To celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s most iconic fairytale resorts, we are sharing stunning stays near six real-life places that served as the inspiration for some of the most cherished and beloved animated films of all time.
From turreted castles to ancient palaces, these architectural landmarks are sure to bring out the inner princess in every traveler – also ideal for the 40%* of global travelers that say they pick a destination based on a movie or TV show. With more and more travel restrictions being lifted and the world starting to open up again, the once-upon-a-time is right for a little magic and adventure.
The historic 19th-century Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps is not only one of the most photographed in the world, it also served as the inspiration for the centerpiece of Florida’s most famous fairytale park. It’s many turrets and spires also influenced the castle in the classic 1959 animated retelling of the fairytale about an ill-fated princess, doomed to sleep for a hundred years after pricking her finger on the spindle of an enchanted spinning wheel.
Where to stay: Located in Hohenschwangau, directly below the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Hotel Alpenstuben is a traditional, family-run hotel surrounded by picturesque mountain peaks and towering pine trees. After a relaxing breakfast, guests can explore the forest by foot or visit the castle, which is only a 20-minute walk away.
For those who love the animated version of the fairytale about a princess with magical long blonde hair who dreams of escaping her secluded tower, the monolithic Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy will look incredibly familiar. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of France’s most gorgeous sights, periodically cut off from the mainland by tidal waters that enterprising travelers can traverse at low tide. When the tides rise, the rocky outcrop becomes surrounded by water and turns into a mystical island, which is especially photogenic at sunrise.
Where to stay: A renovated Breton-style house in Beauvoir, Chambres d’Hôtes Les Vieilles Digues is less than 2 miles away from Mont-Saint-Michel, which dominates the horizon. The property’s beautiful garden is perfect to relax on a sunny day, before taking a walk along Le Couesnon River.
The sturdy fortress of Alcázar de Segovia is believed to be the real-life inspiration for the evil queen’s castle in the world’s very first animated feature length film in color and with sound. Released in 1937, this groundbreaking work retells the story of a beautiful young princess who escapes the clutches of her murderous stepmother to live in a cottage in the forest with seven friendly dwarves. About an hour and a half north of Madrid, this royal residence is one of Spain’s most visited historical sites thanks to its imposing position atop a rocky outcrop.
Where to stay:On the Plaza Mayor, opposite Segovia Cathedral, Hotel Infanta Isabel is perfectly located to explore all the city’s historic sites, including medieval fortifications, ornate churches and an ancient Roman aqueduct with more than 160 arches.
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