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Old or young, Star Wars is a phenomenon worth scouring the world over to appease your inner geek. Want to travel to Tatooine? You can! How about Hoth? Of course! What about Yavin? Yup, go right ahead.
Whether you want to explore the movie’s vast desert landscapes on your own or take a guided tour through Queen Amidala’s Palace, these are the locations that give you access to the Star Wars world without an X-Wing at the ready.
You’re dancing in your seat right now, aren’t you?
The desert world that Anakin Skywalker lived in and where his son, Luke, grew up is, for the most part, filmed in Tunisia. For Star Wars fans, this should be top of the list for locations to visit - especially since the Tunisian National office for Tourism and “Star Wars” fan clubs have partnered to allow fans to fully experience and interact with buildings, structures and hotels featured in the movies. They’re said to be the only sets from the original trilogy still intact.
Appears in: A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace
This converted underground Beber home offers traditional troglodyte accommodation which you can actually stay the night in. There are five “pits” reserved for lodging with one being nicknamed the “Star Wars pit”. It features in A New Hope and Attack of the Clones.
Get there: The address of the hotel is Matmata Ancienne, 6070, Tunisia and is located in the northeast quarter of Matmata. A daily bus runs from Tunis to Matmata (450km) and shared taxis and buses run multiple times during the day from Gabes.
Location (Matmata): 33°32′ 44″ N, 9° 58′ 4″ E
A man-made maze of homesteads, Medenine is a major town of south Tunisia and the chosen location for Anakin’s home. Unlike Luke’s, you can’t stay in it, but you can still marvel at it from the outside.
Get there: If you’re travelling by car, Medenine is 77km south of Gabes or 55km southeast of Matmata or 90km southwest of Djerba.
Location (Medenine): 33° 20′ 48″ N, 10° 29′ 28″ E
An island near Tunisia is where exterior shots of Ben Kenobi’s home and Toshi Station were filmed. Interestingly, Ben Kenobi’s home is an old mosque. Both sites can be found near Djerba’s main fishing port, Adjim.
Getting there: Fly into Djerba and drive south along the coastal road. Adjim is directly south of the airport and is the closest city to the African continent.
Location: 33.7167° N, 10.7500° E
A set that survives to this day, Mos Espa is a Star Wars township that features the Tatooine lifestyle and includes homes, shops, arenas and restaurants. The city of Ksar Hadada was used as a backdrop to film its slave quarters. Scenes of this city appear in The Phantom Menace, including Watto’s shop and the pod-racing arena.
Getting there: From Tataouine, drive northwest to Ghoumrassen and follow the signs to Hadada. Ksar Hadada is in the centre of the town on a hill.
Location: 33.1000° N, 10.3139° E
Filmed in Chott el Jerid, an endorheic salt lake and the largest salt pan in the Sahara, the structure known as Lars homestead is real and can be found close to the lake. It is made of wood and fibreglass (as opposed to stone), though the sad part is that it’s deteriorating. One to visit ASAP!
Getting there: You can access the Chott ed Jerid lake via an elevated causeway that crosses the Chott from Kebili to Tozeur on the way to Algeria.
Location: 33°50'34.24"N, 7°46'44.24"E
Although most Tatooine scenes were filmed in Tunisia, pick-up shots post-filming are done in Death Valley in the USA. The tours here are mostly self-guided although you will need to search yourself for familiar landmarks to match up the landscapes.
Appears in: A New Hope, Return of the Jedi
Featured in A New Hope, the valley where R2D2 is travelling through a narrow canyon was filmed at Artist's Palette.
Getting there: Artist's Palette is located 18km south of Furnace Creek off Badwater Road in Death Valley National Park. For this view, walk north up a small hill. You can then explore the canyon via a designated trail.
Location: 36° 21′ 51″ N, 116° 48′ 2″ W
Another location featured in A New Hope, a visit Golden Canyon is definitely worthwhile. Search carefully around to match up scenes from the movie.
Getting there: To get to the start of the hiking trails, drive 3.2 km south from Furnace Creek on Badwater Road and turn east (left) into the Golden Canyon parking area.
Location: 36° 25′ 16″ N, 116° 50′ 47″ W
A beautiful world of vast plains, swamps and seas, Naboo is best known as the home of Queen Padme Amidala as well as Jar Jar Binks and Emperor Palpatine. Much of Naboo in the first three movies was filmed around Italy.
Appears in: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith
Located in Caserta, southern Italy, this 18th century former royal residence was built for the Bourbon kings of Naples and chosen for the interior shots of the Theed Royal Palace for its Italian Renaissance appearance. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest royal palace in Italy. It is open to the public every day except Tuesday and on public holidays.
