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Incredible Destinations Made Famous by Films 

January 25 2018

The world is filled with remarkable places and wonderful destinations, with each country offering unbelievable experiences and sights that most of us aren’t even aware of yet. There is a myriad of destinations that have been overlooked or under the radar - some of which are now hugely popular, thanks to Hollywood. Many of the most iconic movies have been set in incredible, and lesser known, destinations which in many cases propelled them to stardom making them some of the ultimate must-visit destinations today (especially for movie fanatics). Interested to know which amazing destinations were put on the map by films? Here are some of our favourites:

New Zealand - The Lord of the Rings

gandalf standing in front of the Shire - Lord of the Rings

The phenomenal Lord of The Rings trilogy directed by Peter Jackson definitely impacted New Zealand's tourism, for the better. This breathtakingly beautiful country was mostly ignored and tended to be overshadowed by its larger neighbour, Australia, until these magical movies were released. Gorgeous, untamed scenery was showcased brilliantly in the blockbuster films which captured Middle-earth so perfectly that The Hobbit trilogy was also filmed here. Between these two trilogies, they were able to transform this small country from a largely  unknown destination to one of the top tourist destinations in    the world. Naturally, today New Zealand sees hundreds of tourists every year that have been inspired by the Lord of the Rings  (and technically, Peter Jackson) to experience the  natural wonders and magic of Middle-earth for themselves.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia - Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

cambodia temples tomb raider movie

The magnificent temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap are absolutely out of this world and definite must-visit for intrepid travellers. But many people didn’t know of their existence until the 2001 blockbuster Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was released.  This movie not only helped Angelina Jolie secure a firm position on the A-list but put the otherwise largely unknown network of temples in Siem Reap onto the map. This movie captured the mysterious and mesmerizingly beautiful temples perfectly and ensured that the small, and somewhat isolated, country of Cambodia became one of the top destinations in Asia - a  position it is extremely worthy of. 


Dharavi, India - Slumdog Millionaire

slumdog millionaire movie poster

The colourful, chaotic scenes of the Mumbai slum Dharavi seen  in the successful multi-award winning 2008 blockbuster  Slumdog Millionaire, was certainly not a place tourists wanted to visit  before the movie was released. Despite being India’s largest slum, this area was very far off the tourist radar, but thanks to the film's success, Dharavi fast became a tourist hotspot. Today the slum draws in tourists from around the world, eager to  explore the incredible place with guided walking tours. 



Alnwick Castle, Northumberland - Harry Potter  

Alnwick CastleWhen the Harry Potter films were released fans headed to the cinemas in droves. By far one of the most incredible things  about the film was the location for the famous wizardry school which, through amazing cinematography and graphics, metamorphosed from Alnwick Castle into Hogwarts. While this enchanting castle has been around for some time - it was built in 1096 - it’s popularity these days can be whittled down to its screen time in the hugely successful Harry Potter films. Owing the massive  surge in popularity to the films, Alnwick Castle gets approximately 700,000 (or more) visits a year.


Ko Phi Phi, Thailand - The Beach 

maya bay aerial view - phi phi lay - the beach movieThere’s no doubt that the islands in Thailand have been popular for chic travellers and avid backpackers for years. But it was the epic film The Beach released in 2000 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio that ultimately put the small island of Ko Phi Phi Leh on the map. The gorgeous azure waters, pristine beaches and mountainous surrounds were beautifully captured in the film about a tumultuous trip into the gorgeous outlying islands of Thailand.




Salzburg, Austria - The Sound of Music

house in salzburg austriaUndulating hills covered in forests, gorgeous lakes, exquisite architecture and incredible castles, Salzburg is nothing short of a fairytale destination with music at its core. Famous for its breathtakingly beautiful surrounds as well as being the birthplace of Mozart, Salzburg is also renowned for being at the centre of The Sound of Music—arguably one of the best musicals ever made. Here travellers can visit some of the most incredible places showcased in the movie, in fact, there are even specialised tours that take you on an unbelievable journey as  you discover some of the original and awe-inspiring shooting locations from the film. 


Forks, Washington -Twilight 

pathway in forks forest twilight movieThe Twilight Saga put the small, sleepy town of Forks (Bella Swan’s hometown in the series) in Clallam County, Washington, on the map for die-hard fans eager to get a taste of the mysterious place and its gorgeous natural surrounds. Twilight fans head to Forks in hundreds to relish the amazing beaches, forests and rivers that are excellently captured in the Twilight Saga. The town which boasts a small population of 4500 people, sees far more travellers each year than there are locals. 



Gan, Maldives - Rogue One 

gan island maldives aerial viewWhile the Maldives is already on many travellers’ must-visit destination lists, the Star Wars film Rogue One certainly put  Gan, situated in the Laamu Atoll in the south of the Maldives, on many avid Star Wars fans’ bucket lists. The Laamu Atoll consists of a whopping 82 of the almost 1200 Maldivian islands, and Gan is one of the biggest islands of the 82 in the Laamu Atoll. This was the location for the film’s planet Scarif where (this one is for the fans) the Imperial war machine was being built. The location had to be a tropical paradise with crystal-clear waters and powder-white beaches that are lined with coconut palm trees  and what better place to set it than in a place that is literally paradise personified—the Maldives. When the crew wasn’t shooting Scarif scenes on Gan, they were filming on the gorgeous deserted Berasdhoo Island nearby for some staggeringly beautiful shots of the untouched paradise synonymous with the Maldives. 

Tamarin Bay, Mauritius - Forgotten Island Of Santosha

tamarin bay mauritius panoramic view

While Santosha is not a real place, the cult surfing film from  1974, Forgotten Island of Santosha (and the images from the film published by Surfer Magazine), put Tamarin Bay, and Mauritius   in general, on the map in a big way for keen surfers looking for the perfect wave. In the 1960s, before the film was released (and before the identification of Tamarin Bay in the film), this prime  surf spot was a secret among select wave-hunters and in-the-know locals. To surfers, the wave filmed was absolute perfection, a strong, lengthy left-handed reef break with a fast hollow that the surfers in the film seemed to handle with ease, and it wasn’t before long that surfers from around the world headed to the island paradise of Mauritius in search of this perfect wave.  Couple this with incredible accommodation options, wonderful locals, a colourful and diverse culture and exceptional food, and you have a stellar destination that is now high up on the list of places to travel for many people that range from skilled surfers to glamorous celebrities. 

If you are looking for the perfect holiday destination that offers absolutely everything you could want or need for the ultimate island breakaway, then Mauritius and the Maldives truly have it all. Stay at one of the exceptional four- and five-star Sun Resorts to ensure that your holiday in paradise is exactly how you have always dreamed it will be. With wonderful signature offerings, exceptional dining options, excellent service and sublime locations in some of the best holiday destinations in the world, you are guaranteed an exceptional stay at any of the unique Sun Resorts.

Images source : Google Images

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