These 7 breathtaking places in the world “stunt double” as movie destinations – but it’s the locations themselves that steal the scene.
If you’re a film buff or simply looking for an out-of-this-world travel experience, the beauty of these real-life locations that served as movie sets will leave you in awe.
From ethereal landscapes and surreal natural wonders, you’ll be immersed within a cinematic masterpiece when you visit.
So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to be transported to another realm! Read deeper insights into these scenic destinations, below.
CONTENTS — In this article, you’ll get a detailed idea about some stunning movie destinations around the world, including:
- Movie Set Locations in Real-Life
- 1. Pamukkale, Turkey
- 2. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, China
- 3. Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand
- 4. The Isle of Skye, Scotland
- 5. Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
- 6. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
- 7. Takachiho Gorge, Japan
- Final Thoughts on Movie Destinations
- Next Steps
7 Real-Life Locations That Inspire Movie Sets
Are you a film buff searching for an extraordinary travel experience?
Or perhaps you’re a traveler seeking a destination that transports you to another realm – like a scene straight out of a movie?
Look no further, as you can look to this list of seven real-life locations that look like movie sets.
From ethereal landscapes to surreal natural wonders, these places will ignite your imagination and leave you feeling like you’ve stepped onto a cinematic backdrop.
Whether you’re a fan of action-adventure, romance, or fantasy films, these destinations are sure to inspire your wanderlust and fulfill your movie-inspired dreams.
1. Pamukkale [Turkey]
Pamukkale’s brilliant white terraces of travertine pools cascade down the hillside like a staircase to the heavens.
This creates a landscape that is truly beyond compare in Turkey and elsewhere.
So it’s no wonder Pamukkale has made it to the silver screen. Here are a few movies filmed here that you might recognize:
- Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)
- Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009)
- Mondo Candido (1975)
The stunning natural surroundings take your breath away!
When you visit, you can wander along the pools and feel as though you’re walking on clouds. And, the warm, mineral-rich waters will soothe your tired feet.
You can also paddle in the crystal-clear waters, soaking up the sunshine and the views of the lush valley below here.
Or maybe you’ll choose to simply relax in one of the many hot springs that bubble up from the earth.
Whichever you choose, the experience will rejuvenate your body and soul.
In addition, Pamukkale is also home to the ancient city of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site that can serve as the perfect backdrop for an epic historical drama.
While you’re in Pamukkale, be sure to explore the ruins of an ancient amphitheater.
You’ll marvel at the well-preserved ruins of a Roman bath, and have a chance to walk along the ancient streets that were once bustling with traders, merchants, and travelers from around the world.
Best stay the night to witness the dazzling display of stars, casting a magical glow over the already enchanting landscape.
2. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park [China]
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China is a stunning masterpiece of towering sandstone pillars, lush green forests, and cascading waterfalls.
Some movies you might recognize that were filmed in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park are:
- Avatar (2009)
- The Promise (2005)
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)
When you visit, you will discover a misty world of hidden valleys that seem to stretch into infinity. And don’t miss the secret caves, soaring cliffs, and winding trails that lead to panoramic views.
The scenery is certainly fit for an action-adventure or fantasy film!
A great way to see it all is to take a thrilling cable car ride. That will give you a bird’s-eye view of the entire park.
And everywhere you turn, you’ll be surrounded by the lush greenery of the forest – a vibrant reminder of the power and beauty of the natural world.
The rich culture and history of the region, coupled with the breathtaking natural beauty of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, make it a destination like no other.
From the ancient traditions of the Tujia people to the abundant past of the Qing Dynasty, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating cultural heritage.
It’s a great opportunity to explore natural wonder of the country during your round trip to China.
3. Waitomo Glowworm Caves [New Zealand]
This incredible underground wonderland is a feast for the senses! Once you step foot inside the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves in New Zealand, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a movie set for a sci-fi or fantasy film!
In fact, you might recogize these movies that were filmed in Waitomo Glowworm Caves:
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
- San Andreas (2015)
- Tuariki and the Waka (2013)
As you wander through the winding tunnels and caverns, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking sight – a twinkling, glowing ceiling that appears like a starry night sky.
But these “stars” aren’t celestial bodies at all.
They’re tiny glowworms emitting a luminescent light that illuminates the entire cave system. It’s a sight that’s both mesmerizing and enchanting, and one that you won’t soon forget.
Even more fascinating, you’ll encounter towering limestone formations, underground waterfalls, and rushing rivers adding to the surreal atmosphere.
The Glowworm Caves are a place where nature truly puts on a show you’ll feel privileged to witness.
While exploring the natural wonders of New Zealand, be sure to include a visit to Queenstown, a destination that has served as the backdrop for a range of iconic movies.
Known for its stunning alpine scenery, Queenstown has attracted filmmakers from around the world. Films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe were shot amidst the picturesque landscapes of this enchanting region.
