10 Iconic Film Locations You Can Actually Visit
Almost everyone has dreamt about being in a film, be it as a Hollywood superstar or in some fantastical setting where the perennial sunshine seems idyllic. For the most part, these places are fictional, and the likelihood of the average Joe ever getting there are extremely slim.
However, some truly iconic film moments occur in real places, and for those wishing to live in the limelight, you may wish to jet off to one of these settings.
1. Hovs Hallar, Skåne, Sweden - The Seventh Seal
A 1950s classic that is an existential drama that is pretty heavy stuff about finding meaning without God, the movie is renowned for its themes and craftsmanship at an early age of film-making. In one particularly iconic scene, Bergman's character sits down by a gloriously pretty beach to play chess with a personification of death.
It is used as a divide between heaven and hell and when you see the misty waters lapping at the stony shores you can see how this instant and dreamy juxtaposition was chosen for such a setting.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Flying cars, musical numbers, and a villainous child catcher, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is nothing if not fantastical, but the castle and home of Baron Bomburst was, and is, real and was even used as the model for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in both Disney’s 1959 film and his Californian theme park.
Built for King Ludwig II between 1869 and 1886, this intricately detailed castle was a long-held dream of the Bavarian monarch and was to "embody the true spirit of the medieval German castle" with the leitmotif coming from operas about magical kingdoms and fairytale beauty. The castle's location, on top of a cliff in the Bavarian mountains, caused many issues during its construction alongside its elaborate design which meant that it took a lot longer than Ludwig was expecting to build. So impatient was the king to see his castle come to fruition that he imposed unreasonable deadlines on the architects and builders who left them working day and night.
Impatient to move in Ludwig took up residence in the gateway building in 1880 with the 'topping off' ceremony for the rest of the castle not completed until 1884. Even after LLudwig's death in 1886, the castle was not completed, and the foundations to the 'keep' can still be seen from the upper courtyard. Parts of the design were later simplified and finished in 1891.
3. Khao Phing Kan, Thailand - The Man With The Golden Gun
Khao Phing Kan is a beautiful little island with rocky outcrops jutting out of the sea in a stunning landscape of land and sea. However, you may not have heard of it because it is more commonly referred to as 'James Bond Island', even by the locals.
This is because, in the 1974 James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun, Christopher Lee's supervillain Scaramanga hides his Solex agitator here in the limestone karst sitting just offshore. As such, this stunning little spot went down in movie history.
4. Silverton, New South Wales, Australia – Mad Max 2
A post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with little more than sand and vicious biker gangs, the setting of Mad Max 2 is hardly a place you'd want to live but, at last, census count, 89 people do actually live in the town of Silverton where several shots were filmed.
In fact, it must have something of the quintessential Australian outback town about it as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Wake in Fright were both also filmed here.
5. Ischia, Gulf Of Naples, Italy - The Talented Mr. Ripley
Idyllic fishing villages with pastel colored facades that shimmer in their reflection off of the surface of the azure waters of the Bay of Naples, it is little wonder that this breathtaking was chosen as a setting for the playground of the rich and idle in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
You may have to image the linen suits, wayfarers, and age of jazz though as it is a far more modern place than images first let on. It probably says a lot that a movie about murder and intrigue was upstaged by the very place it was filmed in.
6. Highclere Castle, Hampshire, UK - Downton Abbey
Home of the Carnarvons in the award-winning period drama on both sides of the pond. Highclere Castle was home to the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who famously discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun with his colleague, Howard Carter ad as such there is an Egyptian exhibition in the house from his collected artifacts.
The library is filled with some 5000 books, and the smoking room contains paintings from the Dutch masters and visitors are welcome to visit listed house and its grounds.
7. Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – City of God
Not that we'd actually recommend visiting the Favelas of Rio De Janiero but they are certainly real places in which people live and die on a day to day basis, and it is this frenetic perilous lifestyle and energy that the 2003 film City of God tries to capture in its story of young, poor men caught up in the gang warfare that rules the favelas.
Considerable efforts have been made to clear up the favelas since the 2014 world cup and 2016 Olympic events that were hosted there, but they are still, by no means, a tourist attraction.
8. Anthony House Cornwall, UK - Alice In Wonderland
Used in the Tim Birton Alice in Wonderland films, this house has its country garden featured in the garden party scene where Alice chases the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and into Wonderland.
An 18th-century mansion with an ornamental pond, formal gardens with topiary and knot garden, they were designed by Georgian landscape gardener, Humphry Repton. Inside the house is filled with paintings and sculptures from throughout the ages.
9. Hobbiton, Hinuera, Matamata, New Zealand - The Lord of The Rings & The Hobbit
Originally built for The Lord of The Rings trilogy on a rural farm in New Zealand, the home of the Hobbits was made out of polystyrene and abandoned at the end of filming.
However, the farmers who owned the land got so much interest from neighbors about where it was filmed, when the production crew asked if they could use the farm again for filming of The Hobbit Trilogy, the farmers only agreed on the proviso that the set be built with permanent materials and left as is when filming was finished.As such, the set now stands as a permanent tourist attraction.
10. The Palace of Versailles - Marie Antoinette
The Palace of Versailles is one of the world's grandest and most beautiful palaces with a whopping 87, 728,720 square feet of grounds and 721,206 of floorspace. The very name conjures up images of both elegance and hedonism and stirs all sorts of romantic notions. Unsurprisingly then, over 170 films have been set at the grand palace, the majority of which take place during the 17th and 18th centuries when the palace was the principal residence of French Kings. but one such notable one was Marie Antoinette.
A highly stylized film about the infamous French Queen during the years of her marriage to the King, it left out the messy end of her reign that Farewell, My Queen deals with and rather shows a grander more insulated lifestyle within the palace. A sort of renegade re-imagining of one of France's favorite villains, it gives history a punky touch up that sees it as more of a teen coming of age film than a historical piece but the set design and use of the palace is magnificent in its opulence, elegance, and gaudiness all rolled into one.