The world's best fairy-tale destinations to feel like a real-life Cinderella
The world's best fairy-tale destinations to feel like a real-life Cinderella
With the magic of Disney's retelling of Cinderella waltzing onto the big screen this weekend, viewes could leave the cinema feeling the anti-climax of returning to their 'normal' lives.
Thankfully the fantasy doesn't have to end as they leave the building, as there are a treasure trove of fairy-tale locations around the world which are waiting to be discovered.
Holidaymakers can spend the day at the castles which inspired the beloved Disney classics, explore a glittering glow worm cave in New Zealand or enter the world of magic with the locations that inspired the Harry Potter movies.
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Disney's dazzling retelling of Cinderella, about an ordinary girl who wins the heart of a prince (pictured: Lily James and Richard Madden)
Set in the middle of a lush forest is the picturesque Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
This 19th century castle in southern Germany looks like it came straight from a Disney movie, and is said to be the main inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle towers on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in south-west Bavaria, and was commissioned originally as a retreat for Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Following his death in 1886 more than 61 million tourists have flocked to visit the magical building.
The ethereal Bled Lake came into existence when the Bohinj Glacier shifted. It is 7,000ft long and up to 4,500ft wide
Lake Bled, Slovenia
This shining lake in Slovenia features a tiny quaint island, which is surrounded by breathtaking landscape.
Travel by boat to the secluded hideaway which has a 170-ft high church which you can actually get married in.
It is considered good luck for the groom to carry his bride up the stone Baroque stairway, before ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church.
An aerial view as a high tide submerges a narrow causeway leading to Mont Saint-Michel in north-western France
Mont Saint-Michel, France
Aside from the popular monuments in Paris, the medieval Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most visited locations in France.
It is not hard to see why the Unesco World Heritage Site is loved by all who travel to see the city which is completely separate from the land during high tides.
The walled city has its an impressive Gothic abbey, its own mayor and even full-time inhabitants.
Rapunzel's magical castle and city, Corona, were based on this Normandy settlement.
The Magic Mountain Lodge in the Chilean Patagonian Rainforest is a man-made structure with a waterfall
The Magic Mountain Lodge in the Patagonian Rainforest
Looking like something out of movie is the Magic Mountain Lodge in the Andes, which is a man-made haven complete with an enchanting waterfall cascading down its side.
Spend a night in this luxury house, and if you are lucky, you could make friends with the world's smallest deer in the area, which are only 13in tall.
Access this five-floor fairy tale by rope bridge, and sleep in the small cosy rooms carved out of gigantic tree trunks.
Dunnottar Castle has a colourful history, being the garrison that held out against Cromwell’s army for eight months
Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
When selecting a castle for Disney's Brave, Disney hunted high and low for the most fairy-tale keeps in Scotland for ideas.
Inspiration for Merida's family coastal home came from the impressive Dunnottar Castle.
William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots and the Marquis of Montrose, have all stayed in the impressive Dunnottar, which, despite now being ruins, still provides a magical experience.
One of the most eye-catching features of the Palace Versailles is the Hall of Mirrors comprising of more than 350 mirrors
Palace of Versailles
Featuring 250 acres of landscaped and manicured gardens and fountains, and displaying opulent decor, the Palace of Versailles should be high up every royal dwelling bucket list.
The castle is one of the largest in the world, and is known for its geometric bushes, trees and flowerbeds that accompany it.
Boasting around 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases, the Unesco World Heritage Site is a must-see for those looking for a taste of royal surroundings.
Glittering cave: Melissani, just outside of Sami in Greece, is 328ft long and was first discovered in 1951
Melissani Cave, Kefalonia, Greece
Oozing nature's ethereal beauty is the cave of Melissani just outside of Sami in Greece.
The lake inside the cave sparkles under the noon sun, poking through the trees and forests that line the roof.
Experience the illuminated turquoise waters, and learn about the myths that surrounds the cavern, which was according to legends, home to nymphs.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, a filming location for Harry Potter, is located on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Scotland
Alnwick Castle, the second largest inhabited castle in the country, has been home to the Duke of Northumberland's family for centuries
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland and Alnwick Castle, England
These two locations both brought the magic of the Harry Potter movies alive for fans all over the globe.
