10 Fictional Places You Can Actually Visit – Part 1
Unique setting and location can be integral to the story of a bestseller book or a hit film. The authors or directors often use the beautiful scenery and distinctive buildings as an inspiration for creating fictional places. Whether the inspiration is based on a real location or on the creator’s life experiences, the idea of visiting those locations appeals to imagination of many people. If you haven’t planned your next year’s summer vacation, here are 10 fictional places you can actually visit.
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Amity Island – “Jaws”
The plot of Steven Spielberg’s hit film “Jaws” takes place on Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town. Spielberg wanted a popular vacation destination for lower middle class. Many locations where considerated, but finally charming Martha’s Vineyard (Massachusetts, USA) was Spielberg’s chosen location. The advantage of the island was its shallow surrounding sea bed, which allowed easier filming of the mechanical sharks.
Arendelle – “Frozen”
Last year’s Disney animated film “Frozen” loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen takes us to the kingdom of Arendelle. The name is based on the Norwegian city of Arendal, a port town located in the county of Aust-Agder to the southwest of the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
However, Frozen’s animators used Nærøyfjord as an inspiration for for the scenery of Arendelle, as well as various buildings in Oslo, Bergen, and other Norwegian cities. The Nærøyfjord is a great place to visit. The fjord is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. National Geographic Society rated it as the world’s number one natural heritage site along with the Geirangerfjord.
The Island – “Lost”
The plot of the ABC’s hit series “Lost” takes place on mysterious “The Island” where a group of survivors has to deal with a number of mysterious entities after a plane crash of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815. The show was filmed at numerous locations on O’ahu, the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands. Most of the filming locations are easily accessible to the public for free. But some of them are on private property and require that you participate in paid tour. Like for example a tour on The Ka’a’awa Valley where numerous Lost scene were filmed. The only way to venture into the valley is with permission of the owners, the Kualoa Ranch. The Valley has also been used for filming a numerous major motion pictures and television productions including: 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Mighty Joe Young, Pearl Harbor, Tears of the Sun, and Windtalkers.
King’s Landing – “Game of Thrones”
The HBO hit series Game of Thrones, based on the best-selling fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, shows us the mystical realm of Westeros, an island continent similar to medieval Britain. The show centers on the various noble families fighting to gain control of the kingdom. Game of Thrones were filmed in the various European and African locations such as Iceland, Malta, Croatia and Marocco.
King’s Landing, the capital city of Westeros and home of the Iron Throne, has been filmed in the city of Mdina, a former capital of Malta. Mdina, unlike King’s Landing, is an inland city so it was used for interior shots such as side streets and the town gate. From the second season filming location has been changed to the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, because of its seaside location and imposing walls.
West Egg and East Egg – “The Great Gatsby”
The plot of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” is mostly set in the fictional town of West Egg located on Long Island, New York. In 1922, Fitzgerald moved his family to Great Neck on Long Island. Later, he used Great Neck (specifically Kings Point) as an inspiration for modeling West Egg. Great Neck’s eastern neighbor, Port Washington (especially Sands Point), was an inspiration for East Egg. Several mansions in the area served as inspiration for Gatsby’s home, such as Oheka Castle and the now-demolished Beacon Towers.
Instead of using New York and Long Island, Baz Luhrmann in his film adaptation used his home country of Australia as much as possible. Most of the movie locations are in Luhrmann’s home city – Sydney. Centennial Park, one of Sydney’s most popular recreational areas, was used as Gatsby’s Estate. For Gatsby’s Mansion, Luhrmann used St. Patrick’s Seminary in Sydney’s Manly area.
Baz Luhrmann is known for being a huge fan of special effects. If you are wondered what is real and what is just a visual effect, check out Incredible Before and After Visual Effects in The Great Gatsby (2013).
Isla Nublar – “Jurassic Park”
Welcome back to Hawaii. Hawaiian islands are set for many Hollywood films including Steven Spielberg’s hit movie Jurassic Park. Spielberg used beautiful Na Pali Coast in Kaua’i, Hawaii as the main location for Isla Nublar (also known as Jurassic Park).
Isla De Muerta – “Pirates of Caribbean”
Isla de Muerta, or Island of the Dead, was a fictional pirate island in the Caribbean featured in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”. It is a center of the film’s plot, when the Black Pearl’s pirate crew hide their looted treasure. The scenes on Isla de Muerta were filmed in the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. However, the island can be likened in climate and geography to Haiti.
Hogwarts – “Harry Potter”
A fictional British school of magic, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (shortened Hogwarts) is the main location in the Harry Potter series. A few locations for Hogwarts were selected, but finally Alnwick Castle and Gloucester Cathedral were used as the principal locations. Some scene were also filmed in Harrow School and Durham Cathedral.
Greenbow – “Forrest Gump”
The plot of Oscar winning adaptation of Winston Groom’s novel “Forrest Gump” centers on several decades in the life of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted and naïve, but good-hearted Alabama man. The film is set mostly in Alabama, but the filming took place mainly in and around Beaufort, South Carolina. The fictitious town of Greenbow, Alabama, where the young Gump grows up, were filmed in the little town of Varnville. Many local shops dressed for the film kept their storefronts similar to the way they looked in the film.
Mos Eisley – “Star Wars”
A galaxy far, far away is closer than you think. If you are a Star Wars fan and always wanted to visit Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine, now is the chance. The actual filming location took place on the Tunisian island of Djerba. You can stay in Luke Skywalker’s home, go to the famous Mos Eisley Cantina (now abandoned) or visit Mos Espa.