Feed your imagination and visit the fantastical locations that feature in all your favourite Disney films. Here’s eleven places in Europe that’ll make you believe in magic.
Lined with rows and rows of quaint colourful houses, this little town in France brings all your Beauty and the Beast fantasies to life. Sitting on the Alsace Wine Route, the cobbled streets of the village inspired the setting for Belle’s song about her life in the countryside. Boasting the backdrop of endless vineyards and hilly landscape, this is one of the must-see places in Europe if you’re a fan of Disney.
One look at this castle and you’ll immediately understand why animators chose to replicate its Romanesque charm in the film Sleeping Beauty. Head inside its walls and live out all your princess dreams as you wander round the architecture also reminiscent of the Cinderella castle in Disneyworld itself. One of the most visited castles in the world, Neuschwanstein perches on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangan.
A tale as old as time itself, the Greek temple is a must-see monument whether you’re into Disney or not. Dedicated to Zeus, in the Hercules film, the cartoon version of one of Athens’ most visited landmarks, plays the meeting point for the hero and his father.
The beating heart of the French capital, Notre Dame was home to the lovable Quasimodo in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and is a real sight for sore eyes. Right in the centre of Paris, marking the fourth arrondissement, experience the magic of this location up close and personal.
With over 1,000 years of history stomped into its streets, this fairy-tale village off the coast of Normandy is your next port of call when looking for Disney inspired spots in Europe. Featuring in Frozen, creators sought inspiration for the kingdom of Corona from the village and its majestic Mont Saint-Michel Abbey that watches over the residents below.
Swap legs for a tail and visit the breath-taking Chateau de Chillon the next time you are near Montreux. Acting as the template for Prince Eric’s castle, have your perfect Ariel happy ever after and follow the lake side flower path right up to the door of this iconic location. Don’t leave without grabbing an Instagram on the little beach in front of the castle, same as in the movie, to complete the experience.
Re-enact the most magical scene in everyone’s favourite Peter Pan, and stop by London’s Big Ben. Lean back and look up at where the Darling siblings landed on the minute hand of the city’s clocktower, en route to Neverland with Peter and Tinkerbell.
Nestled in the Guadarrama mountains, the original Evil Queen made her home in the grand turrets and white façade of Spain’s Alcazar. Snow White’s palace was modelled after this unique 12th century structure with its bow-like shape. Visit Central Spain and see for yourself why this location sparked magic into one of Disney’s most well-known films.
Red-headed princess, Merida puts the Scottish Highlands on the map with her DunBroch Castle and now you can see the real deal in all its glory. Head for the hills and take a tour of the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle whose features were behind the creation of the royal dwellings in Disney’s feature film, Brave.
Serving as inspiration for the 1940 animation of Pinocchio, this idyllic village in Bavaria packs double the punch when it comes to fairy-tale features. Wander cobbled streets to the tune of When You Wish Upon a Star and throw a penny in St. George’s Fountain, the location of Belle’s ode to her beloved books in Beauty and the Beast.
The site of Elsa’s coronation in Frozen, the 19th century St. Olaf’s Church in Norway is the last stop on your European Disney treasure hunt and it doesn’t disappoint. Further inspiring the name of everyone’s favourite snowman, the church is located in Balestrand and is sure to blow away the cobwebs with its striking beauty.
- Lucy Norris