We bet millions of Star Wars
fans gathered from over the decades of Star Wars
movie releases often dream of experiencing the world of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Jedis and Stormtroopers. Well, at least we know that we don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to do that because of the existing landscapes used in the films that are found right here on planet Earth! From the Middle East to Northern Iceland, the producers behind the franchise have travelled far and wide to find the best otherworldly locations to give you the best Star Wars
As the world prepares for the official release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
, whether you’re travelling solo or in a group, let’s take a trip to some of the most well-known Star Wars
filming locations spanning across continents!
Chott El Jerid, Tunisia
Image: Star Wars Locations
The exterior of Luke Skywalker’s childhood home was filmed in Chott El Jerid, Tunisia. Diehard Star Wars
fans would know that the origin of Skywalker and the franchise’s story took place in several locations across Tunisia, which became the planet Tatooine. Decades of filming since the ‘70s didn’t do good to the set, so preservation efforts began a few years ago and has since completed. Now you can step into the surreal home of the Skywalker clan.
Image: Srdjan Djordjevic
Unlike the other sets, this one in particular was built from scratch in the middle of the desert. In Episode I: The Phantom Menace
, Anakin Skywalker’s hometown Mos Espa on the planet Tatooine was a lively community. If you step into this set today, you can pretty much see the entire town – the gates, the Pod-racing arena, the gallery and the streets of Mos Espa, including the market, Watto’s shop and Sebulba's café. It’s the perfect chance for you to ‘live’ like the Skywalkers’ neighbour!
Skellig Michael, Ireland
You should recognise this place if you’ve seen last year’s breakthrough Star Wars
film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens
. This was the hiding place of an older Luke Skywalker, seen in an emotional final scene when Rey meets him for the first time.
Skellig Michael is a UNESCO Word Heritage Site. You can also find an abandoned monastery from the sixth century on the island... if you’re willing to climb up 618 very steep steps!
Image: Eric Mack / CNET
Another iconic world heritage site adding to the list of Star Wars
filming locations is the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, which became the principal rebel base Yavin 4 in Episode IV: A New Hope
. Of course, the interiors were filmed in a studio because you don’t get the best lighting in pyramids that are centuries old.
Image: Star Wars Locations
In Episode II: Attack of the Clones
, Plaza de Espana in the Spanish city of Seville was used as the city of Theed on Naboo. Although this set only appeared for a short while in the film (48 seconds to be exact), feel free to roam around the beautiful plaza and pretend you’re walking in a movie set. It’s completely free of charge!
Image: Star Wars Locations
Death Valley, California
Image: Death Valley National Parks Service
Death Valley National Park was used as the filming location for Episode IV: A New Hope
and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
. Since the films were released, many Star Wars
fans from around the globe have flocked the park in hopes of spotting the exact filming locations. To make your life easier, here are the six areas where Darth Vader, Jawas and Sand People made their mark: Artist’s Palette, Desolation Canyon, Golden Canyon, 20 Mule Team Canyon, Dantes View, and Mesquite Sand Dunes.
Del Norte County, California
The Ewoks, arguably the most lovable creatures in the entire Star Wars
universe, live on the forest moon of planet Endor, which was filmed in Del Norte County. Step into the giant redwood forests, snap a few photos, Photoshop a bunch of Ewoks into your pictures, and you'll have a great story to pass down to your grandchildren.
Rub’ al Khali desert, Abu Dhabi
Even if you’re not a Star Wars
fan and have never seen any of the older films, we’re pretty sure you saw Episode VII: The Force Awakens
, which was arguably the biggest hype last year. The desert scenes where Rey lives in this film were shot in Rub' al Khali desert, also known as the Empty Quarter. It also happens to be the largest contiguous sand desert in the world and is extremely popular among motor sport enthusiasts. So what do you say? Care to sand surf on the set of one of the most popular movie franchises of all-time?
The Hardangerjøkulen glacier near the Norwegian town of Finse portrays the frozen planet Hoth in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
, and is also the site where Luke Skywalker met Obi-Wan Kenobi. Although Finse is just a small village that offers merely a railway station, a hotel and some surrounding buildings, you can enjoy cross-skiing, sail skiing, expedition training and hiking, especially during the winter.
Lake Como, Italy
Image: Hoylen Sue
The area surrounding Lake Como in Italy was used as a beautiful setting for Naboo in Episode II: Attack of the Clones
. This was also the place where Anakin and Padme had their romantic scenes. So ladies, it’s best to travel to the gorgeous Lake Como with your partner and relive some of your favourite Star Wars
Mývatn Lake and Krafla Volcano, Iceland
Image: Vilhelm Gunnarsson
In last year’s Episode VII: The Force Awakens
, a lot of the isolated wintry scenes were filmed in the icy land of Iceland, in an area densely populated with craters, lakes and volcanoes. The area around the Krafla Volcano and Mývatn Lake was seen as the battleground between the First Order and the Resistance in the movie. And guess what? This place also happens to be a great spot to catch the Northern Lights! Another perfect excuse to go to Iceland, isn’t it?
May the Force be with you in your travels.