20 Star Wars Locations You Can Visit in Real Life, From Africa to Asia

20 ‘Star Wars’ Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life

The Galaxy isn’t as far, far away as you think.

When I was a young boy, I remember my father telling me about Star Wars for the first time. The picture that I painted in my head from his words had me on the edge of my seat. A couple of years later, I watched A New Hope for myself, and nothing could’ve prepared me for the majesty of the real thing.

The Jedi. The Force. A galaxy caught in a battle between light and darkness. There are so many incredible things about George Lucas’s legendary space opera, from advanced technology to exotic intergalactic locations. The alien planets of Star Wars provide an unforgettable backdrop to its story. The best part is that you can actually explore most of them for yourself. Don’t worry, you won’t need the Millennium Falcon for this adventure. Here are the places where Star Wars was filmed that you can explore. 

Star Wars filming locations from the original trilogy

1. Hotel Sidi Idriss, Matmatat-Al-Qadimal – Tunisia

The Hotel Sidi Idriss was the filming location of the Lars homestead on planet Tatooine from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Yes, this is the Star Wars location where Luke Skywalker grew up, argued with his aunt and uncle, and played with an X-Wing toy in his bedroom.

Originally, some of these areas fell into disrepair, as people pretty much forgot about the hotel for years after A New Hope. But George Lucas soon returned to film scenes for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Since then, the Star Wars-related rooms of the hotel have been lovingly restored by fans.

star wars movie sets

Image credit: Lucasfilm

Aside from its Hollywood-centric appeal, the Hotel Sidi Idriss is also a stunning example of traditional Berber architecture. Its subterranean chambers were carved into the ground hundreds of years ago by Berber refugees, and remain intact until this day. Fun fact, if you dine in the hotel’s restaurant, you’ll basically be eating breakfast at the Lars family table. (We’ll miss you, Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Rest in peace.)


2.  Tikal National Park – Guatemala

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In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the Rebel outpost of Massassi was located on the jungle-covered planet of Yavin 4. To fulfil his vision, George Lucas turned to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. Located in Tikal National Park, this is one of the largest pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites in the world, and another one of the iconic Star Wars locations.

Those ruins provided the exact facade that was needed to give the Rebel base a secluded, forgotten look. After all, the Rebels didn’t really have a home planet of their own, so they converted any space they could into a base. Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the easiest way to get there is from the nearby town of Flores.

One of the better options to explore this place is to book a guided tour of the ruins because the national park is massive. Among the highlights of Tikal are the Grand Plaza and the Pyramid of the Double-Headed Snake, which is the tallest temple ever built by the Mayans (that we know of).

3. Death Valley National Park, California – United States

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 There are few scenes in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope more memorable than the first time Obi-Wan Kenobi shows up and helps save Luke Skywalker from the brutal Tusken raiders. That rocky, arid location was shot in Death Valley National Park. This is the hottest, driest national park in North America. Unsurprisingly, these conditions were perfect to portray the unforgiving outskirts of the planet Tatooine, probably the most-used among all Star Wars locations ever.

If you’re visiting Death Valley National Park in person, there’s plenty to see and do. You can take a guided hike out into the valley to enjoy gorgeous vistas and discover some great spots for a photo op. Don’t forget to check out Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in the United States, sitting 282 metres below sea level. The park also offers great opportunities for camping, from bare-bones to the full glamping shebang.

Also read: 10 Incredible Airbnbs in Malibu, California for a Coastal Escape

4. Hardangerjøkulen and Finse 1222 Hotel, Finse – Norway

star wars filming locations

Image credit: Ingolf Nistad

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the movie opens with an epic battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire on the icy planet of Hoth. Most of those shots were taken right on the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier and at the nearby Finse 1222 Hotel. This is definitely among the more extreme Star Wars filming locations. 

To get the shots they needed, the crew had to endure temperatures of -18°F and a brutal winter storm. Interestingly enough, the battle scenes were the only ones that were not shot in actual snow. Since the Imperial AT-AT walkers were all miniature models in reality, baking powder and glass were used to recreate the texture of genuine snow.

Finse 1222 remains the ideal place to stay when visiting Hardangerjøkulen, and you can get there via train from Bergen, or Oslo. The best part is, you’ll be staying at the very same hotel that the actual film crew used as their base camp back in 1979!

Also read: 7 Best Hotels in Norway for the Ultimate Snowy Holiday

5. Redwood National Park, California – United States

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A lot of people remember Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi for Luke Skywalker’s final battle with Darth Vader and the Emperor. But, this installation of the franchise is also famous for introducing Ewoks. These cute, cuddly, bear-like creatures lived on the forest moon of Endor, which is a major location featured in the movie.

