Germany top 5: Fairytale towns
From Cinderella to Rapunzel, Snow White to Beauty and the Beast, if you want to live out your childhood fairytale favorites, Germany is the perfect place. Here are five fairytale towns you won’t want to pass by.
If you want to be Snow White and wander the wilderness hoping to stumble upon seven dwarfs to crash with, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the place for you. The Bavarian site of the 1936 Winter Olympics gives breathtaking backdrops of the Alps, with some of the country’s best hiking and skiing. You can be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty and travel to the magical Neuschwanstein castle. Disney modeled both castles after the 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace.
Hilly Heidelberg is a village where Rapunzel could really let her hair down. One of the few German cities untouched in both world wars, its old-world feel is well preserved. Go back in time by touring the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle, which Mark Twain highlighted in his 1880 travel book, “A Tramp Abroad.” A 20-minute walk will take you to Evangelische Kirche Heidelberg, or Church of the Holy Spirit, located in the city’s center. Five euros gives you a look inside and a hike to the very top for an incredible view of the city, the castle and the Neckar River. If you’re looking to replace that shoe you left at the ball, Heidelberg has the longest pedestrian shopping street in Germany, stretching one-mile long.
The village so nice they named it twice! Relive Hansel and Gretel’s journey by hiking in the Black Forest (minus the breadcrumbs and cannibalistic witch). Located on the east bank of the Rhine and the French border, you can take in the city’s beautiful Baroque-influenced architecture and rainbow-colored homes as you walk the city streets. If you’re needing some ‘me-time’ because your frog prince is hopping on your last nerve, get serious rest and relaxation at Germany’s top spa destination. Take a dip in the healing waters of 12 thermal springs discovered 2,000 years ago.
Wernigerode reminds me of the scene in Beauty and the Beast where people are popping out windows, yelling, “Bonjour!” I think it’s because the city is filled with brightly colored half-timber homes that mirror the scene in the Disney classic. You can fall in love with your beast at the gothic Wernigerode Castle. Dating back to the 12th century, it served as a medieval hilltop fortress for German emperors during hunting trips. Wernigerode is nestled just northeast of the Harz Mountains with lots of hiking and outdoor adventures. Take an old-timey steam locomotive that winds from Wernigerode to the top of Brocken Mountain. The town even has its own leaning tower of Pisa! Stroll by the Wonky House with its seven-degree tilt, almost double Pisa’s slant. A short walk will take you to Wernigerode’s Smallest House, a home fitting for Snow White and her seven dwarfs. The house constructed in the 1920s is just 13.7 feet from ground to gutter and 9.6 feet wide.
Your camera will be working overtime in Lindau, as you live out your Little Mermaid fantasy. At the foot of the Alps and right on the shores of Lake Constance, you can take a ferry ride that gives incredible views of not only Germany but Austria and Switzerland as well. Feel like a fairy princess as you wander through Mainau, a tiny magical island, home to gardens bursting with color and a greenhouse butterfly sanctuary. Germany’s southernmost lighthouse is located at Lindau Harbor. The New Lighthouse was constructed in 1856. Get your exercise in by climbing 139 steps to the top and enjoying panoramic views from the observation deck.
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