wine and cheese

Fairy tales to discover on river cruises in Europe

River cruises through Europe offer the perfect opportunity to experience not only the fairy tale nature of these dramatic landscapes and views, but also the history and cultures that inspired such popular stories.


Few would be unacquainted with the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, but even fewer still would have never tried gingerbread. The two go hand-in-hand with their German origin, making gingerbread a must when visiting the fairy tale villages of Germany. Traditional Lebkuchen is a special kind of gingerbread that was invented in the 13th century; you may have seen similar versions of them at German Christmas markets in the UK. But as we all know, nothing beats tasting the real thing in its home country.

Similarly, the Black Forest in Germany, which is widely associated with the Brothers Grimm, also has its own special delicacy – Black Forest Gateau. This stunning area looks like it was plucked straight out of one of these magical tales and makes for the perfect backdrop to a traditional Black Forest Gateau tasting session.


Following on from traditional desserts, there are many architectural points of interest throughout Europe that hold connotations of the oldest of fairy tales. Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is one of the most famous. Said to have inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland, California, you only have to see a picture to see the striking resemblance. This awe-inspiring castle was built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a known recluse, but unfortunately he died before he could fully enjoy its outstanding beauty and has been open to the public ever since.

Trendelburg Tower in Germany is another site of significant interest for those interested in Europe’s cultural history and the Brothers Grimm tales. Said to be the inspiration for the tale of Rapunzel, those who visit the quaint German town of Trendelburg can easily see why. This tall tower on the edge of the Trendelburg fortress dates back to the 1300s and exudes the beauty of the time.


Alongside the exquisite architecture that lines this area of Europe, the natural beauty of the landscapes that such buildings sit within is also known to be a contributing factor towards the Brothers Grimm tales. The town of Lohr in Germany is said to have inspired the Brothers Grimm’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as a result of its charm and allure. Then there is the famed German Fairy Tale Road, which features many sites of significant fairy tale interest along the way.

Ziegenhain in Germany is considered the capital city of Germany’s Fairy Tale Road as well as being regarded as the inspiration for Little Red Riding Hood as a result of the dense woodland that surrounds the municipality. In this woodland, visitors passing through on escorted river cruise holidays can still see local residents dressed up in costume of red hoods.

These are just a few of the many fairy tale experiences that can be had on a river cruise holiday through Europe; from Cologne and Bamberg’s Christmas markets to castle tours, the fairy tale magic need never end.

Image Credit: Alessandro Colle (

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.