20 Film Locations You Can Actually Visit

Immerse yourself in the setting of your favourite films with a sight-seeing holiday. You might be used to experiencing movie sets from the comfort of your sofa, so why not take it one step further by heading there yourself? Soak up the glorious landscapes of these popular film locations before exploring the rest of the destination at your own leisure.

Visit the Amityville horror house, sing out loud as you hike the rolling hills featured in the Sound of Music or bravely swim through Jaws territory. Alternatively, tear through the forests of the Hunger Games and follow in Harry Potter's footsteps skipping along the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley. Here are some of the best movie locations every film buff should visit.

Top 20 movie locations you must visit

1. Avatar forests, Hawaii

Set in the verdant rainforests of Hawaii, Avatar was a box office smash and visitors to the US state can pretend to be in Pandora by visiting the luscious, tropical set. While a large portion of the filming was enhanced by CGI, many scenes were shot at the Keahua Arboretum in Kauai. Take the chance to run through the rainforest along Big Island’s Hamakua Coast where Jake Sully and Neytiri perfected their green screen moves. 

2. Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, New York City

Pose on the stairs of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in Sex and the City at 66 Perry Street in New York City, one of the most famous TV and movie locations visited by film fans. While the apartment building was only used for exterior shots, no trip to New York would be complete without a photoshoot outside Carrie’s famous apartment. There’s so much to see and do in the Big Apple, but any SATC fan should prioritise visiting this iconic building.

3. The Hunger Games forest, USA

Transport yourself to the Hunger Games universe with a trip to DuPont State Forest, North Carolina. You can visit the location of three significant scenes filmed here: 

  • The Fire Scene filmed near the old airstrip
  • The Pool Scene where Katniss jumps into a pool after being burned
  • The River Scene where Katniss tracks Peeta after he’s injured. 

Hunger Games tours are available should you want some guidance and insight into how the film was made. With towering pines and rocky waterfalls hugged by fauna, the forest itself is captivatingly beautiful.

4. The church in Mamma Mia, Skopelos

Who hasn’t had a sing-along session to Mamma Mia, glass of wine in hand and the musical numbers blaring? If you can relate, then this film location is for you. The romantic comedy, starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, and Pierce Brosnan, was filmed mostly on the Greek island of Skopelos. Visit Agios Ioannis church, which was used as the chapel exterior in the famous wedding scene and stand on the spot where Meryl Streep sings “the winner takes it all”. You may even be tempted to burst into song yourself but you might want to wait until you have a cocktail in hand that evening!

5. District 9 landscape, South Africa

The sci-film, District 9, was filmed on location in Chiawelo, a real-life township in Soweto. This is where people were actually evicted from their informal housing much the same way the aliens were kicked out of their homes in the film. The movie was shot during winter when director, Neill Blomkamp, thought Johannesburg looked most like Chernobyl. This isn't all that's on offer here, though there are a number of incredible beauty spots in South Africa beyond the film location. It's a fantastic place to visit even if you haven't seen the movie. Fun fact about the film –  did you know that just one actor played all of the aliens?

6. Western town in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Spain

Mini Hollywood in the Tabernas Desert in Spain is the filming location for many Spaghetti Westerns, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, starring Clint Eastwood. Now transformed into a Wild West tourist attraction, you will have the chance to explore and immerse yourself in the world of cowboys. You’ll get to wander around the real set of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which was purchased by extras and set up as a theme park once filming was completed. 

7. Amityville Horror house, Amityville

Every true horror movie fan has watched the terrifying Amityville Horror. Based on a novel by Jay Anson, the story follows the Lutz family who move into a haunted house and experience inexplicable paranormal activity. You can visit this Dutch-Colonial style house at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, America where the film was shot. While the house isn’t really haunted, you’re sure to feel a chill down your spine as you approach it.

8. Monty Python’s Camelot and Game of Thrones, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed on location at Doune Castle in Scotland. The castle, which was portrayed as King Arthur’s home, Camelot, comes complete with a Great Hall and Round Table. Not only was it an important part of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but it was one of the filming locations for Game of Thrones’s Winterfell. The historic medieval castle is a landmark in its own right and looks particularly magnificent during the snowy winter months.

9. The Overlook Hotel from The Shining, USA

If you’ve always dreamed of visiting the Overlook Hotel based on the Stephen King novel, The Shining, you’re in luck. You can explore Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, northern Oregon, used as the exterior of the Overlook. The hotel interior was filmed in Hertfordshire, but you're sure to get goosebumps when gazing up at the Overlook.

