Movies can transport us to another world, allowing us to experience new cultures, landscapes, and even different times. Many film fans want to see the locations where their favorite movies were filmed. This is where movie tourism comes in: the practice of visiting locations used in filming movies or TV shows.
This type of tourism has become increasingly popular over the years, with fans flocking to see the places where classic movies were made. If you’re a movie fan and want to explore the world of movie tourism, here are five must-see destinations for film fans to consider visiting:
1. Hobbiton, New Zealand
The marketability of movie sets has its limits – it’s hard to imagine queues round the block to visit The Village – though not in this corner of Middle-earth. Originally built for The Lord of the Rings movies, then re-upped more permanently for The Hobbit films, Hobbiton is one of the keepers: a perfectly preserved mini hamlet on a 1,250-acre New Zealand sheep farm that has morphed from film set to tourist gold just swimmingly. All Frodo’s favourite spots – Bag End, the Party Tree, Bagshot Row – are present and correct on the tours. Our pick? The Second Breakfast tour for hungry hobbitses. Getting there (and back) from Auckland is an easy drive. Phil de Semlyen
2. Skellig Michael, Ireland
Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, more so, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Skellig Michael was a niche location to visit. An island off the coast of Ireland, Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves St. Fionan’s monastery, according to Heritage Ireland. These ancient buildings (not to mention the 618 stone steps) have mostly been inhabited by birds since the monks left hundreds of years ago. That all changed when Star Wars brought attention to this magnificent landscape.
If you visit, you won’t see any Porgs around. Although, you will see plenty of Puffins, which were both the inspiration for and impetus of the creation of the Porg bird species.
3. Painted Ladies in San Francisco — Full House
Most ’90s babies will remember the scene in the opening credits of Full House in which the Tanner family has a picnic in front of a scenic row of colorful houses. Well, those houses actually exist. If you head to San Francisco’s Alamo Square, you can sit on the lawn and take in the sight of those 7 iconic Victorian homes across the street. (Though if you want to see the house used as the Tanners’ actual home in the show, you’ll have to head a mile northwest to 1709 Broderick Street.)
4. Los Angeles, California
Over on the West Coast, Los Angeles ranked third, boasting far-and-away the most filming locations (18,241) of the entire bunch-not surprising, given the number of big movie studios that still call Tinseltown home-and the city hosts the second-to-highest number of film festivals (730) of anywhere in the world.
5. London, United Kingdom
As it turns out, far from Hollywood, London has the most attractions to offer cinephiles. The British capital city scored an overall 9.75 out of a possible 10, and took the top spot in two categories. It offers the greatest number of cinemas (161) and has the most available film tours (104). London’s Leicester Square is also routinely the scene of many of the world’s biggest film premieres and the city boasts no small number of filming locations, with over 5,600.