You may remember school friends Harry and Ron flying a borrowed Ford Anglia car over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in a bid to return to school in the Chamber of Secrets book.
Earlier fans will recall the flying lessons being held by Madam Hooch in the grounds of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
Bioluminescence from glowing plankton in the sea on a Maldives beach, with stars above and ship lights on horizon
Sea of Stars, Vaadhoo Island, Maldives
It may look like a work of Photoshop, but the glittery beach is real and yours for the visiting in the Maldives.
The Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island is nature at its best, and compromises of dinoflagellates, a species of plankton, emitting a light as their cell membranes respond to electrical signals and glow.
The bioluminescence display can be seen at a number of locations round the world, and looks like liquid moonlight.
Swallow's Nest Castle was built in the early 20th century between 1911 and 1912 on a cliff that juts out over the Black Sea
Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine
Less a bird's nest and more a love nest, this sublime castle was created by Baron von Steingel for a romantic retreat with his ballerina mistress.
Not only does it look like it came straight from a movie, it is perfectly situated, jutting out into the sea, for breathtaking sunset views.
In Ukrainian, 'maya lastochka' or 'my swallow', is a term for endearment for a sweetheart, adding to the fairy tale theme of this idyllic medieval miniature castle.
The unusual rail route in Eastern Europe is a popular spot for lovers' promises and it is said that wishes come true in the tunnel
Tunnel of Love, Ukraine
Nestled between a forest corridor is a leafy passage that has been home to many proposals and romantic strolls.
It is unsurprising that the Ukraine avenue is called the Tunnel of Love, which is completely encased by foliage.
Visitors have to watch out for the train though, which passes through the two-mile track from the nearby fibreboard factory.
Towering spires add impressive decoration for the Scottish Dunrobin Castle in the highlands, which was used as a naval hospital
Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
One of Scotland's most beautiful treasures is the large Highland's Dunrobin Castle.
Dating back to the early 1300s the castle's towering conical spires resemble a sprawling French chateau, with over 189 rooms to explore.
Perched high above walled gardens, Dunrobin Castle looks like it has come straight from a storybook.
Admont Abbey has the largest monastic library in the world, with sculptures by master Baroque sculptor Josef Stammel
Admont Abbey, Austria
A work of architectural beauty is the Admont Abbey, which contains one of the largest and most sumptuous libraries in the world.
The length of 230ft, it is a haven that would make Belle from Beauty and the Beast envious.
A visual treat for art and book lovers, the library contains 200,000 volumes, and can be accessed from March 24 to December 31 annually.
The Benedictine monastery is located on the Enns Rover in Austria and claims the title of the largest monastic library in the world.
The Dark Hedges corridor was created in the 18th century, and has become one of the most photographed spots in Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges, Ireland
When the light is streaming through the trunks of the Dark Hedges walk in Ireland, it looks like a walkway from a movie.
The mystical avenue of beech trees was designed by the Stuart family to be an impressive entrance for people approaching their Georgian mansion.
The famous trees were even featured in the epic Game of Thrones series, representing the King's Road.
The architecture of Bojnice Castle was reconstructed by the architect J. Hubert from Budapest at the end of the 19th century
Bojnice Castle, Slovakia
Famous for its chapel, towers and steep roofs is the palace of Bojnice in Slovakia.
The romantic medieval-style castle stands on an 11th century site which was once owned by one of the most famous Hungarian noble families
Playing up to its supernatural look, the International Festival of Ghosts and Spooks is held here regularly every year and it is said the magical castles becomes the meeting point of ghosts, spooks, witches, and vampires from all over the world.
The limestone formations in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves were formed when the region was submerged under the ocean
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
New Zealand's glittering Waitomo Glowworm Caves are filled with Arachnocampa luminosa, glow worms, which shine over the ancient labyrinthine grottos.
The limestone formations stand as one of New Zealand's most attractive natural wonders and visitors can book on tours to witness its beauty.
The glow worms are the size of an average mosquito, and are exclusive to New Zealand.
Rainbow fields: A heavenly array of brightly colours tulips blooms every year in Holland
Tulip fields, Netherlands
Cycle by the colourful explosion that is the tulip fields in the Netherlands.
