Sometimes, it’s the movie that makes a location special. For example, the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan, was just a regular pedestrian crossing until it was featured in the opening scene of Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. After the movie’s release, there was a surge of tourists flocking to the crossing, and it became a symbol of Tokyo’s vibrant energy.
Other times, the location is breathtaking as is. This post will focus on the second group – here are some of the most stunning and awe-inspiring locations that have graced the screens.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China, from Avatar
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park served as the inspiration for the floating mountains of Pandora in Avatar. Today, visitors can experience the same sense of awe that inspired James Cameron, with its lush greenery, tranquil streams, and cascading waterfalls. You can explore the area by hiking, rock climbing, or cable car rides.
Görlitz, Germany, from The Grand Budapest Hotel
This location appeared in the award-winning movie by Wes Anderson and served as the perfect backdrop for the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. The town is home to a number of historic theaters, including the Neues Schauspielhaus and the Jugendstil-Festhalle, and you may recognize them from hotel lobby scenes.
Matamata, New Zealand, from Lord of the Rings
Matamata is a small town in New Zealand that perfectly captures the beauty of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The set has been preserved for tourists, so you can visit many of the original hobbit holes used in the movie.
Maya Bay, Thailand, from The Beach
This stunning cove on the island of Phi Phi Leh in Thailand is where the main character of the Beach, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, sought to escape from the stresses of modern life. Even without the context of the movie, you’ll enjoy the bay’s crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and towering limestone cliffs.
San Juan de Gatztelugatxe, Basque, Spain, from Game of Thrones
This was the setting for Dragonstone, the ancestral home of the Targaryen family. The island’s rocky terrain and steep stairs created a sense of otherworldly beauty, which is what the showrunners envisioned for this world.
If you’re in Spain, you can also visit the Royal Alcazar in Seville, which you may know from the Water Gardens of Dorne.
Mehrangarh Fort, India, from The Dark Knight Rises
Mehrangarh Fort was featured as the prison, The Pit, where Bruce Wayne climbs out of the stepwell. The high walls and the surrounding landscape helped Christopher Nolan capture the stark, brutal atmosphere of the prison. The fort dates back to the 15th century and is one of the most iconic buildings in India.
Gourdon, France, from Les Miserables
In Les Miserables, Gourdon was used as the setting for the small village of Montfermeil. While it helped portray some of the most dramatic and emotional scenes in the musical, you can also see the essence and beauty of life in rural France during the 19th century.
Angkor Thom, Cambodia, from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Do you remember where Lara Croft navigated a series of booby traps to recover an ancient artifact? That was in The Angkor Thom’s crumbling temples. The place still captivates visitors and reminds them of the incredible achievements of ancient civilizations.
Powerscourt Deerpark and Waterfall, Ireland, from Vikings
While Powerscourt Deerpark and Waterfall in County Wicklow don’t feature prominently in the historical drama series Vikings, the brief appearance made an impression. The main character Ragnar describes the beauty of the park and the abundance of deer, which is true for the real location.
Banaue Rice Terraces, Philippines, from The Avengers – Infinity War
In the movie, the terraces were used to represent the fictional country of Wakanda, adding a sense of majesty and grandeur. Heroes defended the Earth against the invading alien army, and now visitors can explore the stunning local beauty and rich cultural history.
50 most beautiful movie locations in the world, Big 7 Travel
The most beautiful TV series locations in the world, CN Traveller