Since the franchise began in 1977, the Star Wars films have been watched by millions of us around the world. They have introduced us to several worlds from arid deserts and lakes to redwood forests and tropical islands, many of which are real destinations spanning the globe from Thailand to Tunisia and everywhere in between. We’ve pulled together a list of the best of these filming locations that should be on your list to visit this year.
In “Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”, Salar de Uyuni is the location for the final battle on Planet Crait where we see the Millennium Falcon travelling through the white expanse with red soil of the mineral rich planet - dodging enemies along the way.
The largest in the world, the Bolivian Salt Flats (aka. Salar de Uyuni) are a popular tourist destination in South America and is accessible by a flight from Bolivian capital, La Paz. In such a remote destination, you will need to allocate a few days to travel to, and enjoy, everything that these vast salt flats have to offer.
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Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily, Italy, was used as a filming location for "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith."
In the film, Mount Etna was used as a stand-in for the planet of Mustafar, and plays host to a duel between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan. The scenes that were filmed on Mount Etna feature the characters battling on a volcanic planet filled with molten lava and geysers.
The unique natural beauty of Mount Etna's volcanic landscape made it a perfect choice for creating the visually stunning and dangerous world of Mustafar in the Star Wars universe.
The lava in the scene is real and was filmed during a 2002 eruption of Mt Etna, eruptions are fairly frequent so taking a trip here you may be lucky to see some activity yourself. Nearby cities of Catania and Taormina are perfect places to base yourself from which you can get guided tours to the volcano and enjoy the best this UNESCO World Heritage Site has to offer.
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Death Valley National Park, located in California, USA, was used as a filming location for "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope." – the first of the franchise.
In the movie, Death Valley was used the planet of Tatooine, and is home to many of the scenes with C3PO and R2D2. Whilst in the later film Return of the Jedi, Death Valley National Park was used as the scenery around Jabba the Hut’s Palace.
Filming locations here are also some of the most popular tourist distractions too including the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Artist’s Pallet and the Golden Canyon.
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Krafla, a volcanic caldera in Iceland, was used as a filming location for the 2017 movie "Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens."
In the movie, Krafla was used as a stand-in for the planet of Ilum and home to Starkiller Base which is subject to an attack. The unique geology and natural beauty of Krafla's volcanic landscape made it a perfect choice for creating the distinct world of Ilum.
Iceland is home to a number of Star Wars filming locations including Lake Myvatn and Reynisfjara both of which are worth a visit in their own right. Particularly, Reynisfjara which can be visited on a day trip from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
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La Grande Dune, also known as the Great Dune of Tatooine, is located in the Sahara Desert in Tunisia and was used as a filming location several times across the franchise.
In the movie, La Grande Dune was used for the planet of Tatooine, the desert world where Luke Skywalker is raised and where the iconic character of Obi-Wan Kenobi makes his first appearance.
Several scenes were filmed at La Grande Dune, including the famous shot of Luke watching the binary sunset. The location also served as a base for the production crew during filming.
The vast expanse of La Grande Dune, with its towering sand dunes and rocky outcroppings, created a visually striking and unique setting for the fictional world of Tatooine. Travellers to Tunisia can book organised Star Wars filming location tours which will visit several other areas including Ajim and Sidi Idriss.
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Jordan’s stunning desert oasis of Wadi Rum is seen in ‘Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker’ as Planet Pasaana and again as the moon known as Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Wadi Rum is a particularly popular destination for film shoots having been featured in Laurence of Arabia, Prometheus and The Martian.
With Wadi Rum being a mere 90 minute drive from Petra. It’s the perfect way to combine the natural beauty of Wadi Rum with the rich history of Petra. Private drivers can be hired to get you quickly and safely from place to place.
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Plaza de España is a large square located in the city of Seville, Spain, and was used as a filming location in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones."
Plaza de España was used as the location for the planet of Naboo, specifically as the exterior of the Theed Royal Palace, where the stunning architecture, intricate tilework, ornate bridges and grand fountains, provided a perfect backdrop for creating the elegant setting of Naboo.
Plaza de España itself was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition, a celebration that brought together nations from across the globe to celebrate the cultural and economic ties between Spain and Latin America. The square features a large central plaza, surrounded by a semicircular building that houses government offices and cultural institutions.
Since its appearance in "Attack of the Clones," Plaza de España has continued to be a popular destination for tourists visiting Seville. The square's stunning architecture and rich history make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Spanish culture and architecture. The plaza is also a popular location for cultural events and celebrations, including music festivals and traditional Spanish festivals.
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Skellig Michael is a small, rocky island located off the southwest coast of Ireland and was used as a filming location for "Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens" and "Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi."
In the movies, Skellig Michael was used as the planet of Ahch-To, the remote world where Luke Skywalker has been living in self-imposed exile. The island's dramatic cliffs and rugged terrain provided the ideal setting for the isolated world of Ahch-To. The island's history as the site of a 6th-century monastic settlement also added to its mystique and helped to create a sense of ancient wisdom and spiritual power.
Since the release of the movies, Skellig Michael has become a popular tourist destination.. However, access to the island is limited, and visitors are required to follow strict conservation guidelines to protect the fragile ecosystem and cultural heritage of the island.
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Villa Balbianello is a historic villa located on the western shore of Lake Como in Italy and was used as a filming location in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones."
In the movie, Villa Balbianello was used as the location for a retreat on the island of Naboo where Anakin and Princess Amidala find refuge. The villa's stunning terraced gardens and lakeside location provided the perfect backdrop for their romantic encounter.
The building was originally built in the 18th century as a monastery and has since been converted into a private residence. The villa's ornate architecture, terraced gardens, and sweeping views of Lake Como have made it a popular destination for tourists and film crews alike having featured in 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale
The villa is also open to visitors and offers guided tours of its gardens and interiors, providing a glimpse into the history and beauty of this iconic Italian landmark.
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Phang Nga Bay is a scenic area located in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand and was used as a filming location in "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith."
In the movie, Phang Nga Bay was used as the location for the planet of Kashyyyk, the homeworld of the Wookiee species and birthplace of Chewbacca.
Phang Nga Bay's unique geography, with its towering limestone formations, hidden lagoons, and turquoise waters, has made it a popular destination for tourists and filmmakers alike.
Since its appearance in "Revenge of the Sith," Phang Nga Bay has continued to be a popular filming location, appearing in several other movies, including 1974 James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun.", "The Beach" and "The Hangover Part II."
The area is also a popular destination for boat tours and kayaking, allowing visitors to explore the bay's stunning scenery and unique natural features up close.
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Inspired to visit these wonderful destinations? Whether you are a Star Wars superfan or have never seen any of the movies, there's plenty to enjoy from all of these destinations.
Before you head off, make sure you’re fully prepared for your adventure with single trip or annual multi-trip insurance to protect you against unforseen travel issues whilst your away.