In real life, the Star Wars filming location for Endor is Northern California’s Redwood National Park. Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, so it’s no surprise that a forest full of them could stand in as an alien world. Today, you can visit the Redwood National Park to enjoy scenic drives, hiking, camping, and of course, see the giant redwoods for yourself.

Also read: 18 Best Beach Houses to Book on Airbnb, From California to Hawaii

Star Wars locations from the prequel trilogy

6. Royal Palace of Caserta – Italy

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This magnificent structure was designed by the architect Luigi Vanvitelli in the 18th century for Charles III, Duke of Bourbon. In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Royal Palace of Caserta served as the shooting location for the Theed Royal Palace on the planet of Naboo. It is this very planet that is attacked by the hostile Trade Federation, prompting a rescue from a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master, Qui Gon Jinn.

George Lucas and the team also returned to this Star Wars location to shoot scenes for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Whether it was an attack by hostile droids or boring royal meetings, the palace at Caserta has seen quite a lot of action.

star wars movie sets

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The compound of the Royal Palace is massive, and there’s a lot to see. Firstly, you can get there by taking a train or driving from the nearby town of Naples. Within the main structure, you can visit the Royal Apartments, the Grand Staircase, and the Library. Once you’re exploring the grounds, be sure to visit the gorgeous Palace Gardens, as well as the Fountain of Diana and Actaeon.

Also read: 15 Picturesque Airbnb Homes & Vacation Rentals Along the Amalfi Coast of Italy

7. Villa del Balbianello, Como – Italy

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Do you like sand? Well, Anakin Skywalker certainly didn’t, which is probably why he was so happy to be trapped in this gorgeous lakeside villa with a princess. Villa del Balbianello was used to shoot the scenes in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, where Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker escorts the Princess of Naboo, Padme, to her royal lake house. 

Most famous of these, is a scene where the pair kiss on a balcony, right after Anakin expresses his hatred for sand. Star Wars, am I right? Villa del Balbianello’s gorgeous architecture and position beside Lake Como is the reason it’s popularly used for weddings, ceremonies, and film sets. It is also surrounded by a vast, lush garden that’s immaculately maintained all year round.

Image credit (L-R): forumuser via Canva Pro; Lucasfilm

Now, you can’t actually stay in the villa, but don’t worry. There are plenty of other places nearby where you can crash for the night. As one of the more picturesque Star Wars filming locations however, Villa del Balbianello is definitely worth checking out.

Also read: 19 Lakeside Towns in Europe You Have to See in This Lifetime

8. Plaza de España, Seville – Spain

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There’s a brief scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, when Anakin and Padme walk through a regal corridor, lined with pillars, and discuss politics. Once again, this takes place at the Theed Royal Palace on the planet of Naboo. However, instead of the aforementioned Royal Palace of Caserta, this scene from Star Wars was filmed at the Plaza de España in Spain.

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To visit this location, you’ll have to journey to Seville, which is the capital of Andalusia. The Plaza de España was designed by Aníbal González for the first Ibero-American exhibition in 1929 and was meant to create symbolic peace with former American colonies. It’s also known as the Spanish Steps, which are an actual set of steps that are part of the overall plaza structure.

Filled with towers, canals, and 52 different frescoes to depict all the Spanish provinces, this wonder of a sight will provide you with some great Instagrammable pictures. You can even rent a boat and sail through the canals. The best part? Entry is completely free.

Also read: 12 Best Airbnbs in Malaga for Your Spain Summer Trip

9. Phang Nga Bay – Thailand

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The beautiful Phang Nga Bay, which lies between the mainland and Phuket, is yet another famous Star Wars location. It was used to film scenes on the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. What is a Wookie, you ask? They’re tall, furry, and mostly cuddly — unless you make them angry. The most popular Wookie is Chewbacca, Han Solo’s loyal companion from the Original Trilogy.

On its own, Phang Nga Bay is a charming little paradise of tiny islands and villages. Try checking out Panyee Island and its floating village, which has a remarkable history behind it. You can also go canoeing in Lod Cave, relax at Thai Muang Beach, and explore the old town of Takua Pa.

Also read: 15 Unique Airbnbs in Thailand — From Beachside to Mountain Getaways!

10. Mount Etna – Italy

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The most epic part of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the climactic duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and the fallen Jedi, Anakin. The two master combatants duke it out on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, right until Anakin is defeated and turns into Darth Vader. Anyway, the volcanic scenes that accompanied that duel of the fates were actually shot on Mount Etna. It’s only about an hour by bus or car from the nearby city of Catania, Sicily

Image credit: Lucasfilm

The active volcano was actually erupting at the time, and good ol’ George Lucas made sure his team was right there, cameras rolling. Hazardous? Probably, but you’ve got to admire their dedication to the craft. The footage captured was for the eruption explosions and lava flow. Then, the team took that footage and enhanced it with CGI to use during the battle sequence. 

