Iconic movie locations around the world you can actually visit

8 December, 2023 / words by Nancy Lova

I’m sure at one point we’ve all watched movies and were completely captivated, so much so, we kind of wished we were one of the characters. A lot of this is down to where they were filmed as some places are mesmerising enough to draw us in and make us want to visit. You may have seen films and thought the settings were too good to be true and that CGI had a huge part to play but actually, some spots are simply perfect, real and open to the public!

From ancient temples, the Aegean Sea to enchanting towns, you can start planning a film-inspired trip as I’ll name a number of iconic movie locations around the world you could actually visit.

Al Khazneh, Petra, Jordon – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

The entire Indiana Jones series is pretty legendary and I adored watching all the films growing up but there was one in particular that stood out and that was the Last Crusade due to a few scenes filmed in Petra. Since released in 1989, it has been the dream of many fans to travel to Jordon and see the remarkable structures displayed within the movie. Al Khazneh also known as The Treasury is a phenomenal rock-cut tomb standing nearly 40 metres high and decorated with intricate friezes and figures. Whilst The Treasury can only be viewed from the outside, it does consist of two floors and three chambers. Petra is one of the 7 Wonders of the World and with its desert landscapes and rich history, it definitely should be on the top of the bucket list.

Skopelos, Greece – Mamma Mia!

This feel-good film was captured in the idyllic Skopelos, a beautiful location known to be one of Greece’s most greenest islands. Dazzling deep blue waters, spectacular views and charming streets, this Greek island is straight from a postcard and certainly made me shout “where’s that?” when I watched Mamma Mia for the first time. Whilst the film took place on a fictional island, Skopelos is the real setting and lovers of the movie can take pleasure in stunning beaches, fantastic restaurants and lots of attractions.

Ta Prohm, Cambodia – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

For the thrill-seekers and archeology-lovers, originally built as a Buddhist place of worship, Ta Prohm is one of the most visited temples in Angkor Park, Cambodia with some of its admirers inspired to see the temple after watching the classic film. Vast roots, huge trees, 39 towers and 260 statues, it’s possible to spend hours marvelling over everything and wandering through the labyrinth of corridors. Although the walls may be crumbling, the atmosphere is still wonderful.
Famed for unspoilt beaches, vibrant nightlife and warm hospitality, Cambodia is a Southeast Asian jewel and makes a perfect holiday getaway.

Hobbiton, Matamata, New Zealand – The Lord of Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies

A more cosy and quiet corner of the world, Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand was a set created for The Lord of the Rings however still stands for fans to enjoy. Rolling hills, delightful cafes, an abundance of greenery and a nearby waterfall, Matamata is quite the real-life fairytale. Be one of the thousands who visit the town of Hobbiton each year and be guided through a tour of exploring how the film was made, the interiors of an actual Hobbit Hole and enjoy an evening banquet dinner. See if you could spot all 44 holes from the film too!

Dōgo Onsen Matsuyama, Shikoku – Spirited Away

Japan’s fourth largest island is home to Dōgo Onsen Matsuyma, the oldest hotspring in the country and the inspiration for the popular animated movie, Spirited Away. If you haven’t seen the film then I highly recommend you do, it’s an amazing story based on the adventures of a girl who accidentally stumbled into the world of gods and spirits. The detail and graphics are striking and with such a fascinating storyline, travellers from all over the world have been influenced to visit the hotspring themselves. The destination has long been a favourite amongst reputable and distinguished guests such as the Imperial Family. Due to its remote location, Shikoku is land of tranquility with picturesque natural beauty, waterfalls and rugged mountains.

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford – Harry Potter

I must admit, I love Harry Potter. Right from start to finish, I was amazed by the locations, in particular that of Hogwarts. From the staircases to the cloisters and libraries, Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford provides many scenes in Hogwarts much of which you can see in person. Bring the magic to reality with a visit to Oxford, a famous city which has been home to scholars for 800 years and is filled with sweet canals, botanical gardens and cobbled lanes.
Oxford is great for day trips and quick to get to if you’re coming from London. In an hour you can be strolling through museums and galleries and tucking into delicious pastries in cute cafes.


Nancy Lova


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