From alien landscapes to lush jungle camps, step into your favourite cinematic scenery at these famous filming locations.
Film and television have long been the go-to way to escape the quotidian, but even the otherworldly stories of the screen have to be shot somewhere. With the rise of 'set-jetting' – the travel phenomenon that involves visiting the settings for films and TV shows – you can play out the action, the drama and the romance in person. Whether you seek globe-hopping adventure with Indiana Jones, long for the luxury of Crazy Rich Asians or crave fantastical worlds like Middle-Earth and Westeros, these 10 spectacular filming locations will place you at the centre of the scene.
1. Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii – Jurassic Park
Hollywood’s ‘Hawaii backlot’, Kualoa Ranch, is a jaw-dropping, 4,000-acre private nature reserve on Oahu’s windward coast. For decades, these grand sweeping valleys have hosted studio spectacles from Lost to Jumanji, Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. The instantly recognisable spine of sacred hills is the perfect backdrop to adventure, with director extraordinaire Steven Spielberg choosing them for the earth-shaking dinosaur stampede scene in blockbuster classic Jurassic Park. With easily accessible tours of this phenomenal landscape, your Oahu stay isn’t complete without a detour to the site of this prehistoric parade.
Hunt down the best hotels for your Hawaiian escape.
2. Dubrovnik, Croatia – Game of Thrones
It’s hard to imagine winter ever coming on the sun-soaked coast of Croatia. While most of the beautiful Balkan country draws travellers looking for sun and sand, the Old Town in Dubrovnik, the nation’s capital, has attracted fantasy fans in swathes since the walled city became synonymous with the epic drama series Game of Thrones. Follow in the footsteps of main character Cersei down Saint Dominic Street to the imposing Fort Lovrijenac. Just a short trip down the road, you can stroll through shady Gradac Park, where the series' Purple Wedding infamously unfolds.
Ready to claim your Dubrovnik destiny? We’ve got you covered.
3. Wadi Rum, Jordan – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Whether unearthing the ancient past or looking to the stars in a galaxy far, far away, Wadi Rum is Hollywood’s go-to desert for all things ancient and alien. Since the filming of Academy Award-winning Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, this otherworldly landscape of red sand has become the backdrop for cosmic communities in the Star Wars universe, deathly battles in Dune and galactic missions in Matt Damon’s sci-fi drama The Martian. Back in the terrestrial realm, intrepid adventurer Indiana Jones traversed this vast and barren land in The Last Crusade on his quest for the Holy Grail at nearby Petra. No other vista quite captures the solitary life of the explorer, be they astronaut or archaeologist.
Eager to seek the treasures of Jordan? Check out our mesmerising small-group Jordan tours.
4. Queenstown, New Zealand – The Lord of the Rings
If you’ve ever ambled through Aotearoa, you may have visited the Hobbiton™ Movie Set Tours for a glimpse at the bucolic home of Lord of the Rings protagonist Frodo Baggins. For those craving more Middle-Earth, a short trip to the South Island is sure to satisfy. With Queenstown as your anchor, the meticulously planned world of author J. R. R. Tolkien opens thanks to numerous easy day trips. Take the drive to Glenorchy and step into the mystical elven forest of Lothlorien along the road to Paradise, or set off for nearby Arrow River, where half-elven, half-human Arwen summoned the great floods to sweep away the dreaded Ringwraiths. Just outside Queenstown is Deer Park Heights, where the Riders of Rohan fought off bloodthirsty wargs.
Feel like going on an adventure? Discover an unexpected self-drive journey through the South Island.
5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina – Black Panther
Deep in the rainforest at the Triple Frontier of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil stands Iguazu Falls, a thundering series of waterfalls spread over almost three kilometres. Shimmering rainbows project over eternal mists – a sight that’s graced the silver screen from Moonraker to The Mission. Even Indiana Jones resurfaced in these waters for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Marvel fans will recognise this breathtaking wonder from the high-stakes fight between T’Challa and Killmonger in Black Panther. Taking a boat into the spray, it’s easy to see why these gargantuan falls have inspired many a jet-setting filmmaker.
Discover the wild wonders of South America with our curated itinerary.
6. Snoqualmie, Washington, USA – Twin Peaks
Though many productions set up shop just north of the border in idyllic Vancouver, the show that launched the Golden Age of Television opted to film in a little-known town three hours south, just east of Seattle. Between eerie woods and rusted rails, Snoqualmie set the stage for Agent Dale Cooper and the charmingly peculiar characters of Twin Peaks as they searched for Laura Palmer’s killer. Underscored by an unforgettable theme song, the graceful veil of Snoqualmie Falls welcomed viewers each week to a world of intrigue. Peer over the cliffs where The Great Northern Hotel stands, then cosy up with a damn fine cup of coffee and a cherry pie at Twede’s Cafe, home to the Double R Diner’s nostalgic booths and jazzy jukebox.
Peruse the Pacific Northwest with our Seattle stays.
7. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda – Gorillas in the Mist
Very few people witness the critically endangered mountain gorilla in the wild and those who do undoubtedly owe a great deal to renowned primatologist Dian Fossey. Following her tragic death, the acclaimed biopic Gorillas in the Mist returned to Fossey’s research camp and the Karisoke Research Centre in Virunga National Park, with filmmakers determined to represent her life’s work. In the dense jungles of Rwanda’s mountainous north, you can visit these historic sites or join a gorilla trek thanks to the enduring legacy of Fossey’s dedicated conservation work.
Stay among the trees with our best Rwandan retreats.
8. Singapore – Crazy Rich Asians
Follow in the footsteps of Rachel Chu and lose yourself in the luxurious lifestyle of Crazy Rich Asians and the Singapore elite. With myriad delights on offer, you can sample the fragrant street food that Rachel and her friends relish at the Newton Food Centre, or wander through the Gardens by the Bay to picture yourself as part of the wedding party. For the ultimate experience, stay at Marina Bay Sands and toast your holiday at CÉ LA VI SkyBar & Club Lounge, home to the film’s climactic conclusion.
Book your own Singapore escape here.
9. Kardamyli, Greece – Before Midnight
The gorgeous shores of Greece have welcomed countless honeymooners, but for Jesse and Celine, the fishing town of Kardamyli is the setting for a lifetime of romantic reflection. In the conclusion to Richard Linklater’s much-loved Before trilogy, the two lovers look back on the ebb and flow of their intertwining lives, from a fateful night in Vienna to their Parisian reunion and beyond. Their family holiday now takes them to Kardamyli and the historic house of famed British travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor – donated to the Benaki Museum in 1996 and open to the public for scheduled tours. Glittering waters and rugged rocks lend this quiet residence an enchanting beauty that leaves you wishing you could sit and talk just a little longer.
Before you go, check out our Peloponnese properties.
10. Venice, Italy – A Haunting in Venice
In the pantheon of the world’s greatest detectives, one Belgian (and his magnificent moustache) stands apart. In filmmaker Kenneth Branagh’s most recent addition to the Poirot Cinematic Universe, Agatha Christie’s brilliant detective Hercule Poirot is drawn out of retirement for a séance at a dilapidated Venetian palazzo. Following Poirot across Venice, you’ll recognise many of the city’s best-loved spots, from the Bridge of Sighs to Piazza San Marco. Wind your way through Cannaregio to the magnificent marble church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Escape the crowds in the peaceful churchyard of San Giorgio Maggiore, where Poirot takes his market stroll, then take a tour of Il Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia – the city’s highest panoramic terrace, where Poirot peacefully greets the day.
Ready for a Venetian adventure? Discover our Venice offers here.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out Sleep Like Royalty at These Extraordinary Heritage Hotels.