Whether you’re on top of this year’s blockbusters or rewatching It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas, congratulations on your excellent taste in hobbies. As undying fans of travel, cool people, and popcorn, we humbly suggest these ten awesome places to visit…that also might appear in your favorite scenes.
10. Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA—Dances With Wolves
There’s a reason they call it the “Badlands.” The scene of some of the last and most fierce fighting between Native American tribes and American settlers during the early 1900s, the stark, arid rocks remember the last Ghost Dances and the Battle at Wounded Knee. They might also remember Kevin Costner dancing around a set with tame wolves. Just ask.
9. Monte Carlo, Monaco—Goldeneye
Agent 007 picks only the best locations for lounging, womanizing, and occasionally nabbing the bad guys. Filmed in luxurious Monte Carlo, the Pierce Brosnan incarnation of James Bond tirelessly zoomed around the bay and gambled at the Casino. It’s a tough job, so only visit here if you’re prepared for some concentrated, intense pampering.
8. Buenos Aires, Argentina—Evita
A flavorful city boasting history and style, Buenos Aires is a top destination for trekkers, museum curators, and everyone in between. Including Madonna fans. (You’re welcome, too.) Stop by La Casa Rosada, the official mansion of the Argentinian executive family and location for much of the filming in Evita. Or tour the streets where the real Eva Perón lived before becoming the beloved figurehead of her country. “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” will never sound the same.
7. Luzon, Philippines—Apocalypse Now
So maybe you’re not into that feel-good movie stuff. We get it. If you’re itching to pay homage to one of Vietnam’s most nightmarish film tributes, get away from Manila and the touristy spots. Filmed in the northern Philippine island of Luzon and the nearby Pagsanjan, the set for Apocalypse Now is a site for the tourists who really know what they’re looking for. Boat tripping up Magdapio Falls? Yes. Seeing floating heads and getting hit by napalm? Hopefully not…
6. Marrakech, Morocco—The Man Who Knew Too Much
Hey Hitchcock fans, this one’s for you. Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart’s son was whisked away in Jemaâ el Fna, the colorful and bustling main square of Marrakech. Much of the film also takes place at the famed Hotel La Mamounia, whose famed gardens were given a nod in the epic Alexander. Just make sure you avoid those pesky kidnapping rings.
5. Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland—Batman Begins
That’s right, Batman never went to the Himalayas. Christian Bale was actually hopping around the biggest glacier in Europe. After you’re full of the glacier and its mysterious superhero inhabitants, tour around Iceland—they’re famous for their geothermal spas, fuzzy-faced ponies, and friendly locals. And ninjas.
4. Forest Moon of Endor—Star Wars
Don’t be turned off by the long travel time to get here—it’s well worth the couple of light years’ journey. Walking in the footsteps of Han Solo and Princess Leia, the Forest Moon is a great place for backpacking or family camping. The locals, though very friendly, can be at times suspicious of newcomers and have been known to catch oblivious tourists in their animal traps. A great place to visit almost any time of the year, unless nearby Death Stars are being demolished, which happens every few centuries or so.
3. New Zealand—Lord of the Rings
Whether you’re into staggering up rocky mountains or eating third breakfast, you’ll fit right in with the locals—both human and hobbit. Filmed all across the country, it’s difficult to avoid the path of the Ring. Take a guided tour through the Hobbit village in Matamata (now nicknamed “Hobbiton”), hike the volcano where the Ring was destroyed in Tongariro National Park, or visit Gollum’s home in the Southern Alps (read: Misty Mountains) of the South Island. And you thought they were traversing Middle Earth…
2. Lake Albert, Uganda—African Queen
Here’s an oldie but goodie. Or great-ie. Katherine Hepburn and the Bogie’s epic adventure down the African riverways begins in a little town off Lake Albert, straddling Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Visit Murchison Falls National Park, where the African Queen was finally pummelled on the rocks. Crocodiles, reed lakes, and sassy Brits. Done deal.
1. Fort Ricasoli, Malta—Gladiator
The Greeks and Romans were here. So were the Normans, Arabs, and Phoenicians. Russell Crowe was here, for heaven’s sakes. You get the drift—it’s a cool place. Malta has long, rich, and bloody history with just about every major world civilization. Home of the film’s Roman city, Fort Ricasoli was later used in the filming of Troy, too. This is a must for any traveler who is in the least interested in history or good movies. For those interested in both? Book your ticket.