Are you a film fan? Here are ten of the world’s most scenic and iconic filming locations. Come discover these famous destinations!
Iguazu Falls, Argentina (Black Panther)
Located on the borders of Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls has been used as a location for many films including The Mission, Captain America: Civil War, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Most recently, you may have seen it in the box office smash hit Black Panther, which used aerial footage of Iguazu Falls to create the CGI waterfall scene in mythical Wakanda.
Petra, Jordan (Indiana Jones)
Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra: The Red City is an ancient city that dates back to the fourth century B.C. The half-carved and half-built ruins of this once-great metropolis and trading center located between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea now serve as an important archeological site, popular tourist attraction, and famous filming location. Petra is well-known for its scenes shot in the epic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Hobbiton, New Zealand (The Hobbit)
In the heart of the Mighty Waikato region, you can explore the lush pastures of the Shire with a guided walking tour of Hobbiton, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. This fun movie set is located only two hours from the main city of Auckland. Also nearby are the magical Waitomo Glowworm Caves!
Kauai, Hawaii (Jurassic Park)
Known as the Garden Isle, Kauai is geologically the oldest of the volcanic Hawaiian Islands. One of the wettest spots on earth, its high annual rainfall has eroded deep valleys in the central mountains, carving out canyons with many waterfalls. Waimea Canyon was used in the filming of the 1993 film Jurassic Park and its 2015 sequel Jurassic World. The island also has been featured in more than seventy other movies and television shows, including the musical South Pacific, the 1976 version of King Kong, and the biopic of Bethany Hamilton titled Soul Surfer.
Tozeur, Tunisia (Star Wars I, II, and IV)
Tozeur is a city in southwest Tunisia. Tozeur has a hot desert climate typical of the northern edge of the Sahara. Long prosperous due to its setting on the Sahara-crossing camel caravan routes, Tozeur was once an important Roman outpost. Today it’s known for its quality Deglet Nour dates, its beige brick architecture, and its 14th-century city. Lucasfilm built an entire set a few kilometers northwest of Tozeur in the middle of the desert. This set acted as Mos Espa in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Tozeur (specifically Sidi Bouhlel canyon outside the town and the salt flats of nearby Nefta), and it was also used as filming locations for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Monument Valley, Utah (Forrest Gump)
Monument Valley is a stunning region of the Southwest U.S. and while it’s not surprising to know it’s been used in films, it is a bit awe-inspiring when you realize it looks exactly the same in person. The movie that immortalized this location is none other than Forrest Gump, this being the place where the main character’s cross-country trip ended. It’s here that Forrest Gump’s life took a turn and became a pivotal point in the plot.
County Meath, Ireland (Braveheart)
County Meath is a land rich in history, starting with its prehistoric landscapes dating from the Neolithic period. Brú na Bóinne, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the banks of the River Boyne, is one of the largest Megalithic sites in Europe. The ancient High Kings of Ireland were legendary figures who ruled for 2,000 years. After Christianity came to Ireland with Saint Patrick in the 400s, Meath became home to a number of important monasteries including Trim, Bective, Duleek, and Kells, which is the origin of the Book of Kells, a famous illuminated manuscript. Trim Castle, the location for much of the Mel Gibson movie Braveheart, is the largest and best-preserved of all the castles of the Norman occupation and provides an insight into the way of life on the island at the time.
Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada (Outlander)
Outlander is a 2008 science fiction-action film starring Jim Caviezel. The plot is loosely based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, adapted to a science-fiction backstory involving a spaceship crashing in Iron Age Norway. “I guess it’s kind of Predator meets Braveheart,” Caviezel said. Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are two Outlander filming locations on the rugged East coast of Canada. The Viking village was built on a farm near Nine Mile River, Nova Scotia. The crew hired a logging crew and truck to construct a parapet 800 feet long and 20 feet tall. Some scenes were filmed in the Bay of Islands, Newfoundland, as it possessed an inlet that served as a fjord for the film. The replica Viking ship built for the movie was launched from Little Port in Newfoundland.
Wadi Rum (Dune)
This dry valley is cut into the sandstone rock in southern Jordan. From the movies Lawrence of Arabia to The Martian to Dune, the otherworldly red sands of Wadi Rum have the ability to transport audiences to Egypt, Mars, and beyond. The extraterrestrial atmosphere is even in the desert’s own moniker, which is often referred to as “The Valley of the Moon.” In 2018, director Denis Villeneuve visited the Wadi Rum desert as part of a scouting mission for his dream sci-fi epic. He said, “The rock formations are so strange and beautiful … exactly as I imagined them when I read ‘Dune‘ as a teenager. And the quality of the light and the enormous scale of everything — you have an encounter with nature there that fills you with humility.”
Astoria, Oregon (The Goonies)
The quaint seaside community of Astoria, Oregon, may not seem like the kind of place where movies would be filmed, yet it’s been the setting for several major motion pictures including The Goonies, Free Willy 1 and 2, Into the Wild, and even The Ring 1 and 2. If you find that hard to believe, head to the Oregon Film Museum to hear it first-hand. By the way, the classic Victorian-style home where the Goonies planned their treasure hunt for One-Eyed Willie’s gold has been
for sale sold. Built in 1896, the house comes fully loaded with history, nostalgia, and an iconic level of fame. Not to mention, every floor has clear views of the bay, the bridge, and the city. The home’s list sale price on Zillow? $1.65 million! The new owner is a longtime fan who plans to preserve the landmark.
Have you visited any of these scenic filming locations? What was it like to see them in person? Do you know of any other famous filming locations? Leave a comment below!