Getting there: Located at Viale Douhet, 2/a, 81100 Caserta, Italy, from Naples take a train bound for Rome to Caserta (or Naples if travelling from Rome). The palace is opposite the station.
Location: 41.0700° N, 14.3269° E
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Lake Country, Naboo, is rife with mountains, valleys and lakes. In Attack of The Clones, it’s home to the Naberrie’s family retreat house. In real life, the "villa above the lake" AKA Villa del Balbianelle is a 19th century estate that was a monastery before it was returned to the National Trust of Italy in 1988. Visitors are welcome from mid-March to mid-November.
Getting there: Located at Via Comoedia, 5, 22016 Tremezzina, take the train from Milan or Bergamo to Como San Giovanni station. Boats frequent Lake Como throughout the day.
Location: 45.9650° N, 9.2025° E
In a shot that would eventually be cut from the films, Tremezzo Public Garden is where Anakin and Padme embark on a gondola speeder to get to the Lake Retreat.
For somewhere to rest in Lake Como, consider the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. It’s where cast and crew stayed during filming.
Getting there: Tremezzo Garden is north of Villa del Balbianello at Via Regina, 2, 22019 Tremezzina, Italy. It can be accessed in much the same way as the villa, either by boat or car from Como.
Location: 45° 59′ 13″ N, 9° 13′ 53″ E
If you’re going to make the trip to Spain, you may as well visit a Star Wars set. While minimal, this filming location is open to the public and a great place to kick back and relax.
Appears in: Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith
Exterior shots of Queen Amidala’s Palace were done in Seville. Spain. This semicircular plaza is a beautiful spot featuring the Venetian-style bridge that Anakin and Padme walk across.
Getting there: The Plaza de Espana being located at Av de Isabel la Católica, Seville. It can be found in Maria Luisa Park, next to Avenida Isabella La Catolica. The closest train/metro/bus stop is Prado de San Sebastián.
Location: 37° 22′ 38″ N, 5° 59′ 16″ W
Close to the Woods of Leavesden film studios where Star Wars was filmed in the UK are a number of exterior locations.
Appears in: The Phantom Menace
Jar Jar Binks lives here. When we first meet him in The Phantom Menace, it is in Watford’s Whippendell Wood, which is easily accessed by car.
Getting there: Whippendell Wood is located at Chandler's Cross, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire and is best accessed by car. Park at the Grove Mill Lane carpark near the Grove carpark and you’ll be on the outskirts of the wood.
Location: 51.6700° N, 0.4450° W
Recognised by its distinct red hue, the gas planet of Yavin is perhaps better known for its four moons, it’s 4th (Yavin 4) being famous for almost being destroyed by the first Death Star during the Galactic Civil War. It is featured in A New Hope.
Appears in: A New Hope
The towers at the Massassi Outpost in Episode IV belong to the Ancient Mayan Civilisation of Tikal. These archaeological stone structures, in the rainforest of Guatemala, date back to the 4th century.
Getting there: Tikal is best accessed from Belize or Flores. Tour and mini buses leave from hotels for day-trips but if you choose public transport, from Belize, walk to Melchor bus station and take a bus heading to Flores. Get off at Ixlu, cross the intersection and catch a bus straight to Tikal.
Location: 17.2221° N, 89.6236° W
The icy planet of Hoth finds no better filming location than in Norway. Hoth is best known for being the one-time location of the Alliance to Restore the Republic’s Echo Base during the Galactic Civil War and is believed to be devoid of human forms.
Appears in: The Empire Strikes Back
Norway’s Finse is a mountain village. It sits on the shore of lake Finsevatnet in Hordaland county. Luke’s escape from Wampa cave and his encounter with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s spirit were filmed here (outside the Finse 1222 Hotel). Finse was also the location of Captain Scott’s trek to the South Pole (ironic much?).
Getting there: Travel to Finse Station on the Bergensbanen railway line from Bergen.
Location: 60° 36′ 7″ N, 7° 30′ 10″ E
Located above the Finse township, Hardangerjokulen Glacier was the filming grounds for the opening battle scene in The Empire Strikes Back. The glacier itself is Norway’s sixth largest and worth visiting in its own right.
Getting there: Hardangerjokulen Glacier sits above Finse and is best accessed from this township, which can be reached by rail from Bergen.
Location: 60.5333° N, 7.4167° E
An enchanted moon encircling a planet of the same name Endor, AKA Forest Moon of Endor or Sanctuary Moon, is home to the Ewoks. Normally a quiet and uneventful place, it was also the site of the Battle of Endor.
