Part of what makes Star Wars so compelling are the incredible planets that the series takes us to. Places like Hoth, Tatooine, and Crait all manage to feel real, despite the unbelievable, imaginary universe that they belong to. The credit there goes to the carefully picked filming locations which are some of the most breathtaking places on Earth. If you’ve ever wondered where was Star Wars filmed or how Endor looks in real life, allow us to show you. Here are some of the best Star Wars filming locations that you can actually visit in real life.
1. Skellig Michael, Ireland
Let’s start with one of the most popular new Star Wars movie locations. Situated off Ireland’s west coast, the craggy island of Skellig Michael has become instantly famous thanks to scenes between Rey and Luke Skywalker in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. This dramatic, twin-peaked island and its ancient Gaelic monastery were used as the Planet Ahch-To, where Rey goes to find Luke after his years of self-imposed isolation.
2. Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmata, Tunisia
One of the first places we’re introduced to in the first Star Wars Film A New Hope is the homestead of Owen Lars, uncle to Luke Skywalker, on Tatooine. The Hotel Sidi Driss is a traditional Berber house in Matmata, Tunisia which is sunken into the earth. Yes, this is not only one of the classic Star Wars locations, but you can actually spend the night here in Luke’s childhood home.
3. Puzzlewood, Gloucestershire, UK
Jumping back to The Force Awakens, we have the enchanting forest where Rey and Kylo Ren meet for the first time. Puzzlewood in Gloucestershire England has been a film location for many things, but in Star Wars it was used as the forests of Takodana. After Maz Kanata’s castle is attacked by the First Order, Rey and BB-8 can be seen running through the magical forest of Puzzlewood, before running into Kylo Ren.
4. Reynisfjara, Iceland
The nordic country of Iceland has seen a big boom in tourism over the last 10 years. That’s thanks in part to the many films and TV series that have been shot there. One such film was Rogue One, with the early flashback of Galen Erso being taken away by death troopers on the Planet Eadu. While the exact spot is unclear, whether at Reynisfjara beach or Hjörleifshöfði Cave, the film was shot on the island’s stunning south coast. Reynisfjara is quite well-known with tourists, thanks to its black beach and rock formations.
5. Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como, Italy
No matter how you feel about the prequels, there’s no denying the beauty of this Naboo spot from Attack of the Clones. While they waited for Obi-Wan to find those trying to assassinate her, Padmé and Anakin hid at a lakeside retreat on Naboo. In real life this retreat, where they would go on to get married, is the Villa del Balbianello which sits on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como. This astounding villa is actually a converted monastery and is the perfect combination of scenic location and stunning architecture.
6. Wadi Rum, Jordan
The Force has long been an important part of Star Wars, and one of the most important places tied to the Force is the moon of Jedha. Introduced to us in Rogue One, Jedha was home to a pilgrimage destination for those who believed in the Force before its destruction by the Death Star. The deserts of Wadi Rum in Jordan were a natural fit for this desert moon, and you too will feel like you’re on another planet when you visit there. It’s said that Rise of Skywalker was also filmed here, so you’ll be ticking off two Star Wars settings if you go.
7. Plaza de España, Seville, Spain
Naboo was shown as quite a wealthy planet during the prequels, which means some pretty lavish locations were needed for filming. One such location used in Attack of the Clones was the magnificent Plaza de España in Seville, Spain. The ornate pavilion that stretches around the side of this square was used for conversations between Padme and Anakin while they were in the city of Theed. The movie only offers a glimpse at the former World Fair site, so there’s plenty more to see than what is shown.
8. Dubrovnik, Croatia
The city of Dubrovnik may be best known as a filming location for Game of Thrones, but did you know that it also popped up in The Last Jedi? In the middle of the film, Finn and Rose head to the casino city of Canto Bight in search of a codebreaker. During their escape on the back of a fathier, they race through the city’s streets, which is actually the lively Stradun that runs right through the historic Croatian city.
9. Canary Wharf Station, London, UK
Movie filming locations are often exotic or far-flung destinations, especially in Star Wars. And yet, some scenes were filmed at a London Underground station. The Canary Wharf station was used in Rogue One as the Imperial Base on Scarif. When Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO are disguised as Imperial officers, they are in fact simply walking through the underground station of this business district in London.
10. Redwood National and State Parks, California, USA
If you’ve ever wondered where was Endor filmed, with its beautiful trees and nature, the answer probably won’t surprise you. For the Return of the Jedi, Redwood National and State Parks was used as the Endor film location. Home to mighty redwood forests, this collection of state and national parks that includes Redwood National Park and Del Norte Coast, has been used in a number of films like ET and Jurassic Park: The Lost World.
11. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The final battle in The Last Jedi, between the last of the Resistance forces and the advancing First Order, had a lot going on. But most viewers may have noticed the dramatic setting for the showdown. The stark white salt plains of the planet Crait were the latest in a long line of incredible Star Wars landscapes and we have the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia to thank for that.
12. Royal Palace of Caserta, Italy
It seems that Italy was the perfect place to sell the incredible grandeur of Naboo in the prequel trilogy. While the exterior of the city for both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, was CGI, the majestic interior of the Royal Palace on Naboo is in fact real. Filming for both movies took place inside the exquisite baroque halls of the Royal Palace of Caserta in Campania, Italy. As its name suggests, it was once the residence of the Kings of Naples and dates back to the 18th century.
13. Tikal National Park, Guatemala
In A New Hope, the Star Wars series was using some unlikely destinations for filming. Just before the big attack on the Death Star, we see the Millennium Falcon flying into the Rebel Base on Yavin 4. You too can see that view of stone temples poking through jungle if you climb up onto Temple IV while visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
14. Death Valley National Park, California, USA
One of the most iconic locations throughout the three trilogies of Star Wars is the desert planet of Tatooine in A New Hope. While the scenes on Tatooine were filmed in a number of places, some of the most memorable used scenery from Death Valley National Park in California. It is in Death Valley where we first see C3PO and R2D2 crash land on Tatooine, as well as several scenes between the droids and the Jawas. Boasting sand dunes, salt flats, canyons, and more, they certainly had their pick of picturesque backdrops to choose from when filming.
15. Phang Nga Bay, Phuket, Thailand
Although Chewbacca and the Wookies had been part of Star Wars from the beginning, it wasn’t until Revenge of the Sith that we got to see the Wookie homeworld of Kashyyyk. When Yoda travels to aid the Wookies in their fight against the Droid Army, we get to see the beautiful karst islands of Kashyyyk. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that these backdrops are taken from footage of the stunning Phang Nga Bay near Phuket in Thailand. This part of Thailand is also famous for James Bond Island, the iconic towering island out of The Man With the Golden Gun.
16. Hardangerjøkulen Glacier and Finse, Norway
The ice planet Hoth is definitely one of the more memorable Star Wars destinations from the original trilogy. After all, Hoth is where the opening of the Empire Strikes Back takes place. For those scenes including Luke scouting on his tauntaun and the stunning Battle of Hoth, the scenery we’re seeing is the equally impressive Hardangerjøkulen Glacier in Norway. A little more accessible in the area might be the Finse Ski Lodge, which had scenes shot right outside.
17. Avenue 7 Novembre, Medenine, Tunisia
In The Phantom Menace, there was not only a return to the universe of Star Wars, but also to the story of the Skywalker family. It seems only fitting then that filming again took place in Tunisia, this time to show the childhood home of Anakin Skywalker. The scenes of the home of Anakin and his mother Shmi were filmed in several places in Tunisia, one of which was Ksar Medenine at Avenue 7 Novembre in the town of Medenine in the country’s south.
18. Laamu Atoll, Maldives
Rogue One was full of moments that we hadn’t seen in a Star Wars movie before, but the final battle on the Planet Scarif was surely one of its best. Scarif was a fresh new setting thanks to its low-lying island beaches and tropical look. For such a spellbinding setting, it’s little wonder that they had to trek all the way out to the Laamu Atoll in the Maldives. Laamu Atoll is made up of 82 islands that together with the surrounding barrier reef have created a shallow lagoon.
19. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, Spain
Solo: A Star Wars Story focuses on the early days of Han Solo and features his often mentioned Kessel Run. Him and the rest of Beckett’s gang are led to the planet of Savareen, where the movie’s finale takes place. For anyone who has visited the sand dunes on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura, the planet of Savareen may look a tad familiar. With its windswept, sparse coastal landscape it’s hard not to be intrigued by Fuerteventura.
20. Whippendell Woods, Watford, UK
There’s little debate that Jar Jar Binks is the most disliked character to appear throughout the many Star Wars films. But don’t let that sentiment take away from the fact that the forest where we first meet him in The Phantom Menace is a truly beautiful place. When Jar Jar comes across Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan in the forests of Naboo, we’re actually looking at the Whippendell Woods outside the town of Watford. The Whippendell Woods are used again for the planning scene before the Battle of Naboo.
21. Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy
Perhaps the most unforgettable moment in the whole prequel trilogy is the final showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin on the volcanic planet of Mustafar. It’s here, in Revenge of the Sith that we see Anakin receive life-threatening injuries that will eventually cause him to turn into Darth Vader. While the actors weren’t actually fighting over lakes of lava, the lava itself is real. It was filmed for the scene from an actual eruption of Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily, one of the more popular day trips from the nearby city of Catania.
