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12 Iconic Travel Locations Made Famous by Hollywood

This article originally appeared on www.hotelclub.com/blog. which is now part of hotels.com

One of the best ways to fill your travel itinerary? Look to Hollywood for inspiration. Here are some of the most spectacular spots made famous for playing the backdrop to your favourite films.

1. Phi Phi Islands

Movie/s: The Beach

Stay: Villa 360, Phi Phi Island

Thailand’s dreamy island archipelago off the coast near Phuket – and more specifically, the island of Ko Phi Phi Lee and Maya Bay – is a tourist hotspot for being Leonardo DiCaprio’s breathtaking secret island cove in the 2000 film adaptation of Alex Garland’s adventure novel, The Beach. Though the beach is partially hidden within one of the coast’s jungle-like archipelagos, you won’t be hard pressed scoring a lift out there – many boats offer day trips to Ko Phi Phi and a swag of other dreamy islands for a small fee.


A photo posted by Leandro Martins (@lsgmartins) on

  2. New Zealand

Movie/s: Lord of the Rings

Stay: Evergreen Lodge, Queenstown

With its rolling green hills, steep snow-capped mountains, barren volcanic plains and a wealth of other Instagram-worthy natural landscapes, New Zealand was an obvious choice as fictional realm Middle Earth for Peter Jackson’s epic three-part Tolkien fantasy flick, Lord of the Rings.


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  3. Bernese Alps

Movie/s: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Stay: Hotel Eiger Swiss Q, Muerren

What better place to plant 007 and his swathe of adventurous cronies than a panoramic lair atop one of Switzerland’s highest peaks? The Schilthorn, in the breathtaking Bernese Alps, played host to Bond for the 1969 spy flick, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (starring one-time Australian 007, George Lazenby). To this day, there are several homages to James Bond enroute to the Schilthorn summit, including cut-outs of Lazenby for happy snaps and the Bond theme being played before you exit the cable car. Slightly corny? Yes – though the view is anything but.


A photo posted by Interlaken (@myinterlaken) on

  4. Alaska

Movie/s: Into the Wild

Stay: Best Western Country Lane Inn, Juneau

While the film based on Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book about young adventurer Christopher McCandless showed off some of America’s most astonishing landscapes – from Lake Tahoe to Oregon, South Dakota, the Grand Canyon and Slab City, the notorious squatters utopia in the Californian desert – all paled in comparison to the striking backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness, where the real McCandless saw out his days in an abandoned bus. A monument to McCandless’ adventurous spirit, which stands as a hiker’s attraction to this day.


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  5. Tokyo

 Movie/s: Lost in Translation

 Stay: Park Hyatt, Tokyo (the hotel from the movie)

 Along with shoe-horning Suntory whisky into the sub-conscious of everyone who saw the movie (“For a relaxing time, make it Suntory time”), the 2003 film about an ageing Hollywood star (Bill Murray) who sparks a pseudo-relationship with a young expat (Scarlett Johansson) showed off the never-sleeping buzz, weird and eccentricity of Japan’s capital. And its delicious whisky.

6. Oregon

Movie/s: Wild

Stay: Hotel Modera, Portland

Like Into the Wild, this flick starring Reese Witherspoon as American novelist Cheryl Strayed highlights the breathtaking surrounds of the Pacific Crest Trail, but in much more depth and cinematic beauty. Try watching Witherspoon trekking through Oregon’s ultra-lush forest vistas and not want to impulse-book a flight to America’s northwest.


A photo posted by E (@planearly) on

  7. Ischia

Movie/s: The Talented Mr. Ripley

Stay: Miramare Sea Resort, Ischia

Yes, Matt Damon is a stage five clinger in this iconic thriller – but don’t let that stop you from getting lost in dreams of traipsing through beach umbrellas and sipping on aperitifs under the hot Mediterranean sun on the relaxing Italian island of Ischia, where the movie was filmed.


A photo posted by Fabio Milano (@fabiomilano10) on

  8. Jordan

Movie/s: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Lawrence of Arabia

Stay: Intercontinental, Amman

Already an iconic landscape to begin with for its archaeological roots, Jordan’s historic ‘Lost City’ of Petra was used as the backdrop for Harrison Ford escaping imminent doom in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Nearby, the seemingly never-ending desert plains of Jordan (from Aqaba right to Wadi Rum) was where the iconic Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.

  9. Monument Valley

Movie/s: Back to the Future Part III, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Forrest Gump

Stay: Holiday Inn, Cortez

On the desert end of the United States, no expanse has been used more to portray a striking, dry and barren landscape than Colorado’s Monument Valley. From Doc Brown and Marty McFly’s epic train chase escapade in Back to the Future Part III, to the setting for holiday hijinks in National Lampoon’s Family Vacation, Monument Valley is a prized jewel in Hollywood’s location crown.

  10. Angkor Wat

Movie/s: Tomb Raider

Stay: Pacific Hotel, Siem Reap

Sure, it wasn’t the most gripping movie – and when you’re dealing with a video-game adaptation of a wealthy, ass-kicking archaeologist with a penchant for wearing uncomfortably small items of clothing during combat, nobody expected it to be. But it did manage to reveal Angkor Wat’s beauty in the way of Ta Prohm – a breathtaking ancient Cambodian temple built in the late 12th century.


A photo posted by Fred_Tempier (@fred_tempier) on

  11. Alnwick Castle

Movie/s: Harry Potter

Stay: Royal Station Hotel, Northumberland

With its jutting turrets and expansive lush grounds, Britain’s giant Alnwick Castle was the ideal filming location to portray a magical realm in the first two Harry Potter films. Fans of TVs period drama Downton Abbey might also recognise Alnwick as ground zero for the show.


A photo posted by Helen (@hcoops_xx) on

  12. Salzburg

Movie/s: The Sound of Music

Stay: Arthotel Blaue Gans, Salzburg

Anyone who’s travelled through Austria’s sweeping green mountains can attest that the hills really are alive – and the most iconic of those spots to visit is the Alps city of Salzburg, where The Sound of Music was originally filmed.

Top image: @airasiathailand Instagram