Top 10 Destinations Every Star Wars Fan Should Visit
Though the many stunning planets in a galaxy far, far away seem out of this world, they were actually filmed at some of the most beautiful places on our own Earth. In honour of Star Wars Day, here are the top places that should be on every Star Wars fans’ bucket list. May the Fourth be with You!
Death Valley, USA
Tatooine, the famous desert planet, home to Luke and Anakin Skywalker, has several filming locations across the globe. However, Death Valley, the barren desert in California, served as an important filming and photography site for A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.
You may recognize Death Valley’s iconic landscape from crucial scenes like R2D2 and C3PO traversing the desert to Jabba the Hut’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. Fun fact, the highest recorded temperature on Earth (56.7 °C) is rumoured to have been detected in Death Valley on 10 July 1913! No wonder Tatooine was such an undesirable place to live…
Lake Como, Italy
The Star Wars prequel films follow Anakin Skywalker’s tumultuous upbringing and also introduce the audience to some beautiful new planets like Naboo. Lake Como in northern Italy was the perfect place to portray Naboo’s enchanting landscape, with its breathtaking mountain views and sparkling waters.
Home of the diplomatic Queen Padme Amidala and the ever-controversial Jar Jar Binks, there’s no denying that Naboo is one of the loveliest-looking planets in the Star Wars universe. On a trip to Lake Como, you can enjoy Naboo scenery while consuming large quantities of Italian food and admiring the Alps on the horizon. What could be better?
Seville in the south of Spain is an undeniably beautiful, vibrant city with a lot to offer. This city is famous for its flamenco dancing culture and as the birthplace of beloved tapas.
The Plaza de España is likely the city’s most recognizable landmark. This formidable fortress served as the filming location for the Theed Royal Palace, Queen Amidala’s castle on Naboo. The palace was built in 1928 and represents a fine example of traditional Spanish architecture. Taking a tour of this gorgeous site is like stepping into the fantastical world of Naboo.
The latest Star Wars trilogy inspired a new generation of Star Wars fans and also brought us to many new locations in the galaxy. Filming for several scenes on Starkiller Base, the infamous new-and-improved Death Star from The Force Awakens, took place in Iceland. In fact, Krafla Volcano, which gets its name for the Icelandic word for ‘death,’ was a fitting filming site for such an ominous place.
Also, Iceland is home to more than just one significant Star Wars place. The black sand beach, Reynisfjara, played the role of the gloomy planet Eadu in Rogue One. Therefore, on a trip exploring Iceland’s rugged and varied landscape, you’ll have quite a few Star Wars sites to stop and check out!
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
At the beginning of The Force Awakens, we meet Rey, a new hero to root for as she leads a desolate life on the planet Jakku. While the desert planet Tatooine was primarily filmed in Tunisia and Death Valley, Director J.J. Abrams chose the sweeping sands in Abu Dhabi for Jakku.
The very first filming location was in world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass, Liwa Desert. However, there’s a lot more to Abu Dhabi than just the stunning desert. A holiday to this diverse emirate means you can also explore the vast, colourful capital city of Abu Dhabi, too.
In The Last Jedi, some of our heroes go on a high-stakes quest to the planet of Canto Bight. This sparkling place is full of super-rich weapons traders who spend their time at the renowned casinos here. Dubrovnik, Croatia gets a futuristic transformation as Canto Bight in the second film in the new trilogy.
This seaside city with its medieval walls has made several appearances in film and television recently. You may recognise it better as Kings Landing from Game of Thrones. Either way, it’s undoubtedly a city spectacular enough to play several sci-fi and fantasy settings.
Mount Etna, Italy
One of the most epic showdowns in the Star Wars films takes place on the planet Mustafar. Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side at the end of Revenge of the Sith and faces off with his former master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ongoing volcanic eruptions happening all around them serve to increase the tension in this crucial scene.
Therefore, you can catch actual shots of Mount Etna’s eruptions in the film. Mount Etna, on the east coast of Sicily, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. However, you can safely visit Mount Etna on tours from the nearby towns of Catania, Taormina or Messina.
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Kashyyyk, the homeland of the Wookies, is a peaceful planet in a constant summer. The lush, placid scenery of Phang Nga Bay made for the perfect shots of Kashyyyk. Many were also digitally combined with footage of places like Guilin in China to make Kashyyk as it appears on screen in Revenge of the Sith.
However, Phang Nga Bay doesn’t only appear in Star Wars. This bay is particularly famous for its role in the 1974 film, The Man with the Golden Gun. One of the islands in the bay is even nicknamed James Bond Island!
Redwood National and State Park, USA
The forest moon, Endor, was the home planet of the Ewoks and the site of the final battle in Return of the Jedi. The towering trees and dense woods in the film are actually part of Redwood National Park in California. The most well-known scenes were actually filmed on a private plot of land belonging to a lumber company.
Nevertheless, you will be magically transported to Endor if you walk among these gigantic trees in the national park. Redwood trees grow to be, on average, 300 feet tall, making them the tallest trees in the world. Some are believed to have been there since dinosaurs roamed the Earth!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Orlando
Last but not least, this past year has seen the opening of Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World Orlando. This new realm is entirely dedicated to the Star Wars universe. Here, you can ‘fly’ a life-size Millenium Falcon, meet your favourite characters, and roam a remote outpost. Located in Disney Hollywood Studios, Galaxy’s Edge has quickly become one of the most popular places in the parks. There is also another Galaxy’s Edge, 14-acre land at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
There’s no better way to celebrate Star Wars Day than appreciating all the magical sites that made it into the films. Feeling inspired to check them out for yourself?