The approximate definition of a real life fairytale island would be that it is small island often covered with lush vegetation and dominate the center of a lake or a sea, near the shore, while among the trees emerges a magnificent ancient building like other castle awaits the coming of the prince and princess of fairy and elf. When people say that a place is like something from a fairy tale often they are exaggerating, but that is not the case with these charming islands listed below.
1. Bled Island, Slovenia
Lake Bled is a lake in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia, where it adjoins the town of Bled. The area is a popular tourist destination.
The lake surrounds Bled Island, the only natural island in Slovenia. The island has several buildings, the main one being the pilgrimage church, built in its current form near the end of the 17th century, and decorated with remains of Mediaeval frescos and a rich Baroque equipment.
The church has a 52 m (171ft) tower and there is a stairway with 99 steps leading up to the building. This church is frequently visited and weddings are held there regularly.
Traditional wooden row barges call pletna ferry people to and from the island. More adventurous visitors can rent a boat and row themselves over.
2. Pfalz Island, Germany
Pfalz, the island in the Rhine River, is located in the Rhine Gorge roughly halfway between Mainz and Koblenz. It’s about 120 yards (110m) to the left bank, and 80 yards (73m) to the right bank. The valley sides are quite steep-sided, making the river by far the most practical means of transport through this area.
The island is a little less than 100 yards (90m) long, and the amount which is above water depends on the river level. The upstream half of the island shoulders the fortress, which is currently at least 50% ruined. It has an elongated hexagonal footprint. The side facing the left bank, and the upstream end, is currently in a better state of repair than the rest.
The side facing the left bank has some (partially) underwater rocks on which a small pier is built. The downstream half of the island has a tiny copse of trees. A vine grows on the central part.
3. Visovac Island, Croatia
One of the best reasons to visit the gorgeous Krka National Park lies on Visovac island in the middle of Visovac lake.
About 6 km (3.7mi) upstream from Skradin (a small town in the Šibenik-Knin county), Visovac island is the site of a Franciscan monastery that dates from 1576.
The austere walls and towering bell tower are protected by a circle of cypresses that point to the sky like swords. Beyond the tiny island lies the trout-filled waters of the lake which, in turn, is protected by high karstic cliffs.
The monastery treasures are exhibited in a small museum and outside is a lovely, flowering garden attended by the 10 monks in residence. Visovac island is reachable by boat from Bristane village on the mainland.
4. Heart Island, USA
Heart Island is part of the Town of Alexandria, in Jefferson County, New York State. Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands of the Saint Lawrence River, along the northern border of New York State, is a major landmark and tourist attraction in its region.
Heart Island is accessible by ferry and most of the grounds and buildings can be explored by the public for a fee. Also, there is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection office on Heart Island and visitors coming from Canada require appropriate identification, as visiting the island is considered entering the United States.
Two other buildings on the island are the Power House and the Alster Tower; both are open to the public. The Power House was built to hold a generator to supply the island with power, and now is more of a museum of how electric power was obtained in the early 1900s. The Alster Tower was purposely constructed with slanting and uneven walls, ceilings, and roofs.
5. Wilhelmstein Island, Germany
Wilhelmstein Island is located in Steinhuder Meer (lake), northwestern Germany. Duke Wilhelm of Schaumburg-Lippe (1724-1777) built fortress on this island, for the protection of his rather small county. Wilhelmstein Island is actually an artifical island, based on piles of stones, that had to be carried there by the local fishermen in their boats.
The fortress originally consisted of 16 islands that were later connected. In the fortress Wilhelm established a millitary college. Only once the Wilhelmstein proved useful when in 1787 it was besieged by the Duke of Hessen-Kassel who planned to annex Schaumburg-Lippe and did not succeed.
Plane flying over the fortress Wilhelmstein
Wilhelmstein today is a museum and a popular destination for tourists who visit the Steinhuder Meer.
6. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometre (just over half a mile) off the country’s north-western coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.
The population of the island is 44, as of 2009. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. More than 3,000,000 people visit it each year.
Mont Saint-Michel was previously connected to the mainland via a tidal causeway, i.e. a trackway covered at high tide and revealed at low tide. But today, this island is connected to the mainland by an elevated light bridge that was built in the past few years.
7. Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania
Trakai Island Castle is located on an island in Lake Galvė, Lithuania. The castle is sometimes referred to as “Little Marienburg”.
The construction of the stone castle was begun in the 14th century, and around 1409 major works were completed. Trakai was one of the main centres of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the castle held great strategic importance.
The Trakai Island Castle today is the hub where plenty of concerts, events and festivals are held. In Lithuania, the castle is also considered to be one of the most beautiful historical monuments ever. In 1962, a museum was opened here. During the year Trakai Island Castle attracts up to 300 000 visitors.
In Trakai, tourists are enjoying resting by the waterside, a yacht or motorbike ride, swimming, fishing, camping or simply a quiet time in a cafe on the bank of Lake Galve. In June, Lake Galve holds International Rowing Regatta “Amber oars”.
8. Loreto Island, Italy
Loreto Island, is located on Lake Iseo, Italy. Otherwise, Lake Iseo or Sebino is the fourth largest lake in Lombardy, Italy, fed by the Oglio river.
The island L’isola di Loreto (in Italian) is the smallest island of the lake. Situated on the north side of Montisola (larger island).
It is of private property. In 1400 a cloister was built here for the Sisters of S.Chiara. Today there is a castle in New Gothic stile, a park and a small port.
9. Dark Island, USA
Dark Island, a prominent feature of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is located in the lower (eastern) Thousand Islands region, near Chippewa Bay. It is a part of the Town of Hammond, in St. Lawrence County, New York.
A historic landmark here, “The Towers” was long known as Dark Island Castle until recently renamed “Singer Castle“. The island itself sits only a few yards south of the Canadian-United States border that runs along the river. Because of its proximity to Canada, it was used for rum-running during prohibition in the United States.
The south side of the island is only about one-hundred feet (30m) from the shipping channel, and cargo ships frequently pass the island. Because of the depth of the channel on one side, and the relative shallowness on the other, it is very good for sport fishing of Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike (fish species).
10. Pontikonisi, Greece
Mouse Island (Pontikonisi) in background
This small beautiful island covered with pine trees which is situated between Agriovotanos and Ellinika is called Pontikonisi. Only a few places in Greece have been photographed as much as this small piece of land which is the trademark of Corfu Island.
This virgin biotope houses seals, dozens of birds and it is also a location rich in fish. Its existence is recorded in all the old maps and it is said that in the area around it the famous naval battle of Artemision took place.
Pontikonisi is the home of the Pantokrator monastery. It is the white stone staircase of the Monastery that when viewed from afar gives the impression of a mouse tail that gave the island its name, Mouse Island, that’s what Pontikonisi means in Greek.