There are places in the world that breathe life and truth into fairytales. Hidden, iridescent grottos brimming with mermaids, ancient fig trees sheltering elves beneath their gnarled roots and dragon caves lost deep within limestone cliffs. Some may be right beneath your very nose…so be sure to check at the bottom of your garden.
Faerie Glen, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Toadstools, moss covered pebbles, paths carved between miniature hills carpeted in other-worldly green…you won’t find many people wishing to give you exact directions to this closely guarded space, but stumbling upon it is all part of the magic.
The Boulders, Babinda, North Queensland, Australia
An Aboriginal legend of forbidden love lays its curse over The Boulders, a place in which 15 people, mostly young men, have drowned in the powerful undercurrents since 1959. The spirit of Oolana guards the boulders and her cries for her lost lover can still be heard, attracting young men into the treacherous waters.
Hasel, Black Forest, Germany
Legends abound from stalagmite and stalactite palaces in the Dwarf Cave at the southern end of the Black Forest. But first, you must traverse werewolf dens, lakes filled with beautiful water nymphs and Freischutzen – infamous marksmen possessed by the devil and able to hit any target in the dark of the forest.
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Stories of pirates compete with James Bond movie locations among soaring lime stone cliffs, in Phang Nga Bay. The best way to experience your own adventure movie here is in a canoe. Float beneath the stone, your nose almost scraping colonies of bats overhead, then emerge into emerald green lagoons with giant rock formations of dogs and elephants leering towards you. Watch out for pirates (and monkeys).
Low Isles, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
An underwater kingdom of coral mansions and exotic sea-creatures, wherever you dive on the Great Barrier Reef, you’re sure to glimpse at least the tail of a mermaid. But, keep your eyes peeled, they’re actually quite shy, after all…