The magical and crazy world of Tim Burton’s newest film, “Alice in Wonderland,” was almost entirely computer-generated. Everything from the giant vegetation to the Red Queen’s castle exists only on top of a green screen. Yet there are a number of very real places that would have functioned well as the backdrop of an imaginary world like Wonderland. I chose a few of the most whimsical buildings that you can visit—without falling down a rabbit hole:

Photo courtesy of the "Works of Antoni Gaudi" sector of the World Heritage Collection

1. Pargue Guell. Any list of fanciful buildings would be incomplete without Antoni Gaudi, who built this site in 1914. A winding wall covered with colorful, recycled mosaic tiles surrounds his public park in Barcelona, Spain. The playful nature of the space is accentuated by the tiled dragon that greets visitors at the entrance of the park, as well as by the caretaker’s lodge, which resembles a gingerbread house.

2. St. Basil’s Cathedral. With its Candyland-inspired “onion domes” and central location in Moscow’s Red Square, this building is as much a symbol of Russia as the Eiffel Tower is of France. Legend has it that after Ivan the Terrible commissioned the Cathedral in the 16th century, he blinded its architect so that another equally beautiful structure could not be built elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of the Hundertwasser Non Profit Foundation

3. The Crooked House. Created by Szotynscy Zalesk in 2003, and inspired by a series of fairytale illustrations, this sagging “house” actually contains a number of restaurants and shops. It is located in Sopot, Poland, and has become the most photographed building in the entire country.

4. The Forest Spiral. This curving apartment complex is located in Darmstadt, Germany and was built by Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser in 2000. According to the author of the Armchair Travelogue blog, all 105 of the apartment units are accessible by a series of spiraling ramps, instead of stairs or elevators. Its façade is not only made up of eye-catching bands of color, but also features a garden of various trees on its “green roof.”

The Leaning Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa), The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Photo courtesy of

5. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. According to, the national marvel began sinking into the ground almost from the time it was constructed by Bonanno Pisano in 1173. Luckily, a series of architectural interventions throughout the centuries have reduced the lean of this gravity-defying building to about 15 feet. Galileo was said to have dropped two cannon balls from the top of the tower during a science experiment in order to test their comparative speeds.

6. The Pod House. Also known as the “Mushroom” house, this precariously perched home was built by architect James H. Johnson in the 1960s near Rochester, New York. According to home design site Apartment Therapy, the external design was inspired by Queen Anne’s Lace (although the buildings more closely resemble fungi), and the property actually hosts a complex of pods connected by walkways.

Can’t get enough? If you can look past the boring logos, this New Jersey real estate blog actually has a great collection of even more wacky and wonderful constructions from around the world.