at least the toad who was talking to me did. 🐸 

NUMBER 4/10 is…..Mount Kōya, Japan with its giant cedar trees and sacred sites.

5) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Imagine the purest blue-green waters surrounded by mossy trees and waterfalls with misty air surrounding you. Plitvice Lakes in Croatia are a series of sixteen lakes connected by ninety waterfalls that flow one lake into another. The boardwalk takes you on a breathtaking walk winding around the lakes and waterfalls. The lakes are of the purest, untouched waters as humans are forbidden to enter the water and contaminate it. 

The mystical legends of the area include a magic queen who created the lakes during a drought, a wise monk who lives in a cave to whom all come to for advice, and lake faeries who entice you into the lakes and then you never come out. 

NUMBER 5/10 is…..Plitvice Lakes, Croatia with its many breathtaking lakes and waterfalls.

6) Crescent Island, Kenya

It seems like something magical always happens after it rains, and so it was as we began our boat ride out to Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha. It was pouring rain as we set out with our umbrellas and even the hippos were under cover where we couldn’t see them. As we crossed the lake, we weren’t sure what or if we would see anything in the downpour. Then, suddenly, the clouds opened up to the sun and the island came into view.

My mouth dropped as herds of several types of animals roamed free on the island where there are no predators, and man walk freely side by side with giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, waterbuck, and buffalos. Birds flew in abundance and flowers were blooming on nearly every plant. The serenity, the quiet, and the peace of the animals feels like a scene from jungle book. It’s especially a fairytale thinking of how humans grow up next to these animals and there is a mutual sense of respect. 🦒 🦓 🐃 🦛 

NUMBER 6/10 is…..Lake Naivasha, Kenya with the animals that roam free on the island. 

7) Lahemaa National Park, Estonia

Estonia is a beautiful forest paradise where trees cover 50% of the land in the country. So where else would I rather be? 😍

The Viru Bog in the Lahemaa National Park is only walkable by a boardwalk as bogs are very soft ground that is bouncy and can sink in areas. This is a good way to keep humans away (for the most part) and that’s why, of course, many magical things happen.

Miniature dwarf pines that are suspiciously hundreds of years old grow roots deep into the earth and strange, unusual plants grow here, including sundew, a carnivorous plant. The waterholes are a deep abyss full of healthy minerals that turn the water dark where fairies and other ethereal beings can easily hid in. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll catch sight of a will-o’-wisp!

NUMBER 7/10 is….Lahemaa National Park in Estonia with its fairy bogs, mires, pebbled beaches, and spruce forests.✨

8) Devin Castle, Slovakia

If you want to feel like you’ve gone back to the best of medieval times, Devin Castle will take you there. To get there, you have to take a boat ride down the Danube river from Bratislava. You get dropped off at the riverbank and hike up the hill to the castle. It’s mostly ruins, but the fantastic scenery and the mystical vibe there is real.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get there in mulberry season and just stand under a tree picking fresh berries until they kick you out. Ok, maybe that just happens to us. 😉 

NUMBER 8/10 is…..Devin Castle, Slovakia in its remote high location on a blue green river. 

9) Machu Picchu, Peru

Reaching Machu Picchu is like arriving upon a mystical lost world in the middle of nowhere—or is it the middle of everywhere? The mystery in the air is undeniable as the hummingbirds peeked around every corner at us. They must have wondered where the humans disappeared all those years and now we are suddenly back.

Being above the fog and the clouds makes you feel like you must be in heaven and if you fell off the side, you’d just fall into nothingness. Unless a charm of mystical hummingbirds (faeries) swept you up and placed you back on the mountain. 

NUMBER 9/10 is….The Lost City of the Incas (Machu Picchu) in Peru 

10) Isle of Skye, Scotland (Faerie Glen)

A list of fairytale places would never be complete without a mention of Scotland. In fact, I could very well do a whole series of fairytale places just in Scotland!

Traveling up to the Highlands and over to the Isle of Skye is a journey you’ll never soon forget. A winding and narrow road leads you through the marvels of the misty mountains, waterfalls, incredibly green landscapes, foggy dunes, and rocky cliffs. It’s great fun just to park and run among the bogs with the highland sheep 🐑 🙂

But don’t forget to raveling up to the Scottish Highlands and over to the Isle of Skye is a journey you’ll never soon forget. A winding and narrow road leads you through the marvels of the misty mountains, waterfalls, incredibly green landscapes, foggy dunes, and rocky cliffs. It’s great fun just to park and run among the bogs with the highland sheep 🐑 🙂

But don’t forget to hike over to the Fairy Glen where you feel the whirling energy of the fae at your fingertips. It is said many faeries dwell in the crevices of this magical realm. 

11) BONUS **** Maui, Hawaii (Leilani Farm Sanctuary)

Ok, this one we are a little biased on since we got married here. Yes, barefoot on the beach officiated by a local with a conch shell! 🐚 As a wedding destination, it’s perfect.

As a fairytale destination, it’s also a dream come true. The road to Hana with its incredible views on every turn, and the green everywhere. I mean, it’s SO GREEN. Taking a helicopter over West Maui mountains is highly recommended as well as kayaking and swimming out to see the turtles and the humpback whales that are abundant in the area.

Don’t forget to visit The Leilani Farm Sanctuary which is a literal heaven on earth for rescued animals! These farm animals live very freely in an ideal landscape with no predators to worry about! It’s a real life garden of Eden.  🌈

Leilani Farm Sancuary in Maui
A place where a pig and turtle cuddle in their house, while a goose stands guard.

Thanks for checking out our blog! See more of my photography at www.capturedbybrooke.com.

Peace, Love, Travel!

~Brooke

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