Our favourite movies and shows can transport us to new and often magical places. While we may never be able to visit these fictional places, they’re often based on real destinations. So, if you’ve ever wanted to retrace Frodo’s steps to destroy the ring or stay in Luke Skywalker’s homestead, you’re in luck. You can travel to movie and TV filming locations and retrace the steps of your favourite characters.
From Harry Potter to The Godfather, you can visit the actual filming locations of some of your favourite films. Take in the historical buildings or lush forests that transformed into the setting for beloved movies. You can even tour and explore some of the sets left over from these films.
No matter your favourite genre, there is a destination to explore. So, grab your camera, wand, or one ring to rule them all and pack your bags. It is time for an adventure based on our favourite films and TV series.
Scotland - Harry Potter series
Experience the magic of Harry Potter in Scotland. Scotland was a filming location for several scenes in the Harry Potter series, including Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry. Fans can tour the various sites and see some of the magical settings from the movies.
You can travel over the Glenfinnan Viaduct and pretend you’re on your way to Hogwarts. The 42-mile stretch of rails between Fort Williams and Mallaig travels over the hills of the Western Highlands of Scotland, calling to iconic scenes of Harry, Ron and Hermione returning to Hogwarts. On the Jacobite steam train, better known as the Hogwarts Express, take in the views of Scotland while pretending you’re on your way for another year of magic training. Ride the train with preferred CAA Travel partner Railbookers to save up to $100 on your Scotland itinerary. Near Fort Williams, take in the Steall Falls. The falls are the second highest in Scotland and were the backdrop for quidditch matches, and where Harry battled the Hungarian Horntail dragon in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.
Round out your Harry Potter-inspired Scotland vacation with a trip to Edinburgh to get a taste of the city where the beloved series came to life. J.K. Rowling first put pen to paper in the cafes of Edinburgh, and the city served as inspiration throughout the book. Plus, you can indulge in experiences like potion-inspired cocktails at the Department of Magic Edinburg tavern.
Tunisia - Star Wars series
Visit Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine in Tunisia. George Lucas came up with the name while shooting in the Tunisian desert and saying in the nearby Tataouine. In the Star Wars Series, Tunisia’s desert landscapes were filmed to create the planet Tatooine.
Head to Africa’s northernmost country to take in the landscapes of Tatooine and visit the iconic filming spots. Star Wars fans can head to the Hotel Sidi Driss, the Star Wars Hotel in Matmatat-Al-Qadimal. The hotel is built into the desert and served as the interior for the Lars Homestead in Episode IV: A New Hope.
If you’re visiting Nefta, head to La Grande Dune, the largest of Nefta’s dunes. It is here where C-3PO and R2D2 land in the Dune Sea in Episode IV: A New Hope. Near Nefta is the salt lake Chott el Djerid; at the northwest tip of the salt lake is a small dome built as the exterior of the Lars Homestead. Just 16 kilometres north of the Lars Homestead is the abandoned set of the spaceport Mos Espa. The spaceport is an iconic destination for fans of the series, but it is also incredible for any film buff to see the left-over set.
Croatia - Game Of Thrones series
The HBO hit series was filmed across Europe, but Croatia’s historic cities and stunning landscapes set the scene for many places in Westeros. In particular, the medieval walled city, Dubrovnik, plays the part of King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros.
While in Dubrovnik, visit the Lovrijenac Fortress, known to fans as the Red Keep. You will recognize the fortress as where the tournament was held in King Joffrey’s name in season two. In the early seasons, many scenes were shot at the Pile Gate, the main entrance to Dubrovnik, including the attack on Joffrey. In the town centre is the impressive Jesuit Staircase that was the setting of Cersei’s season five walk of shame, one of the most famous scenes of the series.
Game Of Thrones fans can also head to Split to take in more filming locations. Fans will spot the Klis Fortress as the setting for the town of Mereen, where Daenerys seized the city, freeing the captives. The Diocletian Palace is one of the most famous filming locations in Split. The basement is where Daenerys keeps her dragons. Inside the palace walls, you’ll find restaurants, shops, and a Game Of Thrones Museum.
Greece - Mamma Mia!
Get ready for the ultimate Abba-filled getaway. Fans of Mamma Mia! can take in the beautiful beaches and picturesque Greek Villages that set the scene for the musical film.
Head to Skópelos to see most of the Grecian filming locations. In fact, most of the outdoor scenes in Mamma Mia! were filmed on the beaches and towns on the island, which has become known as the “Mamma Mia Island.” Plus, there are many organized Mamma Mia! Tours that will show you all the iconic filming locations.
To get the full experience, head to Glysteri Beach. This mountainous peninsula served as the fictional Kalokairi Island. The cliffs are used in the cliff jumping scene as Sophie enjoys lunch with her three potential fathers. The sprawling olive grove cliffs are also seen as Donna sends Sophie off for her wedding on a donkey. One of the most iconic locations on the island is the Chapel of Agios Ioannis. The chapel is the sight of Sophie’s wedding and is set high on cliffs overlooking the rest of Skópelos.
New Zealand - Lord Of The Rings trilogy
Discover Middle-earth in New Zealand. The stunning landscapes served as the backdrop for the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, with 150 filming locations across the North and South islands.
You’ll want to visit the Shire and other iconic filming locations in New Zealand. Get a hands-on, immersive Middle-earth experience with tours, excursions, and workshops.
In Matama, spend the day in Hobbiton. You can explore the Hobbit holes and raise a toast to Bilbo Baggin’s 111th birthday as you wander the Hobbit-sized vegetable patches. In addition, you can explore Hobbiton with guided tours, like the Second Breakfast tour, which allows you early access to the Shire and enjoy a hearty breakfast inside the Millhouse.
Next, head to Wellington to visit the Weta Workshop, where you can dive into the world of weapons, costumes, and the effects behind the films, plus get hands-on experience with the sculpting, leather work and special effects makeup in the trilogy. You’ll also want to see Wellington’s Mount Victoria to see the Hobbiton woods. Another stop is the Hutt River (the River Anduin in the films), which flows between Moonshine and Totara Park. Or head to Kaitoke Regional Park to see Rivendell. The spot where Frodo recovers is marked with a sign, making it easy for Lord of the Rings fans to discover.
Sicily - The Godfather trilogy
While much of the Godfather trilogy was shot in New York City, Sicily’s historic cities are the background for Michael Corleone’s time in Italy.
In Messina, head to Savoca to Bar Vitelli. In the trilogy, Michael heads to the still-operating bar and hotel to inquire about Apollonia after meeting her in the countryside. The bar is now a shrine to the Godfather and is still operating. Down the street from Bar Vitelli is Chiesa di San Nicolo, the church where Michael and Apollonia get married.
In Fiumefreddo, fans can visit Castello Deglie Schiavi. It was the filming location for when Michael and Apollonia get married, Michael arranges to meet Apollonia, and he teaches her to drive. It also served as the main house in Sicily.
Explore the movie magic
Visit these iconic destinations and more with the help of a CAA Travel Consultant. Book an appointment online to start planning.