Everyone has a favorite TV show or movie that they have seen about 50 times, know every line, every location, every actor/actress, the costume designers, and the dude who played ‘Bad guy #2’. Or is that just me?
Around the world, small and often unknown rural areas have transformed into huge tourist attractions due to them being featured in blockbuster movies, while others were famous long before they set foot on the silver screen. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find out that your favorite locations are more than that, they have history, great scenery or something else to offer.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorites from around the world. Is yours here?
Matamata is a small town located in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s north island. It is known for its movie set for the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movies. The government decided to keep the production set in Matamata once production had finished so it could be used as a tourist attraction.
Glenfinnan Viaduct in western Scotland is an iconic bridge that the Jacobite steam train (Hogwarts Express) crosses. It is prominent in the Chamber of Secrets where Harry and Ron try to catch the train in their flying car. Visitors can ride the train across the viaduct on the Jacobite. The 84-mile round trip passes through some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery and is referred to by some as the greatest railway journey in the world.
Another well-known Harry Potter location is Christ Church in Oxford, this was the setting for Hogwarts’ Great Hall. It is not the one used in the movie, however, it is where the producers got their inspiration from. When in Oxford, why not take a stroll around the oldest university in the UK and learn about its history.
Based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, the Davinci Code has professor Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks), finds a dead body in the Grand Gallery of the Louvre, naked and posed similarly to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man. Brave the long lines and scour the Louvre Museum in search of hidden clues for yourself.
One of the main filming locations for the first Hangover movie was the iconic Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas strip. You can explore Caesars along with all other hotels on the strip to save yourself from the desert heat. Unfortunately, access to the roof (as in Hangover I & III) is restricted but I’m sure there are other things to do in this city.
Famous in its own right as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai became a jungle gym for Tom Cruise in MI4 as he climbed the Burj, ran down the windows on the outside and swung around it in his craziest stunt that he performed without a stunt double. The Burj Khalifa features an observation deck, a hotel, residences, a park, and a fountain show similar to that of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Monument Valley is a US Indian reservation owned by the Navajo tribe and has been used for many films over the years, particularly western movies. In Forrest Gump, Monument Valley is where Forrest finishes his run of 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. The reservation is open to the public with accommodation available.
Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh is the tropical paradise on Leonardo Dicaprio’s map in ‘The Beach’. Nowadays, it's more than just a movie location but a full-blown tourist trap. Over 5000 tourists cram onto the 250m beach every day to get a glimpse of paradise, but can you blame them?
Skyfall is the name of the home Bond (Daniel Craig) grew up in and the name of the movie. The home is fictionally located in Glencoe, Scotland. This spectacular glen is one of the greatest sights in Scotland and a great place for a scenic drive and photography.
Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia is the largest religious complex in the world covering 402 acres. Before its meteoric rise in popularity, Ta Prohm in Angkor Wat was used for filming as one of the temples in the Tomb Raider movie. Now, much like the rest of South East Asia, tourism is on the rise and backpackers are flocking to these historic complexes and Ta Prohm is now simply known as the ‘Tomb Raider temple’.
Medellin has seen an increase in tourism over the past year or two due to the release of Netflix's original Narcos. Within the city, you can visit some real locations from the life of Pablo Escobar including his main home which was bombed by Los Pepes, his grave, the neighborhood he built for the poor, and the roof where he was killed by the DEA and the Colombian Search Bloc. It is Colombian theory that he killed himself as Pablo’s famous quote reads ‘I would rather have a grave in Colombia than a jail cell in the United States’.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has taken part or listened to someone blasting out an ABBA hit during karaoke. The band was and still is huge, which is why they got their own movie which was filmed in Skopelos, Skiathos, Greece. The first noticeable thing about Skiathos when arriving by plane is that the runway is REALLY close to the water, so don’t take the brace position when landing.
One of the best parts about this island if you are a fan of the movie or ABBA, is that it doubles as a seaside resort where you can chill in the sun and work on your tan.
Alcatraz is well known around the world for its history mainly as an old American civil war fort and a prison. Numerous movies have been filmed here but the most famous are Escape from Alcatraz and The Rock. Escape from Alcatraz is obviously about an escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood.
In The Rock, Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage infiltrate the island to stop a group of rogue US Marines led by Ed Harris from launching a chemical weapons attack upon the San Francisco Bay area. You can understand why the inmates tried to escape when you see the view of San Francisco from Alcatraz.
Yavin IV was a jungle-covered moon orbiting Yavin which acted as a hidden military base for the rebel alliance in Star Wars Episode IV. The shot in the movie is from the top of a Mayan temple in the ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala. Tikal is rich in history and was one of the main sites of Mayan civilization from the 6th century B.C. Much of Tikal still remains unearthed.
The Marriott Marquis in Atlanta is the location for the Capitol’s tribute center in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The hotel is known for its atrium which used to be the largest in the world. I guess if you’re a Hunger Games fan and you’re ever in Atlanta you know where to stay!
Unless you’re Australian, you may not have heard about this movie. It’s a horror movie that has elements of real murders of backpackers that have taken place in the Australian outback. Beware!
It’s set around Wolfe Creek crater in northwestern Australia. Although you may not visit the location of the movie for fear of being murdered, the crater itself is worth seeing as the well-preserved location is one of the most ‘obvious’ meteor craters in the world.
What’s your favorite TV or movie location you would like to visit, and why? If you think we’re missing a big one, let us know in the comments below!