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How many times have you watched a movie or a TV show and were left speechless at the scenery? Well, the magic is lost once you realize that most of those gorgeous landscapes are actually studios with computer-created effects.

But sometimes, directors go out of their way to set their movies and shows on real, mesmerizing locations around the world.

So, we decided to combine our love for the movies and for adventure and take you on a journey around the planet to visit some of the most epic filming locations.

 

Angels And Demons - Vatican City

Dan Brown's first bestseller Angels and Demons is set in Rome and Vatican City, but when the time came for filming, directors were facing a serious problem. The Vatican said the book is "an offence to God" and banned them from filming there. But movie makers found a way to still include the actual shots from Vatican. The movie crew sneaked into Vatican as tourists and took thousands of photos and video footage. 

So, if you were planning on visiting Rome, make sure to take a tour of the Vatican City. You'll see some of the most famous masterpieces in the world, including the Sistine Chapel painted entirely by Michelangelo, and one of the most awe-inspiring churches in the world - St. Peter's Basilica.

 

Game Of Thrones - Dubrovnik

Game of Thrones fans know that they can expect the most gorgeous landscapes in the background of their favourite TV show. The crew has filmed in exotic locations such as Northern Ireland, Iceland, Malta and Croatia. One of the most epic locations must be Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, situated on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia.

Some of the filming spots you don't want to miss when you're visiting Dubrovnik are the Jesuit Staircase used in the iconic "walk of shame" scene, St. Dominic Street used in the market scenes, Ploce gate used as the Red Keep Gate and the Rector's Palace posing as the residence of the Spice King of Qarth. 

 

Indiana Jones - Petra, Jordan

Much of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed in the forgotten city of Petra in Jordan. The temples, tombs and other buildings were carved from the sandstone. The city was a vibrant trading centre between 400 B.C. and 100 A.D. but it has since been abandoned and left for ruin.

One of the most epic last scenes happens at the Al-Khazneh, or the Treasury, which is portrayed as a secret temple, lost and forgotten for centuries. Interestingly enough, that's exactly what the Treasury is. Petra was rediscovered in the beginning of the 19
th century and after the filming, it became a thriving tourist destination.

If you decide to make an Indiana Jones pilgrimage to Petra, make sure to dress for the occasion. Light clothes and a good pair of shades like the elegant Epokhe Nazar Sunglasses will complete your look in the desert.

Mamma Mia! - Greece

Whether you're a fan of musicals or not, you will definitely fall in love with the stunning Greek scenery where Mamma Mia! was filmed. The famous musical based on ABBA songs was filmed on a few locations in Greece, each more beautiful than the previous one - Damouchari on the mainland and the Islands Skopelos and Skiathos.

The movie had some drop-dead gorgeous scenes on these locations, giving anyone who loves beach holidays a serious case of wanderlust. If you're headed to Greece, you don't even have to go around chasing the exact sets that were used. You'll find crystal clear turquoise sea and white sandy beaches anywhere you look.

 

In Bruges - Bruges

 

Saying that Bruges is one of the main characters of this movie is not an exaggeration. It's the charm of this mesmerizing medieval city that makes this movie what it is. Although In Bruges wasn't successful at the box office, it has since got a cult following and it's probably best known for the discrepancy between Bruges' lovely scenery and Colin Farrell's character's cynicism towards it. 

 


If you loved the movie and you're a fan of the European medieval architecture, it goes without saying that visiting Bruges will be like a fairy tale. Don't miss the Bruges Canals making it the Venice of the North, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the most famous location of this motion picture - The Church of Our Lady.

Lara Croft - Cambodia

 

In Tomb Raider, famous action hero Lara Croft played by Angelina Jolie is on a mission in beautiful Cambodia. Some of the most spectacular scenes take place in the sacred Bayon Temple in the ancient city Angkor Thom. You may know the temple complex by the famous 54 towers each carved with enigmatic smiling faces. 

