Fairy tale film settings

By German National Tourist Board (GNTB)

Germany’s exquisite castles and palaces offer the perfect backdrop when filming adaptations of well-known fairy tales. Everything from the lavish ball scenes of Cinderella to the dramatic cliff-top home of the wicked stepmother in Snow White. Join us as we wave our wand around the country, stopping in at some of the settings of these exquisite films.

Moritzburg Castle

Moritzburg Castle

Palace Moritzburg

The castle could not be more perfectly situated: in the middle of a lake on a small island. Film director Václav Vorlícek reached the same conclusion in 1973 and shot the  well-known fairy tale film, Three Wishes for Cinderella, at Schloss Moritzburg in the 1970s. His version is one of Germany's favourites, and the baroque hunting lodge with four towers built by King Augustus the Strong was the original filming location. So, if you want to see first-hand what the staircase looked like on which the wise Cinderella lost her shoe, you should visit this fairy tale castle near Dresden.

Kriebstein Castle

Kriebstein Castle

Kriebstein: Kriebstein Castle

Another classic is of course Snow White: the plot of this fairy tale thriller is well-known: a mean stepmother who doesn't shy away from murder, and kindhearted dwarves who shelter Snow White. And then of course, the fatal apple. In the 2009 adaptation, the castle where the jealous stepmother consults her mirror is called Kriebstein Castle. The time-honoured walls are Saxony's most beautiful medieval castle and as dramatic as they are fascinating, after all, it sits towering on steep cliffs. In 2018, the fairy tales "Eisenhans" and "Der süße Brei" were also filmed here. 

Baroque Garden Grosssedlitz

Baroque Garden Grossedlitz

Heidenau: Großsedlitz Baroque Garden

There aren’t many fairy tales in which the central character does not have to solve a riddle in order to finally find happiness. And this is no different in The Clever Farmer's Daughter. It takes time for her to warm the heart of the stubborn king. When the story was also turned into a film, the filming locations were Waldenburg Castle in the county of Zwickau in Saxony and the Barockgarten Grosssedlitz in Heidenau. Those who visit it will be rewarded with enchanting experiences, because with more than 60 sculptures, water features and 400 potted plants, it is one of the best-preserved baroque gardens in Germany. 

Schloss Favorite Rastatt

Schloss Favorite Rastatt

Raststatt: Favorite Palace, impressive grounds

"King's daughter, youngest one, open up for me" - what may sound like a fairy tale at first must have been sheer horror for the beautiful king's daughter: for the figure shouting this is a frog. And this frog wants to be near the princess. A recent film adaptation of the fairy tale "The Frog Prince" was shot at Schloss Favorite Rastatt near Baden-Baden in Baden-Würrtemberg. This baroque palace with its spacious gardens, furnishings and outstanding permanent collection, is considered to be a work of art of the highest order in Europe.

Hartenfels Castle

Hartenfels Castle

Torgau: Hartenfels Castle on the banks of the Elbe at sunrise

The fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty has had many film adaptations, the first being in the summer of 1970. The outdoor scenes were filmed at Hartenfels Castle in Torgau and no setting could be more beautiful. This Saxon Renaissance masterpiece lies at the foot of the Elbe and appears just as peaceful as it did in the fairy tale over a long period of time: after all, all the inhabitants fell into a deep sleep for 100 years. Then along comes the Prince and breaks the spell. If you want to see first-hand where Sleeping Beauty pricks herself on the spindle, you should visit the castle and take a look at the cantilevered staircase. It leads to the chamber of the 13 fairies.

Trausnitz Castle and Burgk Castle

Trausnitz Castle

Landshut: Trausnitz Castle above the Old Town

The fairy tale about the princess who couldn't laugh is somewhat lesser-known, but also very beautiful: The Golden Goose was first filmed in 1953 and the medieval Trausnitz Castle in the Bavarian town of Landshut was chosen as the setting. It looms over the Old Town and is definitely worth seeing with its open galleries, arcades and frescoes - even if the fairy tale of the golden goose teaches us that ostentation does not bring us happiness. In 2013, the fairy tale was filmed again, this time at Burgk Castle on the Saale. Built in the Renaissance style, the modest building towers high above the landscape and gives an uninterrupted view of the river Saale, rolling hills and lush green fields. A perfect place, then, for a melancholy story that then ends - so beautifully - with a smile.

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