15 Star Wars Filming Locations Worth a Visit

It turns out the “Star Wars” galaxy isn’t terribly far, far away.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brought an end to the Skywalker Saga, but luckily there are plenty of filming locations spanning the globe that you can visit. Star Wars destinations like the deserts of Tatooine and the forest moon of Endor exist on Earth and don’t require the ship that made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Here are 15 Star Wars filming locations around the world that you can visit in real life.

Mountains surrounding the town of Grindewald, Switzerland

Grindelwald is one of the most popular ski resort towns in Switzerland.

Photo by Maria Mozgovaja/Shutterstock

1. Alderaan

Location: Grindelwald, Switzerland
Movie it appears in: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Alderaan was Princess Leia’s home planet, and scenes of the world were filmed on the hamlet of Grindelwald. This wasn’t an extensive filming location by any means, as the planet was destroyed and not a main (physical) part of the Star Wars films. But if you are in the area, you won’t want to miss it. Plus, it’s home to a 847-yard-long Grindelwald ZipRider (not related to the movies, for the record), for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

A Mayan pyramid at Tikal National Park

Located in the rain forests of northern Guatemala, Tikal was once an ancient Mayan citadel.

Photo by WitR/Shutterstock

2. Rebel Base Yavin 4

Location: Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Movie it appears in: Episode IV: A New Hope

Ancient Mayan pyramids stood in as the Rebel Base Yavin 4. While this location appeared briefly in the film (just 19 seconds), it left an impression. You can spot the pyramids as the Millennium Falcon zooms over Tikal National Park. It’s not hard to visit, but you will need to know where exactly to look in the 212-square-mile green space. (Hint: Head to the western region of the park and be ready to climb some major steps.)

A riverside view of the Plaza de España in Seville

Built in 1928, the Plaza de España mixes baroque revival, Renaissance revival and Moorish revival styles of Spanish architecture.

Photo by Kirk K/Flickr

3. Theed, Naboo

Location: Plaza de España, Seville, Spain
Movie it appears in: Episode II: Attack of the Clones

There are plenty of filming locations across Europe, but an especially striking scene follows Padmé and Anakin Skywalker as they walk through the plaza—intended to be a space in Naboo’s capital city of Theed—before disappearing into hiding (in Italy). It’s a quiet moment between the pair; some may not even remember it from the film. But a peek at the beautiful fountain in Plaza de España helps set the scene as a royal location of sorts. And much of the plaza was unchanged for the filming, so it will be instantly recognizable to those who have studied the Star Wars movies.

Yellow and white exterior of troglodyte house in Tunisia

Photo by Slimstyl/Shutterstock

4. The Lars Homestead Interior on Tatooine

Location: Sidi el Driss Hotel, Matmata, Tunisia
Movie it appears in: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Episode IV: A New Hope
George Lucas introduced the world to Tunisia as Luke Skywalker’s planet of Tatooine in A New Hope. To get the full Skywalker experience, travel to Matmata, and stay at the Sidi el Driss Hotel, the traditional Berber troglodyte house used as the interior of the Lars Homestead, Luke’s childhood home.
Stays cost less than $10 per night, and props from Lucasfilm’s return to the homestead in Attack of the Clones are still in the courtyard. Use the hotel as a rebel base as you explore the area surrounding Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s house and the nearby Mos Espa Slave Quarters from The Phantom Menace.

Brown and turquoise-colored mountains in Death Valley National Park

Some of the hottest temperatures on Earth have been recorded in Death Valley National Park.

Photo by Carter Baran/Unsplash

5. More Tatooine

Location: Death Valley National Park, California
Movie it appears in: Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

One of the Star Wars universe’s core is Death Valley, specifically Furnace Creek. Here, you won’t need very much imagination to bring forth recollections of Tatooine. While filming locations for the planet began in Tunisia, they wrapped up in the rocky environment of Death Valley. Nearly four miles south of Furnace Creek is where the Jawas hid in Episode IV: A New Hope before taking down R2-D2 with an ionization weapon. Star Wars fans will clock filming locations all throughout the park, including the spot where Luke was knocked out by a group of sand pirates (Tusken Raiders). The area offers some of the best hiking in the country—and it’s also one of the best national parks for stargazing.