Be overwhelmed by the striking layers of brightly-hued tulips, from red to pink and purple, and every colour in between.
The fields are in full bloom from the end of March until the second week of May and will make you feel like you are in a fantasy world.
The best-known places to see the bulb fields are behind the North Sea dunes, between the cities of Leiden and Den Helder.
Akershus Fortress is said to be the model for Elsa and Anna’s castle in Frozen but the main feature of the movie was the snowy landscape
For those who are obsessed with Disney's highest grossing animated film, Frozen, head to Norway to experience the snow capped mountains and lakes Anna and Elsa lived around.
The snowy peaks and valleys of the town Røros inspired rolling landscapes in the wintery musical.
Apparently art director Michael Giaimo used a six-sided snowflake for the basis of Elsa’s spectacular ice palace, and cape.
Fit for a fairy tale: The mesmerizing Chateau Chambord in the Loire Valley in France looks mystical at dawn
The Loire Valley, France
The valley of Loire boasts not only some of the best wine of France, but over 300 incredible castles situated near the Loire river.
Its world famous chateauxs are only matched by the rolling landscapes surrounding.
The region is close to paradise, and Leonardo da Vinci agreed, devoting the last three years of his life dreaming and working in the area.
The interior of the Eltz Castle is an impressive mix of authentic medieval furniture and more modern additions
Eltz Castle, Germany
The 850-year-old Eltz Castle on the Moselle River in Germany stands proudly through an enchanting rural, wooded dell and you are even able to get married there.
The best way to reach the castle is by walking through the dark green pine forest, to emerge in front of the fantastical dwelling.
Eltz Castle is privately owned; and has been held by the Eltz family for more than 800 years. The current owner is Dr Karl Graf; who's in the 33rd generation of the Eltz family.
The ultimate European road trip! Travelling 16,000 miles and taking in 45 places, U.S. scientist maps out the perfect getaway
It can take months of planning and its fair share of disagreements on the way to plan the perfect road trip.
But now one American scientist believes he has planned the perfect European road trip that means we can all put away those atlases and close down Google maps.
Michigan data scientist, Randy Olsen, has come up with route using an algorithm that calculates shortest distance, excluding any journeys over water.
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The journey takes in 45 stop-offs in total, taking in countries such as the UK, Portugal, Bulgaria, Estonia and Finland.
Covering 16,287 miles and 14 days of driving, Mr Olsen advises putting three months aside to explore the cities.
Rather than looking at every possible solution, Olsen used something known as a 'genetic algorithms' which starts with just a few random solutions.
It then manipulates these solutions, while trying something slightly different each time, until it finds one that it can't improve on.
DESINTATIONS ON THE ULTIMATE EUROPEAN ROAD TRIP
Santorini, Thira, Greece
Rila Monastery, Rilski manastir, Bulgaria
Sighisoara, Mures County, Romania
Prague, Czech Republic
Jägala Waterfall, 74205 Harjumaa, Estonia
ICEBAR, Marknadsvägen, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Keukenhof, Stationsweg, Lisse, Netherlands
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Inverness, United Kingdom
Cliffs of Moher, Clare, Ireland
Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom
Luberone, Bonnieux, France
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Paris in France is obviously included in Olsen's ultimate European road trip map, as he wanted to take in many famous landmarks
Olsen is the man behind the 'Where's Waldo' ('Where's Wally' in the UK) algorithm where he looked at numerous pages of the famous children's illustrative challenges, and developed a mapping theory on how best to locate all the bespectacled characters.
Using similar methodology, Olsen then took on the challenge of planning the best U.S. road trip - ensuring the car would never leave home soil on its route.
His only limitation was to make one stop in all 48 contiguous US states, along with Washington D.C. and two stops in California.
There is a scheduled stop-off at the world famous prehistoric monument of Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK
Each stop would be at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument. And the car could never leave US soil.
To create the map, Mr Olsen first found the shortest distance by road between each of the 50 landmarks provided.
The tricky part was putting the landmarks in order to eliminate as much driving back on himself as possible.
You will get the chance to stretch your legs and take in some cycling exercise with a stop-off in Amsterdam