For those looking to immerse themselves in the fictional worlds of Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings – there’s nothing quite like visiting the real-world destinations.
While you may not actually be able to stay in the Old Inn on Eel Alley in King’s Landing, or enjoy a refreshing blue milk in the Mos Eisley cantina, you can, in fact, explore the real-world locations, doubling up as backdrops for the films.
To that end, alpharooms are sharing the greatest activities and hotels from the world’s finest fictional TV shows and movies. Prepare to change your summer plans…
King’s Landing / Dubrovnik
Croatia is the backdrop to a number of different scenes in Game of Thrones, bringing a brilliant sense of déjà vu for all fans who holiday in the country. However, no location is as iconic and beloved as the old town of Dubrovnik, doubling up as King’s Landing.
The old town is breathtaking, creating the illusion of walking straight onto the film set. Walking around the city, you can feel like a true Lannister (or a traitor to the crown). Filming broadly took place around the large outer walls – built between the 7th and 17th century – and the narrow streets; the picture-perfect backdrop for the cobbled streets of the capital of the seven kingdoms.
While you may not be able to sample a Bowl of Brown in Flea Bottom, you can take a tour of the walls and breathe in the fresh sea air whilst soaking up the stunning views of the Dalmation Coast.
Fort Lovrijenac – or the Red Keep – has been used many times throughout all seasons, including the intense tournament held in honour of King Joffrey in season 2. This intimidating sight on the edge of the crystal blue sea is set on three levels, with 10 cannons protecting the sea facing walls.
For those who are looking to replicate, arguably, one of the most famous scenes from the TV show – the Spanish Steps are where Cersei took her ‘walk of shame’ through King’s Landing to the Red Keep. Today, the streets are, typically, full with bustling crowds and street food vendors.
But that’s not all, there are plenty of hotel options (thankfully, with inside toilets) to soak up the GoT surroundings.
Hotels in Dubrovnik
The Valamar Argosy is a 4-star hotel, offering breathtaking views of the Adriatic Sea and the chance to play Queen Cersei for the duration of your holiday. Close to the Dubrovnik Old Town, you can explore the grand walls – the backdrop to many of the iconic scenes – and visit many other attractions. You’ve also got the beach on your doorstep for when you come back to soak up the rays and enjoy the life of luxury, just like the Lannisters.
Bask in the luxury of five stars at the Hotel More, and indulge during your summer destination. If there’s anywhere that prepares you for the inevitable winter, it’s Hotel More. Nestled on the beachfront and boasting fine-dining, you’ll likely never want to leave the resort. When you do, however, there are a variety of nearby attractions to litter your Instagram feed.
Tatooine / Tunisia
George Lucas fell in love with Tunisia, choosing to use the North African country to film exteriors for the scorching, desert planet, Tatooine. Most notably, the ferry port town of Ajim has made several cameo appearances in five of eight movies – more than any other planet.
For those looking to expand their film travel catalogue, the most important planet from the Star Wars franchise is a good place to start. Tatooine is where Anakin Skywalker and his son, Luke, both grew up, as well as where Qui-Gon Jinn battled against a Sith Lord; it’s seen plenty of action – and now you can too.
The first planet to be introduced in the original movie has a wealth of attractions for film buffs: Matmata – The Lars Homestead, Tataouine – Mos Espa Slave quarters (where Anakin lived) and even Tozeur – otherwise known as Mos Espa, the Star Wars Canyon and the location of the duel between Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul.
Tozeur – or the picture-perfect Instagram location – boasts a number of locations, such as the Sidi Bouhlel ravine – famous for appearing in the abduction of R2D2 by the Jawas. Chott el Djerid is another major site, used as the exterior of The Lars Homestead. Additionally, it was the final shot in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
For film buffs looking to enjoy the home comforts of Obi Wan Kenobi’s House (where he spent his exile), you can do so in Djerba Island. Ajim, mentioned above, also boasts the building used for the exterior of the world-famous Mos Eisley Cantina.
Should you want to rest in between exploring all that ‘Tatooine’ has to offer, you can take your pick from a range of hotels.
