Published on Friday, 23 June 2017 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Yes, this is the real life, it is not just fantasy. If you have always envied the royals living in the beautifully illustrated pages of fairy-tale books, it is time to pack your bags and head to these 10 magical landscapes that will seem to teleport you to a whole different dimension.
The best authors are able to weave a story with words strategically constructed to whisk you away to a whole different world, offering a fantastical escape from reality, so vividly detailed that the mental image of the place stays with you even way beyond childhood.
However, as enchanting as these literary worlds are, wondrous lands created by the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and even J.K. Rowling have gotten their inspirations from our very own world.
1. Fairy Glen
Uig, Isle of Skye, Scotland
This enchanting landscape is hidden off the beaten path in The Isle of Skye, but it is worth a trek to catch a glimpse of its otherworldly beauty. Natural rock spirals, cone-shaped hills dotted with ponds and scattered waterfalls are all within one small area. Legend has it that faeries created the dramatic landscape and still dwell within its many crevices.
2. Church of San Miguel Del Fai
Cataluña, Sant Quirze Safaja, Spain
Etched into a cliffside of Cataluña, this gorgeous ancient monastery precariously sits overlooking a plunging vista complete with a cascading waterfall that courses through the architecture.
3. Victoria Beach's Pirate Tower
Laguna Beach, California
This enigmatic tower set upon the shores of Victoria Beach looks like something straight out of a children's story book. There is something mystical and charmingly eerie about this tower dubbed the Pirate Tower, but the backstory of it is not as riveting as what your imagination would conceive. This 18-meter tower was built back in 1926 by an eccentric and wealthy merchant as a staircase that reaches from the edge of the water up to the top of the cliff where the house sits so that they had a private access to the beach. Unfortunately there was a design flaw as the base of the tower becomes completely submerged during high tide, rendering the tower unusable.
4. Izmailovo Kremlin
Izmailovo District, Moscow, Russia
If you wish to take some spectacular and whimsical photos without anyone photobombing your shot, check out this lesser known kremlin located in the northeast part of Moscow. In the city’s Izmailovo District is an unexpected, fantastical-looking cultural wonderland. It was established as a cultural center and marketplace, loosely modeled after traditional Russian architecture and fairytale depictions of Old Russia.
5. Neuschwanstein Castle
The enchanting, sky-scraping castles of fairy tales were probably inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle. It was an ethereal structure that was supposed to serve as a holiday home for the “fairy tale king” King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The opulent castle was commissioned in the mid-1800s by the king in homage to the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig was never able to see the finalized castle, but his taste for elegant and extravagant design decorates the landscape to this day.
6. Tourlitis Lighthouse
Perched on a narrow rock formation with the waves crashing into shatters of white around the foundation stands the Tourlitis Lighthouse. Just looking at it may conjure to mind illusions of mermaids lurking beneath the sea foam.
7. Multnomah Falls
Corbett, Oregon, USA
It may seem like cheeky water sprites may jump out of the pool at anytime amidst the roar of the double waterfall. This waterfall is fed by an underground spring, snow melt, and rainwater, enabling its icy waters to cascade down in a torrential stream of white all year round. According to Native American legend, the falls were created to win the heart and hand of a young princess who needed a secret place to bathe.
8. Linderhof Palace
Of the three palaces that the “fairy tale king” King Ludwig II of Bavaria had ordered to be constructed, the Linderhof Palace was the only one which he saw completed in its full glory. The palatial palace was tiny compared to the intimidatingly gargantuan structures of the others, but it did not lose out in extravagance. Most of the interior is gilded in gold with ivory candelabras and a carpet made of ostrich down. Inspired by Versailles, Ludwig created a mirror image of “Sun King” Louis XIV’s bedchamber, and styled himself the “Night King.”
9. Church of Andrew the Apostle
Lake Vuoksa, Priozerskiy Rayon, Russia
In the middle of Lake Vuoksa, about two hours north of St. Petersburg, a quaint and charming little church that seemed to have just magically rose out of the waters sits on a small stone island just barely above the water's surface. The Church of Andrew the Apostle is a Russian Orthodox Church designed by Russian architect Andrei Rotinov, and was modeled after the famous Church of the Ascension at Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate in Moscow. Although there are no regularly scheduled ceremonies or masses at the beautiful, idyllic little chapel, it is available by appointment for baptisms and weddings. Do note that a boat is required to access the church.
10. Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery
Italy is home to some awe-inspiring architecture marvels, and one of them is perched high on a rocky promontory on the breathtaking coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery is a 4th century medieval church that's accessible only by climbing up a meandering flight of steps carved directly into the cliffside. Tropea has been inhabited for at least 2,000 years. According to legend, the storied seaside town was founded by Hercules himself.