Top 7 Real-Life Fairytale Buildings

By Jessica Fanning

Today is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. And what better way to celebrate than by looking at some of our favorite real-life fairytale buildings? We’ve picked seven (you know, in honor of the seven dwarves, the seven ravens, etc.) fantastical structures from around the world, including a Japanese teahouse that sits atop stilts and a castle straight out of “Sleeping Beauty”!

Too High Teahouse
Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Designed by  Terunobu Fujimori
Photo: MASUDA Akihisa via RMIT

For his “Too High Teahouse,” architect Terunobu Fujimori incorporated elements of traditional teahouses to create this tiny structure, which perches atop three spindly legs.  Might Alice have ventured here to meet the Mad Hatter?

Stone House
Fafe, Portugal
Photo: Feliciano Guimarães via Flickr

The Neverending Story‘s Rockbiter, anyone? This Portugese home, nestled between two boulders, gives the impression of a giant rock that has melted into a house.

Home on Elliðaey Island
Elliðaey, Iceland
Photo via Zamaan

Sitting, as if lost, on the island of Elliðaey off the coast of Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, this small home boasts quite a view. The island perch was reportedly given to Icelandic singer Bjork, in appreciation of her bringing international attention to her homeland.

The Smith Mansion
Wapiti Valley, Wyoming
Designed by Francis Lee Smith
Photo: John Burcham via The New York Times

Francis Lee Smith, an engineer by trade, built this house over the course of a decade without the use of blueprints. Located in Wapiti Valley, Wyoming, the house has become a source of myth in the community–ranging from it having appeared to a man in a vision, to being a lookout tower for volcano eruptions.

River Vessels
Waco, Texas
Designed by Patrick Dougherty
Photo: Mark Randolph via artist’s website

Artist Patrick Dougherty creates ambitious installations and sculptures entirely out of tree saplings.  His “River Vessels,” in Texas, presents a winter wonderland filled with mystery and  discovery, as if you had happened upon some enchanted settlement.

Icelandic Turf Houses
Photo via Greenfab

These triangular turf-covered abodes continue a centuries-old tradition. With their charm and natural insulation,  it’s easy to see why these structures have lasted for generations.

Neuschwanstein Castle 
Bavaria, Germany
Photo via

And finally, the Neuschwanstein Castle of Germany.  Built by King Ludwig II in the late 19th century, the castle was meant as a sanctuary for the reclusive king.  Since then, it has become one of the area’s most popular tourist destinations as well as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.


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