7 'Must Visit' Locations from Star Wars
With May the 4th (...be with you) coming up, we are all reminded of a galaxy far, far away… Well not that far actually! Although these movies have a lot of special effects, not everything is computer generated, especially when it comes to the beautiful locations used as movie sets, and you can in fact visit most of them. So get ready to travel the galaxy (or around the world) with our 7 'must-visit' Star Wars destinations!
Star Wars locations you can actually visit
1. Redwood National Park, USA
These impressive towering trees make up the scenery of the planet Endor, home to the cute little Ewoks and setting of the final battle in Return of the Jedi. On planet Earth, you will find these eerie giants in northern California, United States, at the Redwood National Park, and be able to enjoy classic outdoor activities like hiking or camping in a truly unique environment. Some of these trees are above 90 meters high!
2. Skellig Michael, Ireland
This Irish island saw young Rey reunite with legendary Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, in the seventh installment of the saga The Force Awakens. But if you too wish to walk up the rocky steps of Skellig Michael, and try to spot some porgs, you will need to book your ticket well in advance... This World Heritage Site has indeed become quite a famous destination since the movies came out, hosting nearly 200 visitors each day!
3. Laamu Atoll, Maldives
This heavenly destination located in the Maldives portrays the planet Scarif, the setting of an epic battle opposing the rebel forces to the empire in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Most of the scenes were actually shot on location, on Gan to be precise, one of the largest islands of the Laamu Atoll. While you probably won’t see any stormtroopers there, you can still enjoy the white sand beaches, the warm turquoise waters and their fantastic marine ecosystem, carefully preserved by local initiatives.
4. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Chewbacca’s world, planet Kashyyyk, home of the great wookies! This is where Master Yoda led the Republic forces against the Separatists in Revenge of the Siths, while the dreadful Order 66 was being carried out… Located in Thailand, Phang Nga Bay is truly a unique outdoor destination, with activities ranging from peaceful sailing to natural caves exploration, if you feel a little bit more adventurous.
5. Tikal, Guatemala
This World Heritage Site located deep inside the rainforest of Guatemala hosts the headquarters of the Rebellion on the moon Yavin 4, first appearing in A New Hope. In the movie, this is where the attack on the Death Star was coordinated, leading to a major victory against the Empire. This archeological site actually hosts massive Mayan ruins, believed to be inhabited from around the 10th century A.D., and offering quite an exotic hike destination to the seasoned backpackers.
6. Villa del Balbianello in Lenno, Italy
This iconic Italian villa was the setting of the lake retreat in Attack of the Clones, where Anakin and Padmé fell in love, and later got married. A lot of real life marriages actually take place at the beautiful Villa del Balbianello, which after a fascinating history involving an Italian Cardinal, politicians and artists, now belongs to the National Trust of Italy. While it underwent many renovations over the years, its enchanting gardens and panoramic view over Lake Como remain unchanged, and ever so magical...
7. Mount Etna, Italy
This last entry does not feature per say in the movies, as no scenes were shot on location, but the volcano was conveniently erupting during production. So George Lucas sent a crew to capture the lava bursts, and these shots were actually used as the background for the epic duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan on the volcanic planet Mustafar, at the end of Revenge of the Sith! Combined with a beautiful score from John Williams, the intensity of the scene could not be higher.
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