Six fairytale castles that inspired the world’s most beloved cartoons

In honor of the 50th anniversary of one of the world’s most famous theme parks, celebrated in October 2021, Booking.com has compiled a list of impressive accommodations near six real-life destinations that inspired some of the cartoons most popular of all time.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle is a historic building from the 19th century located in the Bavarian Alps. Besides being one of the most photographed castles in the world, it inspired one of the main attractions of Florida’s most famous theme park.

Its towers and vents also influenced the castle in the classic 1959 cartoon, which tells the story of a princess who is condemned to sleep for 100 years after having her finger pricked by the spindle of an enchanted spinning wheel.

Where to stay:

Located in Hohenschwangau, just below the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, Hotel Alpenstuben is a traditional, family-run accommodation surrounded by beautiful mountains and towering pine trees.

After a relaxing breakfast, you can explore the forest on foot or visit the castle, which is just a 20-minute walk away.

Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France

Anyone who loves the animation about the princess with long, magical blonde hair, who dreams of escaping from her secluded tower, will recognize the huge Mont Saint-Michel, in Normandy. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most beautiful tourist sites in France.

The high tide makes the place periodically isolated from the mainland, but the more adventurous can access it at low tide. When the tide rises, the rocky outcrop is surrounded by water and becomes a mystical and very photogenic island, especially at sunrise.

Where to stay:

The Bed and Breakfast Les Vieilles Digues is a renovated Breton-style house located in Beauvoir, less than two kilometers from Mont Saint-Michel which rises on the horizon.

The accommodation’s beautiful garden is perfect for relaxing on a sunny day, before strolling along the banks of the Le Couesnon river.

Alcazar of Segovia, Spain

The sturdy fortress of Alcázar de Segovia is believed to have inspired the villain’s castle in the world’s first sound and color cartoon.

Released in 1937, this pioneering work tells the story of a beautiful young princess who escapes the clutches of her evil stepmother to live in a cabin in the woods with seven dwarfs.

About an hour and a half north of Madrid, this royal residence is one of the most visited historic sites in Spain, thanks to its imposing position atop a rocky outcrop.

Where to stay:

In the Plaza Mayor, opposite Segovia Cathedral, Hotel Infanta Isabel is perfectly located to see all of the city’s historic sights, including medieval fortresses, ornate churches and an ancient Roman aqueduct with over 160 arches .

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland, UK

As well as being one of Scotland’s most photographed locations, Eilean Donan Castle served as the inspiration for the feisty heroine’s home in a digital animation. The film tells the story of a Scottish princess determined to write her own destiny.

The rugged landscape that surrounds this majestic 13th century castle will transport travelers to another era.

Where to stay:

Located in Letterfearn, just 25 minutes’ drive from Eilean Donan Castle, Toads Croak is a cozy bed and breakfast overlooking the Five Sisters of Kintail Mountains, Lake Duich and Eilean Donan Castle.

You can walk along the beach and, if you are lucky, spot an otter or a golden eagle. Hiking enthusiasts will love walking the trails through the woods and hills, a few steps from the accommodation.

Chillon Castle, Lake Geneva, Switzerland

The Château de Chillon is located on an island on the shores of Lake Geneva. The building is the inspiration for the Prince’s Castle from a 1989 cartoon. The film tells the story (originally written by Hans Christian Andersen) of a young mermaid who trades her voice for the opportunity to become human and win her lover, Prince.

Surrounded by natural moats, the castle is open to the public. There you can learn about the castle’s long history and enjoy breathtaking views of the Alps.

Where to stay:

The Swiss Historic Hotel Masson overlooks Geneva and is one of the oldest hotels in the region. Surrounded by a large garden with century-old trees, this elegant Belle Époque-style building dates back to 1829 and features oak floors and original 19th-century paintings and furniture.

You cannot miss the imposing dining room with a beautiful view of the lake, a large brick stove and original Viennese chairs.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Built in 1420 by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, the Forbidden City is a palace complex at the center of the Imperial City of Beijing. The same imperial palace appears in the 1998 animated musical adventure about a young Chinese girl who disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the army.

The Forbidden City, which was once the imperial palace of two Chinese dynasties (Ming and Qing), is now a museum of Chinese historical art.

Where to stay:

Adjacent to the famous Jingshan Park, the Jingshan Garden Hotel is a cultural oasis of tranquility in central Beijing.

Just steps from the Forbidden City, this beautiful establishment offers a variety of programs showcasing Chinese art, culture and traditions in its open-air courtyard and public spaces, including authentic Chinese musical performances, Chinese tea, art exhibitions, Chinese calligraphy. as well as special cooking classes on traditional Chinese dishes.

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