Travelling with a purpose brings a whole new dimension to your travels and allows you to see destinations in a whole new light, and for film and TV lovers out there movie tourism – travelling specifically to see the locations of your favourite movies and TV shows – is a perfect way to do just that and get closer to the films you love while you are exploring a new destination.
Did you ever watch a movie or TV show and fall in love with the location or marvel at the amazing scenery the film was simply using as a dramatic backdrop? Just as a movie can transport you anywhere in the world in an instant, seeing these iconic destinations for yourself can feel as magical as entering the movie itself! I mean who hasn’t dreamt of being Indiana Jones or strapping an unlicensed nuclear generator to your back in New York?
Did you ever want to retrace the footsteps of the great movie legends and see these places for yourself? Well you can, and it is pretty easy too. Here are just ten of the top movie location destinations where you can see where your favourite movies were shot.
The Da Vinci Code, The Louvre, Paris.
The Louvre in Paris is the setting for the seminal murder of Jacques Saunier at the start of the film, and although many of the paintings seen and talked about in the movie aren’t actually held at the Louvre (a bit of artistic license was taken), many of the scenes were shot in or outside the famous museum, including scenes with the iconic Glass Pyramid, ‘a scar on the face of Paris’ according to Detective Fache in the film. A scar it may be but not many film locations can boast being a part of the story as well as being a mere backdrop.
Ghostbusters, New York City, USA.
Perhaps the most iconic locationic of one of the most iconic films ever made, fans of the original and best Ghostbusters can still see the exact firehouse used as Ghostbusters HQ at 14th North Moore Street in Tribeca! And the best thing is this is still a working Firehouse and the home of Hook and Ladder Company 8.
The Goonies, Oregon, USA.
This absolute classic of a film was filmed almost entirely in Astoria, Oregon, or at least the outside shots were, and the entire town is a treasure trove of movie locations, from the home of Mikey and Brand that didn’t actually get turned into a golf course to the absolutely iconic Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach!
Lord Of The Rings, New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is essentially one big tourism board advert for New Zealand, but perhaps one of the most famous movie sets of all time is Hobitton! The entire set has been left standing exactly where it was in Matamata just outside of Auckland, and travellers can take a tour through the Hobbits village, stay and eat at the Inn and the Shire’s Rest cafe.
X Men, British Columbia, Canada.
If you have ever dreamt of walking up to Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters and developing your powers to join Cyclops and Wolverine in the X Men, well now you can take a step closer by visiting Hatley Castle in British Columbia where most of the external shots were filmed.
The Batman, Liverpool, England.
Speaking of superheroes, if you want to get up close and personal to Gothams favourite vigilante you can visit Liverpool in England which doubled for the famous fictional city with much of the film being shot here. The Batman himself looked down on the city from the famous Liver Building, St Georges Hall was the location of Gotham Mayors funeral and many other scenes besides can be found all over the city.
Harry Potter, Christ Church, Oxford, England.
Although many of the scenes were actually shot on set in the Leavesden studios in Hertsfordshire near London, the famous spires of Oxford doubled up as an seminal filming location for the imposing Hogwarts School For Witchcraft And Wizardry in all 8 of the Harry Potter Films, from the iconic Great Hall to the moving staircases, even many of the smaller quadrangles and courtyards were used.
Highlander, Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland.
Let’s face it, Highlander is pure scenery porn and half of the film is dedicated to showcasing Scotland in a beautiful light, but there was a little poetic licence when it comes to actual place names. According to the movie legend, the Macleod village is supposed to be Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Sheil, which is a real place in Lochaber, but the actual scenes, especially the large battle where Connor MacLeod became immortal were filmed at the nearby but infinitely picturesque Eilean Donan Castle on the shores of Loch Duich.
The Dark Knight Rises, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodphur, India.
Mehrangarh fort in India is the setting for Bruce Wayne’s incarceration on his journey to become Batman, and this imposing fort certainly gives an imposing impression as it overlooks the blue city of Jodphur.
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Devils Tower, Wyoming, USA.
This iconic mountain located in the Bear Lodge Ranger district of Wyoming is immediately recogniseable as you approach it from a distance, even without an alien spacecraft hovering above it! It was the first US National Monument, dedicated in 1906, and today is situated in a glorious national park with some amazing scenery.
