Some of the most iconic TV shows and movies ever made feature amazing make-believe worlds that would make you want to actually see and experience the environment. Fortunately, many of these productions were shot at some of the most beautiful locations around the globe. You may not be able to go to Middle Earth, Westeros, a galaxy that’s far, far away, or Britain during the post-Edwardian era, but you can visit the filming locations used in bringing these fictional places to life.
New Zealand (LOTR Trilogy)
Image by Hobbiton Movie set Tours
In order to successfully bring Tolkien’s beloved middle-earth to life, the entire movie was shot in New Zealand. Brimming with pristine forests, majestic fjords, and scenic mountain landscapes, some of New Zealand’s national parks and countryside areas provided the perfect filming spots. Start your middle-earth experience by visiting the movie set for the Hobbiton and The Shire. Filmed at the charming town of Matamata, the farming landscape perfectly depicted the peaceful lifestyle of the hobbits. Now a permanent attraction, Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit house continues to attract plenty of visitors.
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Another film location that’s worth the trip is Glenorchy, a rustic village that caps off the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu. From this spot you can see Mount Earnslaw, which was made famous in the Two Towers film. From this same village, you can also walk the path to a beech forest that was used in scenes in Lothlorien, an elven city featured in Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings books.
Croatia and Morocco (Game of Thrones)
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As one of the most successful TV shows today, each Game of Thrones episode has a multi-million dollar budget. After all, aside from its stellar cast, it relies heavily on huge and elaborate sets to bring each scene to life. If you can’t get enough of Westeros, book a flight to Croatia and check out Lokrum and Dubrovnik. These two walled cities by the seaside provide the perfect backdrop for exterior and interior shots of Westeros.
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Essaouira, Morocco is another must-visit destination. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a charming fishing town that serves as the backdrop for Astapor, a fictional slave-trading city. The town’s amazing seascape and houses made of local materials, built using traditional methods make it the ideal setting for any GoT fan.
Guatemala’s Tikal National Park (Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope)
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Yavin 4, a fictional moon featured in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, was actually shot in the Tikal National Park, one of Guatemala’s prized gems. The highlight is a stunning piece of Mayan architecture, a Mayan temple set amidst lush greeneries. Include this destination in your itinerary and get your dose of Star Wars magic and Mayan culture.
England (Downton Abbey)
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A TV series revolving around the lives of the fictional Crawley family during the post-Edwardian era in Britain, Downton Abbey uses some of UK’s iconic castles as filming locations. Start your holiday by visiting Southeast England’s Highclere Castle. Enjoy the charming interiors, sip a cup of tea at the cafe, and stroll through the garden for a complete 1900s experience. Make sure to book your tickets early because it’s now a tourist hot spot.
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The Bampton village provides the backdrop for the exterior shots of Downton Village. If you need to rest a bit, stop by at the Vineyard at Stockcross for lunch or tea. This charming hotel features elegant interiors and a superb restaurant.
Some of these filming locations require 20-hour flights from Australia, but with all of the scenic views you’ll get to see, the trip will be worth it. If you want to get huge savings on your next trip, check out our cheap airport parking that come with a courtesy shuttle ride to and from the airport.