Mount Etna is one of the many Star Wars locations you can visit in person. Here, you’ll get the chance to visit the Silvestri Craters, which are two inactive volcano craters dating back to an eruption in 1892. There’s also the Mount Etna cable car ride and various hiking trails to explore. If you don’t feel like ascending the mountain, you can also take it in via the Circumetnea, which is an old train that goes around its base.

More Star Wars locations from the sequel trilogy and standalone movies

11. Rub al-Khali Desert

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Also known as the Empty Quarter, the Rub al-Khali is a massive expanse of desert covering parts of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. This was among the many Star Wars filming locations for the first movie in Disney’s sequel trilogy: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The unbroken desert proved a perfect place to shoot scenes of the planet Jakku, which is where we first get to know the main character, Rey.

Rub al-Khali’s sheer emptiness might make you feel like you’re standing on another planet, but there are actually quite a few things to do here. You can camp out among the dunes under the stars, dine with the local Bedouin tribes, and learn about their culture. There’s also Wadi Dakwah, a natural park of frankincense trees situated along the ancient incense trade route.

For activities that are a little more adventurous, you can also do some off-road driving in the desert. Besides that, the smooth dunes of Rub al-Khali are perfect for a little sandboarding, or sand skiing. Lastly, you can always try going for a camel ride.

12. Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean – England

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Located near the market town of Coleford in Gloucestershire, England, Puzzlewood is a rather magical place. Its silent, tranquil atmosphere almost makes you feel like time is standing still. Step inside and you’ll be surrounded by mossy rocks, caves, twisting roots, and meandering walkways. So, how is this a Star Wars location?

In Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, this forest stands in for parts of the planet Takodana. Here, Rey and her droid BB-8 are relentlessly chased through the trees by stormtroopers before encountering the big bad of the movie, Kylo Ren.

On a normal day, however, you can freely explore Puzzlewood without fear of getting blessed by lasers. There is evidence of Roman occupation within these woods, remnants of a time long past. Puzzlewood doesn’t lure you in with a ton of activities and attractions, but it’ll fill you with an exciting tingle of childlike adventure. Sometimes, enchanted forests can be real.

13. Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia

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Many Star Wars locations end up being the backdrop for an epic battle, and the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni are no different. This is the world’s largest salt flat, covering an area of approximately 10,500 square kilometres. The wide, seemingly endless expanse was filmed as the surface of the planet Crait in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.

Here, the new Rebel Alliance made its final stand against the evil First Order militia, led by the traitorous Kylo Ren. After a tense battle and the unveiling of a doomsday weapon, the group prevailed through the intervention of Luke Skywalker, and Rey’s new mastery over the Force. 

We recommend visiting Salar de Uyuni during the rainy season, when its entire surface turns into one giant mirror. You won’t be able to tell where the sky ends and the ground begins!

14. Dubrovnik – Croatia

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Side quests are mostly reserved for video games, but a similar occurrence happens in Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Finn and Rose Tico make a long detour to the space casino town of Canto Bight to find a human McGuffin. Along the way, they also end up saving some odd alien animals.

Now, the setting of Canto Bight itself was filmed in the city of Dubrovnik. Also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, this coastal town offers plenty for its visitors to do. You can take a leisurely walk over the City Walls, which date all the way back to medieval times. 

After that, wander through the Old Town and take a walk along the Stradun, the town’s main thoroughfare, which is also featured in The Last Jedi. You can also visit Fort Lovrijenac, or take a ferry to the nearby Lokrum Island and spend a day at the beach.

Also read: 15 Airbnb Homes & Vacation Rentals in Croatia for a Relaxing Mediterranean Holiday

15. Wadi Rum – Jordan

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By now, you’ve probably realised that quite a few Star Wars filming locations are deserts. I guess the denizens of George Lucas’s universe must have a thing for sand. Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert was used to film scenes of the planet Pasaana in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This desert planet is where Rey and the gang end up during their search for Exegol: home base of the newly-returned Emperor Palpatine.

Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

If you ever find yourself in Jordan, the rugged beauty of Wadi Rum is definitely worth the visit. You can check out the famous Lawrence’s Spring, named after the Lawrence of Arabia film which was shot there in the 1960s. More adventure awaits when you take a walk through the Khazali Canyon and marvel at the ancient inscriptions on the wall left behind by the ancient tribes going as far back as 350 BC.

Wadi Rum also offers more modern activities, like Jeep tours and of course, sandboarding. You can get there from the nearby city of Aqaba, and it’s about an hour’s drive by car.