Appears in: Return of the Jedi
This State Park boasts around 20 kilometres worth of walking trails and is home to black bears, squirrels and mountain lions. You are allowed to hike or cycle in the park. Scenes including the speedster bike chase and the Ewok ambush were shot here.
Getting there: This state park is located at US-199, Crescent City, CA 95531 and is best accessed by driving. It is located along the north-south US 101 Highway corridor between Crescent City an Orick. It is also a 45 minute drive north from Arcata and Eureka.
Location: 41° 46′ 54″ N, 124° 6′ 2″ W
Alderaan is home to many characters in the Star Wars universe, including Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Bail Organa and Ulic Qel-Droma. Beautiful and peaceful, Alderaan met its end in 0 BBY when it was destroyed by the Galactic Empire using the Death Star’s superlaser.
Appears in: Revenge of the Sith
Alderaan’s beauty was captured in the Swiss village of Alderaan, Interlaken. A ski town that sits 1 kilometre above sea level, it must be noted that only landscape shots were taken here as a backdrop for the planet.
Getting there: Grindelwald has a railway station and is served by Berner Oberland Bahn trains to Interlaken and Wengernalpbahn trains to Kleine Scheidegg.
Location: 46° 37′ 28″ N, 8° 1′ 3″ E
Home of the world's most famous Wookie, Chewbacca, Kaskyyyk is also known as Wookie Planet C, Edean, G5-623 and Wookie World. Its terrain is verdant and lust and filled with wroshyr trees… and Wookies, naturally.
Appears in: Revenge of the Sith
To visit Wookie World, take a flight up to Phang Nga Bay where plate photography was used to capture scenes.
Getting there: Fly into Phuket or Krabi. From either you can catch a bus to Phang Nga. Buses operate often during the day but not very frequently in the evening. If travelling by car from Phuket (87km), take Highway No. 402 to Ban Khok Kloi. Once you’ve passed Sarasin Bridge, turn right toward Amphoe Takua Thung.
Location: 8.2833° N, 98.6000° E
Appearing in the very final sequence of The Force Awakens as well as throughout The Last Jedi, Ahch-to is where Luke is founded in self-exile after his nephew Ben Solo murders the next generation of Jedi.
Appears in: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi
Located off the coast of County Kerry in Ireland, Skellig Michael is a UNESCO site and is the larger of two Skellig Islands. It houses the remains of a Gaelic Monastery which was in operation between the 6th and 8th century though fell into abandon by the 12th century.
Getting there: Boats to Skellig Michael operate during the summer months between April and September. Due to its UNESCO status only a limited number of operators and boats are available to take you to the island and run tours. Pre-bookings are recommended with the main starting point for tours being Portmagee.
The desert planet is the home planet to the series' new heroine Rey. It's the site where Poe Dameron hones in on in search of the map that details where Luke Skywalker is located as well as the planet where Finn first encounters Rey.
Appears in: The Force Awakens
Abu Dhabi's yawning stretch of desert is one of the largest and continuous sands in the world and covers and area of around 650,000 kilometres.
Continuing with the numbers, that's about a quarter of the whole of Saudi Arabia. Most of the desert is uninhabited however you can visit and camp in the Empty Quarter which is also the site the Star Wars crew commandeered to erect the township of Niima Outpost.
Getting there: If you're going to head into the desert we suggest you book yourself into an overnight camping tour which allows you to experience the desert life with an expert guide.
Location: 44°30′−56°30′E, and lat. 16°30′−23°00′N
The desert planet of Cantonica is a mix of wealthy individuals who wheel and deal inside casinos and sell weapons for a living and child slaves who ride creatures around racetracks for their entertainment. Within the series, it's the site where Finn and Rose Tico must travel to recruit the master codebreaker to utilise his skills and disable the First Order's hyperspace tracker.
Appears in: The Last Jedi
Perhaps best known as the site of King's Landing in Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik and its romantic Old Town return to the screen as Canto Bight, the capital of the planet Canonica.
Getting there: Dubrovnik is easily accessed within Europe via air or land. For Australians flights are available through major airlines such as Etihad and Emirates, with a minimal amount of stops.
A mobile planet, Starkiller Base's landscape is an icy world used as a stronghold for the First Order. Hidden within its folds is a super weapon that's the next evolution of the Death Star, capable of wiping out complete star systems from galaxies away.
Appears in: The Force Awakens
When in search of an icy destination worthy of the Starkiller Base there's no better place than Iceland. Various locations throughout the island country were used to film snowy scenes on the planet. Iceland Magazine has also reported that the ice cap of Eyjafjallajökull was used as well.
Getting there: Numerous airlines fly into Iceland's capital Reykjavik daily. Connections from Australia can be made throughout Europe, including London, as well as from New York.
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