Fiction is often a way for many of us to escape the real world for a little bit, but what if we told you that you could actually travel to some of your favorite fictional locations? Whether these be the settings of fantasy or stories that take place in our universe, we’ve found a way to bring them all to life for you.
Hamilton, New Zealand – AKA The Shire (Lord of the Rings)
You don’t have to be into Fantasy to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, and luckily you don’t have to be a character in his imagination either. Head to Hamilton, New Zealand, the breathtakingly beautiful town where the Lord of the Rings films shot all scenes that were set in The Shire, and the Hobbiton movie set that was built is the only set that still remains intact from the films for fans to enjoy by fully immersing themselves in the world of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Washington, Connecticut, USA – AKA Stars Hollow, CT (Gilmore Girls)
If you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls and wished that the charming and quirky New England town of Stars Hollow actually exists, you’re in luck! Washington, CT is a small town in the northwestern corner of the state and it’s where Amy Sherman Palladino was staying when she thought of the show and its idyllic setting. While nothing in the town is officially Gilmore Girls related, people flock from all over the world to experience the small town charm that it has to offer – and if you stop by The Hickory Stick Bookshop, the staff can provide with a list of all the places in town you need to see if you’re a fan of the show!
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland – AKA The Hogwarts Express (Harry Potter)
In general, Scotland is a dream come true for Harry Potter fans, but the Glenfinnan Viaduct is a view to behold for all who have ever wished to ride the Hogwarts Express. Hike up the hills surrounding this beautiful railway bridge, or purchase tickets to ride the actual train across it yourself!
Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, Edinburgh, Scotland – AKA Tom Riddle’s Grave (Harry Potter)
If you’re brave enough, head to Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland to find the grave of Tom Riddle, J.K. Rowling’s most terrifying villain. While you’re there, you may also stumble across the graves of a McGonagall and a Pettigrew. Coincidence, much?!
Victoria Street, Edinburgh, Scotland – AKA Diagon Alley (Harry Potter)
You will seriously start to believe that magic is real when you step foot onto Victoria Street in Edinburgh. This is the street that inspired J.K. Rowling’s famous Diagon Alley, and we can attest to the authenticity. There’s even a great Harry Potter-themed shop where you can purchase your wand, scarf and many other magical oddities.
Redwood National Forest, California, USA – AKA Ewok Village (Star Wars)
If you find yourself in California as a Star Wars fan, you would be remiss to pass up a trip to the Redwood Forest, also known as the home to the adorable and cuddly Ewoks! The story goes that George Lucas was so taken by the beauty of this forest that he chose to film all the scenes of the planet Endor there!
The Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria – AKA Borduria (Adventures of Tintin)
If you read the graphic novels The Adventures of Tintin, as a kid (or an adult!) you probably found yourself dreaming of running alongside Tintin and his dog through the dramatic mountainous terrain of Borduria. Fortunately, that dream can be fulfilled in The Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria, which makes sense as the creator of the series, Herge, is Belgian himself. As they say, it’s best to write (or draw, in this case) what you know!
The Pacific Palisades, California, USA – AKA Bayside City (Saved by the Bell)
If you were a child of the ‘90s then you probably fondly remember the lives of Zack Morris, Slater, Screech and their friends from Saved by the Bell. If you’re still wishing to fulfill your high school dream of attending Bayside, head to the Pacific Palisades and get ready to look over your shoulder for Mr. Belding everywhere you turn!
Ashdown Forest, England – AKA The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie-the-Pooh)
You’re never too old to return to your childhood. When in England, visit Ashdown Forest. It’s the place that served as the inspiration for the setting of the classic children’s book series Winnie-the-Pooh. Doesn’t this take you back?!
Kaua’i, Hawaii, USA – AKA Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park)
You might not find any dinosaurs, but if you visit the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii, you’ll have a hard time not envisioning dinosaurs galavanting about. Look around for velociraptors, pterodactyls or brontosaurus. Hey, why not?! In fact, Spielberg thought the setting was so perfect he shot all three films there!
The South Pillar of Heaven in Wulingyuan National Park, China – AKA Pandora (Avatar)
Yes, this magical place is REAL. True, you won’t find any blue aliens or floating islands there (that we know of), but this is just about as close as you can get to the real deal. If you go, we highly recommend traveling up the mountain in the glass elevator for spectacular views and photo ops.
Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, USA – AKA Batman’s Arkham Asylum
If you like to comfort yourself by thinking that terrifyingly creepy places only exist in fiction, do not visit the Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts. While you may not find The Joker wandering around, the architecture alone, especially on a crisp, foggy morning, will do plenty to make the hair on your arms stand straight up.
Petra, Jordan – AKA Canyon City (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
You may have thought that this iconic scene was all just fiction, but don’t you worry. The scene is modeled after an actual ancient city that was carved into the rocks of the city of Petra in Jordan. Venture out here and experience the ancient city of Petra.
Forks, Washington, USA (Twilight)
Is that a sparkle in your eye or are you just thinking of Edward Cullen? The setting of the hit book series Twilight is a real place. Travel to the actual Forks and enjoy the rainy weather, the beautiful wildlife and keep an eye out for anyone who sparkles on the rare occasion of sunshine.
The Oheka Castle in Huntington, NY, USA – AKA West Egg (The Great Gatsby)
In 1919, The Oheka Castle was built and at the time was the second-largest residence ever built in America. It is said that F. Scott Fitzgerald was so inspired by this home and its sprawling landscapes that he used it as his inspiration for his now-classic novel, The Great Gatsby. The man who lived there, Otto Herman Khan, was known for his lavish parties and celebrity connections. Sound familiar?
Ready to start packing? We know we are!