Visit these fairytale destinations, and see the real places that inspired storytellers to create famous fairy tales, including Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King and Snow White.
Hotel del CoronadoFleeing the Midwest winters, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum spent time soaking up the Southern California sunshine at the fairytale-like Hotel del Coronado . In fact, it's been said that the "Emerald City" of Coronado inspired another -- the magical land of Oz. The author was allegedly inspired by the hotel's lush green grounds and famous red turrets while writing several books in the series there. Inside the soaring tower, guests can still see the 4 crown-shaped chandeliers designed by Baum. Visitors can also stroll past the quaint yellow house he rented during his stays. 960 1280
Neuschwanstein CastleVisit the southwest region of Bavaria, Germany, to see the castle that inspired the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. Neuschwanstein Castle, a retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria, was designed to pay homage to German composer Richard Wagner. 960 1280
The SerengetiHakuna matata! Relive the magic of “The Lion King,” and travel to the Serengeti in Africa. The 12,000-square-mile region extends from north Tanzania into southwestern Kenya. Lions, wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffalos are some of the wildlife in the popular safari destination. 960 1280
Lohr, GermanyGermany’s charming town of Lohr is said to have helped inspire the Brothers Grimm’s epic story of Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. Lohr, located between Würzburg and Aschaffenburg in Bavaria, an area wealthy in spinning magical tales. The Main River borders the town which is also surrounded on all 3 sides by the dense and intensely green Spessart Forest. 960 1280
Chateau de ChambordAfter a trip to the Chateau de Chambord, the creators of “Beauty and the Beast” decided to revamp the initial version of the film. One of the changes was to make the real-life castle the fairytale home of the Beast. Be the belle of the ball and visit the largest chateau in the France’s Loire Valley. King Francois I constructed the castle to be near his mistress Comtesse de Thoury, Claude Rohan. You really can’t tell from the outside, but the castle was never completed. 960 1280
BaghdadTake a magic carpet ride to Baghdad, a city that has inspired storytellers to write fairy tales about genies and magic lamps. Even though it's not known as a popular travel destination, Iraq's capital city is one of several locations mentioned in the Arabian folktale "One Thousand and One Nights." It also inspired the exciting adventures of Disney characters Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. 960 1280
Ziegenhain, GermanyZiegenhain, considered the capital city of Germany’s Fairy Tale Road, is also home to Little Red Riding Hood. Travelers visiting the city will see residents in costume, including red hoods. Prior to the Brothers Grimm and Disney’s interpretations, Little Red Riding Hood was a violent moral tale designed to keep young women on a righteous path. Even though there have been several versions of the folktale, we still have a few words of wisdom --beware the wolf. 960 1280
Brothers Grimm TourAuthors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are well-known story tellers, whose work include “Cinderella,” “Rumpelstiltskin, “The Frog Prince” and “Hansel and Gretel.” The Brothers Grimm Memorial is located in Hanau, Germany, and it’s also the starting point for the German Fairy Tale Road. The fun, road trip route runs from Hanau to Bremen, where the Jacob and Wilhelm were born. Tourist attractions along the road are focused around the famous brothers. 960 1280
Trendelburg TowerThe famous words, “Repunzel, Repunzel, let down your hair,” were uttered from the tower of the Trendelburg Castle aka Repunzel’s Tower --or at least that’s according to the Brothers Grimm’s folktale. Located in the Germany’s Hesse region near the Diemel River, Trendelburg is home to just over 5,000 people. The Trendelburg Fortress dates back to the 1300s and is now a hotel and restaurant. It’s a great pit stop if you’re traveling along Fairy Tale Road. 960 1280
Disney WorldMake your dreams come true, and visit Disney World in Orlando, FL. The fairytale amusement park was designed to inspire kids of all ages with uniquely themed areas, including Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Walt Disney brought famous fairy tales to life at his franchise of family-friendly theme parks. 960 1280
Hans Christian Andersen MuseumWe can’t forget about Hans Christian Andersen, the renowned author who wrote several children stories, including “The Snow Queen,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Thumbelina,” “The Little Match Girl” and “The Ugly Duckling .” Fans of Hans can visit an entire museum --located in Copenhagen, Denmark-- dedicated to the famous storyteller. 960 1280
San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores)On a site selected by Juan Bautista de Anza, the first mission church was a 50-foot-long log and mud structure. It was eventually moved to higher ground, adjacent to Lake Dolores. The mission was dedicated to Saint Francis by Father Serra in 1776. 960 1280
Santa CruzAlthough the soil was excellent and the location ideal, this mission never reached its potential. The dedication of Mission la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz was made in 1791 by Father Lasuen, but the site was unfortunately located next to Branciforte pueblo, a community of ex-convicts and thieves.
San Juan BautistaFounded by Father Lasuen in 1797, this mission was unwittingly located directly above the San Andreas fault. Much of the original structure remains and has been restored. It's considered the largest California mission church and the only one with 3 aisles. It was named for John the Baptist.
San Carlos Boorromeo de CarmeloFounded by Father Serra in 1770 on Pentecost Sunday, this mission was considered to be his favorite. Both he and Father Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California, as well as Father Serra's headquarters for administrative duties as president of the missions.
Nuestra Senora de la SoledadThe padres named this mission for Our Lady of Solitude in 1791, which fits its isolated location. The rich soil and plentiful water helped the mission produce more than 100,000 bushels of wheat per year and raise nearly 17,000 head of livestock.
San Antonio de PaduaLocated 40 miles north of Paso Robles, this picturesque mission is nestled in the grasslands and oak trees of the San Antonio Valley. Named for a saint known as the "miracle worker," it was dedicated in 1771 by Father Serra. The church is known for its campanario and archway bells. 960 1280
San Miguel ArcangelThis mission was founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen. It completed the mission chain from San Luis Obispo to Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Located in the Salinas Valley, it was the mid point between the San Luis Obispo and San Antonio Missions. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are the best preserved in California today.
San Luis Obispo de TolosaThis humble chapel, built of logs, was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772. It was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof.
San BuenaventuraThe ninth mission in the chain was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Father Serra and dedicated to St. Bonaventure. It was the last mission the humble priest would christen. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens onto the gardens.
San Fernando Rey de EspanaFather Lasuen named this mission in honor of King Ferdinand III of Spain in 1797. Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the convent is the largest freestanding adobe in California and was originally used as a hospice for travelers.
San Gabriel ArcangelFounded in 1771 by Junipero Serra, this fortress-like structure with 5-foot thick walls and narrow windows is a design not found in any other mission. One-fourth of the wealth of the California missions' in stock and grain was credited to San Gabriel.
San Luis Rey de FranciaKnown as the "King of the Missions," San Luis Rey de Francia lies in a sheltered valley just east of Oceanside on State Highway 76. Named for Louis IX, the crusading King of France, the cross-shaped church was dedicated on the Feast of St. Anthony in 1798 by Father Lasuen.
San Diego de AlcalaThe mission trail in California began here on July 16, 1769, when Fathers Serra, Palou and Parron planted a large cross in the beachhead near the mouth of the San Diego River. A bell was suspended from a nearby tree, and the site was dedicated to St. Didacus.
The Spanish Missions in California 21 Photos