A few redwood trees in grove

Photo by Bob Pool/Shutterstock

6. Forest Moon of Endor

Location: Redwood National and State Parks, California
Movie it appears in: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

For Return of the Jedi, George Lucas looked closer to home for an alien landscape. The Forest Moon of Endor was filmed on location in California’s Redwood National and State Parks, only 300 miles up the California coast from his Skywalker Ranch on Lake Ewok. Redwood National and State Parks contain almost 39,000 acres of coast redwood, some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth.

Until the 1850s, this redwood forest was home to several Native American tribes, including the Miwok, whose name George Lucas modified to get “Ewok.” Hikers will find dozens of trails here, but for those who prefer to stay in their cockpits, consider a drive along the Avenue of Giants (California Route 254 in Humboldt Redwoods State Park) for equally majestic views.

Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway

Photo by Magic Stocks/Shutterstock

7. Hoth

Location: Finse, Norway
Movie it appears in: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

In The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebel Alliance secludes itself on the frozen backwater world of Hoth. While the Rebels seemed to be roughing it in the wilderness, the cast and crew spent most of their time staying at the historic Finse 1222 Hotel in Finse, Norway, filming in the immediate vicinity of the hotel and on the nearby Hardangerjøkulen Glacier. Groups of dedicated fans gather annually to celebrate Hoth and this magical arctic wonderland. Climate change is tragically affecting the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, so make Hoth a priority before it’s gone.

Phang Nga Bay in Thailand at sunset

Photo by BGphotographer/Shutterstock

8. Kashyyyk

Location: Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Movie it appears in: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

In Revenge of the Sith, fans are introduced to the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk with a stunning aerial shot of Phang Nga Bay, Thailand, known for its limestone karst mountains and rock formations. Although the real iteration is devoid of CGI Wookiee trees and tree houses, it’s easy to imagine the droid army emerging from this tranquil bay while Yoda and Chewbacca strategize to save the Wookiees. Phang Nga Bay is located near Phuket City, Thailand, a great spot for relaxing on the beach after a long day of fighting the Clone Wars.

Wadi Rum desert valley in Jordan with rocky outcrops in background

Photo by Lukiyanova Natalia frenta/Shutterstock

9. Jedha

Location: Wadi Rum, Jordan
Movie it appears in: Rogue One

Rogue One introduced the sacred planet of Jedha with a sweeping shot of Cassian Andor’s Rebel U-Wing dancing through a dramatic desert valley. This valley is Wadi Rum, the largest wadi (Arabic for “valley”) in Jordan. While humans have lived in Wadi Rum since prehistoric times, the world at large was first introduced to its magnificence in the autobiographical book Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. Since the 1962 movie depiction of Lawrence’s life, tourism to Wadi Rum has steadily increased. Today, travelers can soak up the desert riding atop Arabian horses or racing around on ATVs. And because of its sandstone mountains and rock formations, it’s also a paradise for rock climbers.

Interior of Canary Wharf Tube Station, London, with blue lighting and a few people walking along corridor

Photo by IR Stone/Shutterstock

10. Imperial Base at Scarif

Location: Canary Wharf Tube Station, London, United Kingdom
Movie it appears in: Rogue One

Each year more than 40 million commuters pass through the Imperial Base at Scarif and they don’t even know it. While the exterior shots of Scarif in Rogue One were filmed in the Maldives, the interior of the Imperial base was shot at the Canary Wharf tube station. Visual effects artists covered up features like the escalators and signs, but imaginative fans can squint and see Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and K-2SO hiding in plain sight from their Imperial foes.

