Movies have the power to transport us to different places and times, but what if you could actually visit the iconic film sets that brought those stories to life? From the wizarding world of Harry Potter in the United Kingdom to the rugged landscapes of Mad Max in Australia, there are countless film locations around the world that offer a unique travel experience for movie fans.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most iconic film sets to visit around the world, giving you a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes magic that brought these stories to the big screen.
# France: Idyllic Film Sets Throughout
France has a rich cinematic history that has left an indelible mark on the film industry.
- Montmartre, Paris – This picturesque neighborhood in Paris has been the backdrop for many movies, including the iconic film “Amélie.”
- Palace of Versailles – The Palace of Versailles has been featured in several films, including “Marie Antoinette” and “The Three Musketeers.”
- Gordes, Provence – The beautiful village of Gordes in Provence was the setting for Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe.
- The French Riviera – The glamorous French Riviera has been the backdrop for many films, including “To Catch a Thief” starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
- Chateau de Chambord – The Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley was featured in the film “The Da Vinci Code.”
- Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris – This iconic cathedral has been featured in many movies, including “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Midnight in Paris.”
# New Zealand, Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit were filmed in New Zealand. The country is home to a diverse range of natural landscapes and wildlife, all picture perfect. Here are some of the iconic film sets in New Zealand that you can visit:
- Hobbiton: Located near the town of Matamata on the North Island, Hobbiton is a tourist attraction that recreates the hobbit village featured in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Visitors can take a guided tour of the village, visit the Green Dragon Inn, and learn about the making of the movies.
- Tongariro National Park: Located on the North Island, Tongariro National Park was the filming location for many of the outdoor scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies, including Mount Doom and the Gates of Mordor.
- Waitomo Caves: Also on the North Island, the Waitomo Caves were used as the filming location for the eerie underground scenes in the Hobbit movies. Visitors can take a boat ride through the glowing caverns and see the famous stalactites and stalagmites.
- Te Anau: Located on the South Island, Te Anau was the filming location for the epic battle scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies. Visitors can take a helicopter tour of the area to see the stunning mountain ranges and lakes.
- Queenstown: Also on the South Island, Queenstown is a popular destination for adventure sports and was used as a filming location for many scenes in the Lord of the Rings movies, including the Anduin River and the Pillars of the Kings. Visitors can take a guided tour of the filming locations and enjoy outdoor activities like bungee jumping and skiing.
- Mount Cook National Park: Located on the South Island, Mount Cook National Park was the filming location for many of the scenic shots in the Lord of the Rings movies, including the Misty Mountains and the Dimrill Dale. Visitors can take a guided hike or helicopter tour of the area to see the stunning glaciers and alpine landscapes.
# United Kingdom & Harry Potter
The Harry Potter movie series was filmed in various locations across the United Kingdom, and many of the sets used in the movies have become iconic tourist attractions. Whether you’re a major fan or just a casual viewer, these locations offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of Harry Potter.
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: The exterior shots of Hogwarts were filmed at several locations, including Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and Gloucester Cathedral. You can take a tour of both of these locations to see the Great Hall, the Hogwarts classrooms, and the Forbidden Forest.
- Platform 9 3/4: At King’s Cross Station in London, you can find a replica of the famous Platform 9 3/4 where Harry and his friends caught the Hogwarts Express. Visitors can take a photo pushing a trolley through the platform wall.
- Diagon Alley: The street where Harry and his friends go to buy their wizarding supplies is actually an area in Leadenhall Market in London. Visitors can walk through the colorful alleyway and see the shops that inspired the movie sets.
- The Hogwarts Express: The iconic train that takes students to Hogwarts was actually a real steam train called the Jacobite, which runs through the Scottish Highlands. Visitors can take a ride on the Jacobite and see some of the stunning landscapes featured in the movies.
- Gringotts Bank: The interior shots of Gringotts Bank were filmed at the Australia House in London. Visitors can see the marble-lined lobby and the impressive chandeliers that were used in the movies.
#Thailand: Paradise Islands and Exotic Cities as Movie Sets
With its breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and iconic film locations, Thailand is a must-visit destination for film and travel enthusiasts alike. Here are some lovely places yo can visit and learn more about the movies that were filmed in the region:
- James Bond Island – This island in Phang Nga Bay was featured in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.”
- Phi Phi Islands – The Phi Phi Islands were the setting for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach.”
- Ayutthaya – This ancient city in Thailand was featured in the movie “Anna and the King.”
- Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai has been the backdrop for several movies, including “Rambo III” and “The Hangover Part II.”
- Bangkok – The bustling city of Bangkok has been featured in many films, including “The Hangover Part II,” “Only God Forgives,” and “The Beach.”
- Bridge on the River Kwai – The famous bridge on the River Kwai, located in Kanchanaburi, was featured in the movie of the same name.
#Italy: The Godfather of Bohemian Villages
Fans of The Godfather can visit the Sicilian villages that served as the backdrop for the iconic film series.
The Godfather is a classic American film series directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and many of the scenes were filmed in the Sicilian villages of Savoca and Forza d’Agrò. These picturesque towns served as the backdrop for some of the most memorable moments in the films, including the wedding scene in the first movie.
Visitors can take a tour of the towns and see the iconic Bar Vitelli, which was featured in the first movie and is still in operation today. The tour also includes stops at other locations used in the films, including the Church of Santa Lucia in Forza d’Agrò, where Michael Corleone marries his first wife Apollonia.