 


The movie represents the impressive beauty of the famous Cambodian site quite faithfully so you definitely won't be disappointed if you find yourself following in Lara Croft's footsteps. Make sure to stop by the Ta Prohm, the temple known for the trees growing out of the ruins.

 

The Beach - Ko Phi Phi Le, Thailand

The utopian novel-turned movie The Beach starring young Leonardo DiCaprio needed a picture-perfect scenery as their paradise location. Even though their adventure quickly turns sour, Ko Phi Phi Le island in Thailand makes the ideal backdrop to the movie. 

However, if you decide to visit this dreamy place, you might end up disappointed. Controversially, the movie crew altered the setting to make it more "paradise-like" and to widen the beach. They also used special effects to alter the surroundings of the Maya Bay. After the movie's release the hidden beach has become a popular tourist destination, so don't expect privacy either.

Still Ko Phi Phi Le Island is an amazing destination for avid snorkelers. Enjoy spectacular underwater views but don't forget a durable wetsuit like Patagonia Men's R1 Yulex Lite that's also perfect for surfing.

 

Lord Of The Rings - Matamata, New Zealand

If you've ever wanted to visit the Middle Earth, you actually can. Matamata is very real place located in New Zealand, and it's easy to see why its lush pastures and sun-soaked hills were chosen to portray the Hobbiton and The Shire from The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies.

You can organize your own tour of these breathtaking landscapes, or book a guided tour of the actual Hobbiton set. You will walk through the Shire, get a chance to see 44 authentic Hobbit holes including Bilbo Baggins' home and even experience an evening banquet fit for a Hobbit.

 

Avatar - Hawaii

Those who have watched Avatar can already guess that most of this Oscar-winning movie was filmed in front of the green screen. But, some scenes actually used real locations on the beautiful Hawaiian Hamakua Coast and Kaua'i Island. While you won't be able to see any blue extra-terrestrial creatures, the landscape is truly out of this world.

Hamakua Coast boasts tropical rainforests, magical waterfalls and peaceful green valleys which created an amazing backdrop to James Cameron's ambitious motion picture. You definitely won't get disappointed if you decide to come to explore the unspoiled beauty of the Big Island.

 

Before Sunrise - Vienna

Before Sunrise is a 1994 romantic drama about two young people who meet on a train and fall in love in one night while they walk the streets of Vienna. Their tour of the city is an unusual one because they spontaneously wander around, skipping many of the famous spots in favour of small cafes and hidden alleyways.

While you'll easily get lost in the protagonists' conversation, you won't be able to take your eyes off Vienna's charming sights such as Prater, Maria am Gestade Church, Albertina Museum and other less-known but equally lovely places.

And if you want to follow in Jesse's and Celine's footsteps, plan your tour carefully otherwise you might actually get lost. And prepare for a lot of walking and public transport, which is why you need a comfortable and safe backpack like Patagonia Refugio 28L to keep all your essentials secure and organized.

 

Vikings - Ireland

No, we didn't get that wrong. Even though it's hard to believe it, none of the popular TV show Vikings was actually filmed in Scandinavia. But the rugged Irish landscapes served as a perfect replacement. Most the craggy mountains, dense forests, clear lakes and seaside you see on the show are located in Ireland, while parts of the show have also been filmed in Canada and Morocco.

Fairy tale-like Wicklow County just south of Dublin served as the set for most Vikings scenes, including the Lough Tay posing as the Kattegat Village, River Boyne represented as the Seine in Paris and Blessington Lakes as Waterways often filled with picturesque longships.

 

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We really enjoyed watching all these dazzling landscapes on the big and small screens, but can you imagine actually seeing them in person, following the steps of your favourite fictional characters?

The experience is truly otherworldly, especially if you're visiting a different world like the Hobbiton or The Seven Kingdoms.

Have we missed anything? What are the most exciting movie and TV sets according to you? Let us know in the comments below.