22. Buttercup Valley, Yuma Desert, Arizona, USA
Yet another classic moment from the original trilogy is when Luke, Han, and Chewbacca are moments away from being thrown into the Sarlacc Pit on Tatooine. We not only see Boba Fett meet his end down in the pit, but Lando also helps rescue the three of them from Jabba the Hutt’s execution. What we’re looking at in these scenes is the barren Yuma Desert of Arizona and its Buttercup Valley if you want to be specific. This raw landscape is where much of the first act in Return of the Jedi takes place and gives us plenty of classic moments.
23. Ajim, Tunisia
The time we spend with Luke Skywalker on Tatooine early on in A New Hope does a great job of setting the scene for the Star Wars universe. One place that really sells the grit of this space western is the port of Mos Eisley. Visit the small coastal town of Ajim on Djerba Island in Tunisia and you might recognize buildings used to portray the spaceport, including a house that was the exterior for the Mos Eisley Cantina. Ajim actually pulled double duty, with a local mosque used for shots of Obi-Wan’s house as well.
24. Krafla, Iceland
With its label as the “Land of Fire and Ice”, it’s no surprise that Iceland has been used more than once to stand in for the dramatic landscapes of the Star Wars universe. The island’s raw beauty is on full display in The Force Awakens, in which Krafla volcano was used to depict the icy surface of Starkiller Base. Also used for the film was the popular geothermal waters of Lake Mývatn, found nearby in the country’s north.
25. Rub’ al Khali Desert, Abu Dhabi, UAE
While we’ve long been familiar with the desert planet of Tatooine, in The Force Awakens we’re introduced to a new desert planet, Jakku. This is the harsh and lifeless homeworld of Rey and where we see her meet soon-to-be companions BB-8 and Finn. Since a new desert planet deserves a new desert filming location, the production chose the Rub’ al Khali Desert to portray Jakku. Filming was done outside Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, but the Rub’ al Khali Desert does stretch across multiple countries including Saudi Arabia and Oman as well.
26. Greenham Common, Berkshire, UK
Many Star Wars locations are tough to see by virtue of how remote they are. One filming location that is a little different is the spot where scenes for the Resistance base on D’Qar were shot in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. These scenes, like the moments of planning before the attack on Starkiller Base were shot at RAF Greenham Common, a former Air Force base in Berkshire, England. While the high fences around Greenham Common will stop you just wandering around the former airfield, it is possible to visit the Greenham Control Tower and you’ll get a great view of the base from up there.
27. Malin Head, Ireland
Although Skellig Michael is best known for portraying the planet Ahch-to in The Last Jedi, another Irish coastal spot has that honor as well. Malin Head, found on Ireland’s north coast, was also used for the scenes between Rey and Luke Skywalker. That means if you want to admire the vivid coastal scenery of Luke’s hermit hideaway, you have two choices in Ireland to make it happen.
28. La Grande Dune, near Nefta, Tunisia
To create a planet like Tatooine you need an awful lot of endless desert, and many scenes in A New Hope required just that. Moments like when C3PO and R2D2 are wandering across the shifting landscape and the Stormtroopers are hunting them down required somewhere appropriately remote. La Grande Dune in the far west of Tunisia near the town of Nefta provided just that. Those sand dunes down by the Algerian border proved to be the perfect setting for those early moments on Tatooine before we see the droids meet Luke Skywalker. It’s also here by Chott el Djerid, that you can see the iconic “sand igloo” that was used as the exterior for the Lars Homestead along among the desert.
29. Grindelwald, Switzerland
The first time we see the planet of Alderaan in Star Wars, the planet is being destroyed by the Death Star. However, we do see the planet a little more intact in Revenge of the Sith, when we see Bail Organa bringing Princess Leia as a baby to his homeworld. While the city they arrive at is CGI, the snowy alpine backdrop belongs to Grindelwald in the Swiss Alps. A charming mountain village, Grindelwald is known for its skiing, hiking, and scenery, making it particularly popular with tourists.
30. Fawley Power Station, Hampshire, UK
In Solo: A Star Wars Story, we learn that Han grew up on the planet of Corellia as a street urchin, scraping to survive. Desperate to leave his life behind, he and Qi’ra attempt to escape Corellia by bribing an emigration officer, only for the two to get separated in the process. Part of this escape involves a speeder chase, which was filmed at Fawley Power Station in Hampshire on England’s south coast. The power station is now decommissioned with plans for redevelopment, so don’t wait too long to see this one.
There you have it, some of the best Star Wars filming locations used across the ten Star Wars movies that have been released so far. It really is incredible that there are so many places you can visit in real life that have made up the Star Wars universe, from Africa, to the middle of the North Atlantic, to the Americas. It makes you wonder where else will be added to the list when more Star Wars movies inevitably follow.