Movies have long made their filming locations popular tourist destinations. Today, some of these locations made famous by movies are iconic tourist destinations, and one wonders how they remained such hidden gems before they were made famous by films.
There are many iconic movie filming locations around the world, from the Scottish Glenfinnan Viaduct, the viaduct the Hortwarts Express crosses in Harry Potter) and England’s city of Liverpool being the new Gotham City in The Batman (2022) all the way to the Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand (where travelers can enjoy real hobbit hospitality from Lord of the Rings).
Here are a number of places around the world made famous by movies (and some TV shows, too).
10 Petra, Jordan
Al Khazneh (The Treasury) at old city Petra
Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and is one of the top attractions in the Middle East. The stone-hewn ancient city is mesmerizing, but it wasn’t known that much to the outside world before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
While there are no Nazis battling adventurous American archeologists while on an evil crusade to recover the Holy Grail, it is one of the best places in the world for Instagram pics.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
9 Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
Emerald lakes on Tongariro Crossing track, Tongariro National Park
New Zealand became extra famous for its eye-watering landscapes for being the filming locations Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The landscapes of Middle Earth were filmed across the country (especially in the central regions of the South Island), while the lands of Mordor were filmed in Tongariro National Park.
Lord of the Rings
8 Hobbiton Movie Set, New Zealand
Green Dragon Inn in Lord of the Rings At Hobbiton
New Zealand deserves a second mention, as it must be just about the only country in the world where one of the key attractions is a movie set.
Discover the Shire, see the Hobbit holes, and enjoy a feast fit for a Hobbit visiting the Hobbiton Movie Set just south of Auckland.
Lord of the Rings
7 Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Mount Rushmore is iconic in the United States now, but it was only built between 1927 and 1941. It was still a young attraction when the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller movie North by Northwest featured it heavily in the movie.
The film did a lot to help make the remote mountainside sculpture a national icon.
North by Northwest
6 Casablanca, Morocco
Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
The old black and white 1942 romantic drama movie Casablanca is one of the most beloved heritage movies. It has made the Moroccan city, Casablanca, a household name and one of the destinations many tourists want to visit in Morocco.
The irony is it was completely filmed in studios in Burbank, California, and wasn’t filmed on location at all.
5 Alnwick Castle, England
Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, England
Alnwick Castle in northern England was made famous by the Harry Potter franchise for being the filming location for some of the scenes of Hogwarts (like where they fly broomsticks in the first movie).
It is one of the most popular castles in northern England and was first built by the Normans after they conquered England in 1066.
4 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Walls of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia and is one of the most iconic in all of the Mediterranean. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is an outstanding example of medieval architecture and a fortified coastal town.
It has been featured in many movies and TV shows – most prominently as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones.
HBO’s TV Series,
Game of Thrones.
3 King’s Cross Station, England
Platform 9 3/4 at king’s cross station – Harry Potter Platform
Movies are such that they can even make railway stations famous. Everyone knows that King’s Cross in London is where passengers board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾.
Today Harry Potter fans visit the station as part of touring London, and there is now a Harry Potter shop and a trolley entering the wall to Platform 9 ¾.
2 Ouarzazate, Morocco
Karnak Temple set for
at the Atlas Film Studio in Ouarzazate
Ouarzazate is a place in Morocco near Marrakesh that is famous for being the filming location of many movies (including movies set in Egypt and Jerusalem).
Go here, and visitors may find sites family from many movies, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and some scenes from the TV series Game of Thrones.
1 Manawaiopuna Falls, Hawaii
Manawaiopuna Falls in Kauai, Hawaii
The Manawaiopuna Falls on the island of Kauai in Hawaii was made famous for the helicopter landing spot at the being of the 1993 movie Jurassic Park. It is one of the most difficult of the famous movie destinations on this list to visit. It is remote and is located on private property.
There is one helicopter company that has permission to land at the falls and where people can feel like they are landing at Jurassic Park in real life.