16. Reynisfjara – Iceland

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Recently, the Star Wars universe has become a little more unique by breaking away from the main series of trilogies, and telling focused stories in standalone movies. The first of these movies is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The movie opens on the remote planet Eadu, featuring a black sand beach and an endless swathe of green behind it. This is where the main protagonist, Jyn Erso, loses her family to the clutches of the Empire’s forces. Her mother doesn’t make it, her father is kidnapped, and she’s forced into hiding. In real life, this setting from Star Wars was filmed at Reynisfjara Beach.

Lined with volcanic black sand and brooding basalt columns, Reynisfjara will leave you with the surreal sensation of displacement. But don’t worry, you’re still very much on planet Earth. This beach is great for taking walks to enjoy the scenery, checking out the sunset, and camping.

Also read: 18 Otherworldly Attractions to Visit in Iceland

17. Laamu Atoll – Maldives

Another Star Wars location from Rogue One, the tropical paradise of Laamu Atoll was used to film scenes for the planet of Scarif. This is where the movie’s final confrontation takes place, and the fledgling Rogue One team give their lives safeguard and  plans for the Empire’s Death Star.

It might be a little weird seeing Stormtroopers walking about white sandy beaches and turquoise waters in the movie. But if you’d like to explore those same waters, visit the islands of Gan and Berasdhoo. Stormtrooper cosplay is optional, of course. Being part of the Maldives, Laamu is also a great location for going scuba diving, surfing, and other fun beachside activities.

Also read: 10 Airbnbs in the Maldives for the Tropical Vacation You Deserve

More Star Wars filming locations from the new series

Disney’s recent influx of Star Wars streaming shows have managed to explore the galaxy in new ways. As a fan, I certainly can’t complain, so let’s take a look at some Obi-Wan Kenobi filming locations, Andor filming locations, and Mandalorian locations.

18. Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii – United States

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The Mandalorian is undoubtedly the most popular of Disney’s Star Wars streaming projects, both for its no-nonsense protagonist, and the adorable Grogu. The first season of this show became well-known for being shot entirely indoors, using a state-of-the-art LED immersive soundstage known as the Volume. But here’s the cool part: A lot of the Mandalorian locations projected onto the Volume were actually taken from real-life places. In Season 1, the rocky volcanic outskirts of the planet Nevarro used footage of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii

You can actually visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and check out this volcano for yourself. If you’re lucky enough to be there during a minor eruption, the park offers guided hikes that will let you see the lava flow. Otherwise, you can also hike the Kilauea Iki Trail and walk across a solidified lava lake floor on a volcanic crater.

Also read: 17 Stunning Airbnbs in Hawaii for the Best Experience

19. Rocky Peak Park, California – United States

Season 2 of The Mandalorian marked the first time that cast and crew travelled to a physical location outside the studio film. Rocky Peak Park is a desert recreation area that was used to shoot scenes of the planet Tython. This is where the Mandalorian Din Jarrin and Grogu meet Boba Fett for the very first time. A brief confrontation ensues, but both armoured tough guys eventually make their peace.

Aside from being picked as a Mandalorian location, Rocky Peak Park is a hiking hotspot. There are plenty of great trails to explore here, such as the Chumash Trail, Hummingbird Trail, and the main Rocky Peak Trail. It’s a great spot for a bit of adventure, and there are a ton of lookout points to enjoy the stunning desert vista.

20. Glen Tilt – Scotland

obi wan kenobi filming locations

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The lush highland greens of Glen Tilt have a spot on both the Obi-Wan Kenobi filming locations and Andor filming locations. In hindsight, it’s not really a big surprise that these two new Star Wars streaming series share the same scenery. 

andor filming locations

Image credit: IMDb

For Andor, Glen Tilt plays the role of the planet Aldhani, where main characters Andor and Luthen flee in order to escape an ambush. In the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, this Scottish glen makes up the outskirts of the planet Alderaan. This is Princess Leia’s famed home planet that Darth Vader blows up way back in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Visit Glen Tilt today, and you’ll discover a beautiful, 11-mile stretch of highlands to explore and go walking in. There are plenty of hiking trails available in the area, as well as lookout points to enjoy the surrounding view. It’s also a great place to be if you’re into cycling.

Also read: 15 Strange Destinations Around the World That Don’t Seem Real

As a Star Wars fan, there’s nothing better than being immersed in your favourite stories, worlds, and characters. Now, with these 20 Star Wars filming locations you can visit in real life, it’s time to take your first steps into that galaxy far, far away that we’ve all fallen in love with. Safe travels, and may the Force be with you.

About Author

Jeremiah Patrick
Jeremiah Patrick

A journeyman wordsmith wandering the creative lexicon, looking to craft a masterpiece. The only thing on par with Jerry’s love for a good story is the time he spends playing dauntingly difficult video games, reading works of fiction, and listening to horror podcasts. His mood shifts between dark brooding and cheery quips, depending on how much caffeine swirls in his system.