TOP 10 ENCHANTING FAIRY TALE TOWNS IN THE WORLD

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The world is filled with many beautiful tourist destinations and awe-inspiring natural wonders. Although fairy tales only exist in children’s stories, there are towns that resemble a magical picture or painting that mesmerise travellers from all over the globe. In this issue, Top 10 of Malaysia shares its pick of ten most beautiful fairy tale towns that are well known for their cute and colorful architectures, interesting history and of course, breath-taking sceneries. These towns possess a charm that would make anyone feel as if they have been transported back into time or into a world of fantasy.      

Colmar, France

A pretty town filled with tiny cottages, Colmar is located in Northeastern France’s Grand Est region where France meets Germany. It is filled with cobblestone streets and multi-coloured medieval and early Renaissance buildings. Tourists could enjoy boat trips through canals while enjoying the scenery of the town area. Its Gothic 13th-century, Eglise Saint-Martin church stands on central Place de la Cathédrale. Interestingly and not surprisingly, Colmar has a mix of French and German influences when it comes to architecture, culture, food and drink. The town is mesmerising with all its colours, waterside houses, wooden shutters and even window boxes draped with flowers are all colourfully painted. Some buildings resemble creative artworks and are even decorated with hanging lamps and even chairs. Colmar is also famous for white wine in the Alsace region. 

Eguisheim, France

Another beautiful place is Eguisheim, a medieval town located in France’s Alsace wine region. The streets are lined with many preserved half-timbered houses. Visitors could also discover well preserved medieval fountains, colongereal courtyards and a church sheltering the “Opening Virgin”. The central Château Saint-Léon is a centuries-old castle which is frequently visited by tourists worldwide while at the Southwest is the Husseren-les-Châteaux, also known as the ruins of the Three Castles of Eguisheim from the Middle Ages. In the Northwest is Hohlandsbourg Castle with its formidable ramparts. The town is filled with uniquely designed brightly coloured old houses with pointed roofs and timber-framed façades. Eguisheim is extra charming during Christmas and numerous people would flock to the town to participate in fun Christmas activities. 

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic 

Located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, Český Krumlov is a city that is bisected by the Vltava River, it is also called the “Pearl of the Bohemian Forest” and dominated by its 13th-century castle that possessed elements such as Gothic, Renaissance and baroque. The castle also has a garden and also a magnificent original 17th-century baroque theatre. Visitors are able to enjoy panoramic views of the old town and the river from the top of its round belltower. Also known as a UNESCO World Heritage city, Český has many wonderful tourist attractions. Many cafés and restaurants are found at the old market square called the Náměstí Svornosti and it has a fountain with a baroque plague column. 

Hamnøy, Norway

Hamnøy is also known as Hamnøya. This small fishing village in Moskenes Municipality is located at Nordland county, Norway at the eastern side of the island of Moskenesøya. Known as the most picturesque fishing village in Lofoten, Norway, it is one of the major attraction sites where many people enjoy fishing and even watching the northern lights or midnight sun. A bridge that connects the Hamnøya and Toppøya islands is also known to be one of the most popular spots for photography enthusiasts. Hamnøy is surrounded by sea, fjords and mountains. Visitors could stay in a cozy red cabin called a rorbuer (traditional fisherman’s cabin) when they plan a fishing trip at this village. People who enjoy cycling could also rent bikes and go exploring while there are also water sports for adrenaline junkies such as scuba diving and deep-sea rafting. 

Manarola, Italy

Located in La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy, Manarola is a small town that is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns with a population of 353. Manarola is built on a high rock above sea level. The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multicoloured houses and a small piazza with seafood restaurants. It is known for its scenic hike from Manarola to Volastra and finally to Corniglia. Visitors could walk on a path filled with narrow, breath-taking terraces with vineyards that are supported by dry stone walls and get a good view of the spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the Cinque Terre villages.

Monemvasia, Greece

Monemvasia is a town and municipality in Laconia, Greece. It is located on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese which is surrounded by the Myrtoan Sea. It is known as one of the most romantic places in Greece that is also a medieval castle town that was exclusively carved on the slopes of a rock. A majority of Monemvasia’s old mansions have been transformed into guesthouses and boutique hotels. A modern town with many tourist facilities is available outside the rock. This stunning castle town in south-eastern Peloponnese was constructed to be invisible from the mainland in order to prevent enemy attacks. Visitors would normally enjoy taking strolls around the paved streets of the castle town while admiring the magnificent stone mansions and the Byzantine churches, such as the church of Agia Sofia and Christ Elkomenos. 

Provence, France

Provence is a region in southeastern France and it is known for its beautiful landscapes to vineyards, olive groves, pine forests and lavender fields. To the south is the Côte d’Azur and there lies the elegant city of Nice and glamorous resort towns such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes line the coast. Provence is filled with fields of Lavender, the Mediterranean Sea, ancient villages on hilltops, and a landscape dotted with vineyards, orchards, and even a farmland. At Valensole, tourists would be able to visit the lavender valley region of Provence.  Another famous attraction spot at Provence is Gordes, a cute hilltop town with stone houses that sit on the edge of the hillside. 

Rothenburg, Germany

A German town in northern Bavaria, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is famous for its medieval architecture. Half-timbered houses are found lined on the cobblestone lanes and the town walls include preserved gate houses and towers with a covered walkway above. A must-visit place is Rothenburg’s Plönlein Corner, which is a square that is centered on a bright yellow, half-timber home and flowered water well. Rothenburg is famous for its numerous festivals and the town comes to life, especially at the Market Square (Marktplatz) and Green Market (Grüner Markt). Various events including historical reenactments and medieval celebrations are held. Some of the well-known festivals visitors could look forward to are the Franconian Wine Festival, Imperial City Days, the Master Draught and the world-famous Rothenburg Christmas Market. At the Rothenburg Christmas Market, tourists would get to indulge in German food, warm mulled wine and even shop for souvenirs such as Christmas ornaments and nutcrackers. 

Shirakawa, Japan

Located in Ōno District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, Shirakawa is a village that is the site of Shirakawa-gō. The small and traditional village in Ogimachi is well-known for its building style or farmhouses called gasshō-zukuri. The meaning of Gassho-zukuri is “constructed like hands in prayer”. This is due to the steep thatched roofs of the farmhouses that are similar to the hands of Buddhist monks that are pressed together when they pray. The buildings were designed to endure a huge amount of snow during winter and the roofs also provide a large living and working space in every building. The farmhouses are beautiful as they are built on high ground in the North Alps. Shirakawa is also declared as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Some farmhouses are creatively converted into restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, guesthouses or even shrines and temples. Some famous local crafts that are sold are rustic items, silk products, bamboo crafts and sarubobo dolls. 

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi is a cobblestoned old town that was built during the Persian and Russian rule. Located on the banks of the Mtkvari River, Tbilisi is one of the world’s oldest settlements. Its architecture resembles something from a Gothic fairytale story and this includes ornate art nouveau buildings, Eastern Orthodox churches and even Soviet Modernist structures. The Narikala, a reconstructed 4th-century fortress and Kartlis Deda, an iconic statue of the “Mother of Georgia” are a few iconic landmarks in the town. Many tourists also enjoy visiting the Georgian and Armenian churches, mosques and synagogues, and the ruins of the Zoroastrian fire temple. Tbilisi is also a heaven for food lovers. The Khachapuri is a national dish in Georgia and it is a tasty, cheese-filled flatbread served with butter and egg yolk in the middle. Another favourite meal is the Khinkali, dumplings filled with minced meat and spices.

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