If you still haven’t planned your summer vacation, why not go to Middle Earth? Or perhaps you’d prefer Hogwarts, Narnia, or even Westeros?
Movies, TV, and books transport us to fantastic locations, but some of them exist in real life. Whether your favorite show was filmed there, or it was a location that inspired a fictional place, it is actually quite easy to escape to landscapes from your favorite fictional universe.
While there may not be wizards, hobbits or dragons, here are 22 fascinating locations where fantasy comes to life:
22King’s Landing (Game of Thrones) – Dubrovnik, Croatia
Scenes in King’s Landing were initially filmed in Mdina, Malta. However, it was relocated to Dubrovnik, Croatia, where the red roofs became instantly recognizable as the capital of the fictional Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Many locations in and around the city were also used as Qarth and Slaver’s Bay.
21The Shire (The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings) – Matamata, New Zealand
The sets used for Hobbiton in the Shire for both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies remains intact just outside Matamata, New Zealand. You can even pay a visit to the Green Dragon pub, where the hobbits meet Aragorn in the first installment.
20Arendelle (Frozen) – Nærøyfjord, Norway
The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Norway inspired the animators who created the fictional kingdom of Arendelle in Disney’s Frozen.
19Hogwarts Castle (Harry Potter) – Alnwick Castle, England
The fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was actually filmed in many locations across the UK. Alnwick Castle is perhaps the most iconic of these, being used extensively in the first two films. Gloucester Cathedral and Durham Cathedral were also used for interior shots.
18Cair Paravel (Narnia) – Cathedral Cove, New Zealand
In The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, they reenter the world of Narnia through Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. It serves as the location of their now ruined castle of Cair Paravel.
17Tatooine (Star Wars) – Tozeur, Tunisia
While it is likely that Tatouine in Tunisia gave Luke Skywalker’s home planet, Tatooine, its name, it was actually filmed in nearby Matmata and Tozeur. Located in the Sahara Desert, this Tunisian town still has the film sets from the movies.
16Downton Abbey (Downton Abbey) – Highclere Castle, England
Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England, was used as the location of the house of the Earl of Grantham in the period drama Downton Abbey. However, Bampton in the Cotswolds served as the rural town.
15Winterfell (Game of Thrones) – Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Castle Ward in County Down, Northern Ireland was used as the home of the Stark family in Game of Thrones, Winterfell.
14The Black Lake at Hogwarts (Harry Potter) – Loch Elit, Scotland
Like the castle itself, Hogwart’s Black Lake was cobbled together using shots from many different Scottish lochs, including Loch Shiel, Loch Arkaig, and Loch Morar. However the most iconic is Loch Elit and Eilean na Moine which served as the final resting place of Albus Dumbledore, from which Voldemort steals the Elder Wand.
13Mordor (The Lord of the Rings) – Mount Ngauruhoe, New Zealand
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand was used as Mordor in The Lord of the Rings, though shots were edited to make it seem more dark, and sinister. Mount Ngauruhoe, in particular, was used as Mount Doom, where Frodo must go to destroy the One Ring.
12Beruna River (Narnia) – Soča River, Slovenia
The Soča River in Bovec, Slovenia was used in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian as the site of the Beruna Ford, and the final defeat of the Telmarines.
11Gotham City (Batman) – New York City, USA
New York City has long stood in for Batman’s fictional Gotham City, even earning it as a nickname for itself. While legendary Batman writer claimed that Gothan was “New York at night” others say that it is based on all the seedier locations in the city, or even that it is an amalgamation of Chicago and New York.
10The Kingsroad (Game of Thrones) – Bregagh Road, Northern Ireland
Bregagh Road in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, popularly known as the Dark Hedges thanks to its tunnel of beech trees, is used as the longest and grandest highway in the Seven Kingdoms. The Kingsroad runs from the Wall in the north, all the way to the capital city of King’s Landing.
9Canyon of the Crescent Moon (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) – Petra, Jordan
Al Khazneh, the Treasury at the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, stood in for the temple that housed the Holy Grail in the third Indiana Jones movie.
8Paradise Falls (Up) – Angel Falls, Venezuela
Paradise Falls from Pixar’s Up was based on Angel Falls in Canaima National Park, Venezuela. At a height of 979 meters, it is the tallest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
7Great Hall at Hogwarts (Harry Potter) – Christ Church College, England
Though the real set of the Great Hall can be found at Leavesden Studios, and its Harry Potter Studio Tour, the set designers of the Harry Potter franchise were inspired by the iconic dining hall of Christ Church College in Oxford.
6Camelot (King Arthur) – Wales
There are many locations across the UK claiming to be the true Camelot of Arthurian legend. However, the most promising of these is Wales and the city of Caerleon.
5Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (X-Men) – Hatley Castle, Canada
Hatley Castle in British Columbia, Canada, was used as the exterior of Xavier’s School in multiple X-Men films, and even in Deadpool. As fans will undoubtedly know, the school serves as the base for the superhero team, the X-Men.
4The Water Gardens of Dorne (Game of Thrones) – Alcázar, Seville
In southern Westeros, Dorne is far warmer than the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. It is then fitting that the capital city, Sunspear, and its Water Gardens were filmed at the Alcázar of Seville. Also in Seville is Roman Amphitheater of Italica which was used as the Dragon Pit of King’s Landing.
3Yunkai (Game of Thrones) – Aït Ben Haddou, Morocco
Ouarzazate and the fortified village of Aït Ben Haddou were used as the city of Yunkai in Slavers Bay. Daenerys Targaryen liberates the city from its masters. Located in Morocco, Ouarzazate is a famous film location and is used in many other films, such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
2Warrior Falls (Black Panther) – Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Warrior Falls in the fictional African country of Wakanda is where King T’Challa of Wakanda’s (the Black Panther) coronation takes place. However, the falls from the recent film are not actually in Africa but are the spectacular Iguazu Falls in Argentina.
1Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter) – Scotland
This spectacular railway is perhaps the most instantly recognizable fictional location. Featured in four of the Harry Potter films on the journey the Hogwarts Express makes from King’s Cross Station to the school, it has become known as the Harry Potter bridge.