No matter the time of the year, whether I’m back from vacation or planning for a new one, I always dream about those pretty places I’ve seen or I am still to see. I know you also have your fairytale destinations Europe bucket list and there’s enough time for everything.
When times are hard, or when I am just tired from work or not feeling optimistic about something, I like to run to my dreams.
So for times like that, or for when you are just looking for your next destination, I’m here with my fairytale destinations list to inspire you.
Because Europe has so many amazing places just waiting to be discovered, no matter if you travel from far away or from close by. For each destination, I’ll also add some tour options you might want to look into and start planning for next year. These are all great experiences organized by an award-winning travel agency, that provides travelers with everything they need to plan and book their next great escape in one place.
TourRadar has partnered up with over 2500 operators to offer the best quality of tours possible. And I’ll handpick the tours best suited for each destination on my Europe bucket list.
From sunny sandy beaches to towns packed with history, or the less known hidden gems – you’ll find everything you want here!
Fairytale destinations for your Europe bucket list
The Amalfi Coast
My love for Italy is neverending and all the amazing places you can see in this country are endless. Even so, the Amalfi Coast might be the most romantic place in the world.
I’ve been on the Amalfi Coast twice and I would go back over and over again, there’s just something about these places that don’t get old. The stunning views, colorful buildings, delicious food, and much more.
Germany’s Romantic Road
Castles, colorful medieval villages, vineyards, and of course delicious wine. Germany was so low on my list until I’ve started going back over and over again for work and discovered how stunning it actually is.
Many go to France to see castles and palaces, but Germany is filled with those as well. Drive Germany’s Romantic Road and you’ll come across many stunning little towns, castles, and much more.
Rothenburg ob den Tauber is only one of the most famous places here, but there are plenty more hidden from the crowds and just as lovely.
No matter the time of the year, there’s always something to do in Colmar. This place has been on my list since forever and I’m so happy I’ve finally managed to get to see it, even though I’ve only spent one day in Colmar.
Summer is amazing and filled with colors and flowers, while the Christmas Marker in Colmar is one of the most famous and beautiful in the world.
On top of that, the whole region is filled with small colorful villages set in between vineyards, and old citadels on hilltops.
The whole Puglia region in Southern Italy is stunning, but Alberobello is just torn from fairytales.
This small village is unique for its small trulli houses you see everywhere in the central part. Wandering around on an early August morning I fell hopelessly for each and every corner of this paradise.
No matter if you will only spend one day in Bruges, make every minute count because this is such a place out of a storybook.
Just one hour outside of Brussels, this town on the canals has so much in store! I even liked it more than Brussels itself, and I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list. If and when I will be back someday, I’ll make sure to stay overnight.
The tulip fields in The Netherlands
I’ve been watching all those amazing tulip field pictures on Instagram for a few years already when I’ve decided I must make it true!
And when I want something, I make it happen! So I found the best way to see the tulip fields without the crowds North of Amsterdam by booking one of the best tulip tours.
We roamed around endless tulip fields brightly colored, found the perfect combination of tulips and windmills, and took hundreds of stunning pictures to remember for a lifetime.
Santorini island, Greece
Santorini was high on my bucket list, but I wasn’t planning to go so soon. We spent one week in Santorini on a hot August and I will say the place is not at all overrated.
Of course, you should know where to stay in Santorini, and plan to have at least one night with a caldera view. Those white streets with the pinch of blue, caldera views, and the most remarkable sunset you will ever see.
Plan for the most romantic dinners, wine tastings, and sunset boat rides around the island.
Giethoorn, The Netherlands
Such a hidden gem of The Netherlands, even though getting from Amsterdam to Giethoorn is not at all hard. And no matter how long you visit Amsterdam you must allocate one day for this fairytale village on the canals.
With only a few permanent residents, Giethoorn is a village without cars, where you will feel like you stepped out of this world.
Groot Bijgaarden Castle and the tulip festival, Belgium
Only 7 kilometers outside of Brussels, who wouldn’t want to get there and see a castle and hundreds of flowers?
The Groot Bijgaarden Castle and the tulip festival taking place every spring in Belgium is a place I’ve stumbled upon while I was looking for tulips in Belgium. And when you visit Belgium in April and have half of the day spare, head here!
Hands down the most magical place in Portugal, taking a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra should be mandatory for everyone.
Sintra not only has the most popular and colorful castle in Portugal, but it actually has more castles. And on top of that, not far away there’s the ocean and some pretty hidden beaches.
I still haven’t been there, but it is so high on my bucket list. For a Romanian, it is actually strange that I’ve never been to Turkey, but it is what it is and I must plan to get there someday.