Two circular stone houses on Skellig Michael, Ireland

Photo by MNStudio/Shutterstock

11. Ahch-To

Location: Skellig Michael, Ireland
Movie it appears in: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

In The Force Awakens, Rey locates legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker hiding out on a cloistered island on the planet Ahch-To, and that’s where she trains with him in The Last Jedi. This majestic mountain island is actually Skellig Michael, located off the Irish coast about 10 miles southwest. Similar to its fictional roots as an early home of the Jedi religion, Skellig Michael was home to a 6th-century Gaelic monastic settlement. Historians believe that no more than a dozen monks and an abbot occupied the island’s beehive-shaped hovels until the 12th or 13th centuries, after which the island became a destination for pilgrimages (like Rey’s). Skellig Michael is currently home to a population of hundreds of puffins that were so pervasive that director Rian Johnson had to create the Porgs to stand in for the puffins. The Irish government limits the number of tours and tourists that visit Skellig Michael, and the only way to access the island is through 12 boat tour operators.

Empty beach lined with palm trees beside turquoise water in Laamu Atoll, Maldives

Photo by icemanphotos/Shutterstock

12. Scarif

Location: Laamu Atoll, Maldives
Movie it appears in: Rogue One

The serene blue-green waters and white-sand beaches on the planet Scarif from Rogue One are not the work of visual effects experts, they’re the real life beauty of Laamu Atoll in the Maldives. Director Gareth Edwards walked stormtroopers through the tropical waters around Gan, one of the Maldives’ largest islands. While the Maldives thrives on tourism, the archipelago country has been careful to preserve its island paradises. Laamu Atoll only opened to visitors in 2011, and there are but a handful of resorts in the area; some will book a charter flight for guests from Maldives’ largest airport in Malé.

The blue-white salt flats at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, with reddish hills in background

Photo by elleon/Shutterstock

13. Crait

Location: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Movie it appears in: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Looking for a salty snack? Salar de Uyuni in the Potosi region of southern Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat. Fans know it as the planet Crait introduced in The Last Jedi. Much like the fictional planet Crait, the real-life Salar de Uyuni has a surface composed entirely of salt that can sometimes extend as far as 10 yards in depth. This stunning region was created when several prehistoric lakes dried up, leaving behind giant salt deserts. Large four-wheel-drive SUVs can traverse the salt, even in the wet season when the flats take on a mirrorlike surface. Many tours depart out of the city of Uyuni and can last three to four days.

Interior of Royal Palace of Caserta, Italy, with columns and ornate marble floor

Photo by mkos83/Shutterstock

14. The Royal Palace of Naboo

Location: Caserta, Italy
Movie it appears in: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

The Phantom Menace awed fans with George Lucas’s vision of an opulent universe at the height of the Republic. No location is more luxurious than Padmé Amidala’s home world of Naboo. In real life, the stunning Royal Palace of Naboo is actually the Royal Palace of Caserta just outside of Naples, Italy. It was built in the 18th century for King Charles III of Naples, who worked closely with architect Luigi Vanvitelli (one of the greats of his time) to reflect the magnificence of the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Palace of Madrid. This UNESCO World Heritage site is open six days a week and offers a wide range of tour options.

Aerial view of "Empty Quarter" desert in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Photo by Hany Musallam/Shutterstock

15. Jakku

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Movie it appears in: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

When fans first meet Rey in The Force Awakens, she is living on the desert planet of Jakku, scavenging parts from downed Star Destroyers. No place on Earth mirrors the emptiness Rey feels better than the Arabian Peninsula’s real-life “Empty Quarter.” Called Rub’ al Khali by locals, the Empty Quarter is one of the world’s largest deserts, extending across Saudia Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the UAE. For millennia, it has escaped human civilization, only playing host to a few nomadic tribes. Intrepid travelers seeking to get away from civilization can camp in this otherworldly landscape, but it’s best to go with a tour company or large caravan. Do not attempt to drive in the desert if you are not an experienced sand dune driver. More casual travelers can get a taste of Jakku while staying in one of the luxury hotels in Liwa Oasis, just west of where The Force Awakens was filmed.

This article originally appeared online in 2019; it was updated on August 18, 2023, by Erika Owens to include current information.

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