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Movies. They lure you into a world that’s often filled with beautiful places and amazing scenery, and in only a few hours you’re yanked right back out. Our solution? Find out where those places really were and plan your own adventure!

Matamata, New Zealand

This small agricultural town has become a popular hit and tourist trap for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. Situated in the middle of vast green hills and spacious fields, it’s one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. Tourists can even stay at local farms that have been transformed into bed and breakfast inns to get a taste of the full Kiwi lifestyle. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the vast green lands of The Shire while having your afternoon tea.

The Must-See:

You can’t take a visit to Matamata without visiting The Shire! Hobbiton is a legitimate town with tours of the Lord of the Rings sets, which allow you to fully immerse yourself in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and the hobbit holes within.

Caution: You’re (probably) not hobbit-sized, so you may feel like Gandalf when you enter the thresholds!

A visit to Matatmata is simply incomplete without a stop by the unique landscape. If interested, you can visit Hobbiton’s website and take a look at all the tours available for The Shire.

Alnwick Castle, England

Potter fans rejoice! Used for multiple scenes in all eight Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle is rich with movie magic. Even if you’re not a Potter fan, this place is worth the trip. The grounds have a deep history starting in 1136 A.D., and with historical art pieces and memorabilia dating from hundreds of years back, Potterheads and history buffs alike will adore this destination.

The Must-See:

Alnwick Castle is one of those places that’s been around for ages, and the best part about it? The dark and dreary cellars!

For Potter fans, this means a trip to The Forbidden Corridor that we’ve heard so much about. Of course, those that are easily scared might disagree, but this new attraction at Alnwick Castle is sure to bring in adventure seekers! A trip to the cellars includes fun holograms, creepy lighting, and dark tales to put the hairs on your neck on end.

Other Potter attractions include learning to ride your own broomstick, and magic shows by Dumbledore and Hagrid look-a-likes in the courtyard. If you’re interested in this magical and historic place just take a look at Hogwarts’ Alnwick Castle’s website.

Petra, Jordan

Not even discovered by modern man until 1812, Petra is an ancient city set in stone. Literally. Thought to be established in the sixth century B.C., it’s no wonder that it would be the shooting location for Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, and home of the Holy Grail. Whether you love Indiana Jones or Transformers (see below), you’ll be stepping neck deep into a city full of mystery and wonder.

The Must-See:

El Deir, (left) otherwise known as The Monastery, is the location where Sam Witwicky found the tomb of the Primes.

Not to be confused with Al Khazneh “The Treasury” (above), The Monastery was originally thought to be a Nabatean temple, and later used as a church. The decorations aren’t as ornate, but it’s just as mystifying when you think about the construction of this landmark.

For adventurers and wanderers, there’s a not-so-secret path (closed to visitors) that allows you to climb to the top of the monument. And for the less ambitious, there’s also a cave where you can dine at a cafe while you stare at the historic beauty in front of you.

Rome, Italy

If you didn’t already have a reason to visit Rome, you now have a couple more. This ancient civilization needs no introduction; it’s full of history and stories of Gods and emperors. There’s a countless amount of movies that are set in both modern and ancient Rome, my favorites being Gladiator and, yes, The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Whether you like comedies, romance, or action, Rome is yet another perfect cinematic place to take a vacation.

The Must-See:

Probably one of the most epic parts of Rome, the Colosseum was a venue for public spectacles like fighting to the death for real gladiators (think of the movie, you’ll get the gist), animal hunts, and battle re-enactments.

Less action-oriented people will love this location as well. For you theater buffs, this was also used for the very real performances back in ancient times of dramas based on classical mythology. Even without the aid of the movies, you can just feel the history surrounding you at the Colosseum, and yes, it is slightly creepy.

Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaii in general is a popular destination for vacation-goers, but what’s interesting about the island of Kauai is that even though several movies have been filmed here, they all find ways to look different on screen. If you want a Hawaiian vacation, take it here where the forests are full of movie magic!

The Must-See:

Allerton Garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and it might look familiar to you. Why? Because it’s where dinosaurs roamed the earth in Jurassic Park!

You may also recognize this location from Pirates of the Caribbean, where Jack Sparrow was forced to run through a forest of coconut trees. If you find yourself thinking “but weren’t the trees animated?” you may be mistaking it for Lilo and Stitch, which took several points of inspiration from the beautiful island.

Not only that, now we hear that Catching Fire will be filming on Kauai as well! Rainforest trees, golden bamboo, and tons of streams and mini-waterfalls populate these gardens, so you’ll be sure to feel one with nature. If interested, just take a look at the official website for all that these gardens have to offer.

Hollywood really knows how to pick beautiful places to film! So tell us, where would you go?

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