Nearly four decades since the beginning of the franchise, the Star Wars multiverse seems to only amass growing popularities with fans fawning and gushing over the resplendence of this fantasy series. Having garnered a solid cult following over several generations, it is needless to say that the franchise has become a pop-cultural phenomenon and has led to rapid commercialisation. From making children wear Baby Yoda Halloween costumes to buying a pair of light sabre chopsticks, the Star Wars franchise has seen a pique in purchasing merchandise.
Believe it or not, the franchise has had a massive contribution to the tourism sector as well. One of the most crucial points of attraction in the franchise is the resplendent locations which seem surreal and too good to be true. While the directors dabble in galaxies located far away from our own planet, it is safe to assume that all these locations are either built within a set or are various tourist destinations all over the world that, via the director’s (most notably George Lucas) intergalactic aesthetic visions, transport us to a realm far from reality.
If you are a Star Wars nerd dying to live your fantasy of watching the locations of the infamous duels or the balcony where Skywalker very slyly steals a kiss, go through our comprehensive list of 10 such locations on this planet itself that you can visit to relive all your fantasies.
May the Force be with you!
10 Star Wars film available to tourists:
Death Valley National Park, United States
Are you desperate to visit Tatooine? Then take a trip to the arid Death Valley National Park in the United States where George Lucas had filmed the scenes of the desert planet for A New Hope. Death Valley, otherworldly in every sense of the word, is an isolated spot that feels as though it does not belong to this planet – especially one located so close to Hollywood. Lucas made good use of the stretch between the Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada to shoot the sequence where Luke Skywalker, along with R2-D2 and C-3PO meeting Obi-Wan.
Various locations in the valley were used by the crew to suit their needs. This included the famous Twenty Mule team Canyon, which shows R2-D2 and C-3PO journeying to Jabba’s Place in Return of the Jedi. The crew filmed various shots in different parts of the valley, making the most of it. To visit Death Valley, one has to be up for some real challenges. While it is really convenient to witness R2-D2 and C-3PO losing themselves amidst the sand dunes from the comfort of your couch, hiking through the valley is a different ball game altogether. Let the Force guide you through this incredibly hot yet visually striking journey and make the hike one of the best experiences of your life.
Do you want to visit the serene and tranquil place of retreat where Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala hid and later relive your fantasy of getting married there like the duo in Attack of the Clones? Do you want to stand on a terrace overlooking the blue of the Lake and, like Anakin, steal a kiss from your beloved? Fret not, Villa del Balbainello is available for tourist visits. It is indeed an incredibly beautiful location in Lenno that overlooks Lake Como. With its well-maintained garden terraces and aesthetic structure, the villa used to be a Franciscan monastery from the 13th century. It is now home to various film shoots, weddings and other ceremonies of grandeur for a fortune.
Not only has Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones been shot here, but also films like Casino Royale and A Month By the Lake. The Villa abounds in English and French furnishings which are ancient yet beautiful. It is a vision of grandiose, serenity and romance and definitely one that should make its way to your travel bucket list.
The real Tunisian town of Tataounie served as an inspiration for the name as well as the architectural detailing of Tatooine in The Phantom Menace which documents the harsh conditions amidst which both Anakin and Luke Skywalker grew up. Although the sets have been modelled after Tataounie, it was actually shot in Tozeur which is almost five hours away. If you want to visit this dusty desert that was home to bizarre creatures in the series, then all you need to do is book flight tickets to Tunisia and book a Star Wars Half-Day Tour to live your ultimate fanboy/fangirl fantasy.
This tour shall take you to visit the Dune Sea, the Krayt Dragon Ridge, Sidi Bouhel Canyon and more. This is also known as the Star Wars Canyon and was the filming location for various scenes in A New Hope as well, most notably for the time when R2-D2 is kidnapped or when Luke is rescued by Obi-Wan. The tour ends with a visit to the sites where guests can see the Yardangs that witnessed the raging battle between Qui-Gonn and Darth Maul.
“The galaxy knows Alderaan as ‘the planet of beauty.’ Nature, poetry, philosophy, art, couture, cuisine—we freely share all with all.” A soon-to-be-decimated planet that abounds in the beauty of snow-capped mountains, lush green hills and meadows was the place where princess Leia had grown up. The sequences of this gorgeous planet in Revenge of the Sith was filmed atop the stunning Swiss hamlet, Grindelwald.
If you are a Star Wars fan visiting Switzerland, Grindelwald should be there on your itinerary. Well-situated in the heart of the Swiss Alpen region, this quiet hamlet is famous for being a natural winter wonderland with plenty of opportunities to go skiing, sledging or snowshoeing. Tranquil and peaceful, one can bask in the local village culture and indulge in some delicious fondue before embarking on a gondola ride. Princess Leia’s home with spectacular snowy peaks will most definitely capture your heart.
