I love a good movie, and I just added a load more cool destinations to my To Go To list for the coming months! Thanks to Daily Mail Travel
- Step into the shoes of your favourite film characters and visit the former movie sets that are still open to tourists
- Like Captain Jack Sparrow, explore the picturesque cove that provided the setting for Pirates of the Caribbean
- Or take a two-hour tour of Hobbiton, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, in Matamata, New Zealand
Stepping into the shoes of your favourite film character may not be quite as hard as you think.
Despite having wrapped filming years or sometimes even decades ago, many movie sets that were once specially and presumably, temporarily, built are still around.
Like Captain Jack Sparrow, are you keen to explore the shores of Port Royal, which is actually located in St Vincent and the Grenadines? Or would you prefer to visit the desert home of Luke Skywalker in Tozeur, Tunisia?
Here are some of the most picturesque (and most popular) former film sets.
Popeye’s Village – Mellieha, Malta
Now, the sailor’s picturesque fishing village, called Anchor Bay, is open to the public seven days per week as an entertainment complex
The village from the 1980 live-action feature, Popeye, is also known as Sweethaven Village, located at the north-west corner of the Mediterranean island of Malta.
The rustic, ramshackle town is located at Anchor Bay, which is just two miles from the Mellieha.
Though production has long since ceased, today it’s open to the public seven days per week as an open-air museum and family entertainment complex.
There are shows, rides and museums, as well as opportunities for children to meet the main characters from the show.
Tatooine – Tozeur, Tunisia
Tataouine is the town in Tunisia that inspired George Lucas to name his fictional desert planet Tatooine.
And while it wasn’t actually used during filming, several scenes were shot just on the outskirts of the town and in the nearby beach town of Djerba.
For die-hard fans, Luke Skywalker’s home still exists in Tozeur, as does the set of Mos Espa – and almost everything has been left intact over the years.
Ned’s tip: for five-star Tunisian luxury stay in Le Royal Hammamet Resort
Pirates of the Caribbean – Walliabou Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadines
The picturesque island of St Vincent and the Grenadines proved the perfect filming location for Pirates of the Caribbean
The picturesque island of St Vincent and the Grenadines proved the perfect filming location for the second installment in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, standing in for the town of Port Royal.
Interestingly, the ‘real’ Port Royal is a city located at the mouth of Kingston Harbour in Jamaica.
But, in Wallilabou Bay, fans of the films can retrace the steps of Captain Jack Sparrow and relax on the leftover film sets, explore the crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the dock or sandy beach.
There’s also a popular hotel and restaurant located on the bay, Wallilabou Anchorage, for grabbing a bit of grub.
Hunger Games District 12 – Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina
The small textile town in Burke County, North Carolina, wouldn’t usually be considered a top tourist destination.
However, following the massive success of the Hunger Games film series, some eagle-eyed fans will better recognise the ramshackle town as Katniss Everdeen’s post-apocalyptic home of District 12.
However, don’t expect for many tourist attractions to pop up in the deserted ghost town – in fact, the abandoned homes shouldn’t even really be entered due to their collapsing floors.
Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit – Matamata, New Zealand
As one of the most built up of all movie set destinations, fans of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies are spoiled for choice when it comes to ways in which they can experience Hobbiton for themselves.
Located on private farmland near Matamata, New Zealand, the film set was completely rebuilt and can be explored during a fascinating two-hour guided tour.
During the tour, fans will take in hobbit holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films.
And for those who just don’t want to leave once the sun goes down, some tour operators even offer overnight farmland stays.
Schindler’s List – Plaszow Labour Camp, Poland
Thanks to Stephen Spielberg’s important film, Schindler’s List, the story of the Plaszow concentration camp has become one familiar to movie-watchers the world over.
The Nazi camp, located in the Podgorze district, 10 kilometres outside the city of Krakow, is highlighted in the film primarily as it pertains to the cruelty handed down by Commandant Amon Goeth.
And though the area has since changed, Goeth’s home is still standing, having been returned to the family who originally owned it after the war.
Located at number 22 and known as the ‘Red House,’ the villa overlooks the concentration camp.
M*A*S*H Sign – Malibu Creek State Park, California
Despite the fact that the television programme M*A*S*H went off air several decades ago, the site of the show’s outdoor set is still as popular as ever.
Malibu Creek State Park, located just a short drive from Los Angeles, is the former location ranch of 20th Century Fox studios, who owned the land between 1946 and 1974.
M*A*S*H was filmed between 1972 and 1983 in much the same way that a real unit would operate – electricity was sourced from powerful generators, and water came in on tanker trucks.
Today, fans can visit the rock pool and infamous sign, indicating the distance to several global destinations, such as Tokyo and Seoul.
Lone Star Township – Contrabando, Texas
Contrabando, Texas is a ghost town that was built initially as the set for the 1985 Western Uphill All The Way, but is known most as the setting of Lone Star in 1996.
The latter film starred Chris Cooper, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey, and Elizabeth Pena and fans can explore all of the recognisable buildings from the flick at the Big Bend Ranch State Park.
However, don’t be too surprised when you step inside and realise that the extremely realistic looking buildings are actually nothing more than facades.
The Hills Have Eyes – Gas Haven petrol station in Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco
The 2006 remake of the classic horror film, The Hills Have Eyes, was filmed on location in Morocco, where a Gas Haven petrol station was erected – and remains.
To find it, simply take a 15 minute drive along the desert road from Ouarzazate to Agadir in the southern part of the country.
And you likely won’t be alone, as car-loads of tourists are known for pulling up alongside the distinctly 1950s American structure to snap photos.
From there, consider returning to Ouarzazate, as the town is the starting point for many tourist treks through the Sahara.