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11 photos that make the world look like a fairy tale

From Austrian castles to Californian highways, magical settings are all around you if you know where to look.


May 5, 2016 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Castle of Muhldorf in upper Austria.Castle of Muhldorf in upper Austria.Photo: Bernd Thaller / Flickr
May 5, 2016 | Latest Photo

Do you ever wish you could disappear into a passageway inside a wardrobe or follow a mischievous fairy back to her realm? Sadly, this is the stuff of childish fairy tales, not real life ... Or is it? We've brought together some enchanting places from around the world to convince you that, with the right eyes, the world can become a fairy tale.

The "Bridge of Sighs" in England.The 'Bridge of Sighs' in England. (Photo: Lisa/Flickr)

This fictional-looking bridge in Poole, England, sits below what used to be the Castleman Railway line. The train line has been abandoned; the track is gone, and the path itself is now a walking path called the Castleman Trailway, overgrown with plants like a path to Fairyland.

"I have taken hundreds of pictures of this bridge, but not one I am content with. Today I am," photographer Lisa Lawley writes on Flickr. "I know and accept this bridge needs to be there, to enjoy the magic of the wildlife that lives there. This bridge ensures I can see it. Will it be there forever for generations of people to enjoy? Or will the future generations care one way or the other?"


olive treeAn ancient olive grove in Jerusalem. (Photo: Stephan Vorster/Shutterstock)

It's hard to look at this tree and not imagine Snow White singing to animals under it. Jerusalem is home to the Mount of Olives, a hill to the east of the city more than 850 yards high that provides a beautiful view of the city below. Visitors come to the area to see ancient olives trees, some of which have been growing there for more than 1,000 years.

In 2012, The National Research Council of Italy used carbon dating to discover that some of the olive trees in the area were the oldest that scientists ever found. DNA tests show that these trees likely all came from the same parent tree.


City park in Graz, Austria.City park in Graz, Austria. (Photo: Bernd Thaller/Flickr)

Dumbledore is about to cast a spell to turn off these street lamps in Graz, Austria's second-largest city. About 600,000 people live in the town, which is home to six Muggle universities.

Graz, which became an important commercial center in the 12th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is full of various parks and gardens, including Stadtpark and Schlossberg, which feature enormous playgrounds, cafes and an active community of squirrels that may talk to children while no one's looking.


17th century Japanese garden.17th-century Japanese garden. (Photo: bobthemagicdragon/Flickr)

Suizen-ji Garden, located in southeastern Japan, was built in the 17th century by the Hosokawa family. Lord Hosokawa selected this site in particular because its fresh water made it an excellent spot for brewing tea and hosting mad tea parties.

Visitors wind along a circular path through the garden, which is meant to look like a miniature version of the important Japanese Tokaido road and its surroundings, including a mini Mt. Fuji. You don't need to shrink like Alice to find yourself in this Wonderland.


Boardman River in Michigan.The Boardman River in Michigan. (Photo: Jim/Flickr)

This mysterious-looking object floating above the sea like King Arthur's sword is a "magic ice mushroom," according to the photographer. It sits on the Boardman River near Traverse City, Michigan and is part of the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve.

This reserve consists of 505 acres of marshes, forests, swamps and a beaver pond which the reserve's website assures us is active. In addition to beavers, otters, minks, foxes and deer roam the area. The place also features exhibits and educations programs.


Highway 46 in California.Highway 46 in California. (Photo: Elizabeth Haslam/Flickr)

California's Highway 46 looks dreamy in this photo taken just after rainfall. This scenic east-west state highway, which was built in 1919, starts near the Pacific Ocean and runs through central California.

Along the way, it passes by several wineries and through natural wonders like the Santa Lucia Range, a mountain range full of firs, pines and redwood trees. We think it would make an excellent land to journey through on a quest to save the Shire.


Bodiam Castle in England.Bodiam Castle in England. (Photo: Nick Rowland/Flickr)

Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a low-level noble who grew to prominence by marrying into wealth, built Bodiam Castle in the 14th century. No word on whether a young woman left a slipper behind while running out of this castle at the stroke of midnight, but we wouldn't be surprised. If the shoe fits ...

The castle passed through the family for years before being turned over to the Lewknor family and other owners. Eventually, Lord Thanet sold the building to pay fines in the 17th century, and the place was left in ruin until a new owner moved in nearly 100 years later. It's now open to the public.


Path in Copenhagen, Denmark.Park in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo: Alex Berger/Flickr)

This is one of a series of photos photographer Alex Berger took around Copenhagen, Denmark's capital. "They highlight the magical beauty of spring in Scandinavia," Berger writes on Flickr.

This largest city in Denmark is home to 2 million cheerful residents. It's an attractive city, full of bridges, waterways and parks like this one that feature carriages fit for princesses.


Gazelle in grassA gazelle walks through a grassy knoll in Israel's Ramot Forest. (Photo: © Alex Geifman Photography)

Aesop would be right at home in Israel's Ramot Forest, a national park near Jerusalem. The forest features a gazelle habitat and even an official Ramon Forest Gazelle Trail. The park is full of color-coded trails designed with local animals in mind, many of which spend their time teaching each other valuable lessons in preparation for writing a book of fables.

The park also includes bike trails, a picnic area and a sculpture walk, where local artists show off their artwork, not to mention an infamous hedgehog-shaped slide. The city is planning on expanding its light rail system to include Ramot.


Traditional gassho-style House in Japan's Heritage Museum.Traditional gassho style house in Japan's Heritage Museum. (Photo: Toshihiro Gamo/Flickr)

These houses in Shirakawa-go, Japan, were built hundreds of years ago. They're now part of an outdoor museum that teaches visitors about the country's history. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, architects built "gassho" style houses, farmhouses known for their narrow thatched roofs that are useful for making snow slip off of them. They're also great landmarks if you're trying to follow a trail of bread crumbs back into town.

Interiors are divided into several spaces used for things like cooking, raising silkworms and making washi paper. There used to be about 1,800 of these farmhouses in the country, but only 150 remain, mostly grouped together in villages.


Roskildevej, a road in Denmark.Roskildevej, a road in Denmark. (Photo: Kenny Marek Moller/Flickr)

Photographer Kenny Marek Moller took this photo along a road near the Danish capital of Copenhagen. While the road's official name is Roskildevej, some people just call it Main Street.

The Danish prime minister asked French road engineer Jean Marmillod to come to Denmark and plan this road in 1753, and the road was built from 1770-1776. It used to run along an almost entirely rural path; only two towns existed in the area in the 1960s. Today, you can see the Copenhagen Zoo from the road ... or spot a lone white horse, looking in a pond to try and figure out where her wings and horn went.

Want to see more amazing photos? Check out FTGV's Featured Photo collection.

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Related Topics: Animals, Architecture