Nature Travel

8 Real Forests That Look Like Fairy Tales

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

John Muir

These enchanting forests look like they are right out of a fairy tale. One look and feel like a fairy, troll or nymph might peek out behind that mossy null.

If you love fairy tales and have a serious case of wanderlust, this exclusive list was made for you.

1 – Gryfino Forest, Poland


Sometimes the strangest sights are found in nature. In this case, 400 pine trees in the northwest of Poland appear to be almost normal, but they are not. If you look at the base of these trees, you might feel like you’ve just entered a strange mystical fairy tale.

All of the trees have the same northward 90-degree bend at the base of their limb. Known as the “Crooked Forest,” this unique site remains an unexplained mystery.

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2 – Puzzlewood, Coleford, England

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Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean. These meandering pathways with its fantastic tree and rock formations, look stunning in the 14 acre ancient woodland. The magical scenery of Puzzlewood has made it a popular location for filming and to date.

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3 – Wistman Wood, Devon, England

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This amazing woodland is important for the mosses and lichens that festoon the trees and the impressive granite boulders found on the site. However, this National Nature Reserve of 170ha mainly consists of a model example of the upland heathland and has a wealth of moorland birds. Wistmans Wood is in the Dart river valley and has views of wild Devon that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

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Dartmoor is a landscape ringing with legends and myths. People say that Wistman’s Wood was planted by the druids (its name is said to derive from the words ‘wise man’, another name for a druid).

4 – Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie Shi, China

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Zhangjiajie is a region of China beloved for its magnificent natural beauty. One of the most fascinating national parks in the world, Zhangjiajie served as the visual inspiration for the other-worldly landscape featured in the blockbuster film, Avatar. From the more than 3,100 immense quartzite sandstone pillars reaching to the clouds (some over 2,600 feet tall) to the pastoral streams flowing beneath to the verdant forests throughout.

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5 – The Dark Hedges, Ballymoney, Nothern Ireland

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This beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their Georgian mansion, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland.

In fact, the iconic trees have been used as a filming location in HBO’s epic series Game of Thrones, representing the King’s Road.

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6 – Avenue of the Baobabs, Morondava, Madagascar


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The Avenue of the Baobabs is a group of baobab trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of western Madagascar. The road is one of the most popular and visited places in the country. It’s also the most accessible place to see the Baobab trees in Africa. It’s said to be the most beautiful road in Madagascar.

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 It’s a row of about 20 – 25 imposing Baobab trees along some 260 m long stretch of the road and in the nearby pastures between Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina. Its striking landscape draws travellers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region.

7 – Tree Mountain, Ylöjärvi, Finland

While the pointed hill in Ylöjärvi, Finland known as Tree Mountain looks like an oddly symmetrical natural forest, it is actually a colossal work of man-made art that stands as the world’s first virgin forest built by humans.

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The planting took place over four years from 1992 to 1996. With everything set to roll, the artist Agnes Denes then let nature do its thing. The trees flourished on the reclaimed land and by the early 2000s the intricate pattern was beginning to show itself as though it had occurred naturally.

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The environmental art project is slated to be a 400-year installation although there does not seem to be a plan to raze the land when the time is up. In fact, it looks like the trees could last far beyond that date. The forest has continued to thrive over the years and is now so lush that the original pattern can barely be discerned.

8 – Socotra Island, Yemen

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The landscape of remote Socotra Island looks as if it comes from a sci-fi film but in fact has evolved to look so other-worldy as the ‘lost world’ island has been separated from mainland Africa for between six and seven million years.

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Much like the Galapagos Islands, which are known for their incredible array of wildlife, Socotra Island is home to around 800 rare species of flora and fauna, around a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

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