You can immerse yourself in the magic of Queenstown as you explore the filming locations and relive your favorite movie moments.
With a variety of Queenstown holiday accommodation options available, from luxurious hotels to cozy lodges, you can find the perfect place to stay and experience the allure of this cinematic paradise during your New Zealand adventure.
4. The Isle of Skye [Scotland]
The rugged and dramatic landscapes of the Isle of Skye are a testament to the power of nature. You’ll see majestic mountains, deep lochs (lakes), and sweeping vistas that seem to stretch on forever.
The ever-changing weather only adds to the sense of cinematic magic and nostalgia, with misty mornings giving way to sunny afternoons and dramatic sunsets that light up the sky.
Here are a few movies you might recognize that were filmed in the Isle of Skye, Scotland:
- The BFG (2016)
- Stardust (2007)
- Macbeth (2015)
When you visit this enchanting island in Scotland’s highlands, you’ll come across ancient castles, quaint villages, and vibrant communities steeped in history and tradition.
The local Gaelic language, still spoken by many, adds to the island’s unique charm. It gives visitors a glimpse into a rich and fascinating culture.
In addition, the wildlife on Skye is also truly remarkable. Eagles soar overhead, otters play in the lochs, and seals bask upon the rocks.
And, of course, a visit to the Old Man of Storr is considered an essential part of any trip to the island. This iconic rock formation appears to emerge from the ground and extend toward the heavens.
5. Giant’s Causeway [Northern Ireland]
Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is an expanse of interlocking basalt hexagonal columns formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. The result is a landscape that leaves you feeling like you’ve stumbled upon a movie set for a fantasy film about a secret world.
It may seem familiar as a filming location for these cinematic productions:
- Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
- The Medallion (2003)
- The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
The natural geometry of the columns contrast with the striking colors and textures of the surrounding cliffs and ocean. This creates a surreal atmosphere that’s both breathtaking and unforgettable.
Also steeped in myth and legend, the locals believe the legendary giant Finn McCool formed the columns.
When you visit, be sure to head to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre to learn more about the fascinating history and folklore of the area.
6. Namib-Naukluft National Park [Namibia]
The stunning Namib-Naukluft National Park is where the vast desert meets towering red sand dunes. The dunes that appear almost like giant sculptures rising from the earth.
You’ll be struck by the sheer scale and diversity of the landscape!
Among the movies you might recognize that were filmed in Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia are:
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
- The Cell (2000)
- Flight of the Phoenix” (2004)
From the stark, barren beauty of the desert to the towering peaks of the dunes, every corner of the park is an ideal film location for a desolate and mysterious world.
The rich hues of the desert, from deep oranges to rich reds and browns, add to the unearthly atmosphere of the park.
When you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a science fiction movie or perhaps a painting created from the imagination. It also evokes an unmatched sense of isolation and peace.
As you stand atop one of the dunes, gazing out at the endless expanse of desert, you’ll feel a sense of calm and wonder that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.
7. Takachiho Gorge [Japan]
If you’re looking for a destination that will transport you to a world of myth and legend, then Takachiho Gorge in Japan is the place for you.
This stunning natural wonder is believed to be the birthplace of Japanese mythology, and it’s not hard to see why.
Once you step foot inside the gorge, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another realm It’s reminiscent of a production set for a fantasy film where mythical creatures such as elves and fairies would feel right at home.
In fact, the gorge was a film location for the following movies:
- Princess Mononoke (1997)
- Kuroi Mehyou M (2012)
- Lost in Japan (2018)
Towering rock formations rise on either side of Takachiho Gorge, creating a natural cathedral that seems like something out of an enchanted story.
The river flowing through the gorge adds to the mystical atmosphere, with crystal-clear waters cascading over ancient stones that appear to glow in the sunlight.
You will also find a host of otherworldly sights when you visit. That includes stunning waterfalls that seem to emerge from the very walls of the gorge.
The most striking thing about Takachiho Gorge is how it makes you feel.
As you float along the river on a boat ride, you’ll feel a deep connection to the natural world. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, but it’s one that will stay with you long after you leave this magical place.
Final Thoughts on Movie Destinations
From the stunning travertine pools of Turkey’s Pamukkale to the mysterious rock formations of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, these real-life move set locations offer a chance to step into a cinematic wonderland.
Whether you’re a movie buff or simply seeking a one-of-a-kind travel experience, each location will take your breath away and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
So. why settle for a movie theater when you can visit surreal places fit for the big screen? Pack your bags, grab your camera, and embark on a cinematic adventure like no other!
With these stunning movie destinations, you’ll be transported to otherworldly places that are truly beyond compare.
Get ready to make your own movie-worthy moments and experience the magic of these real-life movie set locations.
Lights, camera, action!
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