Planet Of The Apes, Point Dume, Malibu, USA.
Take your stinking paws off me you damn, dirty ape! Point Dume in Malibu may just seem like any other glorious beach in California, and to many unaware beach goers that is exactly what it is! What many visitors dont know however is that this beach once had the ruins of the Statue of Liberty located at the end of it and was the location of one of the most iconic plot twists in cinematic history!
Star Wars A New Hope, Matmata, Tunisia.
Luke Skywalkers home on Tatooine, the Lars Homestead, was actually filmed in MatMata in Tunisia, and is now the Sidi Dris hotel with much of the set and decor from the film still intact, or at least recreated, for the ultimate Star Wars experience!
Rocky, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA.
One of the most iconic scenes in cinema history sees Rocky running up those famous steps where his statue will one day stand, and you, along with dozens of other tourists can do the exact same thing while humming the Rocky theme tune at the Philadelphia Museum of Art!
When Harry Met Sally, Katz Delli, New York City, USA.
205 East Houston Street on New Yorks Lower East side is home to Katz Deli, otherwise known as the famous restaurant from Where Harry Met Sally where Sally, well, you know. Wether the food there has the same effect on you when you visit? Well I’ll let you be the judge of that, but one thing is for sure you can definitely have what she had!
Star Wars The Last Jedi, Skellig Michael Island, Ireland.
This relatively unknown corner of Kerry in Ireland has become an absolute must see destination for any Sci Fi fan since it was revealed as the location of Luke Skywalkers self imposed exile in the latest Star Wars film. The island itself is a small, barren rock accessible only by boat, but is easily reached as part of the Star Wars trip from Sleah Head, already a stop on the ever popular ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ route.
The Beach, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
What movie location list would be complete without the film that launched a million gap years? The famous scene where Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the beach, the entrance to a secret island in the gulf of Thailand, encapsulates the awe and mystique that every backpacker feels as they set off on their own round the world adventure. Unfortunately the film has caused a mass influx of tourists to the Maya Bay where the scene was actually filmed, with package tours even getting in on the action, leading to mass overcrowding and environmental concerns.
Lawrence Of Arabia, Seville, Spain.
Fans of Lawrence of Arabia don’t have to trek into the Jordanian desert to follow Peter O’Toole’s immortal footsteps, with much of the civilization scenes set in the Spanish city of Seville, with the Mujedar architecture, a blend of Moorish, Arabian and Gothic styles that Seville is famous for being perfect for the film. The Plaza de Espana doubled as Cairo where Lawrence first arrived at the British Army Headquarters and the Officers Club is actually the courtyard of the Hotel Alfonso XIII.
The Last Emperor, The Forboidden City, China.
As if it isn’t enough to walk in the hallowed halls of one of China’s greatest and best preserved heritage sites and revel in the history of a building that served as the residence for 24 God Like Emperors across China’s dynastic history, this magnificent building was also used a the ultimate backdrop for 1987’s The Last Emperor.
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Petra, Jordan.
The ultimate location for any Indiana Jones fan is Jordan’s iconic tourists attraction, the ‘hidden’ city of Petra, now easily accessible for thousands of tourists on horseback or with organised camel rides. This world heritage site and modern wonder of the world is worth far more than the usual day or two package tour, and you should take your time exploring the colonnaded streets, the royal tombs and monasteries and the iconic treasury to get the full experience of this legendary world wonder, so grab your fedora, hop on a horse and ride through the canyon humming the Indiana Jones theme tune!
Harry Potter, Kings Cross Station, London, England.
Yes this is another Harry Potter Location, but one that is definitely worth visiting! Contrary to its moniker Platform 9 and 3/4 isn’t actually a platform anymore. The actual film location is here but they couldn’t have thousands of tourists crowding on a still working train platform, so the official site is located near the entrance of the Western departures concourse and is basically just a sign and a luggage trolley seemingly going through the wall where tourists can pose for pictures. There are staff members taking ‘official’ photos that are for sale in the very expensive Harry Potter shop just around the corner, but they allow you to take as many photos of your own as you like beforehand and there is no pressure or hard sell to buy their official ones. You simply queue up, choose your house scarf and pose for the camera!
So as film tourism starts to take off, find the locations of your own favourite movies and head to their actual filming locations.
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