In many movies and television series, the lead actors must share star billing with the location in which filming took place, and these locations continue to draw visitors long after the shoot has ended. We’ve put together a list of some of our favourite filming locations around the world.
The medieval walls and buildings of this UNESCO World Heritage-listed city, and its situation on the shores of the Adriatic, have served as an ideal stand-in for multiple locations in the Game of Thrones series, most notably as the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, Kings Landing. In fact, there are so many filming spots in and around the Old Town that the best way to see them all is to join a dedicated GoT walking tour with an expert guide so that you can relive your favourite, most memorable scenes.
You’d be hard pressed to find a region of New Zealand that hasn’t featured as somewhere in Middle Earth in one of the six Tolkien movies, but some of the most memorable include Mt Ngauruhoe in the central North Island (Mt Doom), Lake Pukaki (Laketown), Piopio (Trollshaws Forest) and Kaitoke Regional Park (Rivendell). You can even spend a day in the hobbits’ home region of the Shire: the Hobbiton movie set (near Matamata in the Waikato region) has remained since filming wrapped on the final movie and now operates as a permanent attraction where guests can see the hobbit houses set into the lush, green hillsides and enjoy a traditional ale in the Green Dragon Inn.
The Rose City of Petra is one of the most beloved sites in Jordan, and Al-Khazneh (also known as The Treasury) is one of its most elaborate temples. Both the temple and the slot canyon known as al-Siq, which serves as the main entrance for visitors to the site, featured in the climactic scenes of the third Indiana Jones movie. The movie is set in the years leading up to the Second World War, but the elaborate façade of Al-Khazneh is thought to have been carved from the sandstone rock face around 2000 years ago.
The series follows the fortunes of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants, who lived in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey. However, the actual estate that provided both exterior and interior for filming, Highclere Castle, is located in North Hampshire. The surge in interest that resulted from Downton Abbey has provided its owner, the Earl of Carnarvon, with the means to carry out vital restoration work to both its interior and its crumbling turrets. The castle is set within beautifully landscaped gardens and parkland, and all are open to visitors during the summer months – of particular interest to many visitors is the collection of Egyptian artefacts acquired by one of the previous Earls.
This famed Massachusetts summer bolthole for the rich and famous is located approximately seven miles off the Massachusetts coast, and is renowned for its lovely beaches, some of which featured in the 1975 thriller, which was set on the fictitious island of Amity. The settled, temperate climate has attracted visitors for decades, including many high-profile movie stars, politicians and musicians who enjoy the laid-back, low-key atmosphere. The island is divided into six towns, each with their own distinct character, including Edgartown (with carefully-preserved, historic houses that date from its time as a major whaling port) and Oak Bluffs (famed for its gingerbread-style cottages and vibrant atmosphere). Plan your stay for late August if you want to sample the best of the local produce at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair.
“The hills are alive with the sound of music,” sang Julie Andrews in the iconic 1965 movie, and visitors have been flocking to the Austrian city of Salzburg for their own Rodgers & Hammerstein experience ever since. Walk through Mirabell Garden where Maria played with the children, dance around the gazebo where Liesl and Rolf escaped the storm or walk down the aisle of the Basilica of St Michael in Mondsee, where Maria finally married her captain. But the Von Trapp family aren’t the only musical geniuses to have come from Austria’s fourth largest city: this was also the birthplace of Amadeus Mozart, and today the house in which his family had an apartment for 26 years is a museum dedicated to his achievements.
In the Hawaiian language, na pali means “high cliffs”, which is something of an understatement when it comes to the incredible northwest coastline of the island of Kauai. For a 26-kilometre stretch, towering cliffs rise 1200 metres straight up out of the dark blue waters of the Pacific, accessible only from the water or from the air, and providing the ideal, fictitious location for an island of dinosaurs. You can recreate plenty of other movie moments at various, equally breath-taking Kauai locations, from Hanalei Bay (‘The Descendants’) to Lydgate State Park (‘Blue Hawaii’).
The eastern Chinese province of Anhui is renowned for the picture-perfect villages of Hongcun and Xidi, which featured in the award-winning movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Walk the villages’ ancient streets and admire their distinctive, white-walled buildings with grey slate roofs, many of which date back to the Song Dynasty, more than 900 years ago, then hike the misty trails or ride one of the cable cars to the peak areas of nearby Huangshan Mountain.
If you want to recreate your own favourite movie moments on location, ask your personal travel manager to act as your location scout and production assistant.