In addition to the filming locations, visitors can also explore the beautiful landscapes and historical landmarks of Sicily. The region is known for its stunning coastline, ancient ruins, and delicious cuisine, making it a popular destination for tourists from around the world.
#Japan and its Anime Sets
Japan is known for its vibrant anime and manga culture, and many fans of the genre flock to the country to experience it firsthand. Some of the most popular anime-related travel destinations in Japan are the following:
- Akihabara: Located in Tokyo, Akihabara is a district famous for its electronics shops, anime merchandise stores, and maid cafes. It’s a popular destination for anime and manga fans who want to buy souvenirs and immerse themselves in the culture.
- Studio Ghibli Museum: Studio Ghibli is a renowned animation studio in Japan, and the museum in Tokyo is a must-visit destination for fans of its films. The museum features exhibits on the history and techniques of animation, as well as original artwork and props from Studio Ghibli films.
- Pokemon Center: There are several Pokemon Centers located throughout Japan, where fans can buy merchandise, play games, and meet other fans of the popular franchise.
- Kyoto International Manga Museum: The museum in Kyoto features a collection of over 300,000 manga and graphic novels, as well as exhibits on the history and art of manga.
- Anime-themed cafes and restaurants: There are many themed cafes and restaurants in Japan, where visitors can enjoy food and drinks inspired by popular anime and manga series, such as Naruto and One Piece.
In addition to these destinations, there are also many anime-themed events and festivals throughout the year in Japan.
#Australia: Mad Max and The Crocodile Dundee
Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee are two iconic Australian movies that showcase the beauty and ruggedness of the Australian outback. The outback is a vast, remote region in Australia that covers most of the country’s interior, and is known for its red desert landscapes, stunning rock formations, and unique wildlife.
Visitors to the outback can explore the locations and scenery featured in these movies, including the iconic Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), a massive sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory that is sacred to the local Aboriginal people. Other popular destinations in the outback include the rugged landscapes of Kakadu National Park, the colorful rocks of the Breakaways, and the underground town of Coober Pedy.
In addition to the natural beauty of the outback, visitors can also experience the unique culture and history of the region. Aboriginal culture is an important part of life in the outback, and visitors can learn about traditional customs and art by visiting local communities and cultural centers.
#India and Bollywood Movies
Bollywood movies are a major part of Indian culture, and visitors can experience the excitement and energy of Bollywood by visiting Mumbai and taking a behind-the-scenes tour of a movie studio. Some other popular destinations for Bollywood travelers include:
- Film City: Located in Mumbai, Film City is the largest film studio complex in India and is home to many Bollywood productions. Visitors can take a tour of the studios and see sets and props used in popular movies.
- Taj Mahal: The Taj Mahal is a famous monument in Agra that has been featured in several Bollywood movies. Visitors can take a tour of the site and learn about the history and architecture of this iconic landmark.
- Mehboob Studios: Another famous film studio in Mumbai, Mehboob Studios has been used for many Bollywood productions over the years. Visitors can take a tour of the studios and see the sets used in popular movies.
- Ramoji Film City: Located in Hyderabad, Ramoji Film City is one of the largest film studio complexes in the world and has been used for many Bollywood productions. Visitors can take a tour of the studios and see sets and props used in popular movies.
- Bollywood Boulevard: Bollywood Boulevard is a themed entertainment park in Mumbai that features attractions based on popular Bollywood movies. Visitors can enjoy rides, shows, and live performances inspired by the movies.
In addition to these destinations, there are also many Bollywood-themed events and festivals throughout the year in India.
# Iceland, Game of Thrones & Vikings
Iceland’s dramatic landscapes have been the backdrop for many movies and TV shows, with its unique geological formations, glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanic landscapes providing the perfect setting for otherworldly and fantastical stories.
The popular TV series Game of Thrones used Iceland’s Vatnajökull glacier to film scenes Beyond the Wall, giving the show’s snowy and icy landscapes a realistic and authentic look. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a 2013 movie, also features some breathtaking Icelandic landscapes, including the famous Kirkjufell mountain and the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.
Another production is the science-fiction series Sense8 features several scenes set in Iceland, including a memorable sequence where the characters visit the iconic Blue Lagoon.Iceland’s popularity as a filming location has only grown over the years, and visitors can now take tours to explore the locations featured in these movies and TV shows.
# Marocco and its Photogenic Colors
Morocco has a rich history of film production and has been the backdrop for many famous movies throughout the years. Here are some famous movie sets you can visit in the country of colors:
- Essaouira: This coastal town has been featured in several movies including Othello, The Man Who Would Be King, and Alexander.
- Marrakech: The colorful city has been the backdrop for many movies including The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sex and the City 2, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
- Fes, a northeastern Moroccan city, was been featured in several movies including Hideous Kinky, The Jewel of the Nile, and Black Hawk Down.
- Tinghir: This small town in the Atlas Mountains was center stage for movies like Hidalgo and The Hills Have Eyes.
And of course, you have the Moroccan part of the vast Sahara Desert, home for several movies, including “The English Patient,” “The Sheltering Sky,” and “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.”
To sum up, the film industry has a remarkable influence on travel, as it inspires people to explore different parts of the world through movies.
Visiting these movie locations allows travelers to step into their favorite films and experience the magic of cinema in real life. From the romantic Parisian streets in ‘Midnight in Paris’ to the beautiful beaches of Thailand in ‘The Beach’, these iconic movie locations provide travelers with a chance to experience a new culture while reliving their favorite movie moments.