10. Angels & Demons, Vatican City

The filming of Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons at the Vatican City was forbidden by the Catholic Church. How did director Ron Howard manage to get around this? He sent his film producers to Vatican City, posing as tourists. They took thousands of photographs to digitally recreate the world-famous location. Relive the thriller while walking through the beautiful setting, admire the incredible architecture and browse the galleries.

11. The subterranean pool from 127 Hours, USA

At the start of 127 Hours, Aron Ralston (James Franco) meets two hikers and together they dive into a 17m deep subterranean pool. The pool is actually a natural hot spring at the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to dive into the spring as it’s been prohibited for safety reasons, but it’s an incredibly beautiful sight and is well worth a visit if you’re a fan of the film.

12. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings hobbit houses, New Zealand

Explore the hobbit houses used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films at Matamata, just two hours south of Auckland. The Hobbiton™ Movie Set has over 44 hobbit holes set into the rolling hills, surrounded by grazing sheep and green pastures. You can join a guided tour of the Hobbiton movie location or explore it yourself whatever you decide, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another world in this peaceful part of New Zealand. No matter where you travel in this country, though, the stunning scenery is reminiscent of the films and you'll be spoilt for vistas as far as the eye can see.

13. Jaws Amity Island, USA

The Steven Spielberg movie, Jaws, was filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, an island in Massachusetts only accessible by air or boat. Visit the town centre where Chief Brody stocks up for the 'beach closed' signs, the Chappaquiddick ferry, and Joseph A Sylvia State Beach. 

14. The Sound of Music, Austria

The Sound of Music was filmed in the city of Salzburg. You can visit various film locations for this iconic movie, including Mirabell Gardens where Maria and the children sing “Do-Re-Mi”; Residenz Square where Maria sings “I have confidence in me”; St Peter’s cemetery where the flight scenes were filmed and the Sound of Music Pavilion at Hellbrunn Palace where “I am 16 going on 17” was shot.

15. The prison in The Shawshank Redemption, USA

Nominated for seven Oscars, The Shawshank Redemption is an extremely popular film with film fans the world over.  These fans can visit the abandoned Ohio State Reformatory, a striking 19th century building in Mansfield, USA where the movie was filmed. See the office of the prison warden, the parole board room, and Andy Dufresne’s escape tunnel. 

16. Ghostbusters’ firehouse, USA

The fire station in Ghostbusters is actually a working firehouse at 14 North Moore Street in the Tribeca area of New York City. The firehouse was used for exterior shots while interiors were filmed in a decommissioned firehouse in Los Angeles. The firehouse now has a Ghostbusters badge on its wall, which is the perfect spot to pose beside. Whether you're a fan of the 1984 original or the 2016 reboot, you won't want to miss out on a visit here.

17. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in X-Men, Canada

Hatley Castle in British Columbia was filmed as the exterior for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in the X-Men movies. Guided tours are available; take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the movies and see if you can spot where your favourite scenes were filmed. 

18. Canyon of the Crescent Moon in Indiana Jones, Jordan

The Last Crusade, the third movie in the Indiana Jones series, was filmed in the ancient city of Petra which can be reached by horse or camel via the Siq, a narrow opening in the cliffs. Explore Al Khazneh temple, known in the film as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon where the Holy Grail was hidden. This film location is a must for adventure fans and those who want to learn more about the history of Jordan. 

19. The Harry Potter Studio Tour, London

Book your tickets to Hogwarts and explore the Harry Potter film sets, including Hogwarts Bridge, the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut, Gryffindor Common Room, the boy’s dormitory, the Potion’s classroom, and Dumbledore’s office. The Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, London gives you access to the wizarding world like you’ve never seen it before. 

You will see props like Harry’s broomstick, Hagrid’s motorcycle, and a 1:24 scale model of the Hogwarts castle. Walk along Diagon Alley past Ollivanders Wand Shop, Flourish and Blotts, Gringott’s Wizarding Bank, Eeylops Owl Emporium, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Don’t forget to try some Butterbeer!

20. The Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City, USA

While unfortunately, you can’t visit the real Emerald City, San Diego is as close as it gets. The author of The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, often penned his novels at Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego – and it’s believed that he modelled the Emerald City after it. Take the opportunity to stay at the Hotel Del Coronado and surround yourself with the decor that inspired the iconic tale. With vast luscious grounds, regal red turrets and eccentric decor, this legendary hotel is certainly a sight to behold. 

Which film locations would you like to visit? Whether you’re an action fan or prefer something on the romantic side, we’re sure you’ll find something in this list that suits your tastes. Book your trip away with Best at Travel where you’ll find an array of luxury resorts.