From Frodo Baggins’ humble Hobbiton abode to Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine, here are 13 must-visit film locations around the world.
True film buffs will understand how real-life film locations can set a certain kind of mood that expensive studio sets may prove difficult to achieve. To some, visiting these sites can truly bring film fantasies to life – at least from our imagination to our senses.
From Frodo Baggins’ humble Hobbiton abode to Luke Skywalker’s vast home planet, Tatooine, here are 13 must-visit film locations around the world to relive your favourite movie.
Harry Potter – Hogwarts: Oxford, UK
The magical tale of Harry, Hermione and Ron may have come to an end on screen, but the memoirs live on through the long dining hall (Christ Church College) and stone staircases of Oxford University in London, among several other sites. If you’re a diehard fan of the series, you can even follow the Harry Potter walking tour around London to visit the franchise’s various filming locations – no Marauder’s Map needed.
La La Land – Griffith Observatory: California, USA
Sebastian and Mia’s dance in the Griffith Observatory was one of the major scenes in La La Land; and the planetarium played a key role in highlighting that starry galaxy background. Even if you didn’t particularly like the movie, the observatory is a great place to visit in Los Angeles, boasting spectacular views of the city and of course, the stars beyond the night sky.
Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit – Hobbiton: Matamata, New Zealand
When in New Zealand, Matamata is the place to go to transport you to the serene homeland of the Hobbits, the Shire. The lush green landscapes, vibrant blooms and quirky houses will surely help you understand just how much Frodo and Sam miss home on their journey to Gondor.
The Sound of Music: Salzburg, Austria
“The hills are alive with the sound of music” – in Salzburg, it appears. Many of the 1964 film’s scenes were shot there and its surrounding region, including the iconic opening meadow scene featuring the dancing Maria.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade- Canyon of the Crescent Moon: Petra, Jordan
See yourself as a brave adventure-seeker like the great Indiana Jones? Then, you could consider following his trail to the “Canyon of the Cresent Moon” – which in reality, is the popular Al-Khazneh temple in Petra, Jordan.
The Hunger Games – ‘The Arena’: North Carolina, USA
Ironically, several scenes in the The Hunger Games’ “man-made arena” where Katniss Everdeen and other tributes fought to the death, were shot in the real-life DuPont State Forest in North Carolina. Thankfully, visitors here can enjoy the magnificent pine forests, waterfalls and mountain grandeur, minus the bloodshed.
James Bond (The Man with the Golden Gun): Phuket, Thailand
Formerly known as Kao Phing Kan, this pristine island in Phuket, Thailand is now more popularly known as James Bond Island, since its prominent feature in The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974. Till this day, the island gets thousands of visitors every year to witness the iconic limestone tower karsts shown in the movie.
The Dark Knight Rises – ‘The Pit’: Rajasthan, India
Remember the scene where Batman aka The Dark Knight escapes ‘The Pit’ that once imprisoned the invincible Bane? Well, that scene was filmed at the Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India. Standing hundred feet tall on a perpendicular cliff, the haunting beauty of the Fort, now a museum, certainly makes an irking setting for the act.
Mamma Mia!: Skiathos, Greece
Athens or Santorini may take the top tourist spot in Greece, but it was Skiathos that was chosen for the filming of Mamma Mia! With that bright, sunny weather and inviting tavernas overlooking the deep blue sea, we can totally see ourselves singing and tapping along to ABBA’s best tunes on a visit there.
Jurassic Park: Hawaii, USA
The island of Kauai in Hawaii has been the filming location of many popular movies, including Avatar and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc; but its most apparent appearance would likely have to be in Jurassic Park. If you’re planning a visit, do consider taking a helicopter ride around the island for the best views of its perpetual grassland, forests, rivers and waterfalls.
The King’s Speech – Westminster Abbey: England
Trust England’s cathedrals to play backdrop to many popular British movies - such as Ely Cathedral, representing the interiors of Westminster Abbey in The King’s Speech. Its majestic halls were also featured in The Other Boleyn Girl and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Groundhog Day – Punxsutawney: Woodstock, USA
While the movie is based in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois. Thanks to the movie’s success, the town celebrates Groundhog Day every year, where fans can have the opportunity to stay in Phil Connors’ cozy bed and breakfast, the Royal Victorian Manor.
Star Wars – Planet Tatooine: Tunisia
Before rising to become one of the greatest Jedis the galaxy has ever known, Luke Skywalker grew up in the humble planet of Tatooine. Largely a desertland with underground tunnels and caves in the movie, the real location is none other than Tunisia, near the Saharan desert. Star Wars fans have been known to visit the Hotel Sidi Driss aka the Star Wars hotel here, for the experience of travelling to a “galaxy far, far away”.
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