Have you ever watched a movie or tv show and thought you really wish you were there? Of course you have! Especially during the last few years, when we were all binge-watching our favorite shows and using them as an escape into another world.
We’ve rounded up five cool destinations that were catapulted into fame and put on countless bucket lists because of movies and TV shows. Whether you’re looking to visit the exact spot where your favorite actors stood, or just want to experience the vibe of the worlds they created, these destinations are unforgettable additions to any must-see list.
This is perhaps the place that has capitalized on “set-jetting” tourism the most.
New Zealand is, of course, well known for the Lord of Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. And how could you not want to visit these incredible landscapes, lakes, mountains, and rivers? In addition to the over 150 filming locations of LOTR, New Zealand was the backdrop to other famous films like the Chronicles of Narnia, King Kong, and Avatar. The country exudes an other-worldly, larger-than-life atmosphere, and is well worth the long trip.
[Photo Credit: Nate Johnston via Unsplash]
If you are going to see Hobbiton in Matamata then you can expect crowds, tickets, and a bit of over-tourism. But the great thing about New Zealand’s on-screen inspiration is the wide open spaces and the multitude of locations utilized by different films. There are a wide variety of destinations within the country where you can explore filming locations and make the most of your stay.
If you don’t want to brave the crowds at Hobbiton, you can make your home base in Wellington for some of the most accessible LOTR locations, including Tongariro National Park. Skull Island (Lyall Beach & Shelly Bay) from King Kong is also near Wellington. If, instead, you’d like to step through the wardrobe into Narnia, base yourself around Aukland for the incredible forests, or on the South Island where you’ll find Elephant Rocks. There’s plenty of space to enjoy it all.
[Photo Credit: Dario Mueller via Unsplash]
We’ve had a lot of requests for this incredible Italian destination thanks to White Lotus season 2. Much of White Lotus takes place in Taormina with picturesque seaside vibes, luxury villas and hotels and incredible Greek ruins. But Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest island, with a rich history all its own, and there’s lots to explore.
We would recommend staying in two locations – Taormina (or the larger Catania) in the shadow of Mt. Etna and then Palermo on the other side of the island. This way you can enjoy the beach clubs and a few well-planned day trips to the quaint local seaside towns along the coast. While you can use a train to get across the island, having a car is extremely helpful for day tripping.
[Photo Credit: Flo via Unsplash]
While Sicily is not quite as packed with tourists as other parts of Italy yet, it is seeing an increase in travel over the past five years. If you’re looking for a similar vibe without the crowds we recommend Sardinia. An Italian island with stunning landscapes and unbelievable beaches. Or, Puglia for the quaint seaside villages and unforgettable food. Or you could try Crete for all the Mediterranean island flair and nightlife with a Greek twist.
[Photo Credit: Flo via Unsplash]
From fictional worlds like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Dungeons & Dragons to real-world stories like Derry Girls, Once, and Vikings. Ireland is a very popular filming location! Lush green forests, dramatic cliffs, and seascapes combine to offer viewers unforgettable scenery.
Depending on which film or show you find most inspiring, you’ll either head to Northern Ireland (Derry Girls, Dungeons & Dragons), the craggy cliffs and stunning roads along the west coast ( Star Wars: The Force Awakens/ The Last Jedi, Game of Thrones, The Princess Bride), the forest of Wicklow County (Vikings, P.S I Love You), or the quintessential city vibes of Dublin. Each area of Ireland has something incredible to offer, but the more popular sites will also come with crowds at certain times of the year.
[Photo Credit: Lori via Shared Adventures – read about her Scottish and Irish Honeymoon here]
Here are some more off-the-beaten-path suggestions, if you prefer. Instead of The Cliffs of Moher, you can try the Sliabh Liag Cliffs in Donegal in the far northwest. Or, the Cliffs at Loop Head Kilkee in County Clare. If you’re looking for Star Wars vibes but not wanting to battle the crowds at Skellig Michael, you can try Malin Head in Donegal ( where many of the scenes were filmed). And a great alternative to the famous Ring of Kerry is the Skellig Ring Road just to the northwest of the Ring of Kerry, but with nary a tour bus in sight.
[Photo Credit: Alicia & Jay via Shared Adventures — read about their Irish Adventure here!]
The city of light, art, and romance – Paris has been glorified in movies and tv since the beginning of film and has certainly inspired many travels.
Whether you’ve recently been inspired by Emily in Paris or Lupin, or you were inspired years ago by Midnight in Paris, Amelie or countless others, the list of movies set in Paris is never ending and it certainly merits a visit.
[Photo Credit: Nicole & Paul via Shared Adventures — read about their Paris Anniversary Adventure here!]
While you won’t ever find the bustling city lacking crowds, visiting in the shoulder or off seasons will certainly help. Spring and Fall are beautiful times to enjoy the romantic narrow streets, wide boulevards, fabulous food, and unique architecture.
[Photo Credit: Kim & Paul via Shared Adventures — read about their first time in Paris here!]
If you’re looking for the Parisian vibe without the crowds, there are two other cities you can enjoy. Strasbourg is near the German border. It features a stunning cathedral, gothic architecture and narrow streets. And Lyon used to be the capital of France and has retained its remarkable heritage. You can take the tramway to glide above the Rhone river, or head underground for secret covered passageways. Lyon also boasts several Michelin starred restaurants and gourmet food. A perfect destination for a chic city break.
The Greek Islands have an undeniable visual appeal. Incredible turquoise waters, white-washed buildings, and charming seaside villages populate the movies as much as social media. Perfect for a beachy holiday, the Greek Islands provide every bit of those Mamma Mia vibes you’ve been craving since 2008.
If you’re inspired by the wealthy private island from Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, then you’ll want to head to Spetses. With luxury and tradition, this is a favorite island of the rich and famous. Close to Athens, the Saronic Island is a perfect addition to a mainland Greece adventure. And those inspired by Daisy Jones & The Six can explore the quaint port and serene alleyways of Hydra – another of the Saronic Islands in the Aegean.
On the other side of the Aegean, Mamma Mia fans will be taking a ferry to the Sporadic Islands of Skopelos and Skiathos, which are ideal for a peaceful laid-back vacation. With gorgeous nature, small fishing villages, and idyllic emerald waters, these islands are a bit more difficult to reach, as there’s no ferry from Athens. You’ll either need to take the ferry from Agios Konstantinos in central Greece or Volos in Thessaly. Or fly into Skiathos directly.
For any Greek Island adventure, we recommend a little island hopping. While places like Santorini and Mykonos have gotten a bit crowded, there are plenty of islands to explore that have yet to gain a huge influx of tourism. Why not get creative and check out Milos, Folegandros or Naxos instead.
Wherever you’re inspired to travel to, whether from the latest tv show or movie or a simple Instagram post – let us know! We’re always excited to help you realize your travel dreams and can offer options to fit the perfect vibe.