Hotels in Tunisia
Welcome Meridiana Djerba
Far removed from the slave quarters of Mos Espa, the 4-star Welcome Meridiana Djerba offers luxury, fine-dining and entertainment that you wouldn’t find in Chalmun’s Cantina; think aerobics, spa, gym, multiple restaurants and bars. However, should you want to visit the iconic sights of ‘Tatooine’ – the ferry port of Ajim is just a 40 minute drive.
Located in the tourist area of Djerba, the surrounding entertainment of the 4-star Hotel Meninx is enough to rival even the likes of Mos Eisley. Indulge in a selection of traditional Tunisian dishes, relax in the wellness centre or sunbathe on the beach.
Diagon Alley / London
London has hugely benefited from the Harry Potter film franchise. For instance, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London receives, on average, 6,000 visitors per day. The tour was also voted the UK’s most popular attraction in 2016. There’s little wonder that it is so popular, especially as the final Harry Potter film – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – is the 10th highest grossing film in the world.
For those looking to immerse themselves in the wizarding world, there are a number of options – starting with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.
Heading into the heart of the capital, however, you can stop by Leadenhall Market – once used as Charing Cross Road, where Hagrid and Harry make their way to the Leaky Cauldron in the first film. Speaking of the Leaky Cauldron, you can walk through the famous doors at what is now the Glass House Opticians, in Leadenhall Market.
Moving on to Piccadilly Circus, you can trace the footsteps of the famous three – Harry, Ron and Hermione – during their escape in Deathly Hallows – Part 1. And, of course, we are not forgetting Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross – where you can even get your photo taken pushing the trolley through to the Hogwarts Express.
If you are looking to rest and relax amongst the magic, London has plenty to offer.
Hotels in London
The Tower Hotel
With views of the iconic Tower Bridge – a backdrop to several Harry Potter scenes – The Tower Hotel ensures you feel like an extra in the wizarding world. Providing luxurious accommodation, an on-site Brasseries restaurant and some of the finest views of London; you’ll be utterly spellbound.
Strand Palace Hotel
Set a mere 15 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus, the Strand Palace Hotel, the 4-star hotel boasts The Gin Palace; reason enough to stay in London. However, the attractions and backdrops to the Harry Potter films are all within walking distance, as is Leadenhall Market – otherwise known as Diagon Alley.
You shall pass… straight into New Zealand and amongst the ‘hobbitses’. The Shire’s birthplace is the lush greenery of New Zealand. In fact, the entire Lord of the Rings film franchise is a poster for New Zealand tourism.
Filming for all movies within the LotR trilogy took place in just 400 days, shot in over 150 real-world destinations – spanning farmland to 2,000 year old mountains. New Zealand truly takes you into the heart of Middle Earth.
All Tolkien fans will be spoilt for choice when stepping off the plane. Matamata is the birthplace of the Hobbiton set, within the heart of The Shire. It’s about as authentic as a LoTR tour can get, with even the pub – The Green Dragon Inn – to enjoy your dinner.
The Land of Mordor has its home in Tongariro National Park, and the highlight is, most definitely, Mount Ngauruhoe – otherwise known as Mount Doom. You can even climb Mount Doom, reaching the 2,000 year old mountain peek. Do be aware, however, that it is often topped with snow, as opposed to spewing, red-hot lava.
Wellington – New Zealand’s capital – has been used to film Lord of the Rings behind the scenes. The LoTR trilogy and The Hobbit franchise were wrapped up here, and it’s also where most of the cast spent their downtime in between filming. You never know; you may bump into a famous face.
That’s not all you can do, as there are a number of hotel options where you can sleep, indulge in your first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.
Hotels in The Shire
The Bolton Hotel Apartments
Set in Wellington, The Bolton Hotel Apartments offer views of downtown Wellington – one of the many areas that created behind-the-scenes imagery for the LoTR films. With round the clock room service, the apartments offer a little more luxury than you would receive in The Shire. However, many attractions – including Mordor – are within driving distance.
Heritage Auckland Hotel
Lovingly transformed from a historic department store to an elegant hotel, add a touch of sophistication to your New Zealand holiday at the Heritage Auckland Hotel. However, should you want a break from utter lucury, Matamata – the home of Hobbiton – is less than a two hour drive from your bed.