It’s a good time to be alive if you’re a Star Wars fan. The sci-fi franchise, which pretty much set the standard for summer blockbusters with its first movie in 1978, has (thanks to its new owner Disney) returned in a big way to the cultural forefront in the last few years.
New movies! New characters! And, of course, new destinations!
There’s always been a subtle but growing link between Star Wars and tourism. The exotic shooting locales for the original films that were used to depict planets in a galaxy far, far away more than likely inspired additions to some travel bucket lists, while the fervency of the fanbase undoubtedly turned many of them into pilgrimage sites and tourist hot spots.
But what about the new movies? What are the destinations worth checking from the new trilogy and anthology films?
Here are 7 destinations from the new Star Wars movies you probably never thought existed on planet Earth!
Skellig Michael, Ireland
This UNESCO World Heritage site was only featured briefly in the final scenes of 2015’s The Force Awakens, but the shooting location for Luke Skywalker’s hideout was a lot more prominent in 2017’s The Last Jedi. Visitors interested in exploring the Skellig Michael should plan their trips for between May and September and can find a host of tour boat operators to take them there in nearby fishing villages in Kerry County. The island is home to the ruins of a monastery that was abandoned in the 12th century, which you can visit (just be prepared to climb 600 steps when you get there), as well as plenty of Atlantic Puffins (the inspiration for Last Jedi’s Porgs).
Wadi Rum, Jordan
The sandy vistas of Wadi Rum in Jordan are where you’ll find the real-world stand-in for the planet Jedha, the desert moon that had once been a holy site of pilgrimage and was occupied by the Empire in Rogue One. But you’ll more likely feel like you’re on Mars, since the desert valley’s rock formations and orangey red tones are quite similar to the Red Planet’s landscape — a reason why so many other movies have also used it as a Mars double.
Laamu Atoll, Maldives
If you’ve seen Rogue One, you no doubt recall the beautiful tropical planet Scarif, where the film’s climatic battle was fought amongst palm trees and crystal blue water. The scenes were filmed at Laamu Atoll, which makes up part of the Maldives archipelago. The Maldives is a well-known dreamy destination and there are so many different islands within the Maldives that Laamu Atoll isn’t commonly flocked to by tourists. Thankfully, wherever you go in the Maldives, the opulent scenery will be close to what you’ve seen in the film.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
It’s probably the coolest filming location out of the new Star Wars movies. You’ll recognize Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flat, as the mineral planet Crait from The Last Jedi. It’s where the rebels make their stand against Kylo Ren and the First Order. This prehistoric dried up lake is quite incredible. When the surface is dry it resembles the moon, but when wet it’s as if you’re walking on an endless mirror.
Did you notice the black sand in the background of many scenes in Rogue One (like when Stormtroopers attack Jyn Eurso’s family)? You may have thought it was created with computers after filming, but actually, the dramatic scenes were filmed in Iceland. You can find this exact location and the black lava sand flats on the southern coast of Iceland, just east of the village of Vík.
Canary Wharf Underground Station, London, England
If you happen to be passing through this busy London Underground station, you may find yourself imagining Stormtroopers running along the train platform. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly fine! A scene from Rogue One was filmed here for the futuristic high-tech setting using the station’s escalators and silver platform. Some wouldn’t instantly think this location is where a scene from the movie was shot but once you recall the scene you may feel like a Stormtrooper yourself!
Although the latest Star Wars movie, the Han Solo prequel simply titled Solo: A Star Wars Story, hasn’t come out yet, we already know of at least one location from filming that you can visit. According to reports, some of the movie was filmed on the breathtaking island of Fuerteventura. It’s the second largest of the Canary Islands in Spain and is a popular destination for travelers thanks to its beautiful beaches surrounded by incredible coves and cliffs with perfect weather year-round.
Have you been to any locations where the many Star Wars movies were filmed? Let us know in the comments below!
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