You definitely know this place from all the stunning pictures all over Instagram. Colorful hot air balloons over a really picturesque background. Girls in pretty dresses on colorful Turkish rugs, eating amazing food with a view.
In a way, the town reminds me of Matera, but with the hot air balloons on top.
Go island hopping in Greece
Of course, everyone has heard about Santorini and Mykonos, but there are plenty of less known, more authentic Greek islands. And you don’t even have to leave the Cyclades for that.
A dream vacation for me would be to explore 3 or more of these islands and get to spend some time on each. That’s the only way to discover the real charm of a place, get to taste delicious true local food, and meet people. And when it comes to all of that, Greece is top of the top!
Romania is such a hidden gem, skipped by many but worth a visit. No matter if you only stay in Bucharest and take some day trips, or if you go on a longer itinerary and explore Transylvania, you will be surprised.
I’m not saying that because Romania is my country, but I really think it has so much in store: from castles to pristine nature, well kept local traditions, one of the most epic roads in Europe, wineries, hyp cafes and delicious food!
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t enjoy spending some time in Romania, and that’s why you should give it a try, or at least add it to your Europe bucket list.
As we decided to visit Kotor in Montenegro I must admit I had no knowledge about this place. However, that was one of the best vacations ever, and Kotor is an incredibly charming place.
Set on the hills, with a citadel packed with enchanting restaurants serving fresh seafood and much more, a small pebble beach, and the possibility to take plenty of day trips – Kotor is the place to be in Europe next.
A vacation here is not only affordable but will place you close to Dubrovnik, Perast, and many more stunning locations.
Stockholm – castles and cherry trees
If you only choose one place to visit in Scandinavia, that should be Stockholm and Sweden for sure. Especially if you go during spring, you’ll be charmed by the mix of colorful buildings, clear blue sky, and flowers in bloom.
I loved this place so much and from cruising on the canals to exploring charming castles outside of town or simply enjoying the stunning nature they respect so much, I couldn’t have asked more from a place.
For nature lovers, there are plenty of physical activities to be experienced in Sweden!
Plitvice Lakes & the island of Krk
While I was studying in Italy I went on a road trip through Croatia all the way to the Plitvice Lakes and the island of Krk.
We drove around, stopped, and slept in different places by the sea in our tent, ate pasta and drank wine, visited Zagreb, and fell in love with the natural wonderland of the Plitvice Lakes. It was such a perfect European road trip.
Even though many might have already heard about the Plitvice Lakes, I bet this is the first time you’ve stumbled upon Krk island. You’ll be surprised to see its beauty and learn it is pretty much similar to the more popular Dubrovnik, but yet much less crowded.
Cefalu, authentic Sicily
I’ve visited Cefalu on a day trip from Palermo during our Mediterranean Cruise and loved it so much I dream about going back and staying here for some time.
As soon as we got off the bus and saw the crystal blue water, people going about their business, the vegetable seller driving his small car on the narrow streets and screaming about the freshness of its produce, the colorful small stores on the corners – the real Sicily!
Beaches are small here, but I don’t think many tourists choose to stay longer in this small town, and that’s what contributes even more to its charm.
Barcelona – sangria and seafood
It was to Barcelona that I’ve first-ever left Romania for and needless to say I was smitten by the vibe and views of the city. I’ve ever since returned several times and with every visit, I love the town even more.
Spain has so many stunning destinations to be discovered, however, Barcelona will always be top of my list.
The wide Barceloneta beach where people come to relax and have fun, the seafood and sangria served at all the restaurants along the harbor, the narrow streets, and gothic buildings in the Barru Gothic neighborhood, the way the city transforms itself from day to night.
These are only a few reasons why I love Barcelona so much and I think it needs to be on any Europe bucket list!
The Cotswolds, England
Maybe the most charming small villages in the world, the Cotswolds are a day trip to a fairytale. Choose to spend just one day driving from one village to the other, or plan a longer vacation in the British countryside, but just don’t miss out on these charming places.
Lofoten Islands, Norway
I’m sure you’ve seen them before – the unread landscapes, mountain peaks, colorful small houses contrasting with the setting.
Come here to see the Northern Lights and the midnight sun, kayak between the islands, go fishing for the catch of your life, or look for sea eagles soaring in the sky. This destination is perfect for nature lovers!
The Dolomites in Italy
Northern Italy still awaits to be discovered and explored. Read more about the breathtaking destinations I bet you haven’t heard of on this huge Italy Bucket List I put together. Because I will never run out of places I want to see in Italy, no matter if I’ve been there so many times.
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