With the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in December, we’ve dug up some epic locations around the world where the Star Wars franchise was filmed. Though there was plenty of studio filming and computer-generated graphics, filmmakers still made trips out to real-world locations. Some of the locations are so mind-blowing you might not believe they really exist on our own Planet Earth. Whether a Star Wars fanatic or new to the series, check out these 25 Star Wars Film Locations You Can Visit Today.
Tunisia has been a major filming location throughout the Star Wars franchise, especially for scenes on Tatooine. Visit the port of Ajim on the southern side of the island of Djerba, Tunisia, and look for the outside of Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina and Ben Kenobi’s hut (which was originally and still is an old fisherman’s hut).
A little known town, Caserta (just northeast of Napoli) boasts the largest royal palace in Italy, originally built for King Charles III in the 18th century. The 1,000+ room palace was made into the Theed Royal Palace in Episodes I & II.
Death Valley, California, made it into Star Wars because A New Hope went over budget and the team couldn’t afford to return to Tunisia, their original desired filming location. R2-D2 was filmed speeding away in search of Ben Kenobi’s hut.
The massive Hardangerjøkulen glacier is the sixth largest in Norway and was used during filming of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back to shoot scenes and battles from ice planet Hoth.
Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna was used to capture plate photography which became the background for the epic lightsaber battle on planet Mustafar between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Mount Etna erupted during filming at which point George Lucas sent crews to film the lava flows.
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Plaza de España
Spain’s gorgeous Plaza de España in Seville was shot for the arrival of Anakin and Padmé Amidala on Naboo. (Extended scenes can be seen on the DVD’s deleted scenes.)
Chott El Djerid
A dried salt lake in southwestern Tunisia, Chott El Djerid featured the Lars family moisture farm and home where Luke Skywalker was raised by Owen and Beru Lars.
Hôtel Sidi Driss
Hôtel Sidi Driss served as the inside of the Lars family home. A bit to the east of #19 in Matmata, Tunisia, the hotel is a traditional-style Berber house built hundreds of years ago. Guests can eat in the Star Wars pit, the hotel’s restaurant, which was restored in the 90’s to the original Star Wars theme.
The Swiss mountain town of Grindelwald was never actually filmed but did serve as the scene for a variety of photographs which later played into the backdrop of planet Alderaan, home of Princess Leia.
Like Grindelwald, Guilin in southern China was not actually filmed for Star Wars but did serve as the location for plate photographs which eventually were turned into parts of planet Kashyyyk, home to the Wookiees.
Thailand’s famous party island, Phuket is the third place in the Star Wars franchise which served only as a scouting location for plate photography. As with Guilin, it was scouted for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and contributed scenes to the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk.
The widely reputed Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England, hosted the famous awards ceremony at the conclusion of A New Hope.
Just near Tunisia’s western border with Algeria, Nefta is the largest sand dune in the area and scene of the famous R2-D2 and C-3PO crash landing from Star Wars: Episode IV.
Echo Base, the Rebel Alliance’s base during the Battle of Hoth, was filmed at Finse, Norway. Stop off if you’re taking the train between Oslo and Bergen to see the site. It’s also the highest station on the Norwegian rail system.
Ksar is the Meghrebi dialect (spoken mostly in north Africa) of Arabic’s term for a castle. Central Tunisia’s Ksar Hadada was filmed as the Slave Quarters of Mos Espa in The Phantom Menace.
The second ksar filmed for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Ksar Medenine was used in two scenes: when enslaved Anakin brings his new friends home and when he returns to his mother before leaving the planet with Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn.
Ksar Oueld Soltane
Can you tell George Lucas really liked Tunisia’s castles? Ksar Oueld Soltane served as the third filming location for Tatooine’s Slave Quarters Row. Tourists these days visit to see Anakin’s boyhood home and the well-preserved ksar on the hilltop.
Guatemala’s Tikal is an ancient Mayan city (and one of the largest, too). The area and its temples were filmed for scenes on the fourth moon of Yavin, Yavin 4, which housed the Rebel Alliance’s primary military base from the 1977 film.
The Yuma Desert, located along the western border of the United States and Mexico, featured the Great Pit of Carkoon. This scene from Return of the Jedi saw the fearsome sarlacc trying to gobble up Luke, Han Solo, and Chewbacca but ultimately led to Jabba the Hutt’s demise.
A glacial lake just north of Milan, Lake Como is one of Europe’s deepest lakes. It was also the scene for various scenes from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones showcasing Anakin and Padmé Amidala on Naboo.
A site all Star Wars fans must visit, the Whippendell Woods northwest of London were used for two major scenes from The Phantom Menace. Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi first met Jar Jar Binks in the woods and Queen Amidala met at the Gungan sacred place.
With the next film being kept under tight wraps, we’re not entirely sure what will happen at our last four locations, but you might want to pre-book your trip before they get thronged with tourists. An important location for the seventh Star Wars installment, Berkshire, England’s RAF military base, Greenham Common, has seen the construction of multiple star crafts so far.
The setting for many a recent film, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is one of the main shooting scenes for The Force Awakens. Reports include the building of a large shuttle-like vehicle and a man-made blast crater.
Pre-filming occurred at Iceland’s Krafla volcano (or, more accurately, caldera) in the Mývatn region where scenes were also shot for Interstellar, Thor, and Game of Thrones.
West Ireland’s Skellig Michael (off the coast of the famous Ring of Kerry) is a rocky island in the brutal North Atlantic. Little is known about its role in The Force Awakens except that it will feature actors Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, and Harrison Ford.