The coastal city of Dubrovnik was one of the two main filming locations for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. The scenes involving the lavish casino city of Canto Bight in Cantonica were shot here which recorded BB-8, Rose and Finn going to a casino to find the master codebreaker who can help them in their mission of trying to disable the hyperspace tracker belonging to the First Order. Following the release of the film, the city has become a major tourist attraction and the epicentre of Star Wars-themed tourism,
After gaining initial stardom with Game of Thrones, the UNESCO-protected city is now a hotspot for Star Wars nerds to visit. From participating in themed walks to exploring the city on their own, fans have been having a gala time. The sleepy city was completely transformed to comply with the needs of the film. One can feel the surge of sudden excitement while gazing at the huge stone-wall defences of Dubrovnik as well as the paddocks where the space horses roamed freely in the multiverse.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Once again used by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat that stretched across southwest Bolivia for nearly over ten thousand square kilometres. This location has been used to film the planet Crait where a vital battle between the Resistance and the First Order ensues. The Resistance ships drift dangerously low over the surface which seems to look like snow initially. The red fumes, however, give away their identity of being salt flats. Salar has appeared n other films such as The Fall, Salt and Fire, The Unseen and more.
Salar is popular for its salt flats tours and Johnson’s film added to its growing popularity. The spectacular stretch of dazzling white surface appealed to Johnson’s visual aesthetics and the director put in immense effort to get the intricate detailings correct to make the battle as riveting as possible. The beauty of the icy planet of Crait in an isolated corner of the galaxy was accentuated by Salar’s natural glory which has made it a popular tourist spot, especially among die-hard Star Wars fans.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
For tourists craving adventure and thrill, one must visit the popular Skellig Michael, a part of Skellig Islands, located eight miles off the western Irish coast. With a maximum capacity of only 180 visitors per day, the island is a sought after tourist spot. One can easily climb up 600 steps to take a look at the beehive huts yet have to be extremely careful as there are no handrails. Home to various birds including petrels and puffins, the island is a beautiful UNESCO protected site.
When asked why Skellig Michael was chosen by the Star Wars crew, the production designer Rick Carter said that they “wanted to make sure that wherever we went in this movie you always felt that you were really there”. The majestic isle was “just amazing, the scenery is amazing, the heritage is amazing, and the wildlife is amazing”, which made it a perfect pick. Star Wars fans can easily identify Skellig Michael in The Force Awakens. While to tourists and the native Irish, the isle is a place of beauty and nature, to wannabe Jedis, Skellig Michael is actually Planet Ahch-To which is a testament to the first Jedi Temple, the foundation of the Jedi order as well as the place where Luke Skywalker sent himself to on his exile.
Rub’ al Khali, Abu Dhabi
The director J.J. Abrams said, “Filming in Abu Dhabi was an incredible thing. Star Wars is a Western and a fairy tale, and shooting in Abu Dhabi was just that!” Think about the incredible desert planet Jakku in The Force Awakens. Think about the contiguous desert that was Rey’s native planet as well as the site of the plane crash for Finn and Poe Dameron. All these scenes have been shot in Rub’ al Khali which is located a few hours from Abu Dhabi and is popularly known as the Empty Quarter.
If you want to visit Jakku, you will not need to leave earth. Instead, simply book yourself flight tickets to Abu Dhabi to be amazed by the dramatic sand dunes and the endless deserted areas that stretch over vast plains. The director had flown to Abu Dhabi with his cast and crew and stayed there for an extensive period of six months to get everything made perfectly. The popularity of the film contributed to Abu Dhabi’s booming tourism and soon the area became, by the grace of the Force, one of the most booming tourist destinations.
Remember Yoda’s famous utterance ‘Do or do no- there is no ‘try’? Well, the film, The Empire Strikes Back was also famous for the endless snow and ice that featured on Planet Hoth where the Imperial Forces clashed with the Rebel Alliance, where the latter had set up their base nearly three years following the annihilation of the Death Star. George Lucas decided to shoot in Finse, Norway, more specifically on the sixth largest Norwegian glacier named Hardangerjøkulen. Shooting in harsh, freezing temperatures was indeed a daunting ask but nothing could stop Lucas and his crew from perfecting their shots and sequences.
As a fan, if you are bold enough to make a trip to the glacier to live your dream of inhabiting that dream-like faraway galaxy, let us warn you, it is quite an arduous task yet not impossible. While one can easily visit the hotel where the crew was stationed, FINSE 1222, located at the highest area of Bergen Railway, the hotel has rooms that overlook the glacier. One can only take one of the four trains to Finse as there are no roads that lead to this magical place.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is a very popular Hollywood shooting destination. Its rusty landscape and surreal rock structures make it very popular among directors. From captivating audiences as the “vast, echoing and god-like” place in Lawrence of Arabia to being used by Ridley Scott as an alien planet in Prometheus and later as Mars in The Martian, the spot is very famous for being used as a backdrop in nearly fifty films.
Wadi Rum featured prominently in The Rise of Skywalker as the Planet Jedha. A breathtaking location, the location is often referred to as The Valley of the Moon, famous for its dramatic landscape and the Bedouin culture. Nearly four hours south of Amman, the place looks like it belongs to another planet. Star Wars fans shall instantly recognise the location as the backdrop for Rey trying to run faster than a spacecraft with his light sabre in hand. While you cannot find a spacecraft to outrun here, you can easily book yourself a camel ride or a hot air balloon ride or an exciting flight onboard a microlight aircraft for a memorable experience.