Some people like to vacation to big metropolitan cities like London or New York. But if your idea of a perfect vacation is an enchanting getaway to a place with sprawling green hills, babbling brooks, and cottages that look like something you’d find in a storybook, there are plenty of picture-perfect villages around the world to choose from.
Here are seven of our favorite real-life villages that look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale.
1. Gordes, France
Provence boasts a number of picturesque villages that will leave you awestruck, and one of the most impressive is Gordes, a hub for art-lovers that offers sweeping views of the region. Stone buildings line the tiny streets that spiral up to a church and castle that look out across the hills of the Luberon.
2. Rothenburg, Germany
This medieval village was Germany’s second-largest city in the middle ages, but now it’s a charming tourist destination filled with quaint architecture and an abundance of shops. Enjoy wandering among the timber-framed houses and small lanes.
3. Cinque Terre, Italy
If the fairy-tale villages in your mind involve brightly colored houses, Cinque Terre is the place for you. These pastel-colored fishing villages are located on coastal cliffs with sweeping views. There are no cars allowed in Cinque Terre, making it a great place to explore on foot.
4. Bibury, England
Nothing says charming like a Cotswold village, and Bibury is quintessential English countryside. Filled with clusters of cottages, green meadows and a sprawling river, Bibury is truly a dreamy fairy-tale land.
5. Gokayama, Japan
These villages in Japan are located in a river valley surrounded by mountains and are filled with unique houses with steep thatch roofs. This winter wonderland is a UNESCO world heritage site, making it well worth the visit.
6. Giethoorn, Holland
Giethoorn, Holland, like Venice, Italy, is built on waterways. In fact, it has no roads. Unlike Venice, it’s nestled between lush vegetation and a series of lakes and canals, making it truly a fairy-tale village. There are plenty of charming bridges and cottages to explore by boat or foot.
7. Hallstatt, Austria
The Alpine village of Hallstatt is Austria’s oldest village, and it contains beautiful baroque buildings tucked between mountains and water. Visitors love the mix of delightful architecture and the nature-filled landscape; meandering through both is a magical experience.